Preventive measures to protect archival materials from deterioration

Proper handling of archival items is an important element in preserving them. Archival materials should therefore be always handled with care. It is necessary to wear clean cotton gloves or close-fitting surgical gloves to handle them. For fragile items, a rigid support should be provided instead of directly handling them especially in moving the items. Heavy and oversized items must be transported on trolley. It is a good practice to put interleaving archival paper between pages of artworks to protect them from abrasion, ink or adhesive transfer.

As a good practice, GRS encapsulates flat paper materials with clear polyester sheets to provide support and to allow viewing without being taken out of its housing that takes the majority of handling pressure and abuse. The process of encapsulation involves sealing the edges of two polyester sheets by ultrasonic welding that sandwich the flat paper item. Heat lamination should not be used as this treatment is not reversible and will lead to the accelerated deterioration of the material within.


All audiovisual materials require corresponding machines to access the information content. These machines have to be well-maintained; otherwise the audiovisual materials will be destroyed upon playing back. The machines have to be kept clean regularly, before and after each use. It should be noted that every time when the audiovisual material is played in the machine, there is a risk of being damaged even in well-maintained machine. Therefore, it is very important not to use the single copy of the collection for viewing. Proper duplicates should always be made and used for access and exhibition. The number of viewing of the original materials should also be kept to the minimum as far as possible.