Acid-Free Bookmark Options
March 3, 2015 12:24 PM   Subscribe

I'm looking for archival quality bookmarks, which is to say I'm looking for bookmarks that won't transfer acid to my acid free notebook paper. I figure that I could use a cut piece of acid free paper, but I wanted to see what options were available.

I've already found cardstock bookmarks and they'll serve my purposes well enough, but I wanted to see if there were other possibilities. Could cloth bookmarks transfer acid? Are any cloth bookmarks of archival quality? Are there other types of bookmarks I'm not even considering?

An additional question I have (if anyone is knowledgeable about this) is whether some forum exists which focuses on the topic of archival matters. In the brief searching I've done for one I haven't met with success (which is what brought me to Ask MeFi).

Well, here's to hoping some people familiar with archival quality stuff see this. Thanks for taking a look at this!
posted by halp to Writing & Language (10 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
The Society for American Archivists has a few public lists for SAA members. They have 13 years of accessible archives (1993 - 2006), but I'm not sure if they are searchable. The Library of Congress has a list of resources that might be worth taking a look at. Many library schools have mailing lists for these topics (and yeah it's mostly mailing lists and not forums, this is just how the profession tends to talk). Can not help you with your bookmark question.
posted by jessamyn at 12:42 PM on March 3, 2015 [1 favorite]

I attended a lecture/workshop put on by these people: Special Collections & University Archives The University of Iowa Libraries.

I want to say it was done by the guy who is the head of the place, but the lecture was like 5 years ago. Anyway, I bet if you hit them up with your questions they would be all too happy to nerd out on you.

The workshop I went to was part of an annual book creator's festival and featured artist books as well as press run books. It was a fun time and it was interesting to hear things are controversial amongst archivist that you would think would be established protocols.

Like to wear gloves or not when handling rare manuscripts? Comes down you probably shouldn't. Clean dry hands transfer a minimal amount of oil or dirt. Gloved hands can't feel the page as well and you are more likely to tear or crack a page.

Again, it was fun to talk to people that care about this stuff.

This said, I think I would be extremely unconcerned about transference of acid from one kind of paper to another. Presumably you are not leaving the book mark in there for days, but even then I don't see enough acid transferring to cause a perceptible change in PH.
posted by cjorgensen at 12:54 PM on March 3, 2015

When a friend of mine was playing around with marbleizing, she made some bookmarks that were laminated in plastic. Still got them after twenty plus years, and I doubt they would harm the pages.
posted by Marky at 1:17 PM on March 3, 2015

If Archival Methods doesn't have what you need then I bet they could point you in the right direction.
posted by dawkins_7 at 1:38 PM on March 3, 2015

I like ribbon or string.
posted by WeekendJen at 2:03 PM on March 3, 2015

Any modern bookmark is ok. Regular paper made today is acid free. Once upon a time, when different manufacturing processes were used, acidic paper was a thing, but now the words "acid-free" just means "you can be assured that this is normal paper, and if our saying so makes you question our competitor's products, bonus!"

I'd think that "Acid-free" is still something to check if you're considering a hand-made paper, because artisan processes and decisions obviously allows for a broad range of methods and explorations of alternative or older approaches, but if it's regular commercially-produced stock, don't worry about it.
posted by anonymisc at 3:41 PM on March 3, 2015 [1 favorite]

You could buy a pack of these Winsor & Newton Cotman watercolor postcards and cut them to size. The paper is heavy, similar to cardstock and acid-free. You could make quite a few out of this pack.
posted by Klaxon Aoooogah at 3:49 PM on March 3, 2015

I agree with anonymisc that most papers produced today, at least for sale in the United States for office use, are acid-free. If you are in doubt, you can purchase pH testing pens, though I'm not sure how they'd work on cloth. Keep in mind that even archival-specific materials may become questionable on a long archival timeline, and by that I mean multiple decades. Of course avoid anything with adhesive, like sticky notes, which are the devil's bookmarks.
posted by Sissinghurst at 4:40 PM on March 3, 2015

Thanks for the responses! I'll be sure to examine the links you have provided when I have the time.
posted by halp at 8:28 PM on March 3, 2015

How many bookmarks do you think you'll need? My favorite bookmark (now sadly lost) was a fancy metal engraved one, this is a random Amazon result to see what I'm talking about (no comments on the message).

I doubt a metal surface will soak any appreciable amount of acid, and anyway you can easily wipe it down or even wash it between books.
posted by Dr Dracator at 1:14 AM on March 4, 2015

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