The Abbey Newsletter

Volume 19, Number 3
Aug 1995


Library Awards Contract for Deacidification

The Library of Congress has awarded a contract to Preservation Technologies Inc. (PTI) of Glenshaw, Pennsylvania, for demonstrated application of the firm's Bookkeeper III mass deacidification process. The contract calls for PTI to treat at least 72,000 books during the next two years. The primary focus of this initiative is to ensure uniform, effective deacidification treatment of processed books and to enhance work flow, including book handling, storage, packing, and transportation procedures.

The Senate and House Appropriations subcommittees have approved the Library's proposed action plan to begin using the new Bookkeeper deacidification technology while continuing to evaluate other methods. The Library continues to encourage other companies with deacidification technologies and operational equipment capable of mass treatment to come forward, if their processes have the potential to meet or exceed the Library's technical requirements.

A recent Library-commissioned report on Bookkeeper indicates that the process deacidifies paper without posing environmental or human health problems. Unlike some other processes evaluated by the Library in recent years, it neither causes physical or aesthetic damage to materials, nor imparts undesirable odors in treated books. This report (without appendices) is available on the Internet. The full title is:

Sally Buchanan et al., "An Evaluation of the Bookkeeper Mass Deacidification Process: Technical Evaluation Team Report for the Preservation Directorate, Library of Congress."

Copies of the textual pages of the report can be accessed by telnetting to LC MARVEL at "marvel.loc.gov" and logging in as "marvel." To locate the report on MARVEL, select "Libraries and Publishers (Technical Services)," "Preservation at the Library of Congress," then "Mass Deacidification: Reports." In addition, free paper copies of the Bookkeeper report (including all of the appendices not reproduced on Internet), as well as another report on the Library-developed diethyl zinc (DEZ) process, can be obtained by contacting Kenneth E. Harris, Preservation Projects Director, Preservation Directorate, Library of Congress LM-G21, Washington, DC 20540-4500 (202/707-1054, fax 707-3434, Internet khar@loc.gov.).

The Bookkeeper process uses a liquid dispersion of sub-micron particles of magnesium oxide. Initially the liquid used was a CFC, but that has been replaced by an environmentally benign liquid. This dispersion is being sold in Europe as a spray product, especially from pump bottles, according to a PTI news release dated January 1994. The company is at 1114 William Flinn Highway, Glenshaw, PA 15116-2657 (800/416-BOOK or 412/486-1111; fax 412/487-3313). In January they were charging $12 a book to deacidify a book, but expected to be putting out a revised price list soon.

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