Preservation

L. Preservation Photocopying

  1. Systematic paper-to-paper copying of series or groups of archival records for preservation purposes should be made on electrostatic copy machines using archival bond paper. (See :Archival Copies of Thermofax, Verifax, and Other Unstable Records)

  2. Caution must be exercised to ensure that records are not damaged, torn, or broken during photocopying. In most instances, loose archival records should not be run through automatic feed devices; records that are in poor condition (which generally will be the case when preservation photocopies are made) and/or on tissue stock are especially vulnerable in such situations. Damaged or fragile records that have been placed in polyester sleeves for physical protection should not be removed from sleeves before they are photocopied. Fasteners should be removed before copying to avoid having corners or top edges break off as pages are repeatedly folded back. Bound volumes should not be forced flat on copying surfaces; if bindings or their contents will break or suffer damage during electrostatic photocopying, another copying method should be chosen, such as still photography or microfilming.

  3. No attempt should be made to copy oversize records and bound volumes on photocopy machines with small copying surfaces. Records will be damaged as they are manipulated to piece together a complete image. Other options, including still photography, microfilming, and photostatting, should be explored for copying oversize records.

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M. Unstable Copies

Many early reproduction processes are unstable because of the quality of the paper stock used, problems with the inks and chemicals used during processing, and poor fixing of the image to the paper. Archival records created by Thermofax, Verifax, mimeograph, ditto, and early xerographic processes are often very fugitive and should be copied onto archival bond paper. Consult a conservator or photographic technologist for assistance in identifying copies created by various processes.

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The U.S. National Archives and Records Administration
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