Archive Talk: Resources

Archival Development – Resources – Collection Preservation

The National Archives UK

uk-nat-webAs the government’s national archive for England, Wales and the United Kingdom, they hold over 1,000 years of the nation’s records for everyone to discover and use. Their 21st-century role is to collect and secure the future of the government record, both digital and physical, to preserve it for generations to come, and to make it as accessible and available as possible.
The UK Public Record Office was created in 1838. In 2011, responsibility for archives across England was transferred to The National Archives from the Museums, Libraries and Archives Council (MLA). They expertise is in the effective management, use and re-use of information – a valuable resource for 250 government and public sector bodies.
They are constantly working with others around the world to develop the best practices and offer a vasts collection of free online documents on every aspect of the archival process.

AIC – The American Institute for Conservation

This is a national membership organization of conservation professionals dedicated to preserving the art and historic artifacts of Americas cultural heritage for future generations.

Care, Handling and Storage of Books, Collections Care, and Preserving Your Treasures are covered in the section “Caring For Your Treasures: Guides for Taking Care of Your Personal Heritage.” They offer guides covering books, documents & works of art on paper, photographs, home videotape and others. The guides are written in a clear and organized manner. For example, the guide on books presents information on environmental conditions, shelving, storage, handling and use, cleaning and maintenance, and emergencies and minor disasters.

The AIC strengths are their clear concise guides to preservation, useful for the archival professional and amateur family archivist. Unfortunately their website navigation was poor – you would need to click on the back arrow of the browser to avoid spaghetti navigation as none of the guides were interlinked or linked back to the index page.

American Conservation Consortium: Nationwide Collections Preservation Services

The American Conservation Consortium provides a wide array of museum preservation and conservation services.
This is a 2003 article by Marc A. Williams (M.S., Art Conservation, and Author of a number of articles on preservation issues). Presented on one very long page, this article is intended for the professional archivist and conservator. General Collections Preservation Issues provides guidelines to a large number of areas including non-preservation topics such as Accessioning/Deaccessioning and Exhibition Issues

ACC’s strengths are in the depth of topical coverage is quite comprehensive – material for each topic provided good information and requirements for best practices in preservation. Their weakness is the format of one long page makes it easy to print out the entire article, but more difficult to use via the browser – relies on heavy use of the find feature built into browsers and no illustrations.

Jeff Heynen

Archival Management: A Guide for Organizing, Cataloging, and Preserving Collections of Papers, Photographs, and Other Records.
While written as an introduction to preservation related topics by “an interested amateur,” the quality is quite good and the lengthy article is geared to the family archivist, or smaller archives. It was quite impressively organized with appropriate illustrations throughout all of the topics.
Its coverage of preservation topics in a “How-to-Guide” manner with links to additional resources within most preservation topics or sections.

ARMA International

ARMA International is the leader and authority on the education of information management issues such as e-mail management, retention schedules and e-discovery laws.
ARMA offers a number of standards based publications – all for a fee (generally in the rage of $20- $50 for a PDF download). They also have free white papers – industry sponsored content covering topics such as Information Governance, Compliance/Legal, Electronically Stored Information Trends, Document Archiving. All of the papers pertain to various standards. Their white paper on the PDF/A standard was well written and in an easy to ready format. The site offers quality materials offered on free section, however, most materials were fee based.

Canadian Conservation Institute

Through conservation science, treatment, and preventive conservation, the Canadian Conservation Institute supports the heritage community in preserving Canada’s heritage collections so they can be accessed by current and future generations. This mission is accomplished through conservation research and development, expert services, and knowledge dissemination.
The Canadian Conservation Institute offers education and preservation information via coursework, articles, guides on a wide range of topics. They also publish an annual “Reflections on Conservation” magazine. The section called CCI Notes contains guides to a variety of topics pertaining to the care and preservation of collections. Under the Paper and Books section; guides were produced for making protective enclosures for books and paper artifacts, basic care of books, and display methods for books. The guides give clear illustrative instructions and include a bibliography for further reading. CCI produce solid preservation information and guides, available in English and French.

Conservation Center for Art and Historic Artifacts (CCAHA)

CCAHA specializes in the treatment of art and historic artifacts on paper and provides preservation education, training, and consultation. Established in 1977, CCAHA is the largest nonprofit regional conservation lab in the country.
Fascinating images on restoration projects and tools of the trade greet each visitor to this very informative and well laid-out website. The home page offers annotated links recent news items of CCAHA, in addition to upcoming events, typically educational conferences held at various institutions around the country. Note that all their information on preservation and conservation topics is in the form of educational conferences. A Well-crafted website is easy to use and read but a lack of conservation and preservation related information.

Heritage Preservation: The National Institute for Conservation

For over 30 years, Heritage Preservation has been working to ensure the preservation of collections for present and future generations. We are the nation’s leading nonprofit advocate for the proper care of all our cultural heritage–works of art, books and archives, documents and photographs, architecture, monuments, natural science specimens, and family heirlooms.

Their mission is to preserve our nation’s heritage through conservation, education, and preparation. While they maintain links to resources external to their website, they do offer a number of downloadable documents that offer very basic first steps in an emergency to halt further damage to collections and artifacts; and, a number of Guides, including forms for SBA Disaster Aid for Cultural Institutions under FEMA. Their publication on “Capitalize on Collections Care” offered considerable insight into fundraising opportunities for archival and library institutions. They are very strong on advocacy and fundraising issues affecting preservation of collections, however, they have no real in-depth material that covers preservation of archival materials. More administration, fundraising and advocacy for preservation issues.

Heritage Werks

heritage-werks-webHeritage Werks is an archival company that creates corporate archives, organization, government, celebrity, family and special high value archival programs. While their site does not provide preservation information per se, it does offer interesting content in their description of services. Specifically, they list out some of the essential things to include in various special purpose archives, and the reasoning behind collecting items to be archived. They focus on Corporations, Celebrities, Organizations, Families, Government Agencies and High Value Collections. You can click on a link within each section to see what items are typically included within that type of archive. Their strengths are in the checklist which are is fairly comprehensive, however, they lack actual content pertaining to collections preservation.

National Archives and Records Administration

The NARA site offers the technical information paper 6 “Preservation of Archival Records: Holdings Maintenance at the National Archives” by Mary Lynn Ritzenthaler (1990).
This section of the NARA website provides detailed information and procedures to use for preserving or prolonging the life of various archival materials including Boxes, Folders, Oversized Records, Folded and Rolled Documents, Written Notations on Archival Records, Dusting, Damaged Records, Fastened Documents, Bound Volumes, Scrapbooks and Albums, Photographs, Preservation Photocopying, and Unstable Copies. The instructions are written in a step-by-step manner with illustrations of some of the steps for clarification. Unfortunately, it isn’t clear whether Technical Information Papers (TIPs) issued by NARA are incorporated into these topical preservation instructions. They offer clear, succinct instructions describing basic preservation procedures.

Library of Congress

Like the UK’s National Archives, the Library of Congress is the USA’s oldest federal cultural institution, and it serves as the research arm of Congress. The ‘preservation/care’ section of the LOC website offered brief guides – essentials – in the care, handling and storage of the typical collections found in most family archives including books, paper (manuscripts, drawings, documents, etc.), Newspapers, photographs, scrapbooks and albums, film and more. They also have a very interesting guide – Preservation Guidelines for Digitizing Library Materials, that is geared more for the institutional organization. They also offered guides to Environmental (Lighting, Water Damage and Pollutants) that were also geared towards the professional librarian, archivist, curator, or exhibit designer.

Minnesota Historical Society” class=”alignleft” />At the Minnesota Historical Society (MHS) they’ve been collecting, preserving, and telling Minnesota stories for 150 years. Their featured Conservation Resources included basic guidelines for storing and preserving cultural heritage collections, treatments & projects, salvage procedures for wet items, research & development guidelines, and disaster response and recovery. Under collections care, the various topics offer preservation guides in a very well-thought out way – they list topics covered with each guide along with an image from that document. Other topics were not annotated, but offered organized links to articles and guides pertaining to that topic.
A visually appealing and informative website.

North Carolina Preservation Consortium

The NCPC also offers free preservation information and consultations in addition to providing continuing education workshops on a variety of preservation topics. Their website offers online information on preservation topics under the “Resources” tab. Clicking on the topic of choice opens another page with links to other websites. The once exception to that was the link to removing mold – it was an actual article with instructions on what to do and who to contact in an emergency. They provided well categorized links to preservation materials on other websites, yet they are are low on original content.

Northeast Document Conservation Center
The NEDCC offers preservation services including assessment & consultation, education, and disaster assistance. In particular, their educational service provide a wide array of offerings including workshops, webinars, conferences, training opportunities and an online Preservation 101 course (either instructor let for a fee or self-guided which is free of charge). For example, under resources, you will find an informative article about Preserving Family Collections. Offering a number of Preservation Leaflets covering Planning and Prioritizing; The Environment; Emergency Management; Storage and Handling; Photographs; Reformatting; and Conservation Procedures.
They are a well organized site that offers what appears to be good quality content.

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