Tuesday, October 25, 2005

The first three new flat files have arrived! As you can see in the picture above, there's no room for the files in the current archive space, so we're letting them sit next to the library stacks. Later this week a proposal will be formally submitted to the Vice President of Academic Affairs for more space for the archives and special collections. Three additional flat files have been ordered for our collection - that's six new cabinets to house our map, drawing, and blueprint collection. Once the files are in place, we can begin organizing our resources.

Thursday, October 20, 2005

The effect of proper storage on the longevity of records

This week in the archive, we have continued to rehouse plats printed on a plastic substrate. As mentioned in the post below, this was necessary to increase the life of the records. As you can see in the following picture, we're housing them in drop-front boxes and interleaving the plats so that they won't stick together as the plastic substrate begins to degrade.

The number you can see on the interleaving paper associates the plat with its cataloging position within this box. This will aid the archive in identifying images in future scanning and cataloging projects.

Aside from all of the other reasons previously mentioned, housing the plats in boxes helps protect them from some environmental damage. The decay of records is greatly aided by poor environmental conditions, such as exposure to light, heat, and high humidity. An easy way to see why archives are usually kept cold and dry can be demonstrated by downloading the Preservation Calculator from the Image Permanence Institute. For every increase in 10 degrees Celsius, the life of records is halved; therefore records kept at 65 degrees F will last twice as long as records kept at 82 degrees F. To see how long your photographs and family records will last in your home, download the calculator and plug in your average home or storage unit temperature.

Thursday, October 13, 2005

Appropriate housing for maps and plats

This week in the archive we have begun to rehouse the smaller plats and loose maps. This was necessary as the previous storage strategy used for these materials was causing them to be damaged each time they were accessed. The map below was once housed in a cardboard folder that was too small for its size, and wrapped in glassine, a material that becomes acidic over time. This resulted in frayed edges and damage to the paper:

Now the maps of this type will be housed in drop front boxes of an appropriate size. The drop front will allow for maps to be accessed easily by sliding them out, rather than picking them up at the fragile edges. In addition, the maps in these boxes have been interleaved with Permalife paper. This interleaving gives the archives a place to notate the catalog information for the map, and will prevent further damage to the item as a person retrieving the map can pick up the interleaving paper instead of touching the map directly. Since some of the maps were printed on acidic paper or with inks that rub off over time, the interleaving paper prevents the maps from damaging each other in the box as well.

We are also rehousing the items that were in storage of the wrong size. The plats below were stored flat and in a good flat file; however, because of their small size, this housing was causing them damage. The plats would slide around when the drawers were opened, causing abrasion.

Now the plats are being sorted into smaller drop-front boxes (this one has a divider so that many may be stored together). These plats will also be interleaved, not only for cataloging, but because the plastic material they were printed on degrades over time and becomes sticky. Interleaving the plats will prevent the items from sticking together in storage.

Monday, October 10, 2005

Thanks for a great Georgia Archives Week!

To celebrate our archives last week, the following information from the archives was added to the new SPSU wiki:

Presidents and Directors

Lawrence V. Johnson

Lawrence V Johnson Library Building

John Pattillo

In addition, loads of pictures like the one below were posted to help everyone on campus learn more about the library, the archive and SPSU history. Given the collaborative nature of a wiki, we hope to see others adding information into the articles above soon. It is hoped that by showing off our holdings in the archive last week, the campus will gain a greater understanding of what an archive is, and how ours will work.