G. Damaged Records
- Torn or exceptionally brittle records that are encountered during holdings
maintenance activities should be placed in polyester sleeves sealed along two
adjacent edges to protect them during handling and to prevent further damage.
Polyester sleeves must be larger than the documents being placed in them so that
the records are fully enclosed and protected. Two or more sleeves should not be
used in attempts to enclose a large document. Care also must be taken when
inserting torn or brittle documents into polyester sleeves to avoid causing
Polyester film generates static electricity. Therefore, to avoid
alteration or movement of text or image areas, records containing thickly
applied, flaking, or loosely adhered media (such as charcoal, pastel, or damaged
and lifting photographic emulsions) should not be placed in polyester sleeves.
- The sleeve should be placed on a clean desk or table before a document is
inserted. Polyester sleeves must not be held in mid-air while documents are
being placed in them. To help minimize the static electricity generated by the
polyester film, the top sheet of film should be raised as far as possible
(without lifting the bottom sheet) while the document is being inserted. When
thin, tissue like documents are being sleeved, it is often helpful to position
them on a support sheet of archival bond paper to help ease the documents into
place. The paper support can be carefully removed after the sleeving operation
is complete, or--if the document contains information on only one side--the
support sheet can be left in the polyester sleeve to provide greater rigidity to
- Only one single-page document should be placed in each polyester sleeve.
If several pages are placed together in a single sleeve, researchers will try to
remove them, and are likely to cause further damage to already fragile
documents. Fasteners should be removed from multi-page documents that require
sleeving, and each page should be sleeved individually. An exception to the
single sleeving rule is presented by batches of photographs of low intrinsic
value that are in good condition; groups of such photographs may be sleeved
together to isolate them from adjacent textual records.
- If necessary, several polyester sleeves may be fastened together with a
staple or paper clip to maintain records in the proper sequence. If this is
done, documents should be placed within the sleeves so that the fastener comes
into contact only with the sleeves, not the enclosed records.
- Polyester sleeves should be used only on loose documents. Damaged pages in
bound volumes should be protected by tying or boxing the volumes. Polyester
sleeves are bulky and can damage binding structures if placed within volumes;
they can also function as sharp edges against which vulnerable pages can break
as they move and flex when the volume is handled. Volumes containing damaged
pages should be scheduled for laboratory treatment.
- Documents should be oriented within polyester sleeves so that the two
adjacent sealed edges are parallel to the left and bottom edges of the document.
That is, when looking at the front of a sleeved document, the top and right
edges of the sleeve will be open. This orientation assures the protection of the
document during storage and handling, and minimizes the possibility of loose
fragments falling out of the sleeve. Similarly, polyester sleeves should be
placed in a folder with the long sealed edge positioned at the bottom of the
- Damaged records should be noted in accord with appropriate record keeping
practices in the custodial unit, withheld from research use when necessary, and
scheduled for conservation treatment.
- Under no circumstance should various types of so-called archival or office
pressure-sensitive mending tape be used to effect repairs. These tapes do not
meet conservation standards. Pressure-sensitive tapes disfigure and damage
records. While the aging behavior of different pressure-sensitive tapes vary,
they frequently become discolored, cause inks to bleed, stain records, and
locally embrittle or transparentize records. Removing pressure-sensitive tapes
is not always possible or satisfactory because of the way in which the adhesive
ages, the sensitivity of the media to the solvents required during treatment, or
a combination of factors.
Return to Table of Contents