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Swiss step out as world leaders in saving books

The new method will help extend the shelf life of books by at least 150 years Keystone

Switzerland has inaugurated the world's biggest paper restoration plant. The converted weapons factory in Wimmis in canton Berne will help to safeguard the country's written heritage.

This content was published on September 1, 2000 - 15:45

The plant, inaugurated on Friday, will reverse the ageing process of some 3,000 tonnes of books and documents at the Federal Archive and the National Library, through a process known as "Papersave Swiss".

It involves neutralising the acidity in paper using an alkaline substance, and can be applied to any book or document manufactured using acid over the past 150 years.

The brainchild of a company called Battelle, the process is unique, and can extend the shelf life of a document or book by at least 150 years.

The plant is owned by the government, which funded its construction to the tune of almost SFr14 million ($8.1 million).

It will be run by a private company, Nitrochemie Wimmis, but will receive additional government funding of SFr10 million over the next five years for the restoration work on the books and documents in the Federal Archive and the National Library.

swissinfo with agencies

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