Tag Archives: Preservation

Preservation Matting and Framing

[This blog post was written by Jennifer Blomberg, Head of the Collections Management Branch.]

The Collections Management Branch has been busy preparing State Archives materials to go on display in the Treasures of Carolina: Stories from the State Archives of North Carolina exhibit opening at the Museum of History. Displaying original objects can be very challenging and can even compromise preservation efforts. To minimize the risk and damage of exhibiting our material, we have taken a lot of preservation actions. Some of these include carefully selecting stable original objects, using facsimiles, rotating sensitive and fragile materials, limiting length of the exhibit, having low light levels in the gallery, and using preservation matting and framing.

Long term display of original materials is not recommended, but when displaying an original object is desired, the object needs to be protected from light, air, and touching. Below are some tips and guidelines on preservation matting and framing of original materials.

Preservation Matting and Framing

Preservation matting and framing are the methods and special framing materials used to limit risks to objects on display. The key to preservation matting and framing is using conservation quality materials that are chemically stable.

  • The matboard for the window and the back-mat needs to be made of 100% cotton rag, lignin-free wood pulp stock, and pH-neutral or slightly alkaline.
  • UV-filtering glazing used to help mitigate the irreversible damage from light. Glazing should never come in contact with the object and acrylic glazing should not be used with friable media.
  • Use caution when using wood frames. If using a wood frame, the interior of the frame should be lined with a barrier film to prevent acids in the wood from migrating to the matboard and object.
  • Make sure the mat package is firmly secured in the frame using pins or brads, not tape. Ensure that the frame package is constructed in such a way as to minimize warping, bowing, and bending.

Preferred Display Areas and Storage

  • Always display and store objects out of direct sunlight
  • Do not display objects near fireplaces, radiators, windows, and air vents
  • Display originals on interior walls
  • Do not store objects in basements, attics, or areas prone to environmental extremes or with high risk of water leaks or flooding

Conservation quality matboard package

Conservation quality matboard package

UV filtering acrylic

UV filtering acrylic

Always contact a professional framer, collections specialist, or conservator if you are considering displaying your original materials. Please feel free to contact Jennifer Blomberg, Head of Collections Management Branch if you have questions on preservation and how to protect and safeguard your collections.

Electronic Records Day 2015

October 10 (10/10) is Electronic Records Day!

Electronic Records Day 2015 logo

Sponsored by the Council of State Archivists, Electronic Records Day is intended to raise awareness among state government agencies, the general public, related professional organizations, and other stakeholders about the crucial role electronic records play in their world.

To learn more about what records managers can do to help preserve electronic records, see this post on the G.S.132 Files blog.

If you are on Twitter, you can follow the conversation about Electronic Records Day via the hashtag #ERecsDay.

The staff of the Digital Services Section has also created two Vine videos to remind everyone that digital preservation takes time and planning.

Preservation Week Quiz: Saturday’s Question of the Day

As part of Preservation Week 2015, the State Archives is partnering with the State Library of North Carolina on a Preservation Week Question of the Day – a series of questions related to the preservation of materials both physical and electronic. See the State Library’s blog to see their question of the day posts.

What kind of computer can open the files on this 3.5” floppy disk from 1990?

Dysan floppy disk

  1. Any modern Windows or Mac computer, as long as you buy an external floppy drive.
  2. A Windows computer from around 1990 running MS-DOS and having a working floppy drive.
  3. A modern Windows computer with special hardware installed inside the computer, plus an external floppy drive, plus special software to emulate a 1990 computer.
  4. There is no computer that can read the disk, because the insides of the disk have definitely deteriorated too much by now.
  5. There’s no way to tell. You can’t be certain about whether the data has survived or what it will take to access the files until you start experimenting with different hardware and software.

Do you know the answer?  Find out below the cut.

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Making Digital Memories Persist

[This blog post was written by Kelly Eubank, head of the Digital Services Section.]

A whole generation has grown up with their lives recorded in digital form–photos, videos, class assignments, social interactions. For the digital files that are important to last, the creator must actively manage them. Digital files are vulnerable to loss from either human error (failure to be vigilant), natural disaster (hard drive failure or bitrot) or just plain neglect—unstable file formats, poor file naming, or failure to have multiple copies or move a file from a device before replacing that device.

People get new phones and new devices on average every two years. In order for digital files to persist, people can take some common, relatively painless actions. Firstly, because machines or devices may break, you should always keep multiple copies of files on different devices. If your phone has an option to back up your files to a cloud provider e.g. icloud or GoogleDrive, you should opt to do that. Additionally, we suggest you back up your device to a computer. As you run out of space on your device, you can transfer those to another machine that to delete them from your device. Second, not all file formats are equal. In the world of digital persistence, some file formats are more universally supported and can be read by different types of machines while others are closed and require a specific piece of hard ware and software to read them. For a list of recommended file formats, please consult our guidance document, “File Format Guidelines for Management and Long-Term Retention of Electronic Records.”

Last, when a machine or device saves a file, it typically either assigns it a name or will ask you to name it. If you don’t consciously name it something that will make sense to you now and in the future, you risk losing important files because you cannot remember the name of the file. This is particularly true with digital photos which inherit the name assigned to it by the SIM card. By renaming the file and organizing it according to function or event, you will better be able to discover it in the future. For more guidance on File Naming, please consult our guidance materials, “Best Practices for File Naming” or video tutorials on File Naming at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Hi_A4Ywn4VU&feature=youtu.be.

For more tips and tricks, we invite you to take a look at our Digital Preservation Best Practices and Guidelines website at: http://www.digitalpreservation.ncdcr.gov/

Preservation Week Quiz: Friday’s Question of the Day

As part of Preservation Week 2015, the State Archives is partnering with the State Library of North Carolina on a Preservation Week Question of the Day – a series of questions related to the preservation of materials both physical and electronic. See the State Library’s blog to see their question of the day posts.

True or False: A majority of collecting institutions, more than 80%, do not have a disaster plan in place that can executed by trained staff.

  1. True
  2. False

Do you know the answer?  Find out below the cut.

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Initial Steps Before Recovery of Wet Records

[This blog post was written by Jennifer Blomberg, head of the Collection Management Branch.]

When records have been damaged by water, it is very important to begin the recovery process as soon as possible. However, do not go in and start pulling records. Below are some initial steps that need to be taken prior to initialize the recovery of wet records.

 

Human Safety Is Always the Highest Priority

Do not enter the affected area or building until it has been determined that it is safe to do so. In a water emergency, potential dangers to people include electrical shock and exposure to sewage, chemicals and mold.

 

Security

If confidential records have been damaged, recovery will need to take place under proper security conditions.

  • If the water source is not determined, assume the water is contaminated and protective clothing must be worn. If sewage or other dangerous substances contaminate the water, enlist professional assistance.
  • Do not enter an area with standing water until the electricity has been turned off.

Once safe access is available, assessing and stabilizing the area immediately is necessary. The greatest damage to records happen during the first 8 hours.  Within 48 hours, paper will begin to breakdown and to show initial stages of mold. Photographic and magnetic/electronic media will breakdown sooner.

 

If recovery is beyond your capability to handle due to severity, size, staffing, and/ or resources, contact vendors and specialists immediately.

Quantities too large to stabilize within the first 48 hours should be frozen either for defrosting and air drying at a later date, or for referral to a commercial drying vendor or preservation professional.

 

Inventory and Document

Documentation of every step of the recovery process needs to be done. Be sure to keep a complete inventory of all records that are moved. All records should be eventually removed from the damaged area, even if the records are not wet. They have been in an area that once did, or may still have high humidity level which can promote mold growth.

The inventory needs to include: type of record, record description, record format, original location, extent of damage, new recovery location, and any other tracking/ recovery identification.

Initial Response Flow Chart - click on the image to see a larger version.

Initial response flow chart – click on the image to see a larger version.

For more information on disaster mitigation, preparation and recovery, please feel free to contact Jennifer Blomberg, Head of Collections Management Branch at the State Archives of North Carolina at (919) 807-7308 or at jennifer.blomberg@ncdcr.gov.

Preservation Week Quiz: Wednesday’s Question of the Day

As part of Preservation Week 2015, the State Archives is partnering with the State Library of North Carolina on a Preservation Week Question of the Day – a series of questions related to the preservation of materials both physical and electronic. See the State Library’s blog to see their question of the day posts.

True or False: Paper quality is affected by the materials it is produced from.

  1. True
  2. False

Do you know the answer?  Find out below the cut.

 

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