Preservation Tips

Tips for Preservation and Maintaining Club Records
The following information is a guide for preserving and maintaining club records. Clubs who wish to maintain their own records may use this as a starting point. Material such as paper, photographs/negatives and video and audio cassettes are covered in this web page. Refer to the links for a comprehensive guide for preserving and maintaining archives.

For a comprehensive guide on preservation, visit the Library of Congress Preservation web page

Additionally, the Society of American Archivists publishes many books on various preservation related issues.

Archival products can be ordered through various vendors. Below are a few vendors that provide archival quality supplies.

University Products
(800) 628-1912

(800) 448-6160

Hollinger Corporation
(800) 634-0491

Paper material deteriorates over time. Some material, such as newsprint, may be highly acidic and therefore accelerate the deterioration process.

Newsprint should be separated from paper documents. Place newsprint in acid-free enclosures, such as an envelope. Place the enclosure in an acid-free envelope and box, as shown below.

Paper documents, such as correspondences, may contain metal pieces (e.g. paper clips and staples), which should be removed. Rust from metal clippings will cause damage. Carefully remove the metal clipping with an archival spatula, found at most archivist supplies, or a staple remover. If, however the document is very brittle, then removing the metal clipping may cause further damage. Leave brittle items alone, and contact a professional conservator if the item is highly valuable. Additionally, rubber bands and plastic clips should also be removed to protect the integrity of the document. Once all extraneous items are removed, place the documents in an acid-free folder and label it.

Folded material, unless it is too brittle, should lie flat.

Place all labeled folders in an acid-free box or carton file box.

To lessen unnecessary rifling, create an inventory of your records.

Photographs and Negatives
Use extra care when handling photographs. Natural oils and salts from human skin can permanently damage photographs. If possible, wear lint-free cotton gloves or handle photographs on their outer edges. Never use permanent ink to label photographs. If identifying a photograph, use a number 2 pencil on the lower-right hand back of the photo. Place in a plastic-type sleeve (e.g. Mylar®, polypropylene, or polyethylene). Place sleeves in an acid-free folder, label and box.

Video and Audio Cassettes
They should be stored vertically in polypropylene boxes found at archival suppliers.

Storage for Your Records
Once all folders are labeled and boxed, place boxes in a dark, dry area away from extreme temperatures. Light from artificial and natural sources, (e.g. florescent light bulbs and sunlight) can cause chemical reactions and accelerate the deterioration process. To prevent chemical reactions, turn lights off when not in use and close shades or blinds to prevent damaging ultra-violet lights from entering the storage area.

Humidity can also speed up the deterioration process. Too much humidity or too little will hasten chemical reactions. Avoid opening windows, especially during warm, humid months.