Archival Answers: Extra! Extra!

By Anne Wilbur Premium

Q. How do I safely include newspaper articles in my heritage scrapbook?

A. Newspapers — intended to be pitched or recycled after they’re read — are printed on poor-quality paper that contains acid and lignin. Both substances occur naturally and cause newsprint to yellow and deteriorate rapidly, especially when it’s exposed to sunlight. So rather than include a fragile newspaper clipping in your album, use a photocopy made on acid-free, buffered paper. This also has the advantage of preserving the article’s content for posterity.

If you want to include the actual clipping in your scrapbook—or keep it in storage— first deacidify it using a spray product such as Bookkeeper <> to neutralize the acid and build up an alkaline reserve. This will help stabilize the clipping, but newsprint is still relatively fragile. It’s best to encapsulate it in a polypropylene sleeve before mounting it on a scrapbook layout. To store the clipping, place it in an acid-free file archival file folder.

Without the spray treatment, acids continue to form in the newsprint. If you don’t go that route, encapsulate the clipping along with a piece of acid-free, buffered paper.

From the May 2006 issue of Family Tree Magazine.