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Tameside Local Studies and Archives Preservation Policy

 
 

Aims of the policy 

  • To preserve our holdings for current and future use. 
  • To ensure high standards of conservation are maintained. 
  • To provide and maintain documentation systems designed for conservation and preservation. 
  • To raise preservation awareness among staff and readers.

Storage

 
The Local Studies and Archives Centre (LSAC) was designed to comply with the British Standard on storage and exhibition of documents (BS5454). 
  • Air conditioning, other equipment and the building, will be monitored and maintained.
  • Temperature and humidity levels are monitored and controlled
  • Storerooms are kept clean and tidy
  • Lighting in the storerooms is kept to a minimum and there are UV filters in the search room
  • Access to store rooms is controlled
  • The building and contents are kept secure by the Vesda fire detection system, intruder alarms, panic alarms (linked to emergency services) and CCTV monitoring. All this equipment is regularly maintained.

Public Use 

  • Staff are trained in document handling and transportation
  • Users will be given verbal and written guidance for handling documents
  • The search room has been designed for easy supervision and CCTV is installed
  • Document supports, cotton gloves, weights and other equipment are made available
  • We have created and will maintain procedures for the secure production and use of documents
  • Staff may not be able to produce very fragile documents when requested, but efforts will be made to have the documents repaired or a copy provided.
  • We will provide finding aids which will encourage efficient use of documents and prevent unnecessary production (and consequent exposure to fluctuating temperatures)
  • Where surrogates exist we expect users to consult them in place of originals unless there is a positive reason for not doing so (e.g. visual impairment, need to see original colour, need study matter only visible on originals such as watermarks)
  • Documents may be too fragile to be copied though we will make every effort to allow copies including allowing digital photographic copying (subject to copyright). When documents cannot be produced or copied full explanations will be given to users
  • Procedures for the safe loan and use of documents in exhibitions are developed and maintained 

Emergency 

  • We do risk assessments for our building and services which are regularly updated
  •  A disaster plan and business continuity plan have been developed and maintained
  • We have a contract with the Harwell Drying and Restoration Service
  • A disaster store is maintained at Stalybridge Library, where duplicate books, negative microfilms and other materials are held 
  • “Disaster bins” have been developed and maintained at LSAC and our disaster store 

Staff 

  • Staff are trained in document packaging, storage and handling techniques and to recognise fragile documents
  • Staff keep up to date with new developments in the field and look for opportunities and resources to allow larger scale conservation and surrogate production
  • Staff are aware of relevant standards and guidelines such as BS5454, Standard for Record Repositories, Local Studies Guidelines and NPO Basic Preservation Guidelines for Library and Archive Collections
  • Staff are trained to monitor the reading room and security of the stores
  • Staff are trained in basic document cleaning techniques and to protect fragile documents with folders, melanex etc.
  • Appropriate trolleys, lifts etc are provided to allow proper transport of documents 

Conservation

  • Documents will be assessed by staff on accession, mould and similar problems will be dealt with immediately, other conservation problems will be noted for future repair
  • Fragile documents discovered in the existing collection will be brought to the attention of the Archivist who will decide on appropriate action, but the collection is too large for, and resources do not allow, a systematic conservation survey 
  • Documents are kept in appropriate acid free storage and checked for metal pins etc on cataloguing
  • Documents will be sent for repair based on condition and stability, expected levels of use, existence of copes, intrinsic historical value and budgetary considerations
  • Conservation will be carried out by qualified staff at Greater Manchester County Records Office (GMCRO) or by commercial conservators)
  • Procedures for the sending away and safe return of documents are developed and maintained
  • Conservation treatments will be sympathetic to documents, will not remove, diminish, falsify or obscure the evidential value of the document and will be reversible
  • Surrogates will be made available and used when documents are particularly fragile and in heavy demand.