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[BKARTS] Printing for eternity



A friend and I were discussing "printing for eternity" so to speak. That is,
he is thinking of printing "books" that are intended to be stored in time
capsules, mausoleums, etc for thousands of years, perhaps to be read once
every century. "Think Dead Sea Scrolls" he says.

His approach is to use aluminum foil pages and emboss the letters into the
foil with some sort of heavy dot matrix printer. Then he would bind the book
using thicker aluminum covers with Chicago posts to hold together the
aluminum foil pages.

He realises that paper will last many centuries but cannot control storage
conditions and believes there is too much chance paper will decompose in
humid conditions. Besides, he is concerned about the ink sticking to the
paper over the long term.

My comments were that

1. Aluminum foil is not all that stable in the long run. Aluminum does
corrode, particularly in the presence of salt water. I am concerned that it
would become very brittle over time.(Gold would be too pricey, however!)

2. It would not stand up to any amount of handling, pages that are flexible
would be  too thin and subject to tearing and creasing. He says its only
intended to be read once a century or so.

3. Chicago posts would be a source of stress and cracking over time, same
problem with stresses where the type is embossed into the page.

4. I suggested stable plastics such as Mylar and Tyvek, but he thinks ink
will come off.  And, of course, is mylar stable and flexible for 10,000
years?

5. I have suggested using aluminum offset printing plates. Letters are
etched on the plate and readable.  Would the etching last a long time?
Perhaps the reader could be provided with instructions on a simple way to
take a print from an offset plate?

6. Are there binding systems available to bind and store offset plates? Do
offset plates come in small sizes , that is the size of a single book page?

Has anyone worked with this idea of printing for eternity? Are there any
printing companies or even individual artists thinking about this?

The only thing I have found is
http://www.norsam.com/rosetta.html

who are making a micro-etched metal plates to store hundreds of pages on a
disk, using ion- beams and photo-lithography.

Any ideas, comments or suggestions would be very much appreciated...


Chris

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