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Digital Projects Toolkit: Physical Preservation

Physical Preservation

Physical Preservation

Preservation does not have to be difficult. Physical preservation is probably the best place to start with a collection. You want to make sure your materials are properly stored and cared for to ensure their longevity. There are easy steps that can be taken to do this.


Key Concepts

  • Temperature & Humidity
    • Store items in a dry, dark, and climate-controlled area of the house (like bedroom closets)
    • Do not store items in garages, sheds, basements, or attics
    • Avoid extremes in temperature and relative humidity
  • Handling
    • Always handle items with care
    • Try to minimize handling when applicable
    • Wear archival gloves or make sure your hands are clean
  • Identify & Label
    • Use a pencil to carefully write information on the back of photographs
    • Create an inventory for your collection
    • Identify the who, what, when, and where
    • Use full names (avoid things like "mom" or "Grandpa")
  • Protection
    • Make copies and distribute them
    • Store originals in a safe place
    • Display copies instead of originals
    • Protect items from dust, light, and handling with archival boxes, folders, and sleeves

More detailed information about the digital preservation process is available at the PDF below and on the "Resources" tab of this section.

Physical Preservation: Resources

An additional resource would be the State Archives division of the State Historical Society of North Dakota. If you have any questions about preserving your physical collection, they would be happy to assist.

Organizing & Arranging Collections