Handling Archival Materials

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We work with extremely rare and valuable materials, so it is important that we always handle them with the utmost care. Here are some good guidelines to follow:

  • Always keep your hands clean. Please be sure to wash your hands at the beginning of each shift. As you work, your hands may get dirty if you are handling dirty materials. Please wash your hands often to avoid contaminating other materials. Also, please do not use hand lotion while you are handling the materials. The oils in lotions can be harmful to the materials.
  • Use gloves when handling photographs and other objects that easily take fingerprints. (This excludes most paper items.)
  • One trick for turning fragile pages of a bound item is to slide a piece of copy paper under it, then lift.
  • Be careful! Use two hands to lift materials on and off of the scanner.
  • Be mindful of the condition of the material when deciding whether to put in the book cradle or flatten it under glass. This is especially important for bound materials, as we don't want to crack or otherwise damage the binding.

When in doubt, always err on the side of caution. It's more important to protect the item than digitize it. If you have any questions about an item you are handling, please find Jeremiah to help determine what kind of action should be taken.

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