Ritzenthaler, Mary Lynn. Preserving Archives and Manuscripts, Chicago: Society of American Archivists, 1993.


Chapter 1: Archives Preservation: Definitions and Context

Chapter 2: Implementing a Preservation Program Core Preservation Program Elements

   * preservation policy formation
   * preservation planning
   * staff & researcher training
   * holdings maintenance
   * environmental control & monitoring
   * disaster control
   * preservation duplication
   * conservation treatment

Preservation Survey: Institutional Level Preservation Survey: Collection Level (example on pg 11): Forms can be developed to meet the preservation needs of individual repositories at the collection level. Establishing Preservation Priorities Preservation Decision Making:

   * Setting holdings maintenance priorities: make a chart, decision tree.
   * In all decision categories, high use records should be scheduled for attention before low use records; unstable media should be ranked a higher priority for preservation action than stable media.

Preservation Budget

   * Elements: funds allocated in each area will depend upon annual preservation program initiatives. Some categories represent recurring expenses while others represent one-time or periodic expenses. In some institutional accounting systems, certain expenses may be assigned proportionally to several program areas.
         o physical plant (HVAC system, monitoring equipment & supplies, UV filters)
         o housing supplies
         o disaster control supplies
         o salaries & benefits
         o staff training
         o technical literature/subscriptions
         o storage furniture
         o duplication services
         o conservation treatment

Preservation Personnel Evaluating Progress

Chapter 3: Nature of Archival Materials Paper Acidity in Paper: pH scale: acidic & basic (alkaline): 0-6 = acidic, 7 = neutral, 8-14 = basic

   * Acid-free Paper
   * Alkaline Buffered Paper

Types of Paper

   * Bond
   * Carbon
   * Carbonless Copies
   * Coated
   * Copying Paper
   * Cover
   * Decorated
   * Kraft
   * Ledger
   * Manifold
   * Manila
   * Newsprint
   * Onionskin
   * Parchment Paper
   * Text or Book
   * Transparent or Tracing

Colored Papers Unstable Copy Papers

   * Gelatin Dye Transfer
   * Thermographic
   * Mimeograph
   * Hectograph

Xerographic Copies Facsimile Copies Inks & Other Media

   * Carbon Inks
   * Iron Gallotannate (commonly called iron gall) Inks
   * Copying Inks
   * Modern Manuscript Inks
   * Porous Pens
   * Printing Inks
   * Typewriter Ribbon Inks
   * Non-impact Printing Inks
   * Ballpoint Pen Inks
   * Graphite

Animal Skins

   * Vegetable tanned leather: calf, goat, pigskin, sheepskin, suede
   * Vellum & parchment
   * Tawed skins

Textiles: starch-filled, pyroxylin-treated, acrylic Photographic Materials Adhesives

   * Described by setting characteristics: cooling of a thermoplastic, release of a solvent, chemical reaction
   * Types: acrylic, animal glues, cellulose acetate, cellulose nitrate, methyl cellulose, starch paste, polyvinyl acetate (PVA), rubber-based

Chapter 4: Causes of Deterioration Temperature & Relative Humidity: great impact on rate of deterioration of paper & other records materials, although humidity is more critical factor.

   * For every 18deg F increase in temperature, chemical activity in most substances approximately doubles.
   * Estimate = life of paper cut in half for every 10deg increase in temp.
   * Estimate = life of paper doubles for every 10deg decrease in temp.
   * Relative humidity = amount of water vapor in a volume of air, as expressed as a percentage of the maximum amount that the air could hold at the same temperature. Relative humidity decreases as temp increases, assuming no moisture is added.
   * Rel humidity = important because of chemical reactions & physical effect on organic materials.
   * Problems if humidity is too high or low. Movement of paper fibers.
   * Hygroscopic = the ability of materials to absorb or emit moisture in response to changes in the relative humidity.

Atmospheric Pollutants Light: Short-wave ultraviolet and near ultraviolet radiation are the most damaging

   * ultraviolet radiation = 300-400 nanometers
   * visible radiation = 400-760 nanometers
   * infrared radiation = beyond 760 nanometers

Biological Agents

   * Mold
   * Insects, rodents, other pests feed on cellulose & other organic elements in collections
   * Keep collections cool, light, open, & free from people food.

Abuse & Mismanagement: problems internally with institution & management, need for clearly defined policies & procedures, clear program goals. Disasters: vigilance and disaster preparedness and recover plans are the best guards against loss from disasters.

Chapter 5: Creating a Sympathetic Environment Goals of an environmental system:

   * maintain stable conditions of temperature and relative humidity within specified ranges
   * to remove gaseous & particulate pollutants from incoming air at the efficiency level specified
   * to achieve sufficient air exchange and movement to remove all collection-generated volatiles and avoid creating pockets of stagnant air.

Temperature & Relative Humidity

   * Temperature: 70 deg +/- 2 deg F
   * Relative Humidity: 45% +/- 2%
   * Air conditioners are preferable... but they don't work by magic and can't be expected to run/maintain without any monitoring. Where building-wide a-c's are not possible, room sized dehumidifers & a-c's should be used.

Air Quality

   * air circulation & filtration are crucial.
   * pollutant levels: sulphur dioxide: less than 1 microgram/cubic meter, .4 parts/billion. nitrogen dioxide: 5 micrograms/cubic meter, 2.5 parts/billion. ozone: less than 2 micrograms/cubic meter, 1 part/billion
   * absorption systems
   * filtration systems: mechanical with fiberglass, electrostatic.

Monitoring & Detection Equipment: monitor environment, take daily readings. Need/use

   * sling psychrometer,
   * aspirating psychcrometers,
   * thermometer,
   * hygrometer,
   * humidity indicator cards


   * footcandle: older English unit used in measuring light. One footcandle = the illumination produced when the light from a point source of one candle falls on a source one foot away from the candle. see also "lux."
   * lux: international unit used to measure lumen, which is a measure of light as the human eye sees it. One lux = one lumen/square meter or @ 1/10 lumen/sq foot. one footcandle = @ ten lux.

Housekeeping: pick up your garbage! this means trash, boxes on ground, dirt/dust, food, etc. Security Fire & Water Protection: sprinklers, suppression devices

Chapter 6: Handling Archival Materials Paper Records: mind the riffling through boxes, users need to slow down. Bound Volumes:

   * use both hands to remove heavy volumes from shelves
   * instruct users in the correct use of book cradles & supports
   * scrapbooks/albums/other volumes that may contain loose inserts should be supported & held tightly closed at the bottom edge to prevent content from slipping out.

Photographic Materials

   * protect surface
   * microfilm
   * motion picture film

Machine-dependent Records

   * Audio Cylinders & Discs
   * Audio & Visual Magnetic Tapes
   * Electronic Records

Chapter 7: Storing & Housing Archival Materials Shelving & Storage Equipment

   * ventilation/air flow = parallel to air flow direction
   * oversize materials
   * heavy duty, non-damaging composition
   * In the closed position, compact shelving units should permit several inches of space between ranges for good air circulation.
   * adjustable/customizable
   * filing cabinets. Old cabinets should be checked to see whether finish is smooth & intact, any odors are noticeable, and is mechanical features operate smoothly.

Housing Materials

   * Paper & Paperboard Enclosures
   * Plastic Enclosures
   * Purchasing Housing Materials

Storing and Housing Various Record Formats

   * Loose Paper Records: support with folder, check if misaligned or exposed, use spacer boards to fill boxes.
   * Loose Oversize Materials: flat storage boxes/folders.
   * Oversize records, such as blueprints and drawings, that are rolled without the benefit of rigid interior supports can easily become crushed and damaged in storage.
   * Items that should never be rolled include extremely brittle paper, paper that is heavy & boardlike, and materials with flaking or loosely adhered media.
   * Compact storage units can be customized to accommodate oversize rolled records. Documents are rolled onto alkaline buffered tubes, then gently secured with opaque paper and twill tape. Roads running through the tubes rest in slotted supports.
   * Framed items = protected.
   * Folding: some materials should never be folded: brittle or damaged paper, items of high value, photographs, painted media & other artwork, and heavyweight paper that will tend to fracture rather than fold.
   * Bound Volumes: over time, if volumes shelved upright are not maintained in a true vertical orientation, bindings & textblocks will warp & become distorted. Store scrapbooks & albums flat. Phased boxes give volumes physical support as well as protection from light/dirt.
   * Photographic materials: photos should be fully enclosed in good quality paper and oriented so that the rigid dividers supported rather than exerted differential pressure on prints. Photos with damaged emulsion and binder layers should not be housed in plastic enclosures. Evenly wind microfilm & motion picture film.
   * Machine dependent records: audio cylinders = store on edge in groove. audio discs = fully vertical. magnetic tapes = store away from magnetic fields, open reels. video magnetic tapes = not meet archival permanence standards. Electronic records: store magnetic tape canisters/catridges vertically, away from magnetic field.

Chapter 8: Integrating Preservation & Archival Administration Field Survey: includes example of a field survey form that incorporates condition notes and special handling instructions (p103). Transfer of Materials Packing Techniques: concern for safe transport. Receiving Room Procedures Accessioning & Preliminary Inventory: include information such as:

   * brittle or damaged material that is in immediate need of physical support
   * unique formats and objects that are highly valuable and susceptible to damage or theft
   * previous conservation treatments (such as silking or cellulose acetate lamination) as well as evidence of treatment breakdown
   * newspaper clippings, telegrams, or similar highly acidic materials
   * unstable copies, such as Thermofax
   * photographs requiring special handling or enclosures
   * glass plate negatives and other fragile or unstable images, such as cellulose nitrate and cellulose acetate negatives or color photographs
   * physical problems that render the materials difficult or unsafe to use without causing damage, such as long running tears and tightly folded or rolled documents
   * framed items requiring disassembly
   * damaged bound volumes

Arrangement & Description

   * preservation at the time of accession/description
   * check for self-stick notes
   * 3-D items are not compatible storage partners with papers
   * rusty fasteners
   * highly acidic materials
   * label folders

Research Use of Archival Materials

   * Reading Room Regulations: registration, policies, expectations, etc, designed to protect materials. Forms. Photocopying. Security.
   * Preservation Actions During Reference
   * Dusting exteriors of boxes & bound volumes
   * Placing fragile items in polyester sleeves
   * Photocopying damaged documents
   * Placing photographs in polyester sleeves
   * Adding spacer boards to underfilled boxes
   * Replacing damaged folders/adding folders as required
   * Removing and replacing damaged fasteners
   * Noting presence of oversize materials and ensuring their safe access
   * Counting items in folders containing valuable or sensitive materials
   * Withholding records that will be damaged by use
   * Exhibition Practices: outreach & access. Use of originals, staff size/commitment, environmental concerns, continuous monitoring of environmental conditions, written policy. Artifacts & documents can be combined effectively in an exhibit. Lights within exhibit cases must be evaluated and controlled from the perspectives of intensity, UV output, and heat generation. Lights should be external. No item should be on exhibit permanently. Monitor & maintain exhibit regular intervals. Lending concerns, tours/sessions.

Chapter 9: Preservation Photocopying & Microfilming Photocopying

   * evaluate first
   * look at size of machine versus size, condition, format of materials.
   * Bound volumes.
   * Preservation copies.
   * Photograph setting = greatest contrast.
   * Instability of color copies. 


   * Intellectual & physical preparation
   * Inspection
   * Evaluate projects based on size, format, condition of records, degree of prep (intellectual & physical).
   * In-house or contract
   * High value or sensitive/restricted information filmed under direct supervision.
   * Criteria: knowledge/expertise of staff, awareness of & ability to meet technical standards, equipment, facility (including security/environmental conditions).
   * Written contract

Chapter 10: Conservation Treatment Establishing Conservation Treatment Priorities

   * What is the value of the material?
   * Is it used often by researchers?
   * Has the material been microfilmed or otherwise duplicated?
   * Is treatment necessary before copying can be performed safely?
   * Does the material have exhibit potential?
   * Is treatment necessary or will some intermediate preservation action suffice, such as placing torn documents in polyester sleeves?
   * What is the physical/chemical stability of the material? Is information likely to be lost if intervention is deferred?
   * How large is the series or collection of which the material forms a part? Is it all in similar condition with similar needs? Can the material be housed appropriately following treatment?

Treatment Approaches

   * Mass conservation
   * Control Environment
   * Batch vs single item

Conservation Philosophy

   * Rule of Reversability
   * Compatibility of problem & Solution
   * Restoration
   * Documentation: treatment checklist can be amplified by narrative reports. Document treatment. This form can serve a receipt function as items are logged into & out of lab. Use photos to document treatment.

Treatment Options & Authorization Fumigation

   * Integrated pest management: IPM
   * Chemical treatment
   * Environmental treatments can work
   * Proceed cautiously: toxics
   * OSHA: employee concerns
   * Commercial fumigators
   * Freezing alternative
   * Vacuum fumigators

Surface Cleaning Aqueous & Solvent Treatments: organic solvents, chemical bleaching Deacidification

   * Aqueous Deacidification
   * Non-aqueous Deacidification
   * Mass Deacidification

Paper Strengthening Mending, Reinforcement, and Support

   * Mending & Filling Losses
   * Silking
   * Cellulose Acetate Lamination
   * Polyester Film Encapsulation

Evaluating Conservation Treatment Services

   * In-house Conservation Labs
   * Evaluating Outside Conservation Services: expect that a conservator will be sensitive to the importance and value of a document and its historical period, prepare a treatment proposal to be authorized by the client, notify the client if the treatment approach agreed upon must be altered, use sympathetic and stable materials in any conservation treatment, not skimp on time or materials, exhibit a high degree of manual skill, complete work within an agreed upon period of time, provide written and photographic documentation of treatment performed, provide security for material, indicate whether any part of the work is to be subcontracted out to other labs or conservators, make reasonably accurate estimates of cost of treatments.

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