Monday, December 21, 2015


From: Archives Association of British Columbia 
Preservation, Conservation and Emergency Planning New Preservation Publications General Preservation Publications
Basic Conservation of Archival Materials 
The Canadian Council of Archives (CCA) Preservation Committee has E-published “Basic Conservation of Archival Materials” – known to many in the archival community as the “Red Book”. The publication is presented in separate chapters in PDF format which will facilitate navigation and printing of desired texts.
You can find the “Red Book” and other publications of the Perseveration Committee at this address: 
Photograph Preservation Publications
Cold Storage of Photographs at the City of Vancouver Archive 
The Canadian Council of Archives has just E-published Sue Bigelow’s paper, “Cold Storage of Photographs at the City of Vancouver Archives.” Sue presented an abridged version of this paper at the 2003 American Institute of Conservation Photo Materials Group meeting in San Juan, Puerto Rico. 
This paper is as case study of the efforts made by the City of Vancouver Archives to freeze its deteriorating negative collections. The Archives used two freezer packaging methods, both based on research done for the Smithsonian Institution. The first was the Critical Moisture Indicator (CMI) method, in which a one-inch stack of sheet negatives was enclosed in a package which buffered humidity. These packages were boxed and frozen in a commercial frozen-food storage facility. The second method was the gasketed cabinet method. This paper can be found in PDF format in both French and English at:
Image Permanence Institute Media Storage Quick Reference
The Image Permanence Institute at the Rochester Institute of Technology has produced a terrific on-line preservation tool. The IPI Media Storage Quick Reference is designed as a free interactive tool. This preservation tool allows the various storage environments (relative humidity and temperature) to be compared and ranked according to whether the conditions are considered ‘fair’, ‘good’, ‘very good’ or NO! Archival media such as cellulose acetate negatives, colour photographic prints, ink jet prints, etc., are included in this tool.
This web site has other information of interest to the archival community including a really informative article “A Consumer Guide to Traditional and Digital Print Stability.” The Image Permanence Institute web site address is
A Guide to the Preventive Conservation of Photograph Collections (Bertrand Lavédrine)
“More than thirty years of continuing research into the preservation of photographic collections have led to a better understanding of the fragility of these images and the means by which to preserve them. A useful resource for the photographic conservator, conservation scientist, curator, as well as professional collector, A Guide to the Preventative Conservation of Photograph Collections synthesizes both the enormous amount of research that has been completed to date and the international standards that have been established on the subject.
The book opens with a description of the principal forms of deterioration that photographs may undergo. It surveys the variety of containers used to house photographs and the environmental conditions each is meant to improve. The book discusses the maintenance of photographic collections and the precautions that must be taken in exhibiting them. Special attention is given to the digital technology and innovative techniques available to manage a photographic collection and ensure its longevity. 
Bertrand Lavédrine works at the Centre de Recherches sur la Conservation des Documents Graphiques (CRCDG), a research center in Paris, France, dedicated to the preservation of paper documents, prints, films, and photographs.” (from the Getty Bookstore web page). 
This book can be ordered for $45 (US) from the Getty Bookstore at:
Mould Prevention and Collection Recovery: Guidelines for Heritage Collections Canadian Conservation Institute Technical Bulletin #26 
The Canadian Conservation Institute (CCI) has just published their new Technical Bulletin #26 Mould Prevention and Collection Recovery: Guidelines for Heritage Collections. CCI states, “Mould infestation in heritage collections can damage artifacts and may pose a health risk to individuals who work with these collections. This Technical Bulletin presents information on mould morphology, prevention of mould growth, actions to take should mould occur, and health effects relating to mould exposure. It informs the reader how to remove mould growth from artifacts and it describes the appropriate personal protective equipment to wear when working in a mould-contaminated environment or when working with mould-infested artifacts.”
This Technical Bulletin will be an invaluable source for all archives particularly in regards to health considerations and safe handling of mouldy archival records. It is available on-line from the CCI Bookstore ( for $20 (CAN).
Preservation Policy Resources General Preservation Policies
The best starting point for preservation policy development and searching policies on the Internet is the National Preservation Office (UK) Website. The NPO has produced an excellent publication titled Building Blocks for a Preservation Policy. This publication outlines the components to include in a policy, define what a policy is, offers a preservation policy checklist and lists further preservation policy readings. Unfortunately, none of the readings have internet links. 
Carleton University’s Preservation for Non-Electronic Records
Carleton University has a basic preservation policy posted on their Website. This policy was approved in 1995 and covers most of the main points required in a preservation policy. Further information with regard to environmental specification (relative humidity and temperature requirements for various archival media, pollutant levels etc should be written into either the policy or associated procedural guidelines.) 
Ontario Museum Notes
The Ontario Museum Notes is a very useful series particularly for archives which are housed within museums. Series notes include:
1. The Museum Board: Its Organization and Function 2. Developing a Statement of Purpose for the Museum 3. Writing a Collections Management Policy for the Museum 4. Developing a Conservation Policy for the Museum 5. Museum Insurance 6. Handling Museum Objects 7. Developing a Research Policy for the Museum 8. Principles and Techniques of Oral Documentation 9. Developing an Exhibition Policy for the Museum 10. Developing a Staff Training Policy 11. Developing an Interpretation and Education Policy for the Museum 12. The Community Museum and the Disabled Visitor
Public Records Office of Northern Ireland
The Northern Ireland PRO preservation website has sections on what is preservation, why have a preservation policy, common standards for the preservation of records, acquisition and selection and records storage, copying of records and public displays and exhibitions, conservation and repair and disaster prevention and reaction.  
Sound Archives/Electronic Records
The Berkeley Digital Library site offers a wide range of preservation information including links to preservation articles, on-line resources and links to preservation policy samples. The focus of this site is primarily on preservation policy relating to electronic records but general preservation policies are also included such as the National Library of Australia’s Draft Policy on Preservation Microfilming and the National Library of Australia’s Preservation Policy. 
Sound Archives/Nga Taonga Koreno of New Zealand
The Sound Archives/Nga Taonga Koreno of New Zealand makes available their access policy, preservation policy and selection and acquisition policies.
Screen Sound Australia
Screen Sound Australia has posted a basic preservation policy for their sound archives. Included in their policy are sections on ethics; multiplicity of copies and storage; stable formats and media – stability, storage and format; transfer, digitisation, conversion and virtual preservation and other areas.
Photographic Media – Storage Enclosures The selection of an appropriate storage enclosure for photographic media can initially appear bewildering. However, selection of the best storage enclosure does not have to be difficult if the following information is taken into account. 
All storage enclosures that come in contact with photographic media should conform to the specifications outlined in:
ISO 18902-2001 Imaging Materials – Processed photographic films, plates, and papers – Filing enclosures and storage containers. (This standard outlines appropriate paper and plastic enclosure materials; adhesives, printing ink, etc.)
ISO 14523 – 1999 Photography – Processed photographic materials – Photographic activity test for enclosure materials. (This standard outlines the testing procedure used to determine whether a material (paper, adhesives, ink, plastic, etc.) will interact negatively with a photographic image.)
All paper enclosures should:
  • pass the Photographic Activity Test – most conservation supply catalogues indicate whether a product has passed the P.A.T.
  • be lignin-free; free of peroxides; be chemically stable and not cause abrasion of the photograph
  • Black and White photographic images should be stored in paper enclosures which have a pH between 7.0 and 9.5 with at least a 2% calcium carbonate reserve (buffer)
  • Colour photographic images should be stored in paper enclosures that meet the same standards as for black and white images but the pH range should be between 7.0 and 8.0
Over the last number of years there has been ongoing research into whether it is more appropriate to use buffered (above pH 7.0) or non-buffered (pH 6.0 – 7.0) paper enclosures for photographic media. It now appears that the concerns about using buffered/alkaline enclosures in direct contact with photographic media were unfounded. 
Paper envelopes with side adhesive seams are recommended over envelopes with a central T seam as the side seam tends to interact less with the photograph. When inserting a photograph into any paper enclosure with an adhesive seam always insure that the emulsion side is away from the adhesive seam. In a photographic print the emulsion is the image side and in a photographic negative the emulsion is the dull, matte side.
Some enclosures such as MicroChamber paper, in addition to alkaline buffering incorporate molecular traps in their paper structure. Molecular traps, made from either zeolites or activated carbon, are designed to adsorb specific types of gaseous pollutants. It is thought that the molecular trap will trap or adsorb pollutants from the ambient environment or pollutants being off-gassed by the archival record. These types of enclosures could be useful for archives with poor environmental control and/or high indoor pollutant levels or for holdings with a combination of black and white prints, cellulose nitrate or cellulose acetate negatives and colour media housed together. 
All plastic enclosures should:
  • pass the Photographic Activity Test
  • safe plastics do not have plasticizers, are usually inert and are chemically stable. Safe plastics include: polyester (also known as Mylar Type D, Melinex Type 516 or polyethylene terephthalate); polypropylene, polytheylene, and polystyrene. Use only plastic enclosures that have clearly identified plastics.
It should be noted that Dupont ceased production of Mylar Type D last autumn. An plastic equivalent to Mylar Type D is Melinex Type 516 and is also made by Dupont. 
References: ANSI/NISO Z39.77-2001 Guidelines for Information About Preservation Products. Bethesda, Maryland, NISO Press. (Available as a free PDF download file from 
This publication has an excellent glossary of preservation terms. Also very useful is Appendix A: Referenced Standards and Tests as it lists relevant standards that relate to preservation products. 
ISO 14523 – 1999 Photography – Processed photographic materials – Photographic activity test for enclosure materials 
ISO 18902 – 2001 Imaging Materials – Processed photographic films, plates, and papers – filing enclosures and storage containers. 
ISO standards can be ordered online at
Optical Disc Media Compact Discs Compact Discs are comprised of a core, a reflective layer and a lacquer layer. The core is usually made from polycarbonate plastic but it can also be metal or etched glass. The reflective layer is usually aluminium but is occasionally gold. The lacquer layer is added for protection in handling and use. 
A variety of CD formats are available. Each type of CD can vary in laminate components and vary in how the information is recorded.
  • Compact disc digital audio (CD-DA)The CD-DA is used in for mass-market music CDs.
  • Write-Once Read-Many (WORM)WORM CDs can contain images, text, sound, video, etc. and is a commercial format.
  • Compact disc – Recordable (CD-R)CD-Rs are like WORMs but are used non-commercially to record images, text, sound, video, etc. CD-Rs cannot be erased or reused.
  • Compact disc Rewritable (CD-RW)CD-RWs can be used, erased and reused.
The information recorded on CDs is encoded in digital form. The method of encoding the information varies depending on whether the CD is a read-only CD – CD-ROM (CD-DA and WORM) or a writable CD (CD-R and CD-RW). 
Read-only CDs are made from molded polycarbonate with a spiral track of pits which hold the information. The laser reads the information from the pit. Read-only CDs are silver on both sides of the CDs. 
Writable CDs are made from a molded polycarbonate like read-only CDs but have dyes added to the laminate structure. As the information is being recorded by the laser onto the CD the dye becomes discoloured which results in the information being encoded. Writable CDs appear green, gold or blue on one side rather than silver on both sides. 
What type of CD-R to buy Not all CD-Rs are created equal in terms of stability. Gold CD-Rs should be used if you are planning on undertaking an access/preservation project where you plan on using CD-Rs as the storage medium. Gold CD-Rs use the more stable phthalocyanine organic dye and appear to be a light green in colour. Many companies produce gold CD-Rs including Mitsumi and HHB. To find local suppliers of gold CD-Rs you can check the company websites for CD specifications and local suppliers. 
Storage and Handling
  • Wear clean, lint-free gloves when handling CDs.
  • Handle CDs by their edges.
  • Store CDs in their polystyrene “jewel cases”, polypropylene or polycarbonate cases or other archival plastic. Do not store in paper or card enclosures.
  • Store CDs vertically.
  • Do not bend or place pressure on the CD as this may lead to delamination.
  • Store CDs in the dark as ultraviolet light can discolour the lacquer and polycarbonate layers causing laser reading problems.
  • Avoid excess humidity levels (above 50%) as early CDs reflective layers have been known to oxidize. Reflective layer composition has changed over the years but excess humidity should still be avoided.
  • Do not label discs with self-adhesive labels. Consult the disc manufacturer to find out which type of marker pen is appropriate for the disc.
Environmental recommendations
The life expectancy of a CD varies with the CD composition and storage environment. Currently, the life expectancy is thought to be anywhere from 20 – 200 years. Temperatures below -10C and 5% are not recommended for optical media.
Maximum Temperature (+/- 2C in 24 hrs allowable) Maximum Relative Humidity (+/-10% in 24 hrs allowable) Less than 23C                    20% - 50%
References ANSI/PIMA IT9.25-1988. Optical Disc Media – Storage. New York: American National Standards Institute.
Conservation Online – Electronic Storage Media The CoOl Website offers a vast array of preservation related articles and links to preservation sites. The Electronic Storage Media section has many useful articles and links to archival preservation issues.
General preservation sites
CoOl – Conservation Online
The CoOl web site is one of the most useful and comprehensive preservation sites on the Web. It is a wonderful resource as it has a wide ranging subject heading section i.e. disaster planning, electronic media, mold etc; a section with mirrors to other sites such as the Western Association for Art Conservation (WAAC), the Abbey Newsletter (ABN), SOLINET; and the always valuable Consdist list archive. Mirror sites such as WAAC and the ABN post their newsletters on their sites – they are an invaluable source of information. Generally there is about a one-year holdback of newsletters.
Council on Library and Information Resources
In the “Publications” section of the CLIR site you can find the Preservation and Access Newsletter and CLIR reports. Reports such as publication 80 “Why Digitize?” and publication 69 “Digitization as a Method of Preservation?” offer food for thought with regard to the confusing world of digital preservation!
National Media Lab
This web site has useful information on modern media. Magnetic Media by John Van Bogart can be found here. 
Research Libraries Group – Preservation
This is one section of RLG’s excellent web site. A wide variety of information on digital imaging can be found here.
Henry Wilhelm’s site
Henry Wilhelm, the author of The Permanence and Care of Colour Photographs: Traditional and Digital Color Prints, Color Negatives, Slides and Motion Pictures, continues to pursue research in the colour photography and imaging field. Research results and updates can be found here. Currently, articles on cold storage for photographs and film and iris prints are highlighted. 
Image Permanence Institute
The Image Permanence Institute is very interesting and should be surfed regularly to see what’s new. In their New Products and Publications section you can order publications such as “The Storage Guide for Color Photographic Materials”, A-D Strips and several other publications.
International Association of Paper Historians 
This site has informative sections on paper museums, watermark classifications, paper history, research projects and IPH publications.
National Parks Service IPM
This is a great site offering copious amounts of information about many common pests.
Jim Lidner’s “Magnetic Media Restoration Headquarters” web site. Of particular interest is the Video Preservation Resources section where associations and professional groups are listed in addition to on-line research and preservation information. Also included here are articles on links to the National Film Preservation Board of the Library of Congress, Research Libraries Group and the Council of Library Resources.
Preservation Information Leaflets
National Archives and Records Administration
The NARA site has a very useful FAQ section with subsections on Building Environment and Standards, Digital Media, etc.
Northeast Document Conservation Center
The Northeast Document Conservation Center has a terrific site. The “Publications” section of the site is a real bonus as most of NEDCC’s technical leaflets including all those found in Preservation of Library and Archival Materials: A Manual are available.
Library of Congress
The section “Caring for the Library of Congress Collection” has useful areas such as preservation reformatting, Emergency Preparedness and Response. See also: for the Library of Congress Preservation Publication Series.
Southeast Libraries Network
From the home page go to Preservation Services and then click on Leaflets. Here you will find a range of preservation bibliographies, internet resources, services and suppliers and the full range of Solinet handouts.
Standards organizations
Standards that relate to paper permanence, photograph standard, environmental standards etc can be found at the following web sites. At each web site standards are not available for browsing but orders can be placed either on-line or by snail mail.
Standards Council of Canada 
International Organization for Standardization
American National Standards Institute 
National Institute of Standards and Technology
Conservation catalogues
Conservation Resources International  
Conservation Resources has an on-line catalogue where orders can be placed. Other interesting sections include the “Hot News”, “Technical Support,” and “Novel Applications”. MicroChamber paper is featured in the “Hot News” and “Novel Applications” sections.
Light Impressions
Light Impressions is primarily a photographic preservation on-line catalogue. The web site set-up is very easy to use and offers a picture of each product called up. It is a very easy site to navigate and easy to place orders.
University Products 
Two more on-line conservation catalogues. Products can be ordered and catalogues can be requested to be sent to you.

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