The Abbey Newsletter

Volume 14, Number 6
Oct 1990

LC Invites Proposals for Deacidification Service

The Library of Congress finally issued its RFP (Request for Proposals) on September 13. It has about 135 pages and a friendly cover where, in place of a title, it says, "LC, The Library of Congress, Requests Your Proposal To Provide Deacidification On A Mass Production Level Of Paper-Based Books In The Collections Of The Library of Congress." Of course the vendors of deacidification services are happy to see this document because it opens for there not only the possibility of getting LC work, but the whole market, because nearly everyone has been waiting for LC to go first. Their potential customers are also happy, because it says, on p. C-13, that the test data they get will be "released and/or published." This means that customers won't have to find money to have their own testing done so they can choose among vendors, but if they do want to have testing done, the granting agencies they approach won't hold back, saying that LC's data may tell them what they want to know, after it comes out.

Testing will be done at an independent lab, according to LC's protocol, and at LC's expense.

The schedule of procedure is tight. There will be a bidder's meeting October 15, to allow them to ask questions and see the IC facilities. The bids are to be in by January 7. The contract may be awarded to one or more suppliers.

The plan is to do a million books per year, of which 1/3 will be the new books. The books already on the shelf will be deacidified only if they are acidic but not yet brittle, which makes sense, but the new books will apparently be deacidified whether they need it or not. So will the books that have been newly bound, repaired, or relabelled. The rationale for this policy decision is not explained. But at least books will not be re-deacidified if they are acquired, bound and relabelled at different times, because they will be marked after treatment on the textblock and spine.

Excerpts follow. Short paragraphs in the original have been combined, where this would not result in confusion, in order to save space.

C.1.3 Deacidification Priorities

The initial contracts) will be awarded for five production years (one base year with four one-year option periods as determined by the Contracting Officer).

The mass deacidification program will, as a first priority, treat all books processed through the Library's Binding Office. Such items total an estimated 350,000 volumes annually. These include books newly acquired by the Library, and books repaired, bound, or rebound as part of the Library's preservation program. Approximately 80% of these books are new publications fabricated with publisher's bindings or are originally unbound monographs and journals that have been commercially bound. Commercial rebinding of law and General collection books damaged through use accounts for 7%. The remaining 13% are General and Law collection books that have required repair and/or label replacement.

At full production, a majority of books to be treated will be retrospective books from the General and Law collections. The goal of the mass deacidification program is to treat 1,000,000 books annually .... Recognizing that deacidification of the entire retrospective collection will be a 20 year undertaking, the Library has established a sequence for treating these books. Maintaining this priority order is crucial for the efficient preservation, in original form, of the Library's General and law collections.

C.1.4. Internal Logistics

The Library's present logistical plan is as follows:

Two simultaneous streams of books will leave the Library complex on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC. The first is new, rebound, or repaired books, monographs, and journals, moved on Library book trucks directly from the Binding Office to the loading dock to transfer to the deacidification plant. The second is General and Law collections books removed from shelving in the stacks in a designated sequence, placed on Library book trucks, and transported to the loading dock area for transfer to the Contractor for shipment to the deacidification plant.

To assure that its collection remains accessible to its approximately 2,000,000 users each year and to Congress, the Library plans to schedule an efficient flaw of books to and from the loading dock in order to minimize the inconvenience to users that may result while books are being treated.

Prior to removing books from the stack areas, the Library will determine the r of sections of stack that will produce the needed number of books for the processing cycle. Public notice of stack closing will be made, and Library staff will freeze all movement into and out of the appropriate number of sections of a stack area. Then Library staff will prepare the stack area. This will include bar coding each shelf and bar coding the first book on each shelf.

"Residuals", or those books that either are already embrittled to the point that they cannot withstand handling and transport, that have already been deacidified, or that will not benefit from deacidification, will be segregated to one side of the shelf. Disposition, marking, inventorying, and other activities related to these residuals will be accomplished by Library staff. The books to be deacidified will be loaded onto sequentially numbered Library book trucks and moved to the loading dock area. When six book trucks are ready, they will be moved through the tunnels to the loading dock area.

The Library will use a photographic inventory to maintain accountability for US Government property which is shipped outside the Library. The Library will maintain and operate a photography "studio" for this purpose. A locking mechanism will position the book trucks in the "studio" and then wanted cameras will be used to record the contents of both sides of the book truck.

At the same tire, the book trucks will be weighed and the weight recorded. This weight will be the basis for payment. The Library will provide the Contractor with a printout showing book truck number and weight (adjusted for the weight of the book truck). The Contractor will certify the weight.

Book trucks coming from the Binding Office or from the stacks will be moved by Library staff into position on the "studio" and photographic record will be made. Then books trucks will be turned over to the Contractor for transfer of the books into the Contractor's shipping containers.

Once the books have been treated and returned to the Library loading dock, they will be removed by the Contractor - the Contractor's shipping containers and loaded by the firm

Contractor onto Library book trucks in the saw order and position in which they were initially received for shipment prior to treatment. The Contractor will assure that bar codes are intact and in place and will move the loaded book truck into photography "studio" for the return photographic record and weighing. After the photograph and weight have been taken, Contractor staff will move the loaded book truck to a holding area while Library staff compare "before" and "after" images for item control and "before" and "after" weight. If everything is in order, the Library will accept the reloaded book trucks. Any discrepancy between photographic images will be resolved before bailment passes between the Library and the Contractor. Any weight variations between the "before" and "after" weight will be resolved before bailment passes between the Library and the Contractor.

The loaded book trucks will be moved by Library staff to a marking area on the loading dock. The Library will use jet ink or other technology to mark the text block and spine to indicate that the books have been deacidified. Book trucks filled with marked books will be moved by Library staff in sequential order to the stacks and books returned to their proper shelves. As a last step, Library staff will integrate residuals. The stack will then be readied for full servicing.

Books from the Binding Office will be moved on Library book trucks directly to the loading dock. The first books on each shelf of each side of a book truck will be bar coded, and a photographic record will be made before turning the material over to the Contractor for loading into the Contractor-owned shipping containers. On return after processing, these books will be handled the same as the books from the stacks except that, after marking, books from the Binding Office will be returned by Library Staff to the normal stream in the Collections Improvement Unit....

C.1.5 Quality Assurance Program

As part of its quality assurance program, the Library will analyze a of treated books on a continuing basis. These will include control books inserted into randomly selected batches of books. Improvement in paper permanence, pH measurement, and alkaline reserve, and other quality measures will be tested.

Failure to pass the quality as assurance process shall require the Contractor to correct or otherwise make good the batch in their intended deacidified state.

Also, as part of its quality assurance program, the Library reserves the right to inspect the Contractor's process control data. Failure of the Contractor to pass quality assurance testing may result in a stop work order as set forth in paragraph F.2.

C.2 Library Specifications and Documentation Requirements for the Proposed Process(es)

The Library seeks deacidification processes) to fulfill mandatory requirements as listed below. Failure to meet any one of these requirements shall result in a determination of technical unacceptability. The objective of section C.2 is to obtain data on (1) documentation of process effectiveness, shall be developed by and at the expense of the offeror and (2) demonstration of process effectiveness. Documentation of process effectiveness shall be developed by the offeror, who will supply the data to support the proposal. The types of data required are described in detail in Section C.2.1.

The offeror shall demonstrate elements of process effectiveness by treating a group of 500 books, supplied by the Library, and submitting the books to an independent testing laboratory for analysis by a fixed protocol prescribed by the Library. This is described in Section C.2.2. The independent testing laboratory will submit the data to the Library. These data will be considered with other factors in making award(s)....

C.2.1 Documentation of Process(es) Effectiveness

The offeror shall provide technical data sufficient to allow evaluation of the effectiveness of the proposed deacidification chemistry and its chemical and physical effects on the Library environment, users, employees and books: ...

C.2.1.1 Toxicology

The Library is committed to utilizing a process that is of acceptable toxicological risk to those who use and handle the treated books, and requires substantial documentation from any offeror to show that they have carefully examined with actual laboratory or epidemiological data, as appropriate, all factors involved in establishing toxicological risk for their processes) .... It is critical that any process utilized by the Library have enough toxicological information in the existing literature and from laboratory studies to enable the Library to arrive at a toxicological risk assessment document..... The offeror shall provide all such data.

C.2.1.3 Chemistry

For each process proposed, the offeror shall disclose (a) the processing chemistry, and (b) the chemical identity, physical form, concentration, and quantity of all chemical reactants and components retained in treated books.

The offeror shall satisfy this requirement by disclosing the chemistry of each step in the treatment process(es) including chemical equations, thermodynamic parameters, rate information and the chemical and physical state of all products and side products produced. Chemical and/or solvent interactions of the deacidification system with various materials in the books must be considered. These materials include, but are not limited to, cellulose, modified cellulose, as might be found in old papers, lignin (when associated with groundwood or unbleached pulp), coatings, sizing materials, inks, plastics that might be used in books, adhesives, bindings and dyes. Representative materials that would cover most situations must be considered. As far as possible, statements should be supported by experimental data and copies of literature references.

C.2.1.4 Efficacy

For each process proposed, the offeror shall provide technical data demonstrating the efficacy of the process. Through neutralization of acidic paper and uniform incorporation of a suitable permanent alkaline reserve, the rate at which paper loses strength upon accelerated aging at 90°C/ 50% RH for up to 30 days, shall be decreased by at least a factor of 3.0, when the logarithm of the folding endurance is plotted against time in days. An alkaline reserve is considered permanent if the amount has not decreased more than 0.5% calcium carbonate equivalent, or 10 milliequivalents per 100g paper after aging for 30 days at 90°C/50% RH.

The offeror shall satisfy this requirement with a summary of statistically valid data demonstrating the efficacy of the process. The primary methodology to be employed in determining the efficacy of the treatment in enhancing paper permanence is the MIT fold test (modified to 0.5kg,) following intervals of accelerated aging.

Paper shall be subjected to humid 9O°C/50% RH (T544) accelerated aging. Humid aging ovens way be substituted for the oil baths mentioned in T544. Dry accelerated aging at 105°C (T453) may be used to supplement moist aging data. At intervals, papers shall be tested and MIT fold endurance measured. Accelerated aging shall continue for 30 days or until MIT fold drops to 3 or less. Suggested aging intervals are 3, 6, 12, 18, 24 and 30 days. Data points and error limits shall be plotted as log MIT vs days accelerated aging and the linear least squares regression line computed and plotted. Fold endurance values under 3 double folds are disregarded before computing the least square Um. The slopes and the ratios of the slopes of treated vs control papers shall be reported.

The papers tested mast include eight (8) examples reasonably representative of those found in the Library's collections, including, but not limited to the following types: acid, newsprint, coated, highly filled, highly calendered, strong, weak, sized, and containing optical brighteners.

In addition, initial post-treatment MIT fold endurance values shall not be less than 90% that of untreated controls.

The offeror may also provide statistically valid data based on other physical, chemical and optical tests. Such tests may include, but are not limited to, tearing resistance, bursting strength, tensile at break, elongation at break, and tensile energy absorption.

C.2.1.6 Adverse Effects

The proposed processes) shall not expose Library books to conditions which endanger their chemical or physical stability or their integrity.

(a) For each process proposed, the offeror shall provide technical data showing that the process is capable of treating the universe of the Library's heterogenous book (excluding folios) collections. Diversity in the collections includes but is not limited to size, physical condition, type of binding, type of printing inks, type of cover material or type of paper. The offeror may satisfy this requirement with a of visual observations on a statistically valid sample of treated books and my supplement this with experimental or literature data on reactivity of individual book components.

(b) For each process proposed, the offeror shall provide technical data showing that after treatment books are essentially indistinguishable from their pre-treated form, are structurally undamaged, and immediately suitable for, processing and reshelving. Illustrative of these requirements, but not limited to those here, are: no markings on or changes in book covers, no blocking or clinging between adjacent sheets, no cockling of text block or distortion of covers, no damage to bindings, no damage to or loss of labels, no change in the flexibility of the binding, and no need for any post-treatment inspections, cleaning or wiping. The offeror may satisfy this requirement by providing a of empirical observations on a statistically valid sample of treated books.

(c) For each process proposed, the offeror shall provide technical data showing that in the treatment of housed (i.e., slip-cased, boxed) books, contents do not need to be removed from the existing housing, movement of gases or liquids are not strong enough to disturb the order of loose sheets, and that the treatment process deacidifies and provides an alkaline reserve to the housing. The offeror may satisfy this requirement by providing a of observations for treated housed books supplemented (if desired) by examples of treated books.

(d) For each process proposed, the offeror shall provide data showing the books being treated are not exposed to temperatures greater than 70°C (180°F) at any time during the process, and that the total tire books under treatment are exposed to the temperature range of 60°C to 70°C (140°F to 158°F) does not exceed one hour. The offeror shall satisfy this requirement by disclosing the treatment tire and temperatures to which books are exposed during each phase of deacidification.

(e) For each process proposed, the offeror shall provide data showing that after treatment, paper-based books have a moisture content in the range 3.0 to 5.0 wt % H20 after treatment. The offeror may satisfy this requirement by providing a summary of statistically valid samples of moisture content measurements for treated books.

C.2.1.7 Completeness of Deacidification

For each process proposed, the offeror shall provide technical data that establishes completeness of deacidification. Data shall show that after treatment the average pH value is between 6.8 and 10.4. Deacidification shall be demonstrated within each page, each book, and throughout all books in a treated batch. The offeror may satisfy this requirement with a of statistically valid samples of pH measurements utilizing T509 or T529. Appropriate acid-based indicators my be used to supplement glass electrode measurements.

C.2.1.8 Alkaline Reserve

For each process proposed, the offeror shall provide technical data that demonstrate the stability and uniformity of alkaline reserve distribution. Uniformity for a given paper type shall vary from specified optimal concentrations by no more than + 20% between books and by no more than + 20% between and within individual pages.

The alkaline reserve shall be permanent and stable, i.e., exhibit negligible volatility or decomposition. The alkaline reserve shall not decrease by are than 0.5% CaCO3 equivalent after aging for 30 days at 90°C/50% RH. The amount of alkaline residue shall insure optimum lifetime The amount of alkaline reserve shall be 30 milliequivalents per 1OOg (1.5% calcium carbonate equivalent). However, the process shall result in a demonstrated improvement in paper life in treated acidic book papers by a factor of at least 3.0.

The offeror may satisfy this requirement by providing a summary of statistically valid data demonstrating the stability and uniformity of alkaline reserve distribution at all levels. For ease of comparison, all alkaline reserve data will be reported in units of wt % CaCO3 equivalent.

C.2.1.9 Brightness Change

For each process proposed, the offeror shall provide technical data showing that by the end of the aging period, as indicated in C.2.1.5(d), the treated papers shall be at least as bight as the control....

C.2.1.12. Photochemical Change

For each process proposed, the offeror shall provide technical data showing that there is no photochemical change in the degree of photosensitivity of treated paper. The offeror may satisfy this requirement by providing results of exposure of paper to a xenon type BH lamp with borosilicate glass inner optical filter with sodalime glass outer optical filter to stimulate SPD of natural daylight (actinic wavelengths), filtered through window glass (ASTM G26, paragraph, at a relative humidity within 40%-60%. At least three different papers, one of which unit be newsprint, should be exposed for a minimum of 12 days.

Paper degradation behavior is to be evaluated by the MT fold endurance test and by the brightness test (TAPPI 452).

C.2.2 Demonstration of Proposed Process(es)

In addition to the experimental data and other information submitted to meet performance requirements in C.2.1 above, the offeror shall demonstrate the ability of the proposed mass deacidification processes) to meet these performance requirements by treating a Library provided demonstration set of approximately 500 books. The demonstration run will serve to confirm the more voluminous and detailed information which must be provided in responding to section C.2.1.

The treated books will be analyzed at an independent testing laboratory, hereafter referred to as Laboratory, specified by the Library. The Laboratory will submit a report to the Library covering the data generated by the laboratory, along with any observations on the performance of the deacidification procedure. The laboratory tests will be conducted at the Library's expense. The offeror shall bear the cost of and have full responsibility for deacidifying the demonstration set, including costs of transporting the set.

C.2.2.1 Rights in Release of Data

After the contract is awarded, the Library intends to release and/or publish the data that results from the laboratory analyses of the demonstration set of all offerors, unless the offerors specifically object. Each offeror will be given the opportunity to review their respective test results after award and prior to release of the data. Both the process and offeror shall be identified in any release or publication.

C.2.2.4 Independent laboratory Analysis

The treated books will be analyzed by the laboratory according to a fixed protocol. All papers, irrespective of process, will be subject to the same tests. The detailed test protocol will include the following tests:

(a) Improvement in Paper Life (TAPPI T544, TAPPI T511). The primary measurement of increase in paper permanence will be MIT fold endurance of samples subjected to humid 90 degrees C/50% RH accelerated aging and will include at least three different paper samples exposed for at least 30 days. Accelerated aging will follow TAPPI procedure T544 modified to 50% RH in a humid oven. Fold tests (at least 20 replicates per data point) will follow TAPPI T511 modified to 0.5 kg tension. Data will be reported graphically with confidence limits shown.

The measurement of improvement in paper life may be supplemented by measurements of tensile properties (tensile, elongation, tensile energy absorption (TAPPI T494, tear (TAPPI T414), burst (TAPPI T403), wet tensile (TAPPI T456 and T494), and alkali solubility (TAPPI T212)).

(b) pH measurement (TAPPI T435, TAPPI T509). The primary methods of pH measurements of paper samples will be by both hot and cold extraction methods. Additional surface pH measurements may be made by indicator and glass electrode techniques. Measurements of paper pH and its uniformity from book-to-book, page-to-page, and within a page, will be conducted.

(c) Brightness Change (TAPPI T452). The reflectance of at least three different papers (one of which will be newsprint), will be measured initially and at intervals over a total period of 30 days of humid 90 degrees C/50% RH accelerated aging.

(d) Odor. Book odor will be evaluated by an odor evaluation panel established by the laboratory.

(e) Alkaline Reserve (ASTM D4988). Average alkaline reserve concentration and its uniformity will be measured by base titration of an acid extract of the paper.

(f) Change of ions and Weight. Test Books and Half-Books will be measured and weighed prior to and after treatment. Results will be compared.

(g) Temperature Exposure. Temperature indicator tabs inserted into all Half-Books and Test Books prior to treatment will be examined to determine temperature exposure greater than 70°C.

(h) Universe of the Collection. The general condition of all treated books will be examined for, but not limited to, noticeable changes or damage to the cover, labels, text block, ink, paper, binding, cockling and change in shape Treated filter paper sheets will be used as indicators of solubilizing of inks and dyes.

(i) Moisture Content (TAPPI T412). Moisture content of demonstration set books will be measured prior to and after treatment. After treatment, paper-based books are to have a moisture content in the range of 3.0 to 5.0 wt % H20.

C.6 Safety and Maintenance

The Contractor shall implement and maintain a safety program throughout the life of this contract, in accordance with the Contractor's Safety Plan. The Plan shall establish safety analyses and outside reviews as appropriate; schedule and conduct these analyses at the appropriate times; document the safety needs and requirements that corn out of the analyses; ensure that these needs and requirements are included in the design and specifications of the plant, hardware, and operation manuals; and document the implementation of these needs and requirements in the final construction and installation of equipment. The Plan should also establish methods for safety training of personnel.

The Contractor shall maintain the facilities and equipment at a level which will ensure the quality and on-time performance of all services, safety of operators and an acceptable level of environmental impact.

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