The Accounting Historians Journal Vol. 8, No. 2 Fall 1981
Frederic M. Stiner, Jr. UNIVERSITY OF MARYLAND
John C. Williams LIBRARY OF CONGRESS (RETIRED)
Adrian Sclawy LIBRARY OF CONGRESS
VANISHING ACCOUNTING JOURNALS DUE TO PAPER DETERIORATION: A LABORATORY STUDY
Abstract: Many accounting documents and journals disintegrate every year due to the acidic quality of paper used in them. Using the laboratory of the Office of Preservation of the Library of Congress, certain accounting journals were analyzed for their acidic or alkaline paper. Journals printed on acidic paper, such as the Accounting Historians Journal and the Accounting Review can be expected to dis-integrate quickly. Journals printed on alkaline paper, such as the Journal of Ac-counting, Auditing & Finance and Taxation for Accountants should last for cen-turies. Historians wishing to preserve material appearing in acidic journals should photocopy on alkaline paper or use microfilm.
Accounting historians are accustomed to seeing records and documents which are many centuries old. Unfortunately, this will be rare for new generations of historians. Each year, accounting historians lose an unknown number of irreplaceable documents. Some journals and documents yellow, crack at the edges, and eventually disintegrate. The reason for this is the acidic quality of paper being used today.a The purpose of this article is to examine the problem of document deterioration using current selected ac-counting journals.
The major portion of the paper being manufactured today has a useful life of fifty years or less, due to processing methods which leave the paper acid.
Acknowledgement is made to Mrs. Ann Alexanian of the Price Waterhouse & Co. library for providing samples to be tested.
The mention of trade names in this article is for discussion only and in no way constitutes an endorsement or recommendation by the authors or their institutions.
aInks from over 20 years ago may photocopy better due to the use of carbon black, rather than nigrosine, as a toner. A discussion of the physics of photocopy-ing is beyond this paper's scope.