3. Caring for Collections

Introduction

Without wanting to discourage the enthusiasm with which collections are created, planning for the time, processes and material needed to ensure their survival is vital – and it is important to consider this from the beginning. What you are creating is unique and irreplaceable, and the historical value of your collection will increase over time, as long as the information and evidence it contains can be successfully preserved. Conservation decisions that are made at the beginning will determine how long this is.

Archive repositories, such as local authority record offices, have storage facilities and procedures that conform to national standards. This part of the accreditation scheme will guide you towards achieving appropriate care for your collections whilst balancing best practice and available resources.

You will need to consider: the conditions your archive collection is stored in; the quality of the packaging; and secure, sensible and safe handling.  All contribute to prevent deterioration or eventual loss. Where damage or disaster does occur, it will be necessary to recognise it and act quickly, and know where to go for specialist help. Digital records, such as scanned images and digital photographs require particularly rigorous advance planning.

Learning benchmarks

By the end of this section you will be able to:

  • Assess and improve the quality of your storage, packaging and handling of archives
  • Understand the issues and how to adapt solutions to the problems of creating and storing digital records for the long term

 

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