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PRESERVATION OF HIS~1~CAL RECORDS

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- ~ :~ A ~ ::: ~ ::: ~ ::::: : : :~ : ~ : ~ : Dec~arahon of Inclependence, U. S. Conshtuhon, and Bill of Rights on Osprey at the Nahona] Archives. Meticulous care is taken to preserve these documents for future generations.

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PRESERVATION OF HISTORICAL ~ ORDS Committee on Preservation of Historical Records National Materials Advisory Board Commission on Engineering and Technical Systems National Research Council National Academy Press Washington, D. C. 1986

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NATIONAL ACADEMY PRESS 2101 CONSTITUTION AVE., NW WASHINGTON, DC 20418 NOTICE: The project that is the subject of this report was approved by the Governing Board of the National Research Council, whose members are drawn from the councils of the National Academy of Sciences, the National Academy of Engineering, and the Institute of Medicine. The members of the committee responsible for the report were chosen for their special competences and with regard for appropriate balance. The report has been reviewed by a group other than the authors according to procedures approved by a Report Review Committee consisting of members of the National Academy of Sci- ences, the National Academy of Engineering, and the Institute of Medicine. The National Research Council was established by the National Academy of Sciences in 1916 to associate the broad community of science and technology with the Academy's purposes of further- ing knowledge and of advising the federal government. The Council operates in accordance with general policies determined by the Academy under the authority of its congressional charter of 1863, which established the Academy as a private, nonprofit, self-governing membership corporation. The Council has become the principal operating agency of both the National Academy of Sciences and the National Academy of Engineering in the conduct of their services to the government, the public, and the scientific and engineering communities. It is administered jointly by both Academies and the Institute of Medicine. The National Academy of Engineering and the Institute of Medicine were established in 1964 and 1970, respectively, under the charter of the National Academy of Sciences. This study was conducted under contract GS-OON-84-DSC-OO10 between the General Services Administration, National Archives and Records Service, and the National Academy of Sciences. This is National Materials Advisory Board publication NMAB-432. Library of Congress Cataloging in Publication Data Preservation of historical records. Includes index. 1. Manuscripts-Conservation and restoration. 2. Archival materials-Conservation and restoration. 3. History-Sources-Conservation and restoration. I. National Research Council {U. S. ) . Committee on Preservation of Historical Records. ZllO.C7P84 1986 025.7 86-12718 ISBN 0-309-03681 -X The paper used in this publication meets the minimum requirements of American National Standard for Information Sciences-Permanence of Paper for Printed Library Materials, ANSI Z39.48 - 1984. ~_ Printed in the United States of America

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Committee on Preservation of Historical Records Chairman PETER Z. ADELSTEIN, Materials Sciences and Engineering Division, Eastman Kodak Company, Rochester, New York Members GLEN R. CASS, Department of Environmental Engineering, California Institute of Technology, Pasadena, California HANS H. G. ~ELLINEK, Chemistry Department, Clarkson University, Potsdam, New York LEON KATZ, lames River Corporation, Norwalk, Connecticut GEORGE B. KELLY, JR., Consultant in Paper Chemicals, Gaithersburg, Maryland JOHN C. MALLINSON, Center for Magnetic Recording Research, University of California, San Diego, California ERNEST R. MAY, Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University, Cambridge, Massachusetts TERRY O. NORRIS, Nekoosa Papers, Inc., Port Edwards, Wisconsin TED F. POWELL, Micrographics Division, Genealogical Society of Utah, Salt Lake City, Utah KWAN Y. WONG, IBM Research Laboratory, San Jose, California FRANCIS T. S. YU, Department of Electrical Engineering, Pennsylvania State University, University Park, Pennsylvania Technical Advisor NORBERT S. BAER, Institute of Fine Arts, New York University, New York, New York v

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V1 COMMITTEE MEMBERS Liaison Representatives ALAN R. CALMES, National Archives and Records Administration, Washington, D.C. JOHN C. DAVIS, National Security Agency, Fort Meade, Maryland KEITH R. EBERHARDT, National Bureau of Standards, Gaithersburg, Maryland DAVID J. E. SAUMWEBER, NAS Archives, National Academy of Sciences, Washington, D.C. LESLIE E. SMITH, National Bureau of Standards, Gaithersburg, Maryland PETER G. WATERS, Library of Congress, Washington, D. C. NMAB Staff GEORGE ECONOMOS, Staff Officer C. L. STEELE, Senior Secretary

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National Materials Advisory Board Chairman ARDEN L. BEMENT, JR., Vice President, Technical Resources, TRW, Inc., Cleveland, Ohio Past Chairman . DONALD I. McPHERSON, Kaiser Aluminum ~ Chemical Corporation {Retired), Lafayette, California Members RICH C. ALE, Professor of Chemical Engineering, University of Illinois, Urbana, Illinois L. ERIC CROSS, Director, Materials Research Laboratory, Evan Pugh Professor of Electrical Engineering, Pennsylvania State University, University Park, Pennsylvania RAYMOND F. DECKER, Vice President, Research, Michigan Technological University, Houghton, Michigan EDWARD I. DULIS, President, Crucible Research Center, Colt Materials Corporation, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania JAMES ECONOMY, Manager, Organic Polymer Research, IBM Almaden Research Center, San Jose, California MERTON C. FLEMINGS, Professor and Chairman, Department of Materials Science and Engineering, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, Massachusetts BRIAN R. T. FROST, Director, Technology Transfer Center, Argonne National Laboratory, Argonne, Illinois BERNARD H. KEAR, Senior Consultant Scientist, Exxon Research and Engineering Company, Annandale, New Jersey . . vie

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Vll1 NATIONAL MATERIALS ADVISORY BOARD ALAN LAWLEY, Professor, Metallurgical Engineering, Drexel University, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania ADOLPH l. LENA, Executive Vice President, Chief Operating Officer, Carpenter Technology Corporation, Reading, Pennsylvania DAVID L. MORRISON, President, IIT Research Institute, Chicago, Illinois DENNIS W. READEY, Professor and Chairman, Ceramic Engineering Department, Ohio State University, Columbus, Ohio JOHN P. RIGGS, Executive Director, Technology, Celanese Research Corporation, Summit, New lersey WILLIAM P. SLIGHTER, Executive Director, Research Materials Science and Engineering Division, AT&T Bell Laboratories, Murray Hill, New lersey JAMES C. WILLIAMS, Dean of Engineering, Carnegie-Mellon University, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania NMAB Sty KLAUS M. ZWILSKY, Executive Director STANLEY M. BARKIN, Associate Executive Director

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Foreworc! Contemporary scholars dealing with the past face a paradoxical reversal of conditions. Until very recently, historians worried about the scarcity of sources. Each bit of writing, a unique record from the past, had intrinsic value; and much of the historian's task required the tracking down of a unique manuscript and the recovery of incomplete files. But to compensate, the surviving documents were durable whether inscribed on clay tablets or written on parchment, vellum, or rag paper. Resisting deterioration, they came down through the centuries intact, many being almost as legible as when written or printed. The custodians of these materials had a compara- tively simple task. They could preserve with relatively little difficulty what the accidents of time had randomly selected. Twentieth-century conditions reverse those of the past. The volume of materials is immense 3 billion items in the National Archives alone, and as many more in state and local archives, in historical societies, and in libraries. The selection of what to retain and what to discard is a complex process. But, by contrast with the past, the materials themselves are fragile; whether comprised of paper made from pulp in the past century, or tape, or disks, they are subject to eventual deterioration due to such factors as humidity and heat as well as frequency of handling. In the absence of ener- getic preservation programs, these valuable resources for understanding the past will crumble away. The task is formidable, and the distinguished committee of experts that addressed it in the book which follows has produced an enlightening analy- sis of the problem and sensible recommendations for its solution. The most important of these are the use of improved paper in the original government 1X

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x FORE WORD records and the establishment of standards for preservation of nonprinted materials on tape and disks. The scholarly community will await the implementation of these rec- ommendations and the collaboration of the National Archives with other agencies in establishing procedures for the preservation of the treasures they hold. OSCAR HANDLIN Carl M. Loeb UniversityProfessor Harvard University

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Preface The National Archives and Records Administration {NARA) is the final repository for permanently valuable federal government documents. The retention, preservation, and possible disposal of documents are the respon- sibility of NARA. Today, the immensity of this assigned task, which involves some 3 billion pieces of paper, has led NARA to seek independent guidance because of the economic, technical, social, and political implica- tions of its actions. The National Academy of Sciences was called on in 1880 and 1903 to make recommendations regarding the preservation of the Dec- laration of Independence, and again in 1975 to study the preservation of documents in the event of a nuclear attack. The request for this present study is a recognition of the fact that technically well-founded and realistic advice is needed on the preservation of information contained in paper- based records whose originals may not be intrinsically valuable. To arrest the deterioration of existing paper documents and to preserve those in an advanced state of degradation, processing treatments and image transfer techniques offer promise if based on adequate economic and techni- cal background data. Much of the latter was available within the commit- tee, and additional pertinent information was obtained from invited guest contributors and other technical experts. PETER Z. ADELSTEIN Chad .

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Acknowledgments The Committee on Preservation of Historical Records is grateful to a large number of individuals for their contributions to its data collection and assessment efforts: H. NEAL BERTRAM, University of California, San Diego Longevity of magnetic tapes MILBURN M. COCHRAN, IBM Corporation, Tuscon Field experience with mag netic tape recordings GLEN R. CASS, California Institute of Technology Environmental pollutant cri- teria for storage EDWARD F. CUDDIHY, let Propulsion Laboratory- Magnetic tape as a storage medium FRANKLYN E. DAILEY, Image Technology and Applications Automated image transfer techniques DAVID H. DAVIES, 3M Company Long-term stability of optical disks JOHN C. DAVIS, National Security Agency Optical disk data storage KEITH R. EBERHARDT, National Bureau of Standards Effects of an archives index- ing system EDMUND L. GRAMINSKI, U. S. Bureau of Engraving and Printing Effectiveness of de a c id ific at ion HANS H. G. JELLINEK, Clarkson University-Cellulose chemistry JOHN B. KELLY, consultant on paper chemicals Deacidification processes VINCENT D. LEE-THORP, Lee-Thorp, Inc. Design options for environmental con- trols for the Archives building JOHN C. MALLINSON, University of California, San Diego Developments in magnetic tape research ERNEST R. MAY, Harvard University Experiences in library research TED F. POWELL, Genealogical Society of Utah Experiences and practices of microfilming . . . X111

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XIV A CKNOWLEDGMENTS JOSEPH W. PACE, Library of Congress Optical disks as a storage medium DAVID I. E. SAUMWEBER, NAS Archives-A matrix chart for paper preservation actions RALPH E. SCHOFER, U.S. Bureau of Standards Cost-benefit analysis of transfer ring paper records LESLIE E. SMITH, National Bureau of Standards Deterioration of magnetic tape JOHN F. WATERHOUSE, Institute of Paper Chemistry Research on long-term- stability paper KWAN Y. WONG, IBM Corporation, San Jose { 1 ) Costs of copying; {2) the applica- bility of semiconductors to archival storage JAMES E. WOODS, Honeywell Physical Sciences Center Capabilities of heating, ventilating, and air conditioning systems FRANCIS T. S. YU, Pennsylvania State University-An optical color signal process- ing technique The committee thanks the government liaison representatives for sup- plying valuable background information and guidance and for assisting the committee in compiling up-to-date information on areas such as optical disks, polymer and paper chemistry, statistical analysis, and archival prob- lems and actions. Special thanks go to Norbert S. Baer, chairman of NARA's Advisory Committee on Preservation, who supplied technical guidance to the com- mittee throughout the study. Anna K. Nelson, Project Director for the American Council of Learned Societies Committee on the Records of Gov- ernment {chaired by committee member Ernest R. May), generously pro- vided copies of that committee's report, which were used in this group's deliberation. Committee chairman Peter Z. Adelstein wishes to give special acknowledgment to committee members who coordinated information for various chapters and prepared the final text. Finally, the chairman thanks the entire committee for its patience during the extensive reviews of the various issues addressed and for assembling the pertinent facts in an open- minded and professional manner.

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Abstract The National Archives is the repository for permanently valuable documents of various federal government agencies. Concerns exist about the condition of some stored paper records because of the increas- ing quantities that must be handled and the deteriorating condition of some of them. Various methods for preserving paper records were exam- ined, and alternative actions for preserving the original documents or retaining more permanently the information contained in them were assessed. The accessibility requirements of the Archives retrieval sys- tem limit the acceptable preservation alternatives for most of the at-risk holdings to photocopying and photographic film storage. Environmen- tal effects are discussed, and standards for potentially dangerous air- borne contaminants in the Archives storage areas are developed. Continued monitoring of potentially high-risk records is necessary so that timely corrective action can be taken. xv

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Contents Foreword. Oscar Hairpin Preface PeterZ. Ade~stein 1X X1 Recommendations 1 2. Introduction 5 3. Environmental Criteria 11 4 . ~ fir 33 5. Photographic Film . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 49 6. Magnetic Recording Media . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 61 7. OpticaIDisks 71 S. DiscussionofFindings 79 APPENDIXES A. Semiconductor Memories B. GIossary C. Biographical Sketches of Committee Members Index. Photo Credits 93 94 98 . . XV11 103 108

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PRESERVATION OF HISTORICAL RECORDS

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Constitution Avenue entrance to the Nahona] Archives Building. In Addison to famous documents, millions of otherhistorica] records are stored there.