Wednesday, August 11, 2010

How to handle old books

Just about everyone has some special paper item which they would like to preserve. Be it a rare book, a family heirloom, a special love letter, or other important historical documents. Protecting these treasures from threat of destruction or damage is important to us. There are numerous contaminates and destructive properties which can harm your prized possessions. Some are obvious such as fire and water. Others are less known about, such as chemical and dust contamination, biological hazards, light, and folding. Without knowledge of the correct method to store and protect your valuables you will be unable to determine how much of an extended life they will be able to endure. Here are a few tips to help you preserve your old books, letters, newspapers and other treasured paper possessions.

To protect and preserve your collectibles from fire, storage in a fire proof box, safe, or filing cabinet is your best bet. The storage container should be packed as tightly as possible to prevent bending and creasing of the document. The more items you pack inside the container, the less air will be present, and without air, it is unlikely that fire will be able to infiltrate the container.

To protect from chemical and dust contamination valuable papers should be stored in Mylar sleeves or acid free folders. Acid free folders are the preferable protection medium. Dust is an abrasive and will cause damage to a paper's surfaces. The oils and acids that are on your hands will also harm paper documents, that is another reason why they should be stored in transparent sleeves and folders. Wearing latex, nitrile or white cotton gloves while handling these documents can further serve to extend their life. Prior to placing your paper documents into the Mylar sleeve or acid free folder, a can of compressed air should be used to blow all dust and dirt from their surface.

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