45th Annual Meeting, Book and Paper + RATS Session, May 31: “Contacts that Leave Traces: Investigations into the Contamination of Paper Surfaces from Handling,” by Karen van der Pal

In libraries, archives, and museums around the world, those in charge of protecting cultural heritage struggle with the topic: Gloves or No Gloves? Karin van der Pal’s talk on the contamination of paper surfaces from handling gives measurable data pertaining to the debate.

Van der Pal’s studies in forensic analysis are being conducted at Curtin University in Western Australia. She is currently collaborating with the Indianapolis Museum of Art on the chemistry of latent fingerprints and with Flinders University, in South Australia.

Van der Pal received paper samples from an Australian paper mill to conduct her research. She first solidified her own approach on how to not contaminate the papers she was testing: wearing cotton gloves underneath nitrile gloves she could take off the top layer and replace with a new set of gloves during the process without any of her marks coming through.

Historically, we know that dark fingerprints appear on paper. The edges of leaves in books become discolored as well. But is this a result of dirt, or could it be because of fingerprint oils? Van der Pal explained that the residue left by fingermarks include aqueous deposits, lipids, and dead skin. The proportion varies based on a person’s age, gender, and diet. Another variable on the kind of mark that is left is environmental exposure. If the pages with the contamination are left in the dark, there is little discoloration, but exposure to light causes the marks to darken.

Fingerprint deposits can be a combination of sebaceous oils and sweat from ecrine and apocrine glands. Typically, van der Pal explains that when a finger print is left, the oily sebaceous residue is on top, while amino acids sink into the paper, and the oil residue evaporates. In van der Pal’s experiments, the fingerprints are not visible to the naked eye, so it was necessary to apply an indicator agent that could show the intensity/saturation of the print left on her test papers. Ninhydrin has historically been used, that develops a fingerprint into a pink-purple. 1,2-Indandione/Zn Chloride exhibits color and luminescence and can show marks left up to 150 years old, so van der Pal selected this to use as an indicator.

The goal of the speaker’s most current experiments was to determine how effective hand washing is, if contaminants pass through gloves, and what effect hand gels and sanitizers have on papers. Using the 1,2 Indandione/Zn Chloride, van der Pal was able to determine that no contaminants come through nitrile gloves up to 2 hours. She cautioned that fingerprints and oils can still be picked up onto the outside of the nitrile gloves if one handles doorknobs and keyboards, for example. One also has to be mindful that wearing nitrile gloves for an extended amount of time is very unpleasant, so an option could be to wear cotton gloves underneath.

Van der Pal’s experiments show that 5 minutes after handwashing, the oils in the skin come back, and that 15 minutes after washing, there is more oil than prior to washing because the body is working to redevelop the oil lost.

Hand creams are left on the surface of the paper.

Antibacterial gels also do not prevent oils from being left on paper.

In the future van der Pal expects to study how drying/aging affects a wider range of paper, how long the fingermarks last on the paper, and what effects whether the marks darken.

Questions from the Floor:

Q1: Can you still detect marks on paper that have been washed? A1: Yes, you can still detect marks on paper that has been subsequently washed up to 3 months.

Q2: Regarding gels, how long did you wait until you tried to detect the oils? A2: we tested at different intervals of time.

Q3: Was there a transfer of the materials/paper to the gloves? A1: Reusing gloves can cause a transfer. Some gilding can attach to cotton gloves. Nitrile shouldn’t pick much up.

45th Annual Meeting- BPG Session, May 31, “The Codex Eyckensis (8th century). Re-evaluation of the 20th century restoration & conservation treatments by Lieve Watteeuw

Professor Lieve Watteeuw introduces her presentation with a description of the Codex Eyckensis, the subject of her talk. The Codex is comprised of two distinct gospels bound as one, most likely made at the scriptorium of Echternach in Luxembourg in the 8th century. A study in 1994 showed that both of the gospel manuscripts were made in the same scriptorium, and most likely by the same scribe. The manuscripts were held in the treasury of the Abbey of Aldeneik until they were transferred to the treasury of St. Catherine’s church in Maaseik in 1571 during a period of religious unrest. In 1596, a pilgrimage feast was arranged to honor the pilgrimage of the Codex and the other treasures from the Abbey of Aldeneik. Every 7 years thereafter, in tandem with the holy feasts of Aachen, the Codex would be on view, processed to its former home at Aldeneik.  The manuscripts were turned over to private ownership in the years following the French Revolution, until they were returned to Maaseik in 1871. From that date, the manuscripts were again part of processions, but only every 25 years.

from http://www.codexeyckensis.be/codex-eyckensis-the-unique-codex-of-eyke

It was observed in 1957 that the manuscripts were in very poor condition, so an attempt was made to preserve them. At the time, bookbinder Karl Sievers of Dusseldorf laminated the pages of the manuscript with Mipofolie, a polyvinyl chloride (PVC). In the late 1980s, Professor Watteeuw noticed that the leaves had suffered from this treatment. The PVC had turned yellow and had hardened, and it was decided to remove this damaging material.

The conservation treatment spanned from 1989-93. The removal of the mipofolie was accomplished using a technique developed in Budapest, which involved suction and a light table. Once the mipofolie had been removed, losses in the leaves were filled with parchment pulp. In removing the plastic foil, some pigment was removed as well. All of the mipofolie sheets were kept that had been removed from the Codex Eyckensis with the idea that they might be able to be used one day. At the time of this intervention, the curators decided to rebind the two distinct manuscripts separately using glue free bindings with deer skin covers over oak boards. The manuscripts were put on permanent display.

from http://www.codexeyckensis.be/codex-eyckensis-the-unique-codex-of-eyke

After years on permanent display, Professor Watteeuw was asked to perform a condition report of the Codex in 2008, and in 2016-17 she began the process of analyzing the manuscripts. Her studies showed that there was still residue of the PVC within the pores of the parchment. With the Hirox 3D microscope, parchment fibers from the leafcasting treatment could be seen overlapping into the pigment on the leaves as could Japanese paper fibers from paper mends. MA-XRF (macro x-ray fluorescence ) analysis demonstrated the presence of Cu, Fe, Pb, and Iron Gall Ink, suggesting important similarities to the pigments used in the Book of Kells. The MA-XRF also showed that the same palette was used for both of the manuscripts of the Codex Eyckensis. Watteeuw used photometric stereo to document the thickness of the paint layers along with their texture. Using the pigments peeled away from the manuscript leaves on the mipofolie foils, Watteeuw could analyze the pigments using Raman, essentially making the best of a bad situation set in motion when the mipofolie was applied in 1957.

All of this analysis gives information on the possibly very close connections between the manuscripts of the Low Countries to Anglo Saxon lands. During this analysis,  Professor Watteeuw also played a crucial role in digitizing the Codex, which is now available online.

Questions from the floor following the talk:

Q1: Were you able to ID the green pigments? Can you see corrosion? A1: yes we were able to see corrosion, but undetermined green pigment, since some green not corroded.

Q2: Was there treatment strategy of stabilizing copper green? A2: no consolidation in the 90s, but parchment pulp might not have been the best choice of fill material (could have made worse?) Watteeuw notes she is afraid to turn the pages because she can hear the PVC within the leaves.

Q3: Any underdrawing? A1: yes, underdrawing or “mise en place” of canon tables is visible

Q4: Is it on permanent display? A4: yes, was on permanent display at fixed page. Now it’s in the lab, but will eventually be on permanent display again, for which we are developing lighting scenarios.

What a great, informative talk! Thanks to Professor Watteeuw, and I look forward to seeing what more they discover about these incredibly important manuscripts!






44th Annual Meeting- Book and Paper, May 17th, 2016: "A Protocol to Conserve Glazed Paper after a Water Damage." by Celine Allain

This talk was given by Céline Allain of the Bibliothèque nationale de France (BnF), after the lead author, Lucille Dessennes, also of the BnF, was unable to attend the conference.
In 2014, a pipe burst in the BnF, causing damage to 12,000 books, mostly from the 18th and 19th centuries. 360 of these 12,000 items contained coated papers, and when the disaster salvage/freeze drying contractors arrived on the scene, they would not accept books with coated pages for treatment.
The emergency team at the BnF instead had to use 6 freezers at the BnF to freeze-dry the 360 books with coated pages, although 51 of the 360 were too dry to be freeze-dried. Allain spoke to how difficult it was for the emergency team to accurately identify which books had coated pages—whether because the feel and look of the papers can vary or there might only be a few coated papers in a volume— and encouraged the audience to train emergency response teams to recognize coated papers beforehand. The difference is rarely as easy to identify as in the graphic below:

Image from www.inkable.com.au
Image from www.inkable.com.au

A common theme through the talk was the importance of keeping coated papers wet until they can be frozen. Even in the 2-3 hours it took the emergency team to arrive and place books in freezers, a number of books with coated papers had to be frozen “half-dried,” which limited the recovery outcome for these books. Had the books been kept wet and then frozen wet, they would have fared better.
Allain addressed the makeup of coated papers in order to explain why the pages should be kept wet: the coating (a mixture of pigments, binders, and other elements to improve opacity or water resistance) swells in the presence of water, readily attaches to the wet coatings of facing pages, and congeals into a “block” of stuck pages upon drying that cannot be separated without delamination of the paper surface. When the coated papers are still in a wet state, however, the pages can still be separated without loss of content.
The standard treatment for drying coated papers is freeze-drying (see below Further information), as long as there it is not a vacuum-thermal drying procedure. This allows the frozen water to sublimate.
For the 51 books that had been frozen half-dry, however, there were some that had blocked pages that needed to be un-blocked. The authors adapted a number of treatments to the books, including using a Teflon spatula to separate pages while still frozen. 
The authors knew from previous research into the paper industry that the main binding agent in the papers was styrene-butadien latex (LSB in French, SB latex in English), which is soluble in tetrahydrofuran. Because the tetrahydrofuran’s toxicity made it too dangerous for use, Allain and Dessennes consulted the solubility triangle to arrive at a less toxic solvent. Using a mixture of toluene and ethanol (50/50 vol/vol), the conservators were able to attain equivalent solubility parameters and un-stick blocked pages of the affected books. The conservators brushed on the mixture, softening the SB latex, and then used a stiff spatula to separate the pages. The work is done in a fume hood. The authors noted that a large drawback is that the solvent can only be applied to specific areas of blockage and cannot be used on a large area or an entire book because the inks are frequently soluble in the solvent mixture.
Dessennes experimented with using the solvent in a solvent chamber, but speculates that because of the thickness of the block, that the vapors could not penetrate the interstices of the paper. Because of the limitations of the solvent applied as a liquid and in vapor form, Allain and Dessennes have plans to experiment with the solvent used in a low pressure environment.
Further information:
“Effet de la lyophilisation sur le comportement mecanique et chimique du papier, du cuir et du parchemin” Flieder, Francoise; Leclerc, Françoise; Chahine, Claire
Carlsen, Soren. “Effects of Freeze drying on Paper,” IADA Preprints, 1999, p. 115-120.
David Tremain on Emergency Drying of Coated Papers http://cool.conservation-us.org/byauth/tremain/coated.html
NEDCC leaflet on Freeze-Drying: https://www.nedcc.org/free-resources/preservation-leaflets/3.-emergency-management/3.12-freezing-and-drying-wet-books-and-records
CCAHA on freeze-drying techniques: http://www.ccaha.org/uploads/media_items/ccaha-freezing-drying-techniques.original.pdf
NARA on efficacy drying techniques: http://www.archives.gov/preservation/conservation/drying-methods-02.html
LOC on drying techniques, what to do if collections get wet: http://www.loc.gov/preservation/emergprep/dry.html

AIC 44th Annual Meeting, Book and Paper Session, May 17th, 2016: Post-flood Development of Mass Treatments at the National Library of Florence: The Roots of Library Conservation

Sheila Waters is the widow of Peter Waters, former Conservation Officer and Chief of the Conservation Division at the Library of Congress, and as such she became intimately connected with the conservation world, and more specifically that of library conservation. Ms. Waters’ talk at AIC’s 44th Annual Meeting in Montreal, Quebec, focused on describing how the profession of book conservation originated in the mud of Florence, where the Biblioteca Nazionale Centrale di Firence (BNCF) had been inundated by the flood waters of the Arno River in November 1966.
In November 1966 the Arno River, which runs through the heart of Florence, burst its banks and flooded the BNCF. Books had been stored in the basement in 1944 during World War II and had not been removed. Peter, having a reputation for being an innovative binder after collaborating with Roger Powell on the Book of Kells, was contacted by the British Library’s Howard Nixon, who had been contacted by the director of the BNCF, Dr. Emanuel Casamassima. Told to take two other colleagues and depart for Florence immediately, Peter Waters chose Tony Cains and Dorothy Cumpstey to be his seconds and set up a staging area at the Forte Belvedere for the damaged books.  Below on the map, the location of the BNCF and of Forte Belvedere are circled. The Forte is quite a bit higher in elevation, which explains why it was chosen as an initial staging location.
When Peter arrived in Florence, students were still removing muddy and damaged books from the BNCF. At the Forte, he witnessed the extent of the damage: vellum pages had rotted, and the books were defaced with mud and sawdust. Limp vellum bindings had withstood the onslaught of the flood the best, however, an observation that would have a profound impact on conservation.
Tony Cain and Chris Clarkson took over salvage at the Forte, while Don Etherington took over at the BNCF, where Peter decided to stage future cleaning and triage efforts.
Sheila, an accomplished calligrapher and designer, helped Peter develop a triage “card” in both English and Italian that would help those involved in the recovery effort decide what to do. If a book was labeled “Okay,” for example, it could be handled by a student, but a “STOP” sign indicated that it needed treatment by a specialist.
Benches were installed in the main reading room of the BNCF  where books were mended and bound by as many as 30 workers at one time. Starting in September 1967, smaller books began to be rebound in limp vellum, as this binding style was found to be long-lasting, fairly quick to make, and strong.  The workers at the BNCF and the Forte cleaned, deacidified, and resized the paper; took pH measurements; and performed on-the-spot chemical analysis when necessary. Heat-set tissue was derived as a means for mending torn paper. As the years went by and the damaged volumes were treated and rebound, the conservation space at the BNCF was moved downstairs into the basement of the library, and the number of staff grew smaller. Today there are only a few employees, compared to the 30 employed there immediately after the flood.
Peter Waters was called to help Florence in a time of crisis in November 1966, but it is clear 50 years later, in 2016, that the innovations and procedures that he and his team implemented during the response to the Florence Flood have formed the structure of many basic tenets of library conservation.

Sheila’s talk was a condensed version of her book “Waters Rising: Letters from Florence,” published by The Legacy Press, which contains the letters that the spouses exchanged with one another while Peter was in Florence. Julian Waters, one of Sheila and Peter’s sons, accompanied his mother on the podium and read excerpts of Peter’s letters to Sheila since “he sounds like his father.”

In honor of the 50th anniversary of the flood, there will be a symposium at the University of Michigan on November 3-4, 2016. Attendance is free, but registration is required.
See below for a few links regarding the Florence Flood.
Peter Waters Obituary, NYTimes 2003
30 Years After the Flood, NYTimes 1997

Florence submerged: the flood of November 4, 1966

AIC 43rd Annual Meeting- Book and Paper Group-Case Study: A Practical Approach to the Conservation & Restoration of a Pair of Large Diameter English Globes (Lorraine Bigrigg & Deborah LaCamera)

This talk presented the multi-disciplinary treatment involved in conserving two English globes- one celestial, one terrestrial. Overall it took 1400 studio hours! That is no typo! Deborah has kindly forwarded some screenshots of the powerpoint that you will find below.
1. Title slide
The globes were made between 1845-51 by Malby & Co (http://www.georgeglazer.com/globes/globeref/globemakers.html#malby jump to “Malby”) and they were acquired in 1851 by the University of Deseret, the university founded by the Church of Later Day Saints, now University of Utah.
The structure of these globes goes back to the early 16th century. Globes are essentially 2 hemispheres molded over a form and joined at the equator with an adhesive. The globe is then covered with plaster and paper gores (a gore is the name for the printed sections of paper that contain the informational content of the globe) and the entirety is burnished and varnished.
The Malby globes of the University of Utah were in poor condition, with cracks and losses and discolored varnish. The speakers considered the options for treatment of the two globes and decided they needed to treat them differently, since the terrestrial globe was so damaged that all of the gores needed to be removed and the hemispheres realigned, while the celestial globe had only small areas of damage so it did not need to be completely disassembled.

2. Terrestrial Sphere Condition
Terrestrial Sphere Condition

3. Celestial Sphere Condition
Celestial Sphere Condition

The treatment involved removing the varnish, removing the paper gores with a hand-held steamer, realigning the terrestrial globe’s hemispheres, cleaning the gores, mending, filling losses, reattaching the gores, burnishing, then varnishing.
Gore Removal
Gore Removal

Filling Holes
Filling Holes

Where there were areas of loss to the information on the gores, the TKM studio found gore reference sheets from Malby at the Royal Geographic Society in London. These were copied and then printed using pigmented ink-jet printer for the celestial globe. Gores from another globe, also at the RGS in London, were used as a reference for the terrestrial globe replacement gores. The reproductions were inserted as fills in the specific areas of loss in the cartography. Since this treatment, carried out in 2007, new techniques have become available, and the TKM studio has been using Pronto plates (http://www.nontoxicprint.com/polyesterplatelitho.htm ) for the past year or so. These plates use traditional printer’s ink, which is light, solvent, and heat stable.
The filled gores were registered and reattached to the hemispheres using a wheat starch paste-methyl cellulose mix.
Remounting Gores
Remounting Gores

After mounting the gores, the globes were burnished, then sized with 3% gelatin mixture. After in-painting, the globes were varnished with Dammar containing Tinuvin. The authors stressed that the entire project was multi-disciplinary as the stand was repaired and the metalwork was cast and engraved to form the completed object.
The treatment is published in the most recent Journal of the Institute for Conservation, volume 38 no.1 2015

AIC 43rd Annual Meeting- Book and Paper Group: Foxing and Reverse Foxing: Condition Problems in Modern Paper and the Role of Inorganic Additives (Sarah Bertalan)

This talk was given by Sarah Bertalan, as the culmination of a career observing foxing and reverse foxing during her conservation practice. It is such an interesting topic that there was too much information to squeeze into 30 minutes, and Bertalan left us hanging without a conclusion but I will provide some links to articles that she mentioned at the end of the talk summary, as well as to the conservation wiki on foxing. I hope that she will publish in the BPG Annual Postprints, as I’m sure the majority of the attendees of her talk would agree! It is a topic that I find so interesting, and I even compiled my own literature review of foxing while in graduate school!
Bertalan’s observation of 19th and 20th century papers has led her to propose that foxing, the “reddish, brownish, roundish stains that occur in a random pattern,” is not caused by mold or by metal inclusions, but rather by inorganic additives that were added to the paper. It is widely reported that treating foxing stains can frustratingly lead to their reappearance within a relatively short amount of time.  Bertalan also considers the capacity for 19th and 20th century papers to discolor over their entire surface, not just in in the staining we associate with foxing. In such cases, the stains may be extensive but superficial, and the condition would be due to contact with catalyzing, acidic materials, not migration of degradation products, as is seen for matburnReverse foxing is a term that remains undefined, and the cause is unknown. White spots, as if negative images of the dendrite-like reddish brown foxing spots, will appear and be visible in normal light, often after a paper has been treated. Reverse foxing has been identified frequently on Van Gelder Zonen papers.
Inorganic additives were added to papers in the 19th and 20th centuries to achieve specific results. Additives such as minerals and metal oxides were added to modify the surface and texture, to act as fillers and opacifiers, brighteners and to aid in ink retention. The additives are extremely reactive and act as salts, catalyzing acid-base reactions. While foxing was not visible immediately after the paper was made, elevated humidity, changing pH and daylight would provide the environment to form foxing. Contemporaries were aware of the effect of humidity on papers, notably the appearance of foxing stains.
Bertalan observes that the sensitivity of papers coated or immersed in metal salts to light is well documented, as the earliest photographs were made with paper coated in metal salts. The supporting evidence Bertalan presents for inorganic particles causing foxing is the presence of opaque zones that correspond to foxing stains when paper is seen in transmitted light. Furthermore, when foxing is not visible in normal light, opaque dendrite-like inclusions in the paper can be seen in UV light as well as transmitted light. Even when the reddish-brown stains have been washed out of the paper, the opaque regions still remain when viewed in UV light.
Soyeon Choi Literature Review on Foxing (you must use your AIC sign-in to access the article) http://www.maneyonline.com/doi/pdfplus/10.1179/019713607806112378
Browning, B.L. Analysis of Paper 1977.