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Seychelles National Archives enter de-acidification of historical documents

Seychelles National Archives enter de-acidification of historical documents ( The Seychelles National Archives is working on a project to de-acidify old paper documents in its custody. This is imperative as it provides a means to physically protect and preserve the mass of documents being conserved at the institution.

Paper produced from wood pulp and used in books prior to 1976 was acidic. These papers are composed of many layers of fibers and have inherent suppleness and strength. However, the acid can cause the components of the fibers to degrade, thus causing the papers to become weaker.

Acid paper survives only 30 to 40 years due to the treatment of the pulp, leading to brittleness and deterioration of the paper products after that period. The remedy to conserve and restore valuable papers is to de-acidify, a technology that neutralizes the acid harbored in paper and provides an alkaline reserve. Properly done, it halts the deterioration of paper caused by acid. However, as this process does not restore brittle paper to its original state, de-acidifying it before it becomes brittle greatly extends its lifespan and reduces the cost of future conservation treatments.

In 2011, archives technicians from the Seychelles National Archives underwent training in Mauritius in the field of de-acidification, and shortly afterwards facilities were set up on a small scale to facilitate the process.

Documents in the Seychelles archives are currently being de-acidified on a priority basis starting with the most physically-affected documents, in particular civil status and notary deeds. The project is still in its infancy but will eventually grow to a fully-fledged, de-acidification project depending on availability of financial resources.

PHOTO : De-acidified documents being left to dry for 24 hours&acid testing / Photo from Seychelles Ministry of Tourism and Culture


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