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Preservation policy

Introduction

The objective of this policy is to out line the activities and actions performed by Clare County Archives in making available and guaranteeing the authenticity of our collections. Archives are inherently unique; therefore, need to be treated in such a manner that will ensure their preservation for the next generation.

Preservation can be classed in two forms: passive and active. Passive preservation ensures the secure maintenance and storage of the original record where neither physical or chemical treatment is used; active preservation can result in the migration of the original record to a new format due any of the following factors: conservation reasons, value, and high demand for reference purposes which may be interfering with its long term preservation due to over handling.

Standards

The archive service strives to adhere to recognised best practice standards:

  • BS5454:2000: Recommendations for the storage and exhibition of archival documents and the standards for the development of archival services in Ireland

These standards outline the recommendations for storage, access, reprography, exhibitions, conservation and disaster planning.

Storage  

  • Environmental controls are one of the main concerns when ensuring continuing stabilisation and avoidance of further damage or degradation to the archives. The storage facility is monitored and controlled to ensure optimum conditions. The temperature range as specified in BS5454:2000 is 16-19° C and relative humidity level 45-60%.
  • Materials are stored in acid-free archival boxes and folders or chemically inert polyethylene/polyester protecting covers. These recommendations are the standard ranges for paper based archives. Open shelving allows air to circulate in the strong room in order to aid ventilation.
  • A security system is in place in the archives to ensure the safety of the collections and is only accessible by authorised staff members
  • Exposure to light is minimal in the archives

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Access

Documents are consulted by researchers under monitored supervision in the Local Studies Centre, Ennis.  Any researcher wishing to access material must read the rules for researchers and complete a research application form before accessing archival material.

Reprography

If a surrogate copy is made it is done so for one of the following reasons:

  • Preventative preservation
  • Legal reasons
  • Reference copies
  • Publications/exhibitions
  • On-line availability
  • Security reasons

When a surrogate copy is made, it should not, in the process of copying, interfere with or be detrimental to the long term preservation of the original record.

Requests for copying of material will be considered on a case by case basis, it will ultimately be the decision of the archivist.

A declaration form must be signed for copyright or confidentiality reasons.

Exhibitions/loans

Exhibitions will adhere to BS5454:2000 standards.

The lending of material for exhibition purposes is at the discretion of the archivist.

The borrower must enter into a loan agreement with the archives.

Surrogacy copies may be provided for an exhibition if deemed appropriate.

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Conservation

The archival importance or significance will be taken into account when making decisions as to eligibility for conservation treatment.

Conservation is completed by members of the Irish Professional Conservators' and Restorers' Association according to best practice guidelines.   

Disaster preparedness

The main objective if a disaster occurs will be the safety of staff or users of the service. The archive service is registered as a priority user with a disaster planning and restoration service in case if such an emergency as fire or flooding. The archives section has implemented it’s own disaster plan in case of emergency.

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Content Last Updated/Reviewed: 07/12/15