The Abbey Newsletter

Volume 14, Number 8
Dec 1990


The Permanent Paper Law

Public Law 101-423, signed October 12 by the president, has been published as a slip law and is available individually from the Government Printing Office. Later on it will be printed and bound as part of the U.S. Statutes and the U.S. Code. The text is transcribed below, minus the margin7 al notes and legislative history.

104 STAT. 912 PUBLIC LAW 101-423--Oct. 12, 1990

Public Law 101-423
101st Congress

Joint Resolution
To establish a national policy on permanent papers.

Whereas it is now widely recognized and scientifically demonstrated that the acidic papers commonly used for more than a century in documents, books, and other publications are self-destructing and will continue to self destruct; Whereas Americans are facing the prospect of continuing to lose national, historical, scientific, and scholarly records, including government records, faster than salvage efforts can be mounted despite the dedicated efforts of many libraries, archives, and agencies, such as the Library of Congress and the National Archives and Records Administration;

Whereas nationwide hundreds of millions of dollars will have to be spent by the Federal, State, and local governments and private institutions to salvage the most essential books and other materials in the libraries and archives of government, academic, and private institutions; Whereas paper manufacturers can produce a sufficient supply of acid free permanent papers with a life of several hundred years, at prices competitive with acid papers, if publishers would specify the use of such papers, and some publishers and many university presses are already publishing on acid free permanent papers;

Whereas most Government agencies do not require the use of acid free permanent papers for appropriate Federal records and publications;

Whereas librarians, publishers, and other professional groups have urged the use of acid free permanent papers; Whereas even when books are printed on acid free permanent paper this fact is often not made known to libraries by notations in the book or by notations in standard bibliographic listings; and

Whereas there is an urgent need to prevent the continuance of the acid paper problem in the future: Now, therefore, be it

Resolved by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled,

Section 1. It is the policy of the United States that Federal records, books, and publications of enduring value be produced on acid free permanent papers.

Sec. 2. The Congress of the United States urgently recommends that-

  1. Federal agencies require the use of acid free permanent papers for publications of enduring value produced by the Government Printing Office or produced by Federal grant or contract, using the specifications for such paper established by the Joint Committee on Printing;
  2. Federal agencies require the use of archival quality acid free papers for permanently valuable Federal records and confer with the National Archives and Records Administration on the requirements for paper quality;
  3. American publishers and State and local governments use acid free permanent papers for publications of enduring value, in voluntary compliance with the American National Standard;
  4. all publishers, private and governmental, prominently note the use of acid free permanent paper in books, advertisements, catalogs, and standard bibliographic listings; and
  5. the Secretary of State, Librarian of Congress, Archivist of the United States, and other Federal officials make known the national policy regarding acid free permanent papers to foreign governments and appropriate international agencies since the acid paper problem is worldwide and essential foreign materials being imported by our libraries are printed on acid papers.

Sec. 3. The Librarian of Congress, the Archivist of the United States, and the Public Printer shall jointly monitor the Federal Government's progress in implementing the national policy declared in section 1 regarding acid free permanent papers and shall report to the Congress regarding such progress on December 31, 1991, December 31, 1993, and December 31, 1995. In carrying out the monitoring and reporting functions under this section, the Librarian of Congress, the Archivist of the United States, and the Public Printer may consult with the National Endowment for the Humanities, National Agricultural Library, National Library of Medicine, other Federal and State agencies, international organizations, private publishers, paper manufacturers, and other organizations with an interest in preservation of books and historical papers.

Approved October 12, 1990.

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