Preservation

J. Scrapbooks and Albums

  1. Scrapbooks and albums should be boxed and stored flat on shelves. Given their structure and the techniques used to mount items, scrapbooks and albums are often bulky and do not close tightly. For this reason, boxing is important to keep dust from sifting into the volumes. Flat storage also will keep loose items from falling to the bottoms of volumes, where they could become bent and damaged.


  2. Items that have become detached from scrapbook and album pages may either be placed in polyester sleeves and retained loose in their original file location or referred to a conservation laboratory for treatment. Loose items should not be re-adhered by archival staff using glue sticks, pressure sensitive tapes, or any other adhesives or fasteners.

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K. Photographs

  1. Photographic materials (prints and negatives) that are to be retained within files of textual records should be placed in polyester sleeves. While good quality paper envelopes and sleeves provide appropriate storage for photographic materials in many situations, polyester film is more suitable in instances where photographs interfiled with textual records will be provided to researchers without gloves or other handling or viewing aids. Polyester film enclosures allow immediate visual access to images without the need for researchers to remove photographs as they must do from opaque paper enclosures. Polyester film also serves as a good barrier between photographic materials and adjacent textual records in the same file. The likelihood of photographs ferrotyping (i.e., taking on shiny patches, which sometimes results when gelatin comes into contact with a smooth surface under conditions of high relative humidity) in polyester film enclosures seems to be more a theoretical possibility than a reality in practice and the benefits of polyester film far outweigh the potential problems.
  2. Ideally, each print or negative should be placed in an individual sleeve, and prints and negatives should be filed separately. See also section G, Damaged Records, paragraph 2.) Before they are sleeved, photographs should be lightly dusted with a soft brush. However, damaged photographs or those in poor condition (torn, with lifting emulsions, etc.) should not be dusted.
  3. Written notations on prints should be kept to a minimum. Any written notations that must be made on paper prints should be lightly recorded on the back (in the border area) with a soft graphite pencil (no. 2 or softer). No attempt should be made to mark film negatives; rather, identifying information should be written on filing enclosures before the negatives are placed inside. Given the fact that it is not possible to write on polyester film, such sleeves containing negatives may be placed within paper envelopes, upon which necessary identifying information may be written in pencil.
  4. Fasteners used to affix photographs to one another or to textual records should be removed to avoid damaging emulsion (i.e., image) surfaces. Once photographs have been placed in polyester sleeves, they normally can be attached to paper records, if necessary, using stainless steel paper clips. In such cases, the photographs should be positioned within sleeves so that paper clips do not exert pressure on them.
  5. No attempt should be made to remove photographic prints from mounts, backings, or similar supports.
  6. Glass plate negatives, cased photographs (such as daguerreotypes), and other fragile or vulnerable formats require careful storage to protect them from damage or loss and to keep them from damaging adjacent paper records. A photographic conservator should be consulted regarding storage and handling requirements of various photographic materials (including cellulose nitrate and cellulose diacetate negatives and color photographs), as well as for assistance in identifying unknown photographic media.

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The U.S. National Archives and Records Administration
1-86-NARA-NARA or 1-866-272-6272

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