The newspaper conservation process is an adaptation of the Bückeburg process which works especially well on newsprint.
The newspaper conservation process
- Fixation of writing materials
- Deacidification with magnesium hydroxide carbonate
- Consolidation of paper with methyl cellulose
- pH value increase from 4.5 to 8.5
- Alkali reserve of 1.37% CaCo3/kg
- Improvement in elongation by 50%
- Consolidation of about 38%
* Testing by the University of Applied Sciences and Arts, Hanover
For more measurement results see Quality assurance
Permanent preservation of newspaper holdings
Since the middle of the nineteenth century, newspapers have been printed on cheap groundwood paper. This paper is very well suited to mass production. It is light, easy to fold, highly absorbent, and has good printing properties. The disadvantage: The life expectancy of newsprint is limited. Because of the high proportion of short-fibre wood it is very unstable and quickly becomes brittle. The acid contained in the paper accelerates the destruction process. As a result of inappropriate storage and frequent use, newspapers can decay after only 50 years. The result is the irretrievable loss of valuable documents from contemporary history.
Effective strategies against decay
GSK has adapted the Bückeburg process for deacidification of single sheets to the special requirements of sensitive newsprint and for the first time has developed a process which protects badly deteriorated broadsheet newspaper pages from becoming damaged beyond repair. In the GSK laboratory the BCP agent solution was specifically modified for use with absorbent very short-fibre newsprint. The new solution used in the newspaper CP process is particularly effective with newsprint and makes fast and economical conservation possible.
Workflow of newspaper deacidification
- Determining treatment criteria
With the help of a questionnaire the criteria for treating the archival materials are established and all steps that need to be carried out determined in accordance with customer requirements. Gentle treatment is guaranteed in all cases.
- Manual foliation
Wherever mechanical foliation is not suitable, pages are individually foliated by hand with a pencil and are given a consecutive code.
The newspaper pages are cleaned, separated from each other with the help of a scalpel and sorted based on conservation type. Bindings, metal parts and adhesions are removed and, if necessary, small tears repaired.
Almost all pages are conserved using the newspaper CP process. In the process they pass through a conservation tank and are subsequently dried.
Highly sensitive or severely damaged pages are conserved manually.
Severely damaged pages of newsprint can be stabilised with special padded foil (e.g., Archibond) or Japanese paper.
Flattening/packingTo reduce their volume the sheets are flattened while being slightly heated. After this, all pages are sorted and packed.
Accompanying documentation of all the individual work steps guarantees safety and quality.