Considerations for archive storage
When it comes to the archive storage, several important considerations should be taken into account to ensure the long-term preservation and accessibility of the materials. These include:
- Environmental conditions: maintain a stable and suitable environment for the archives. Control temperature and humidity levels to prevent deterioration caused by fluctuations or extremes.
- Light exposure: protect the archives from excessive exposure to light, especially direct sunlight and ultraviolet (UV) radiation, as they can cause fading and damage.
- Protection against physical damage: safeguard the archives from physical harm by employing appropriate storage methods. Materials should be stored in acid-free folders, boxes, or enclosures that provide support and protection.
- Pest control: implement measures to prevent and control pests that can damage the archives, such as insects, rodents, or mold. Regularly inspect storage areas and use appropriate pest control methods, such as traps or treatments, if necessary.
- Fire protection: establish fire prevention and suppression systems in archival storage areas. Install smoke detectors, fire alarms, and fire extinguishers. Develop an emergency response plan and ensure staff members are trained on fire safety procedures.
- Security: implement security measures to protect the archives from theft or unauthorised access. Control access to storage areas through secure locks, surveillance systems, or restricted entry. Keep an inventory of the materials and monitor their usage.
- Shelving and storage equipment: use appropriate shelving and storage equipment designed for archival materials. Avoid overcrowding shelves to prevent damage during retrieval or storage.
- Disaster preparedness: develop a comprehensive disaster preparedness plan that includes strategies for handling emergencies like floods, leaks, or natural disasters. Implement measures such as proper storage elevation, water leak detection systems, and off-site backups or duplicates of critical records.
- Metadata and documentation: create and maintain accurate and comprehensive metadata and documentation about the archives. This includes information about the contents, arrangement, and preservation history of the materials.
- Regular monitoring and maintenance: continuously monitor the storage environment, conducting regular inspections and assessments of the materials.
How can the CSA help with archive storage?
As part of our core cataloguing service we are often asked to help identify suitable storage arrangements for the collection, both during the cataloguing process and as a permanent repository once the catalogue has been completed. The full service list includes:
- Assessment of archives in situ.
- Care and custody.
- Sourcing a permanent repository.
- Operational support services.
- Cataloguing as agreed with permanent repository prior to work commencing.
- Basic preservation and packaging, as agreed with permanent repository prior to work commencing.
- Facilitate transfer of ownership to the permanent repository. Legal matters will need to be agreed between owner/creator and home repository.
- Arranging physical transfer of the collection to the permanent repository.
- We can provide guidance about conservation work and conservators.
For further information about how we can help with archive storage, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org