QUESTIONS YOU MAY HEAR;
QUESTIONS YOU MAY HAVE:

Following are just a few of the most common questions we are asked by records managers. Hopefully, the replies given will answer a few of your own questions and will help you answer those you are sure to get from others.

Q.        WHO NEEDS RECORDS RESTORATION SERVICES?

A.        Anyone who is in charge of storing and maintaining permanent records will eventually have to address the question of records restoration.
This includes, among others, the records managers in:

  • Towns
  • Cities
  • Counties
  • State archives
  • Historical societies
  • Genealogical societies
  • Corporate archives
  • Religious institutions
  • Schools

Q.        WHY HAVE RESTORATION WORK DONE?

A.         It is as important to maintain permanent records as it is to maintain any of the other property of a Town, City, County or State with this important difference:

Permanent Records are Irreplaceable

If a piece of equipment becomes unusable, a new one can replace it.
But if permanent records are lost, they are gone forever.

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Q.        WHY NOT JUST MICROFILM PERMANENT RECORDS?         

A.       Microfilm can be a useful tool to store permanent records, but microfilm has important disadvantages when used as the primary source of permanent records preservation.

While having a document on microfilm for security reasons makes good sense, as the primary source of permanent records information, microfilm can be difficult to work with for the general public

  • Microfilm can be harder to read than the original, especially films of early records which may be written in stylized script or written on paper that has deteriorated
  • Microfilm can be more difficult to access; providing enough readers and printers for public demand can be costly
  • Microfilm is subject to deterioration without proper storage
  • Microfilming large-scale projects may not be cost effective considering the disadvantages noted above
  • Microfilming does not address the important question of still-decaying original records

Q.        WHY NOT JUST RECREATE PERMANENT RECORDS?     

A.         Xerographic reproduction as a primary source of preservation has some of the same problems as microfilming: it is often difficult to read and it also does not tackle the problem of deteriorating original records. An additional major problem is the need for increased storage space required to house recreated records along with original records which must remain accessible.

Census Records
What would a digital/microfilm image look like if imaged as is
"without treatment"?
Imaged without tape removal &
restoration.
Tape removal and restoration
performed
Sound preservation practices will ensure that important documents remain accessible to present and future generations.

TAPE REPAIRS... A BAD WRAP!
lady removing tape
Tape removal image
Tape removal on document
Over the decades, diligent, well-intended staff members in charge of caring for the permanent body of information that forms the skeleton of our communities have made attempts to repair torn and fragmented pages using cellulose tape (scotch tape) and other similar material. These materials ARE HARMFUL TO PAPER! They are unstable and cause damage to paper fiber. Staining from acidic adhesives can cause quality issues when imaging the stained area. Water-based, synthetic and pressure sensitive adhesives MUST BE removed in order to enhance image quality and minimize damage to the original.

Download pdf on Tape Repairs... A Bad Wrap»

Remember, there is not better record than the original

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Q.        WHY NOT JUST REBIND PERMANENT RECORDS?

A.         While rebinding does provide added protection, it does not address the major cause of paper deterioration


Acid contamination of paper is quietly destroying
irreplaceable information

Q.        WHAT ABOUT DIGITIZING PERMANENT RECORDS?

A.        Digitizing is an important tool in records preservation both for storage and access. However, access can become difficult to impossible as technologies evolve. Information once available often becomes “stranded in the past, with no bridge to the future!” (Because new software and hardware cannot access the information written using outdated hardware and software programs). It is vital to consider the preservation issues associated with digital formats before digitizing begins.

Q.        HOW LONG DOES IT TAKE TO HAVE PERMANENT
            RECORDS RESTORED?

A.         The turnaround time must take into consideration that continual access to records is necessary; it should not exceed eight to ten weeks. 

Q.        WHAT HAPPENS IF SOMEONE WANTS INFORMATION FROM A
            BOOK WHICH IS BEING RESTORED?

A.        Information can be given over the phone,  faxed, emailed or sent through the mail to authorized personnel.

Q.        HOW LONG WILL BOOKS LAST AFTER RESTORATION?

A.        Unlike museum restoration, where items are generally not handled by the public, restored permanent  records are often reintroduced into daily use. That is why records are restored in strict accordance with the highest standards in materials, methods and workmanship. With reasonable maintenance and care, it is estimated that restored records can perform for as long as two to three hundred years before they need attention. Aging studies estimate that paper which has been deacidified may not need treatment again for several hundred years.

Q.        ARE THERE OTHER ADVANTAGES TO RECORDS             RESTORATION?

A.        Yes. Records managers who begin a restoration program can be proud that they have taken the most important step possible to preserve the written history of the communities they serve, making this unique information available to future generations. At the same time, they are making their lives easier because they no longer need fear using permanent records which have been physically and chemically preserved.

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