December 2005, V4#12: Production Thursday, Jan 29 2009 

A Little About Archival Quality

External Factors Beyond Production

If the books are shipped from the publisher to the author, the heat of summer or the cold of winter will subject the books to extremes in temperature. Humidity can become a factor, even before the books are sold, especially in the summer in the south.  Books stored where light from a window falls on them directly subjects them to harmful UV.  Highly urban areas may have high air pollution that could affect the books. Skin itself (body oil, sweat, finger food grease, etc.), from the reader, can adversely affect the book, as well.  The list can go on and on…

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November 2005, V4#11: Production Thursday, Jan 29 2009 

A Little About Archival Quality

External Factors – Production

  • Offset Printing (generally 100 or more books)

Offset printing involves chemicals which may overcome the buffering of the standard paper to some extent.  The process takes place at room temperature with standard lighting and both sides of the page are printed at once.  We use a non-oxidizing, rubber base ink (pH-N/A) rather than an oil base.

  • Digital Printing (generally 99 or fewer books)

The paper is subjected to high heat and light during the initial transfer process.  Note it goes through this process twice for book pages, once for each side.  The black powder toner seems to have quite a resistance to secondary heat sources.

October 2005, V4#10: Production Thursday, Jan 29 2009 

A Little About Archival Quality

Internal Factors

  • Binding

The various binding processes that are employed take the same care to negate acidity as the care of paper selection noted above.

External Factors – Production

  • Gregath Printing Facility

Our printing plant is in a rural area with low air pollution.  While we are not a “white glove” facility, our employees are kept to a “clean hands” policy, which minimizes the amount of oils on the skin (guarding against acid transfer), as well as taking precautions to further lower particulates and chemicals in the air, in-house. Our physical plant is kept at an optimum temperature with a low relative humidity (down to 45%).

September 2005, V4#9: Production Thursday, Jan 29 2009 

A Little About Archival Quality

Internal Factors

The Gregath Publishing Company has a standard paper basis that all quotations and projects are based on unless the customer requests something different.  Our standard fine text paper is a 20/50#, uncoated, white, acid free paper.  This paper meets American National Standards Institute specifications for “Permanence of Paper”.  The paper is manufactured with chemical pulp under alkaline conditions.  Being of a very high benchmark (various ANSI and National Information Standards Organization standards), this paper meets these four basic requirements:

  • pH of 7.5-10 (balanced to archival)

  • A tear resistance of md index>5.25mNm2/6g which corresponds to a minimum of 40 gf.

  • Alkaline reserve: minimum of 2% calcium carbonate equivalent (buffered)

  • Less than 1% lignin (acidic)

This paper also earns “high” to “maximum” life expectancy for “Copies for Office Copying Machines” as established by ASTM International (formerly American Society for Testing and Materials).  This typically applies to xerocopy and digital grades.  While we have yet to find a published expected life span for permanent papers, ASTM suggests in their specification that paper meeting the high classification of this standard may be “usable” for 100 to 1,000 years.  Please note that the ASTM suggestion of usable means it can still be reproduced upon.  A reader can enjoy books printed on paper that is way past this “usable” stage of it’s life.

August 2005, V4#8: Production Thursday, Jan 29 2009 

A Little About Archival Quality

Acid free, permanent and archival can be defined many ways.  However, it should be noted that both internal and external factors affect the finished product at any given time.  Internal factors are those that go into the making of the raw materials. External factors are everything from the atmospheric conditions during publishing (a book produced in a large industrial park may be subjected to caustic factors), heat, humidity and UV light to a book owner’s habit of using hand lotion frequently.

March 2005, V4#3: Define Wednesday, Jan 28 2009 

Acid Free Books: The use of this term varies from the logical definition of the individual words to a wide variety of standards – always have a company explain their definition.  An acid free book depend on internal (book materials) and external factors (chemical processes, environment, etc.).  Because of varying factors, we do not use this term, see archival webpage for more information.

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For other writing, printing, publishing, marketing lingo, check our glossaries at http://www.gregathcompany.com/gloss.html and
http://www.gregathcompany.com/glosswrite.html