Saving old documentation

From: Christian Fandt <>
Date: Wed Nov 24 16:39:10 1999

Upon the date 10:59 AM 11/24/99 -0500, Pat Barron said something like:
>I just posted this to alt.sys.pdp10, but I think it's an appropriate
>inquiry for this list, too:
>So, I have a few old manuals:
> >> "PDP-10 Processor Handbook", dated 1970 and describing the KA10;
> >> "PDP-10 Timesharing Handbook", same vintage, describing monitor
> utilities and such;
> >> "DECsystem-10 Assembly Language Programming", dated 1972 (? unsure,
> and the book isn't here with me right now), describing KA10 and
> KI10 and some programming utilities (MACRO, DDT, Loader, etc.)
>These are all phonebook-style manuals, printed on newsprint, and are all
>beginning to fall apart - the paper has turned yellow/brown, and some of
>the pages are starting to crumble like dry leaves.
>Can anyone suggest any ways these books could be preserved (or at least,
>have their disintegration slowed down)? I'm inclined to try to scan them
>in and OCR them to preserve the information, but I believe that would
>require me to take the pages out of the binding, destroying the books
>immediately. Can anyone suggest any other preservation methods?

Tough call. They are on their way to self-destruction because of that
doggone cheap acid paper. This indicates they will be eventually unusable
without disintegrating in your hands. Libraries and book collectors use
some sort of process which neutralizes the acid and virtually reduces
degradation. I haven't investigated this myself but I would suspect it
could be somewhat expensive relative to the actual value of the document.
Maybe when the document is relatively far along with acid destruction as
you say yours are, neutralization may be fruitless. Anybody have any
comments on that neutralizing process?

I think to simply preserve the information I would have to carefully
dismantle the manual page by page and copy them using a high quality
scanner or Xerox machine. The loss of the *information* will at least be
prevented. With that process I would be able to use the original covers and
make a replica manual (plus a coverless second 'working' manual I could use
at my programming terminal). I've got a couple of the DEC Handbooks which
are breaking down like this -including the 1976 PDP-11/10 Handbook which I
think is the first in that series. These Handbooks would be quite tricky to
preserve in either manner as they're thick and page size is small.

Regards, Chris
-- --
Christian Fandt, Electronic/Electrical Historian
Jamestown, NY USA
        Member of Antique Wireless Association
Received on Wed Nov 24 1999 - 16:39:10 GMT

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