The Abbey Newsletter

Volume 25, Number 6
Apr 2002


ANSI/ISO Update for Permanence and Physical Properties of Imaging Materials
Pt. 2

By Douglas Nishimura

A Review of the Standard Drafting System

The ANSI (American National Standards Institute) standards dealing with permanence and physical properties are being phased out and are being replaced by ISO standards. Formerly, different versions existed as ISO or ANSI standards, so that parallel standards would not necessarily agree even though they were written essentially by the same group of people. Currently, the ISO standards are being drafted by a joint international body meeting twice per year as a committee and as several subcommittees of ANSI, as well as once every three years as a working group of an ISO committee. Once the ANSI committee has agreed on a text (as a committee draft - ISO CD), they are balloted several times concurrently by both ANSI and ISO (although only an ISO standard is produced from the process).

Two reminders. First, ISO and ANSI standards for the permanence and physical properties of imaging and materials come in four types: specification documents, test methods, recommended practices, and technical report. The standard for safety film is an example of a specification document. It specifies the minimum properties that a film must have and how that property must be measured in order for the film to qualify as "safety film." The Photographic Activity Test standard is an example of a test method document. Short test methods are often included in the specification documents. Long test methods are given their own document and usually don't include pass/fail criteria. The film storage standard is a recommended practice document. The humidity measurement and control document is a technical report. These are usually fairly fast to create, but don't carry the same weight as a real standard.

The second reminder is that ISO standards are balloted first within the originating committee as a committee draft (CD). Once they've passed the scrutiny of the committee, the document becomes a DIS (draft international standard). At this point, all of the members of the ISO have the opportunity to comment via their own national standard body. For the permanence and physical properties standards this is usually a fairly easy step since most of the ISO member bodies interested in this area are also members of the committee or subcommittee that drafted the original document. Virtually all of the comments and objections should be addressed at this stage. As a final assurance, ISO has an FDIS (final draft international standard) ballot. Since virtually all comments should have been addressed at the DIS stage, this is usually another easy step. Once the FDIS has been approved, the document is sent to Geneva to be published as an ISO standard.

Standards In Process

ANSI/NAPM IT9.1-1996; ANSI/ISO 10602:1995 Imaging Materials — Processed Silver-Gelatin Type Black-and-White Film — Process Specifications for Stability.

This document is largely intended for manufacturers, but includes specifications for residual silver and hypo (thiosulfate). It is in the process of being withdrawn. The replacement, ISO 18901:2001, has been balloted as an FDIS, which closed December 18.

ANSI/PIMA IT9.2-1998 Imaging Materials — Photographic Processed Films, Plates, and Papers — Filing Enclosures and Storage Containers. Withdrawn July 23. The replacement, ISO 18902:2001, has just recently become available. The major change to this document is the combination of recommendations for black-and-white and color photographs. ISO is now recommending an alkaline buffer in all paper enclosures whether for black-and-white or color.

ISO 18906:2000 Imaging materials — Photographic films — Specifications for safety film. Published last December; the ANSI standard (IT9.6) was withdrawn in January 2000.

ISO 18911:2000 Imaging materials — Processed safety photographic films — Storage practices. Published November 2000; ANSI IT9.11 was officially withdrawn in June 2001.

ANSI/NAPM IT9.13-1996 Imaging Materials — Glossary of Terms Pertaining to Stability. There is currently no ISO equivalent to this standard. A new ISO version just finished the CD stage in September and still needs to pass the DIS and FDIS ballots.

ISO 18915:2000 Imaging materials — Methods for the evaluation of the effectiveness of chemical conversion of silver images against oxidation. Published last December; ANSI standard IT9.15 was officially withdrawn in January.

ISO 14523:1999. Photography — Processed photographic materials — Photographic activity test for enclosure materials. This document was published just before the new numbering system came into effect. ISO standards are normally numbered sequentially regardless of the area of interest so a standard for refrigerated trucks may come right next to a photographic standard. This system makes it difficult to find the standards of interest, so the committee petitioned ISO to reserve a contiguous block of standard numbers. Since many people are familiar with the ANSI numbering system, ANSI IT9.XX standards are converted to ISO 189XX standards. When this document is revised it will become ISO 18916 following the new numbering system. ANSI IT9.16 was withdrawn in March of 2000.

ISO 18917:1999 Photography — Determination of residual thiosulfate and other related chemicals in processed photographic materials — Methods using iodine-amylose, methylene blue and silver sulfide. Published in June 1999; ANSI IT9.17 was withdrawn in December 1999.

ISO 18918:2000 Imaging materials — Processed photographic plates — Storage practices. Published in March 2000; ANSI IT9.18 was withdrawn in October 2000.

ISO 18920:2000 Imaging materials — Processed photographic reflection prints — Storage practices. Published in July 2000; ANSI IT9.20 was withdrawn in October 2000.

ISO 18923:2000 Imaging materials — Polyester-base magnetic tape — Storage practices. Published in June 2000; ANSI IT9.23 was withdrawn in December. 2000

ISO 18924:2000 Imaging materials — Test method for Arrhenius-type predictions. Published in August 2000; ANSI IT9.24 was withdrawn in October 2000.

ANSI/PIMA IT9.25-1998 Imaging Materials — Optical Disc Media — Storage. This document was officially withdrawn in July. ISO 18925:2001 went out for an FDIS ballot that closed in December. Expect the new standard to be available by mid- to late-2002.

ISO 18928 Imaging materials — Unprocessed photographic films and papers — Storage practices. This document is a new standard handed over to the permanence group by another ISO working group. The ballot closed in November. This will replace ISO 10331. There was no parallel ANSI document.

ISO 18929 Imaging materials — Wet processed silver-gelatin type black-and-white photographic reflection prints — Specifications for dark storage. The title of this document may be confusing because the standard was written for prints intended for dark storage only. It is the print analog to ISO 18901 (dealing with black-and-white, wet-processed, silver-gelatin film). Mainly this is a specification for manufacturers to meet (dealing with things like physical properties of the base). For consumers, it includes residual silver and hypo (thiosulfate) limits for black-and-white, wet-processed, silver-gelatin prints. This is a new standard and there is no existing ANSI or ISO equivalent. This is currently at the DIS stage which will close in February 2002.

Two technical reports were also recently published:

ISO/TR 18930:2001 Imaging materials — Protocols for outdoor weathering experiments was published in June.

ISO/TR 18931:2001 Imaging materials — Recommendations for humidity measurement and control was also published in June. It is primarily written for labs running experiments that need humidity control in a limited environment such as a desiccator or chamber. However, the section about humidity measurement methods is relevant to collections as well.

Reprinted from PADG list with permission from the author. Douglas Nishimura is a Research Scientist at the Image Permanence Institute, Rochester Institute of Technology, and a member of ANSI IT9, IT9-2 and IT9-3, and of the ISO USA TAG.

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