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Managing the library and archive environment

Henderson, Jane ORCID: 2011. Managing the library and archive environment. National Art Museum of China Journal 78 , pp. 110-117.

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The life expectancy of collections is significantly affected by the environmental conditions in which they are stored. Environmental problems in buildings can cause significant damage to collections. These can be quite easy to ignore, building up slowly over time until they reach crisis point. The economics of environmental damage are stark. Poor conditions can lead to damage to hundreds or even thousands of items at one time, each of which may need expensive individual repair. Conservators can often repair damage to books and documents, but this is rarely a cheap process and there are many other negative consequences. Books and documents that are being treated are not available for study, and regardless of the quality of the conservation work, something of the original is lost during treatment. This can lead to a less useful or less valuable item. Knowing the environmental conditions in a library or archive is essential for planning the best strategy for the preservation of collections and for targeting your resources effectively. With good recordkeeping, the information collected will provide evidence of good stewardship for funders, professional bodies and future donors. Compliance with relevant standards and professional guidelines, and the requirements of government agencies and funding bodies are additional reasons to implement a programme of environmental management. Collecting and acting on data does take time but is impossible to do on a retrospective basis. Good environmental records will mean that evidence of good stewardship of collections can be produced should it be requested, as a condition of a grant, or as evidence of need to support applications to fund improvements. This booklet provides guidance on environmental management to help you to preserve your books and documents for as long as possible. Although a range of environmental factors can affect library and archive collections this booklet will concentrate on temperature and relative humidity (RH).

Item Type: Article
Date Type: Publication
Status: Published
Schools: History, Archaeology and Religion
Subjects: A General Works > AM Museums (General). Collectors and collecting (General)
Uncontrolled Keywords: Environment collections; care; manage; preventive conservation
Language other than English: Chinese
Publisher: National Art Museum of China
ISSN: 1673-1638
Last Modified: 18 Oct 2022 14:24

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