Many millions of books suffer from age, damage, or pollution. In Germany
alone, some 60 million affected volumes have had to be withdrawn from use, notes
the newspaper Leipziger Volkszeitung. Manual restoration is a painstakingly long
process. In the time it takes to restore one book by hand, four or five others decay,”says Dr W Wachter, technical director of the Center for Book Conservation, in
Leipzig. The center has concentrated on developing machines that can preserve
books on a large scale.
One is a deacidifier that can handle 100,000 books a year in single-shift operation.
There is also a paper splitting machine that strengthens the individual pages by
separating the front side from the back and inserting a very thin high strength pa-
per in between. It can stabilize 2,000 sheets a day, compared with 100 to 200 sheets
a day by manual operation and at a 94 % saving per page. Not only libraries and
archives but also private individuals bring their books to the center for treatment.
February 8, 1999, (pg. 28)
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