How to take care of the HP manuals?


I've been lucky to find in a bookstore an HP-11C Solution Handbook in a brand new condition. The cover is in perfect condition with no wear and tear and the inner pages paper is still white and not yellowish as for my HP-11C Owners Handbook and Problem Solving Guide. It looks as if nobody ever read it ...

Now I'm wondering how to keep it in such good condition. So I would like to ask you how do you take care of the HP manuals in your collection?


Congraduations on your great find. Afraid I can't help yu on how to preserve it. All my manuals are sitting out on a shelf where I can easily grab them and thumb through them. But then I don't consider any of my callculators as part of a collection - they are just fun toys :)

Smithville, NJ


One thing you might try is to go to a comic book shop and buy either the comic book or magazine protector bags. If they can keep comic books and magazines in crisp like new condition, they should do the same with manuals. It has been some time sense I bought any so prices may have changed. A pack of 100 comic book bags were about $12. A pack of 50 magazine bags were about $18. If you don't have a local comic book shop you might try zip-lock type freezer bags from the local grocery store.


The three main enemies of paper and print are;

1. Light, especially sunlight and flourescent, and heat.

2. Chemicals (e.g. acids, ozone)

3. Humidity

To a lesser degree there are other things that could cause problems (e.g. termites, mice, or other cellulose destroying varmits)

To preserve printed materials, seal them in plastic and keep them in the dark. If the seal is a good one, you won't have to worry as much about humidity or chemical control. Ziplock bags tend to develop very small perforations from handling, so as an extra precaution, store the sealed materials in a climate (temperature and humidity) controlled (i.e. not an attic or basement) environment, away from chemicals (e.g. household cleaning supplies) or ozone generating items (e.g. CRT's, and some types of air cleaners)

I keep my collectible manuals stored in zip lock bags with as much air evacuated as possible, and then place in cardboard boxes. Evacuating the air from the bag helps determine if there are any perforations. If the bag stays 'sucked-in' around the item for over an hour, the seal is pretty good.




we edited our response at the same time and I fully agree with everything you wrote - probably also more practical.




Note that too little humidity is bad for paper also. The US Library of Congress suggests a target of 35% relative humidity at a temperature below 72 degrees Fahrenheit.



I am Paper & Pulp engineer by profession (M. Sc. degree from Technical University of Graz, Austria) and part of your question relates to preservation of paper the other being preservation of print - although they do go hand in hand.

This has been a greatly researched field for many years now, although probably more related to valuable first prints of bibles rather than calculator manuals. As a short answer I advise you to keep the manuals in complete darkness at standard humidity and temperature (light, humidity and temmperature are all bad). Do not touch any of the pages with your bare fingers, only with cotton gloves or similar (sweat and grease from your fingers can do great harm). If you are lucky the paper was produced acid free (of course this is a confusing term but I will not go into details here) you should be good for 500 - 1000 years, if not then 100 years is more likely. There are ways of treating those papers too to give them longer life which I doubt is worthwhile for calculator manuals.

The Museum DVD is really the answer although the full HTML version of the HP41 manual on the web is even more so. I wonder how many hour it would take for all of us to transfer all manuals to HTML?

Alexander Wassermann

P.S. If you want to know more about paper aging, there are lots of papers written on this and I can stear you to them. Probably it is not worthwhile because you cannot really change anything once te paper is produced and printed on.


The Museum DVD is really the answer although the full HTML version of the HP41 manual on the web is even more so.

I very much doubt it, if we are talking about very long-term storage. Of course, I am referring not to the longevity of the physical media, about which I know very little, but to the longevity of the technology itself. How long will DVD's be the media of choice? Who knows? What if someone gave you some very important information stored on Apple II media, how many of you would be able to read it? We're talking about LESS THAN 30 years ago! Even IBM 1.2m 5-1/4" floppies; I am the only person in my circle that still has a drive that will read these; now we are less than 15 years ago!

The world of changing technology presents a real challenge to archivists. IMO, still the best way to ensure something can be read down the road, is - paper!



I think there's very little doubt that you are right. Archivists are predicting that older printed photographs will outlast our digitally stored images, when the formats become obsolete to future generations. Who is going to bother to migrate all that data to new technology when it's not sufficiently old to be seen as having some archival value? Remember when people would engrave their initials on their HP calculator? Would anyone do that today?


Migration is a critically important task for any electronic media storage repository. Over a decade ago There was a research paper on this subject with some examples of data lost forever due to not having a backup *and* migration strategy.

I have migrated my data from 486, to pentium, to Whatever I have now, and I will keep doing that . I think having multiple hard drives that are backed up, monitored and migrated is far preferable to piles and piles of optical media which has to be cataloged on paper as it were, and laboriously migrated. With hard drives it is a simple matter.

Of course I do have a pile of CDs that have pograms etdc that I haven't gotten around to backing up to hard drive...

Also It is important to have a backup hard drive that is not plugged in--A lighting strike will wipe every thing out...


IMO, still the best way to ensure something can be read down the road, is - paper!

Am I glad to read this - certainly. I believe in nothing else and that is why I love my job. I am not in the paper industry itself but work for one of the leading suppliers of machines which make paper, therefore archives on paper is certainly my first choice ;-)

Unfortunately there are some changes in trends I can share with this forum if interested. For the last 100 years paper demand has been pretty much following growth of GDP. I still learned everything about this at university. Today, it seems that in highly developped societies this trend has stopped and the demand is actually reducing with growing GDP. The US is the best example but you can see similar trends in Japan. There are several reasons for this but of course one of them is the advent of new technologies (look at the Amazon Kindle in comparison with your daily newspaper).

So, although I agree that Paper Archives are our best choice I do see also the problem that paper has become a mass product which only makes sense if produced cheap which then again influences lifetime of the paper. Also recycled paper - although great for all sorts of environment issues - has a very negative effect on aging abilities. We will see what will come after paper, no that's wrong, I'll be dead by then - hopefully....



The world of changing technology presents a real challenge to archivists. IMO, still the best way to ensure something can be read down the road, is - paper!

Some time ago one of the correspondents asked for help in getting a copy of an article from an old Scientific American. I thought to myself - no problem. I had been able to read old issues of a wide range of magazines from the stacks of my city's library. Unfortunately, the library had recently moved to a new, much larger facility. During the move the librarians disposed of all of the old magazines. All they had left was microfiche -- black and white only, and the films were in bad condition. They didn't have room for the original paper copies, but they had room for a coffee shop and a huge ornate lobby.

I don't have any really old paper copies but what I do have seems to be in good condition. That includes my father's Algebra and Geometry textbooks from the 1910's and copies of Model Airplane News and Air Trails from the 1940's.


One of my favorite pastimes in the library when I was in college (in other words, procrastination activity) was perusing the stacks looking for the oldest book on the shelves. I found some from the mid 18th century. Because they were made of all rag rather than wood pulp paper, they were in excellent condition. Somewhere in the early to mid nineteenth century, the paper seemed to have switched to wood pulp and the books on the shelves were very fragile and even looked like they had been in a fire...well, a very slow one in fact!

I don't know anything about the history of pulp for paper but it seems from my experience that perhaps papermaking changed sometime in the 19th century...?


Many thanks for all you answers. I will try the ziplock bags.


Yes you are right.

Before (up to the mid 19th century) there was no process known how to get the fibers out from the wood. Instead rags were used which of course means cotton, which is also a fibrous plant suitable for making paper (even today it is used in bank notes). Also straw and other simpler plants were used, I have a book form the 18th century with lots of samples. Because of the increasing demand there were a couple of rag wars in Europe where countries (or some dukes) were trying to secure their supply for rags...

The company I work for today was actually involved in the subsequent invention of wood fiber processes which then revolutionized the usage of paper - it became a mass product.

Today there are two processes used, one is mechanical which creates fibers which do not last (for example in newsprint - just leave it in the sun for a day or two and you will see what happens). The other is a chemical process used to make white and lasting fibers.

Still, your observation is correct, the cotton paper lasts longer.


Possibly Related Threads...
Thread Author Replies Views Last Post
  hp prime manuals giancarlo 0 731 07-07-2013, 07:05 AM
Last Post: giancarlo
  Gong through the older manuals... Eddie W. Shore 0 751 09-24-2012, 09:17 PM
Last Post: Eddie W. Shore
  OT--Palm & Sharp Wizard need tech care Matt Agajanian 9 2,316 08-28-2012, 11:54 PM
Last Post: Matt Agajanian
  50G Printed Manuals Les Koller 25 6,096 07-15-2012, 04:32 PM
Last Post: Software49g
  OT manuals for Olivetti Logos 9 & Casio Fx-191 Brackett 0 869 07-09-2012, 09:57 PM
Last Post: brackett
  Care and Feeding of Topcat NiCads Les Wright 16 3,438 06-01-2012, 06:01 PM
Last Post: LHH
  aOT--Battery/battery contact care advice needed Matt Agajanian 0 910 04-24-2012, 07:35 PM
Last Post: Matt Agajanian
  HP-42S Manuals Kees van der Sanden 3 1,145 03-19-2012, 10:18 PM
Last Post: Matt Agajanian
  Still Looking for HP Manuals! Dave Hicks 5 1,605 03-07-2012, 11:37 PM
Last Post: Allen
  HP manuals, the way they used to be Don Shepherd 23 5,116 03-02-2012, 03:33 PM
Last Post: Kerem Kapkin (Silicon Valley, CA)

Forum Jump: