Preservation Week Quiz: Wednesday’s Question of the Day

As part of Preservation Week 2015, the State Archives is partnering with the State Library of North Carolina on a Preservation Week Question of the Day – a series of questions related to the preservation of materials both physical and electronic. See the State Library’s blog to see their question of the day posts.

True or False: Paper quality is affected by the materials it is produced from.

  1. True
  2. False

Do you know the answer?  Find out below the cut.




Answer: True

Before the mid-19th century, western paper was made from cotton and linen clothing rags and by a process that largely preserved the long fibers of the raw material. While fibers may shorten with age, rag papers tend to remain strong and durable.  Starting in the mid-19th century, wood replaced rags as the raw material for paper manufacture. Wood is processed into paper by mechanical or chemical pulping, which produces paper with shorter (compared with rag paper) fibers. Mechanical pulping produces paper with the shortest fiber length and does not remove lignin from the wood, which promotes acid hydrolysis. Newspapers are printed on mechanically pulped paper. Chemical pulping removes lignin and does not cut up the cellulose chains as thoroughly as mechanical pulping, yielding a comparatively stronger paper, but which is still not as durable as rag paper.  (Source: