Preservation of records

Both active and inactive records have to be preserved and protected against possible damage. Common causes of damages to records are mishandling and improper storage.

Records are often poorly handled in daily use as coffee spills or pages are torn. Keeping too many materials inside the file jacket, putting oversized items in small enclosures, and tying the already “over-weight” file with thin strings can damage the file content further. Poor storage environment would lead to rapid deterioration of paper material that will turn yellow and brittle in a short period of time. The text can be illegible once the paper is discoloured. Mould growth on records arising from high humidity storage can be a health hazard to staff. Moreover, pest outbreak would be the consequence if the problems of high humidity and mould growth are not rectified timely.

Paper records

Paper records should be stored in a clean and dry environment (avoid unblocked window, under/near water/sewage pipe, water drain, manhole, water permeable wall, ceiling, water tank; rodents, pets or pests infested areas; volatile or smelly chemicals), and in proper and dedicated facilities (e.g. filing cabinets and filing racks) instead of stacking them on the floor. The storage facilities for inactive records have to be inspected regularly, say, twice a year. More frequent inspections must be arranged in case of events such as typhoon and rainstorm. It is recommended to keep paper records (both active and inactive) in an environment with temperature lower than 24°C and relative humidity (RH) not higher than 65% to ensure their preservation over time. Air-circulation must be ensured in the storage racks and shelves of the records.