What is Archival Quality?
Fine Art Papers & canvas are often described as being archival quality. This article describes and explains what archival quality means and how its beneficial for a photographer to take his prints on these medias.
Its important to keep and treasure the images & memories of special occasions for a long time. After you have spent precious time and effort to create the perfect image and can’t wait to put it on paper, stop and think how long will this print last? It’s worth taking a second glance at what type of paper you’re printing with to ensure permanence for the art and photography you create. Is your paper archival quality?
Archival quality paper, also referred to as museum grade, according to ISO Standard 11108, means that:
- The paper is acid free with a pH value between 7.5 and 10
- The paper has an alkali reserve of at least 2% calcium carbonate
- The paper is resistant to tearing
- The paper is free of easily oxidized material, or lignin
- The paper is made from cotton
- The paper has a high endurance to breakage by folding
The ISO 11108 and 9706 standards and their predecessors, including NISO ANSI Z39.48-1992 and NISO ANSI Z39.48-1984, were established to provide criteria for paper to last several hundred years in libraries and archives in order to reduce problems these entities face in preserving important works. ISO Standard 9706 sets forth the first four requirements above to certify a paper for permanence, while ISO 11108 adds two additional requirements for archival quality. Archival quality papers are significantly stronger than permanent papers, can withstand more handling, and will last longer.
The United States Library of Congress sets forth even stricter standards than ISO 11108 for archival papers. The Library requires a stricter pH between 8 and 9.5 and requires the paper be free of optical brightening agents. The Library of Congress further requires papers to pass a Photographic Activity Test performed by Rochester Institute of Technology’s Institute of Paper Permanence. This test certifies that the paper does not fade or bleed, and passes strict metallic impurities specifications to avoid damage to photos and documents they come in contact with.
How do you know whether a paper has met these complex scientific requirements for archival quality?
Wilhelm Imaging Research is an organization created to help technical and non-technical brains sort out the science behind archival quality by performing unbiased testing, so the rest of us can focus on creating photographs and art with confidence that they will withstand the test of time.
Wilhelm Imaging Research conducts independent research on the stability and preservation of traditional and digital color photographs. WIR tests individual brands of paper for permanence with the most commonly used desktop and large-format inkjet printers and publishes the results, providing credibility to company claims that a paper is archival quality. Wilhelm Imaging Research is trusted by top museums, archives, and commercial collections with consulting services to ensure long term storage of the most precious items.
Photostop is into fine art printing. It is the one stop destination for the best Canvas & Fine art prints. Photostop is the preferred partner for many Professional photographers, Photography enthusiasts & even painters and artists who approach us with their finest of works and get it printed on our special media’s. The archival media’s which we use are long lasting and gives your print a lifespan of more than 50 years.
Photostop also has an online art Photo gallery wherein it has a large collection of photographs, paintings and art you can choose for printing. Professional photographers, Photography Fanatics, brushstroke geniuses, now has the perfect online space for showcasing their Art!