“Foxing” is a generic term used to describe a range of deterioration mechanisms in paper and photographic documents – the thing they have in common is that they all tend to appear as small brown spots. Some “foxing” is almost certainly caused by the action of mould or mildew as enzymes used by the organisms breakdown the structure of the paper or photograph.
The facts about sticky tape: the types of adhesive and different techniques appropriate for different stages of degradation.
Before going into any detail about the salvage and handling of wet records the importance of relevant training cannot be stressed enough. Contact the government archives, libraries, museums or galleries in your State or Territory to find out what training might be available. The best courses will provide training both in the development of a disaster plan and in the salvage of records – with the very best providing the opportunity to handle and treat examples of damaged records.
The U-Splint book support (Splint) is a simple alternative being trialled at NSW State Archives to help minimize further damage and support the book structure without the need for costly treatment. The books can still be accessed and can be stored vertically.
When State archives that are damaged are requested by a reader, to view in the reading room, they are assessed and treated by our conservators. Damage may have been caused by poor storage practices, unfortunate disasters, or bad handling in the past. We refer to these archives as being “Too fragile to issue” and these archives cannot be accessed either by staff or readers until they have been treated by Conservation.
Photographs have filtered into every aspect of our lives. There can be few people today who have not posed for a family snap shot or reminisced over holiday photos from years ago. The use of photography spans the recording of important moments in history to the more commonplace tasks of insurance and identification records. So important have they become that it is difficult to conceive of a passport without one.