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Wednesday, May 31 • 10:30am - 11:00am
(Book & Paper + Research & Technical Studies) - Revisiting paper pH determination: 40 years of evolving practice in the Library of Congress Preservation Research and Testing Laboratory

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The pH of paper is a fundamental indicator of its long-term stability, and is routinely considered by conservators, cultural heritage scientists, and collection care professionals in the process of making decisions about collection storage, handling and access policies. The results of pH are frequently considered as part of conservation treatment planning, and are nearly always included in research studies related to paper preservation. An assortment of measurement methods are currently in use. This seemingly basic and familiar measurement, however, contains a depth and complexity that becomes apparent when pondering the differences between the industrial, ISO standard, and the numerous published variant methods, including surface measurements, miniaturized methods, cold extraction, and hot extraction. Are the results comparable from the different methods? Which approach is best? Over the last few years, the Library of Congress Preservation Research and Testing Division (PRTD) has revisited its standard protocols for pH measurement of paper and board in the contexts of quality assurance needs for collection housing and exhibition materials, special collections needs, and scientific research samples. This talk will include a short discussion of the fundamentals of paper pH measurement, focusing on how aspects of sampling, sample preparation and measurement method affect the results obtained. The various methods in use in our lab from the early 1970's to the present will be discussed, with focus on our recent efforts to streamline our semi-automated measurements, to conduct direct comparisons between methods, and to develop a reliable miniaturized pH determination method.

avatar for Cindy Connelly Ryan

Cindy Connelly Ryan

Preservation Science Specialist, Library of Congress
Cindy Connelly Ryan is a conservation scientist and specialist in art technology source research at the Library of Congress Preservation Research and Testing Division in Washington, DC. Her research areas at LC have included accelerated aging methods, iron gall ink stabilization... Read More →

avatar for Eric Breitung

Eric Breitung

Research Scientist, Department of Scientific Research, The Metropolitan Museum of Art
Eric Breitung, Research Scientist, specializes in modern preservation materials and museum environment issues in the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s Department of Scientific Research. His work includes the development of advanced analytical test methods for assessing commercial materials... Read More →
avatar for Lynn Brostoff

Lynn Brostoff

Research Chemist, Library of Congress
Lynn B. Brostoff holds a Masters Degree in Polymer Materials Science and a Ph.D. in Chemistry. In addition, Lynn holds a Masters Degree in Art History and a Certificate of Conservation with emphasis in Paper Conservation. For the last 25 years, Lynn has worked as a conservation scientist... Read More →
avatar for Michele Youket

Michele Youket

Preservation Specialist, Preservation Research and Testing Division, Library of Congress
Michele Youket is a Preservation Specialist in the Preservation Research & Testing Division of the Library of Congress. Ms.Youket coordinates the Quality Assurance Program, which is responsible for developing specifications and testing products procured by the Library to provide preservation... Read More →

Wednesday May 31, 2017 10:30am - 11:00am CDT
Regency A-B Ballroom Level, West Tower