The Abbey Newsletter

Volume 13, Number 5
Sep 1989


Congressional Action on Permanent Paper

Finally, the Committee believes the Government Printing Office should aggressively pursue the usage of alkaline, low acid-content paper for its inhouse and commercially procured printing. With the experience acquired and technological developments at the Library of Congress and in the commercial sector over the past several years, it is apparent that one of the major causes of deteriorating stocks of paper format documents is high acid-content paper. In order to preserve archival quality, paper format documents for use by current and future generations, costly procedures, such as deacidification, microfilming, optical disk, and other techniques, must be used. If these materials are printed originally on alkaline paper, the life of such documents may be extended up to several hundred years. That may be compared to acid-based documents which sometimes begin to deteriorate or embrittle within 20-40 years.

The paper industry has seen the benefits of converting to the production of alkaline paper for printing stock. Improved quality and reduced cost of production has stimulated the industry to increase their output of such paper. Consequently, the Government Printing Office has access to larger supplies of this stock at presumably reasonable market prices.

The Committee directs, therefore, that the GP0, in consultation with the Joint Committee on Printing, develop a plan to identify the extent, source, and types of archival type printing matter produced inhouse and acquired commercially by the GP0, or other agencies. The plan should also include a strategy and schedule to convert this printing to alkaline paper. This plan should be submitted to the Committees on Appropriations, the Joint Committee on Printing, the Committee on House Administration, and the Senate Committee on Rules and Administration no later than February 1, 1990.

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