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The demise of safety film : a review of the cellulose acetate based negatives in the collection of the Kodak Canada Archive

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posted on 08.06.2021, 14:42 authored by Megan Lena Harris
The vinegar syndrome, a process in which cellulose acetate based films deteriorate, is becoming a prominent problem within collections worldwide. To understand this phenomenon one must look at the history and make up of cellulose acetate, the chemistry of the degradation process and the steps institutions are taking to stabilize objects to allow future access. With this knowledge, preservation strategies need to be applied to promote longevity. To illustrate this idea, a collection of forty degrading negatives from the Kodak Canada Archive at Ryerson University Library have been used as a case study in which research on cellulose acetate, the chemistry of this material, the vinegar syndrome, and present recommendations for storage have been taken into consideration and used as a basis for a re-housing project. All information and objects are used to argue for the preservation of such objects and the understanding of the importance of the object itself.





Master of Fine Arts


Film and Photography Preservation and Collections Management

Granting Institution

Ryerson University

LAC Thesis Type


Thesis Advisor

Chris Evans