Handling Archival Materials
From UA Libraries Digital Services Planning and Documentation
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.)
- 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.
There are certain conditions of materials that are "red flags" - a case when we need to go and get an archivist to determine how to proceed. Some of these conditions are:
- If a book's binding breaks during handling.
- Sheets are stuck together
- The item contains fasteners that appear to be original to the document (not modern staples or clips).
When in doubt, always err on the side of caution. If you have any questions about an item you are handling, please find Jeremiah to help determine what kind of action should be taken.