The dictionary.com definition of preserve is:
v. pre•served, pre•serv•ing, pre•serves
1. To maintain in safety from injury, peril, or harm; protect.
2. To keep in perfect or unaltered condition; maintain unchanged.
3. To keep or maintain intact: tried to preserve family harmony.
But do you ever wonder how that applies to scrapbooking and truly preserving your precious memories for a lifetime?
Some scrapbookers aren’t as interested in the longevity of their pages and layouts. But most really are. They want those memories to last well after their gone so that future generations may enjoy and learn about their heritage.
In all honesty, anything that touches your photographs should be both acid-free and lignin-free. This includes papers, adhesives, pens and stickers.
The reason for this is that photographs will discolor and disintegrate at an extremely rapid rate if the items touching them are not acid and lignin-free. Take a look at any photos you have in those old magnetic albums, see how yellow and brittle everything is? That is because the acid has begun eating at the photos.
If a product is photo-safe it is usually labeled that way. Another excellent way to find products that are safe is by looking for the CK-OK seal of approval. The CK-OK Seal of Approval is given by Creating Keepsakes magazine’s experts, and has been tested for photo-safety.
If you have a newspaper article, clipping or announcement to use in your layouts, you should first photocopy them to acid-free, lignin-free paper. If you want a more authentic look, try copying it onto an off-white cardstock or paper.
If a product has undergone laboratory analysis to determine its acidic and buffered content, and has been tested to be within safe levels, it is called archival quality. This is important to look for in your scrapbook products.
Typically, if there is a question on whether an item you want to place in your album is safe or not, I recommend color-copying it first. There are also sprays available that will help prolong the life of memorabilia and paper so that you can keep it in a scrapbook without damaging other items in close proximity.
I hope that I have helped you understand the true definition of preserving.