Guidelines on preservation and conservation policies in the archives and libraries 1

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  • 1.PGI-90/WS/7Guidelines on preservationand conservation policiesin the archivesand libraries heritageGeneral Information Programme and UNISISTUnited Nations Educational,Scientific and Cultural OrganizationParis, 1990

2. Original : English PGI-90/WS/7 Paris, March 1990 GUIDELINES ON PRESERVATION AND CONSERVATION POLICIES IN THE ARCHIVES AND LIBRARIESHERITAGEprepared by PatriciaChapman GeneralInformationProgrammeand UNISISTUnited Nations Educational, Scientific and CulturalOrganization 3. This document is the photographicreproductionof the authors textRecommended catalogueentry :Chapman,PatriciaGuidelineson preservationand conservationpoliciesinthe archivesand libraries heritage / preparedby Patricia Chapman [for the1 GeneralInformationProgramme and UNISIST. - Paris : Unesco, 1990. - 40 p. ;30 cm. - (PGI-90/E/7)ITitleII - Unesco. General Information Programme and UNISISTIII- Records and Archives Management Programme (RAMP)6 -Unesco, 1990 4. PREFACEIn order to assist in meetingthe needs of Member States,particularlydeveloping countries,in thespecialized areasof ArchivesAdministrationand Records Management,the Divisionof the General InformationProgramme has developeda long-termRecords and ArchivesManagement Programme - RAMP.The basic elementsof RAMP reflect and contribute to theoverallthemes of the General InformationProgramme.RAMP thusincludesprojects, studies and other activities intentedto :- develop standards,rules, methodsand other normativetoolsfor the processingand transfer of specialized informationand the creation of compatible information systems ;- enabledeveloping countries to set up theirown data basesand to have access to those now in existence throughout theworld,so as to increasethe exchange and flow of informationthrough the application of modern technologies;- promote thedevelopment of specializedregionalinformationnetworks ;- contributetothe harmoniousdevelopmentof compatibleinternationalinformation services and systems ;- set up nationalinformationsystems and improvethevariouscomponents of these systems ;- formulatedevelopment policiesand plansin thisfield ;- train informationspecialistsand usersanddevelopthenationaland regional potentialforeducation and trainingin the information sciences,libraryscience and archivesadministration. This study,which was prepared under contractwith theInternational Federationof LibraryAssociations and Institutions(IFLA), tacklesthe problem of conservation, made criticaltodayby the extreme vulnerability of the paper used in the productionofarchivaldocuments and library books,and explainsthenecessity of establishing and applyingrationalconservationand preservationpolicies.Takinginto account whennecessarythe specificcharacteristics of archives and libraries, thestudy aims, asthe author says : "to definea set of guidelineswhich can beselectively applied accordingto the needs ofcollections ina varietyof institutions". In additionto an extensive bibliography,the study includestwo appendices, the firston the security of collections andthe second on conservation survey methodology. Comments and. suggestionsregarding the study are welcomed,and shouldbe addressed totheDivisionof the GeneralInformation Programme, UNESCO, 7 place de Fontenoy, F-7500 Paris.Other studies prepared under the RAMP programmemay also beobtained at the same address. 5. CONTENTS1. INTRODUCTION page 12. PURPOSE AND SCOPE OF THE POLICY23. FORMULATING THE POLICY 44. THE POLICY DOCUMENT7 4.2Preventive Measures 7 4.3Housekeeping9 4.4Training Programmes10 4.5Security 11 4.6Protection 12 4.7Substitution 14 4.8Conservation 14 4.9Disposal 16 4.10 Reprography17 4.11 Exhibitionand Loan 175. IMPLEMENTATION196. CO-OPERATION217. SUMMARY 23a. READING LIST27 0.1Journals 27 a.2General28 a.3Disaster Control 33 iii 6. APPENDIX ISECURITY OF COLLECTIONS 34APPENDIX IIPRESERVATION SURVEY METHODOLOGY 38 iv 7. 1.INTRODUCTION1.1 Booksand documents are made from organicraw materialslargely plant fibres and animal skin. This makes thempronetodecayand vulnerable to their environmentalconditions;particularly the effectsof pollutantsandbiological pests such as fungi,insectsand rodents.Thepoor quality of the raw materials, particularly paper madefrom ground wood pulp,the use of alum-rosinsizes or theinappropriate tanning of book binding leathers, hasexacerbatedtheproblems.The preservation of books,manuscriptsor other artifacts written or printed ontopaperor vellumcannot be compared to the preservationofmuseum objectsor works of art. Unlike the latter, booksand documents are vitalsources of information and theycannot be conservedand stored in an idealand secureenvironmentto arresttheirdecay. They are made to beused,readand studied and this requiresthattheybeaccessible for users and means that they willbe subjectto handling.Any form ofuse Will acceleratethedeteriorationof the item and, ultimately, its destructionif intervention does not occur.1.2 Those who areresponsiblefor libraries and archives,librarians,curators,archivists and conservators, allhave a professionalduty to ensure that items within theircollectionsare maintained in a conditionappropriatetotheir use and their intrinsicvalue.This does notmeanthatallitemsmust be, or shouldbe,preservedindefinitely. At local,nationalor international level,theresourcesare not normallyavailable to enableallitemsto be preservedfor posterity. It is necessary forthose with responsibility for librariesand archivestodeterminea policyforthepreservation oftheircollection appropriateto the aims and objectivesof theinstitution, theneedsof users and the value of theindividual items.1.3 This studysets out guidelinesfor the preparationandimplementationofa preservationpolicy.Itincludesthose aspects of collectionmanagement whichdirectlyaffect the preservationof the items withinthe collectionand discusses some of the options which managersshouldconsiderwhen drawing up a preservationprogramme.1 8. 1.4 It isnot possible to prepare a specific preservationpolicy suitable for adoptionacross the whole rangeoflibraries and archives.Neither is it possibleto compilea setofguidelineswhich willbe appropriate in allcircumstances. This studyaimsto define a setofguidelines which can be selectivelyappliedaccordingtothe needs of collections in a variety of institutions.1.5 There are differences between the role of a libraryand anarchiveas there are between types of librariesand typesof archives.The legalobligations imposedon legaldepositlibrarieslimit theirfreedom in some aspectsofcollectionmanagement as do theresponsibilitiesofnational archives and public record offices. The studyrefers to these differences specificallywhere it is felttobe appropriate. It ISassumed that theresponsibilitiesof specificorganisationswillbeaccountedfor in theircollectionor repository managementpolicy.1.6 In thisstudy, the use of the terms libraryor archivematerialsor collectionsrefers onlytoinformationwritten or printed on paper or animalskins,includingparchmentand vellum.2.PURPOSE AND SCOPE OF THE POLICY2.1 A policyis a formal statementwhich embodies the aims andobjectives of an organisationusuallyover a specifiedperiodof five,ten or more years.It is a statementofmanagement intentwhichwillbe referredtoduringplanningand decision making processes.To be effective,a policy must be under constant review.Reassessmentbasedon experience, changes in the levelof resources orthe objectivesofthe organisation, shouldlead torevisionand updating to ensure that it remains realisticand appropriate.2 9. 2.2 A policyfor preservation cannot be prepared in isolation;itmustform an integralpart of the overall policyforcollection or repositorymanagement.It must take fullaccount ofthe aims and objectives of theorganisation,the needsof users and the place of the collectionorrepository withina local, regional,nationalor eveninternational framework.2.3 The development of a preservationpolicy willbe based ona variety of factors involved in the managementofthecollectionor repository. The policy willbe derived frombalancing the needs and priorities of all aspectsofthelibrarys and archivetswork and Will influence thedevelopmentof, and be influencedby, policies forotherareasof work, such as loans, exhibitions and userservices.2.4 It will rarely be possible for an organisation to preparea preservation policy consistingof a set ofconditionsand procedures to be appliedover thewhole of acollection. Mostcollectionsare made up ofdiscretegroups or individual items which will requireconditionsandproceduresappropriatetothem.Few,if anylibraries,would adopt the same policyfor preservingamodern printed book and a unique item from a rare bookcollection; heritageitems,such as the Book of Kells,Magna Carta or the written constitutionof the countrywillrequireindividual attention. Similarly,archiveswilldraw some distinctionsbetween thecategories ofrecordsin theircare even though all might be classifiedas Wnique"in their content. The policy statementwill,therefore,bring together a group of policies determinedaccording to thevalue and use of groups of itemsorindividuaiitems.2.5 Few, ifany policies,could be issued tostaffasstatementsof workingpractices to be followed. They mustbe interpretedand issued to staff as a set of guidelinesor procedures which are appropriate totheirresponsibilities, and workingpractices. This may requireseverallevels of instruction or guideline,each designedto meet the needs ofdifferentstaffwith varyingresponsibilities andduties.Allstaffbearresponsibilityfor the preservation of a collection andmust have adequaterecourse eitherfor actionor forobtainingadvice or instruction. 10. 3.FORMULATING THE POLICY3.1 The preservationpolicymust be partof the overallstrategyfor the management of a collection or repository.The management policywill definethree main elements:(i> therange and level of material which will beacquired for the collection;(ii)thelengthof timethat material will be retainedinthecollection;(iii) the use whichwill be made of the mater