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…

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.

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.

December 2005, V4#12: Genealogy Tuesday, Jan 6 2009 

Retrieving Data on Thermal Paper
By Alice Syman in Saint Augustine, Florida, USA

I have some old files containing faxes on that old fax [thermal] paper that eventually fades. I heard that there was some type of light that would restore them, but couldn’t find out the name and probably couldn’t have afforded it anyway. I wondered, what is it that restores them — light or heat or a combination of both and possibly with something else.

I turned on a burner on my gas stove and began running the paper, print side down, back and forth over the flame. When I saw a strip of paper turning dark I looked and eureka! I could read almost every word of the print, typed and handwritten. A miracle. I was able to send an adopted person information about his adoption that he had lost long ago.

This has to be done slowly and carefully and the flame shouldn’t be too high because one can get a nasty burn. I placed the restored copies in clear sheets. How long they will be legible, I don’t know. But they’ll last at least until one can transcribe the information from them.

I sent this bit of info to many other researchers. To date none have said they knew about it already. I would be interested to know from your readers if I was just way behind the times on this valuable (to me) secret.

Previously published in RootsWeb Review: 12 October 2005, Vol. 8, No. 41