Preservation 101
2 Deterioration of Paper Collections

Session 1
Session 2
Session 3
Session 4
Session 5
Session 6
Session 7
Session 8


Basic Concepts
Inherent Vice: Materials
Inherent Vice: Structures
External Factors

Putting It Into Practice
Evaluating Your Collections
Final Assignment

Taking it Further
Additional Activities
Additional Resources


Inherent Vice: Materials

In this section, you will consider the basic materials that make up paper-based collections and the concept of "inherent vice." This refers to deterioration caused by agents present in the materials themselves, as opposed to deterioration caused by external forces. These agents may be inherent in the materials, or they may be added as part of the manufacturing process.

Over the course of time, a variety of materials and methods have been used to produce paper-based collections. Generally the primary goal of using new materials and different manufacturing methods was to make a particular process (papermaking, book binding, etc.) faster and easier. Unfortunately, many of these "new and improved" methods and materials were not a step forward in terms of the physical longevity of collections. As you will see, many of them actively contributed to increased deterioration of paper-based collections.

Exploring: Paper