Preservation is at the heart of archives management. Once the record has been appraised as having archival value for long term retention, appropriate preservation measures should be taken to ensure people will be still able to use the record after a hundred years. CUHK has setup an archives repository with facilities with professional standards to provide a safe home for the archives. In fact, before putting the records into the storage, preservation works are necessary in order to prolong their useful life.
Records in different media (paper, photo, video tape, CD, etc.) require different preservation methods. Taking paper records as an example, the records will be placed in the processing area of the repository first, then the staff will wear clean cotton gloves to check the physical conditions of the records, like seeing whether they are water soaked, or infected with mould and pests. Old records are usually placed into freezer with a temperature of -30°C for a few days to a week to make sure the mould and pests cannot grow. Records with serious damages are needed to be reviewed and processed by professionals. The staff will clean the dusty surface of the records. In case that the content of the document is fading out or becoming illegible, the document will be photocopied by using acid-free archival paper. The original folders, staples, clips will be removed and replaced by containers with archival quality such as acid-free folders, papers, and photo sleeves, etc., finally they are put into archival boxes for storage. Such a process not only prolongs the life of the newly acquired records, it also safeguards the conditions of the stored records that will not be affected by the new ones.
The above case is just a brief introduction of the archives preservation works, and the real-life practice can be much more complicated. The University Archives is currently processing a large amount of records and photos to ensure these precious University assets are properly preserved.
- 香港政府檔案處 – 「保存館藏」HKSAR Government Records Service – “Preserving our holdings”
- 澳門文物保存修復學會 Macau Institute of Conservation of Restoration of Cultural Relics
- Northeast Document Conservation Center (NEDCC) (US)
- The Institute of Conservation (ICON) (UK)
Old records are usually placed into freezer with a temperature of -30°C for a few days to a week to make sure the mould and pests cannot grow.
Preserving photos of Professor Ma Lin’s the 2nd Vice Chancellor: photos are put into acid-free photo sleeves, then put the photo sleeves into document wallet.