Lecture: Alternatives to the Oddy Test

Posted on Aug 20, 2014

Topics in Preservation Series Lecture from the Preservation Directorate at the Library of Congress
Evaluating Storage Materials: Alternatives to the Oddy Test

September 4, 2014
10:00-11:00 am
Library of Congress
Washington, DC
*James Madison Memorial Building
101 Independence Ave SE
Dining Room A, Sixth Floor

* The lecture will be webcast. To tune in, please send an email at least three business days in advance to Ray Privott, rpri@loc.gov. The number of webcast “seats” is limited and will be filled in the order in which the requests are received.
The Library of Congress has a quality assurance program for testing materials that come into contact with collections in storage or on display to ensure those materials will not harm collections. The traditional Oddy test assesses the impact of material off-gassing on collection items through the corrosion of metal coupons, a result that does not necessarily correlate well to the Library’s primarily paper-based collections. Dr. Eric Breitung will discuss research in the Preservation Research and Testing Division that uses paper instead of metal as a sensor and multiple analytical methods to assess the degradation level of the paper sensor. Common book and paper preservation materials such as book cloths, binding boards, foams, and adhesives were subjected to accelerated aging in the presence of Whatman filter paper and the traditional Oddy metal sensors, then evaluated with ion chromatography (IC) and ultraviolet-visible (UV-Vis) spectroscopy. Of significant interest was the analysis of corrosion products formed on the metal coupons with x-ray diffraction (XRD). The assessment of the impact of these specific products on collection materials to better understand the often contradictory results obtained from the Oddy test, and how a new test might better inform the paper conservation community, will be discussed.

Dr. Eric Breitung, Research Chemist, Preservation Research and Testing Division, Library of Congress
For more information, including direct links to register for the webcast and for the workshop, please visit:

For further information please contact Fenella France at PRTD_Events@loc.gov
Dr. Fenella France
Chief, Preservation Research and Testing Division
Library of Congress