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. Below are some good guidelines to follow.
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.
(Guidelines confirmed in and derived from discussion with Donnelly Walton and Allyson Holliday, November 2012; present for discussion: Jeremiah Colonna-Romano, Kate Matheny, and Jessica Anderson)
- 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 on days that you handle materials. The oils in lotions can be harmful to the materials.
- Use gloves when handling photographs, so as not to leave fingerprints
- Do not use gloves for other kinds of materials, as they tend to make our grip more clumsy, so we'll be more likely to damage things
- 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.
- You may use glass to keep photographs and unbound manuscript items flat, but...
- Do not put anything under glass that would be damaged by the weight. This includes all bound items, which should be held in place by a book cradle or else opened directly onto the capture bed without anything on top of it. (You may use foam wedges or other soft materials to prop up the sides.)
- If you need to hold open book pages or hold down paper/image corners that you don't want to put under glass, using soft weights is the okay. If this is an informational rather than an artistic item (a letter vs. a photograph), it is okay for these weights to be in the shot in the finished product.