ISO Standards

ISO Standards

The International Standards Organization (ISO), headquartered in Geneva, Switzerland, is the worldwide recognized body responsible for publishing standards on the permanence of photographic materials. Standards have been published on test methods, storage and handling recommendations, and material specifications. IPI recognizes the critical role played by these documents since they represent the current and accepted viewpoint of international experts.

IPI staff members have long been actively involved in international standards development. They have worked both in administrative roles and as principal authors of several documents that became standards published by the International Organization for Standardization (ISO). These include standards for the chemical conversion of silver, the photographic activity test (PAT), the storage of magnetic tape, and storage conditions for mixed media collections. IPI's material stability studies have helped define current recommendations for extended storage of color materials and film. IPI's current standards activities include the development of test methods for the stability of digital prints in relation to various environmental factors and spill and abrasion resistance of digital prints.

IPI staff are also involved in the American National Standards Institute (ANSI), Imaging Science & Technology Non-Impact Printing (NIP) group, the International Conference on Digital Printing Technologies, and the International Imaging Industry Association (I3A).

Standards Research

IPI developed a test for evaluating black-and-white photographic film's susceptibility to silver oxidation which became ISO Standard 18915 and led to IPI SilverLock, an after-processing treatment that drastically increased the oxidation resistance of silver particles.

The Photographic Activity Test, or PAT, developed by IPI became an ANSI standard and then ISO Standard 18916, is used by companies worldwide to assure their customers of their product's safety and most photograph-collecting institutions depend on it to make certain their collections are safely stored. Originally designed for paper-based materials, the PAT has evolved to include plastics, adhesives, and inks. Research is being done to determine if the PAT can be applied to the many digital print types now available.

ISO Standard 18923  Storage Conditions for Magnetic Tape

Simplified storage guidelines for mixed media collections of film, photographs, magnetic tapes, CDs, and DVDs were published in the IPI Media Storage Quick Reference (MSQR). Based on the premise that, while permanence is media-dependent, the most important factor in collection preservation is the storage environment, these guidelines led to ISO Standard 18934.

ISO standards cannot be obtained from IPI. They can be purchased at