[Date Prev][Date Next][Thread Prev][Thread Next][Date Index][Thread Index]

Wrap-up to the "post-it" wrap up?

My apologies.  It appears my promises of benign attachments will do no good.
The summary is pasted below.  Apologies in advance if the formatting is

ACE Archives
Selected Information about "Post-it Notes"

*       "Research and Testing at the National Archives"  (under the subhead
"Removable Self-Stick Notes")  Abbey Newsletter, vol. 13, no. 4, on p. 65
[Reprinted from the Conference of Inter-Mountain Archivists Newsletter, Jan.

                "The lab has examined two brands of removable self-stick
notes, including 3M
                Scotch Post-it Notes and AMB brand Attention Note Pads.
Although the two
                brands of notes employ different adhesives, the test results
were similar.
                Adhesive remained on sheets to which the notes were adhered
after aging two
                weeks at 80 degrees C, 65% RH.  Evidence of adhesive was
found even when
                the notes were applied to sheets and removed immediately.
[emphasis added]

                It is also important to note that while neither adhesive
                electrostatic images when removed immediately from typical
                copies, both lifted the image when removed after aging two
weeks at 80
                degrees C, 65% RH.

                In addition to adhesive transfer, NARA chemists noted that
some colors of
                the notes tend to run when wet and that some of the papers
tested contain
                lignin and alum-rosin sizing.

                On the basis of thse findings, the National Archives
recommends that no
                removable self-stick notes be used on any paper records that
have permanent
                value. [emphasis added]"

*       Memo from Susan Lee-Bechtold, Supervisory Chemist, Document
Preservation Branch, Preservations and Policy Services, National Archives
and Records Adminsitration

" . . . Deborah Evetts at the Pierpont Morgan Library reported in the (AIC)
Book and Paper Annual, Volume 6, that these removable adhesive notes do
leave a residue when removed form the material to which they are stuck and
that this residue is adhesive in nature.  She demonstrated this quite simply
by sticking a 3M Post-It Note to a sheet of paper, removing it immediately
and sprinkling graphite dust from a pencil sharpener on the sheet.  The
graphite dust stuck to the paper in the area where the adhesive had been . .

In conclusion, the paper of which these notes is made is an inappropriate
material for permanent records. The characteristics of the adhesive are such
that, if the notes are removed, there is the potential for damage to the
records wither form dirt adhering to the adhesive, or by records sticking to
the file folders, other records, or a polyester sleeve.  The acrylate
adhesive is a fairly stable on, which, based on past experience, does not
tend to cross-link and discolor; therefore, while long-term stickiness may
result, discoloration probably will not.  The butyrate adhesive, on the
other hand, is similar to rubber cement and can be expected to discolor the
paper.  Although we did not observe these results in the short term aging
experiments we carried out, we think that this is a reasonable prediction
for the long term.  These notes will cause increasing preservation problems
when used with permanent records and should be avoided both at NARA, and
especially within agencies which create permanent records. [emphasis added]"

ACE Archives
Selected Information about "Post-it Notes"  page two

*       From University of Oregon

                "The adhesive in Post-It Notes(tm) transfers immediately and
permanently to paper materials. You can't see the adhesive, but it's there.
Over time, adhesives react and change in ways which are frequently
detrimental to library materials.The paper quality is poor and if left in
the book, will damage the pages."

*       Anecdotal evidence from professional archivists

                "Many years ago, before I was an archivist, I gained
possession of some letters written to and from various individuals in my
husband's family, dating back to the 1870s. To avoid having to remove the
letters from their envelopes and unfold them while organizing them and to
facilitate later retrieval, I put a Post-it note on each envelope with a
note about the writer and intended recipient. Many years later, I realized
that if I removed a Post-It, the place where the tacky area had been was
discolored (darkened) and sticky.  I have removed all the notes, but haven't
yet tried to deal with removing the stickiness."
                                - Christine Crawford-Oppenheimer,  Special
Collections Librarian/Archivist,  The Culinary Institute of America

                "A patron was doing research in our library using a
periodical from 1911. No one realized
                that the patron was using post-its, and they were only
discovered after he had been gone for
                several months.  The post-its were stronger than the brittle
pages of the periodical, and when we tried to remove them, entire pages
would break. They also left a bumpy residue on the pages.  After this
incident, use of this periodical was restricted."
                                - Joy Kingsolver,  C.A., Director,  Chicago
Jewish Archives

                "Several years ago we carried out a project to OCR our
published guides to manuscripts as the first step toward converting the
entries into catalog records.  Using the dis-bound, "throwaway" copy of each
guide that had been sent to the OCR vendor, we affixed Post-Its noting
things to be checked, verified, etc.  A couple of years later, as we began
finalizing the catalog records, we found that removing the Post-Its also
removed a substantial portion of the underlying text from the pages of the
oldest (1935) guide, and in some instances the paper sort of wanted to tear,
as well."
                                - Lydia Lucas, Head, Processing Department,
Minnesota Historical Society

                "Researchers here were allowed to use sticky notes as tabs
on several volumes of bound student newspapers, and no matter how carefully
they are removed, it is impossible not to cause some tearing of the very
brittle paper."
                                - Rebecca Fitzgerald, CA,  Mt. St. Mary's
Archives & Dept. of Special Collections,  Mt. St. Mary's College & Seminary,
Emmitsburg, MD
ACE Archives
Selected Information about "Post-it Notes"  page three

*       From the website of the Preservation and Care of Philatelic
Materials (PCPM) Committee, an official standing committee of the American
Philatelic Society. http://www.stamps.org/care/subp15.htm

                "It did not take long after their introduction in the late
1970's for 3M's Post-It notes and other self-sticking note tabs to be used
by postal historians and others. To most collectors, this was a means of
making notes about the cover on a connecting self-stick tab, rather than on
the cover itself, and thereby lessening damage to the cover. As a device for
holding an idea or making a temporary note, these self stick note tabs rival
the paper clip in simplicity of design and ease of use.

                These note tabs, though, fail as a means of retaining
information for posterity. They have invaded postal history collections and
dealers' stocks. They threaten to damage the items with which they come into

                The Post-It note came about when Art Fry, a product
development specialist at the 3M Company and who also sang in his church
choir, had a problem. The paper book marks he used in his hymnal constantly
fell out, leaving him searching for the verses. He remembered that some
years before, his colleague, Dr. Spencer Silver, had discovered a high tack
adhesive that was easy to remove. Mr. Fry soon produced some self sticking
book marks at 3M. After months of testing and market research, the 3M
Company began to market Post-It notes.

                Research scientists have carried out tests that show all
notes of this type leave some residue adhesive behind when removed from
papers. Analysis shows that the adhesive used on Post-It notes is an
acrylate polymer. Adhesive left behind will result in pages sticking
together. Dirt will accumulate on the sticky surface, necessitating
conservation treatment in order to remove it.

                A competitor's product uses a polybutylene base adhesive.
These adhesives discolor and lose adhesion over time. The adhesive on self
stick notes will also lift some typewriter and electrostatic printing inks
and text when placed over a printed area, particularly after a prolonged

                The paper used for these notes is also of some concern. Most
have an acceptable pH level of 5.0 to 8.3. However, these papers contain
lignin, indicating a low quality wood pulp and/or alumrosin sizing. Both
components contribute to instability and the deterioration of paper. It is
recommended that self-stick notes should not be used on covers or objects of
importance or value."

Ellen Morfei
Corporate Archivist
Routing TL05D
FAX 215-761-5588

This e-mail and any attachments are confidential and also may be privileged.
If you are not the named recipient, or have otherwise received this
communication in error, please delete it from your inbox, notify the sender
immediately, and do not disclose its contents to any other person,
use them for any purpose, or store or copy them in any medium.
Thank you for your cooperation.

A posting from the Archives & Archivists LISTSERV List!

To subscribe or unsubscribe, send e-mail to listserv@listserv.muohio.edu
      In body of message:  SUB ARCHIVES firstname lastname
                    *or*:  UNSUB ARCHIVES
To post a message, send e-mail to archives@listserv.muohio.edu

Or to do *anything* (and enjoy doing it!), use the web interface at

Problems?  Send e-mail to Robert F Schmidt <rschmidt@lib.muohio.edu>