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Subject: Standards for adhesives

Standards for adhesives

From: Michele H. Youket <myou>
Date: Tuesday, April 15, 2003
I am particularly interested in attracting conservators, and those
who sell conservation/library/archival supplies, to work on new
adhesives standards.

Volunteers Sought to Develop Adhesives Standards for Archival

ASTM Adhesives Committee D14 is drafting an adhesive-performance
standard for pressure-sensitive labels used to catalog historic
documents in libraries and archives. To participate, contact Michele
Youket, a D14 subcommittee chairman and quality assurance specialist
with the U.S. Library of Congress, Washington, D.C.

Background: The needs of the library and archive community are
different from those of business or commercial interests, for whom
labels are most often an ephemeral item, to be used on mailing
envelopes or file folders that have a relatively short life.
Pressure sensitive adhesive labels are becoming an increasingly
attractive tool for use in inventory management control and security
in institutions with large and valuable collections of information,
stored on a variety of media, but that require long-term stability.

Downloading a call number to a label immediately upon cataloging can
prevent items from being mis-shelved, and effectively lost, by
eliminating transcription errors.  Labeling items with
machine-readable bar-codes can facilitate tracking of materials
through the various stages of acquisition, cataloging, binding or
housing, retrieval, and exhibition, thereby enhancing security.
Bar-codes can also be used to tie an item to a large amount of data
stored in a centralized database that can be accessed across
multiple divisions in large institutions.

To make the use of pressure-sensitive labels feasible for libraries
and archives there needs to be a stringent set of quality control
measures in place to ensure that the labels that are being applied
have the characteristics of permanence and durability, and are not
detrimental to the item itself.  One of the ways in which an
institution can regulate the quality of their labels is to have a
standard to follow that delineates appropriate performance
characteristics for labels for various uses.  Different formats have
different requirements.  A "one-size-fits-all" approach to label
purchasing will not work for all media.

Even when an institution has found the "perfect" labels for a
particular material or collection, and has been buying them for
years, there is no guarantee of continued quality or availability.
Manufacturers change their formulations, mistakes are made in
construction, and although often insignificant for the casual user,
these changes can have unexpected, and sometimes disastrous, results
when applied to archival materials.  Many times I have received
requests for help from collection custodians when their previously
reliable labels suddenly refuse to stay affixed to their objects.
Purchasing labels based on adherence to a particular standard can
prevent this from occurring.

ASTM Committee D14: In December 1992 a subcommittee of ASTM D14 -
Adhesives, ASTM D14.07, met to discuss the development of a standard
for pressure sensitive labels for use in libraries and archives. The
subcommittee's legwork for the draft included a review of labels in
diverse applications in libraries and archives.  The subcommittee
was inactive between 1996 and 2002, but was re-activated and merged
with ASTM D14.50 in April 2002.

Representatives from MIT Libraries, Columbia University Libraries,
the U.S. National Archives and Records Administration, and the
National Information Standards Organization have expressed interest
in helping to draft the standard. Label and adhesive manufacturers,
library-supply vendors, conservators, and other preservation
specialists are also being sought for participation.

Task groups are being formed to create the first standard, a
specification for paper labels to be applied to paper media, and a
new standard test method for measuring adhesive performance, based
on an existing ASTM 90 deg. Peel Test.  Membership in ASTM is not
required to serve on these task groups.

The group will identify a standard range of recommended test
results, based in part on research by the Library of Congress and
the National Archives. Standards for labels for other media will
follow.  The subcommittee is also considering drafting standards for
other types of adhesives used in libraries and archives in the
future. To join this activity, contact

    Michele H. Youket
    Preservation Research and Testing Division
    U.S. Library of Congress
    Washington DC
    myou [at] loc__gov

Michele H. Youket

                  Conservation DistList Instance 16:61
                 Distributed: Wednesday, April 16, 2003
                       Message Id: cdl-16-61-002
Received on Tuesday, 15 April, 2003

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