The Importance of Paper
We're as keen on pretty paper as the
next folks, but when it comes to preservation we can be a little anal about
how important the right paper is. What needs to be conveyed about paper is
that the better quality you work with, the longer your records will last.
Now, we understand you can only do the best you can do, and paper can be an
excessive cost, but really, it's one of those things you have to splurge on.
If you're looking for a really solid journal for a good cost, we strongly
recommend Lee Valley's Everyman Journal:
You want to make sure all paper products you're introducing to your research
are Lignin and Acid free.
Lignin is a chemical found in wood that bonds the paper, making it stronger
and harder. Admittedly that sounds good, but Lignin breaks down after a time
and releases acids that turn the paper brown or yellow.
Acid is actually good for making paper better for writing or printing, but
it can deteriorate the paper or worse, disintegrate it! As many genealogists
will tell you, eventually when paper just crumbles, you go about wishing
they'd been more aware of acid and lignin in the 1940s.
Before the middle of the 18th century, almost all paper was made acid free
and therefore has survived quite well, however book bindings from the time
such as horse hair, wood, tree bark and iron hinges all can leave a lot to
be desired. Such materials can often have done more damage to the paper than
anything else. Paper from the 1940s to the 1980s was made with extremely
high acidic levels because it was being mass produced without much of a care
towards preservation or page yellowing. Now that people are more aware, even
pens and ink are being produced with lower acidic content in mind.
We always say, do the best you can, and ultimately it's the best advice we
can give. Shop around for which products will work best for you, and if you
have a recommendation please feel free to forward it on and we'll add it in
here so others can see what you're using. As always we recommend to share
the knowledge, less it be lost.