What is Archival Restoration?
As most local governments, including County and Municipal, are charged with the responsibility of historical record keeping. Those records are critical to the historical foundation of their respective domains, and must withstand the test of time. Over time these records, more specifically paper records, are exposed to various adverse conditions within their environment which contribute to their deterioration.
Examples of these are acidity – present in the air, ink and sometimes paper which causes fading and discoloration; excessive handling by staff, outside researchers and the general public – causing the pages to detach from their original binding and tearing.
The method of preservation depends on the type of record but with most paper records any of the following can be used:
- Archival Grade Polyester Encapsulation (Lamination)
- Placing document in archival, acid free polyester sleeves
- Archival, Digital Imaging, Conversion and Microfilming
With the first two methods, the protected sheets are then placed into a new recorder style binder designed to withstand many years of heavy use. The content sheets can then be imaged or scanned during that time or anytime in the future without the risk of further deterioration.
Who Needs Preservation/Restoration?
Anyone who is responsible for maintaining and safekeeping of permanent records. The safekeeping of permanent records isn’t limited to government officials, but if you are an elected official, it is absolutely CRITICAL that you are proactive in your approach. Lost or damaged records are IRREPLACEABLE.
Those in the government sector include:
- County Clerks & Recorders (Genealogical/Vital & Property Records)
- Circuit Court Clerks (Will Records, Index Books, Case Records, Naturalization Records)
- Assessors (Maps and Plat Books)
- Township and Municipal Clerks (Town Records)
Why Restore & Preserve?
Government records, whether of central government, local government or of other public bodies are vital for democratic accountability. The importance of taking care of permanent records is no different than taking care of any other government property with one major exception….THEY ARE IRREPLACEABLE.
With the continuing trend of employing digital media to store records, it is more important than ever to ensure that your historical record books or any other type of written records are properly maintained, as these records serve as the benchmark for quality of the digital records. If the original records aren’t legible, neither will the digital copy.
The shelf life of various media types also presents a compelling case:
Archival (Acid Free) Paper – 300 to 500 years; Microfilm 100 – 300 years; Digital (CD) 5-10 years.
The alternative cost to not doing restoration is simple… Your valuable County and Town Records will be lost to history.
How We Can Help.
We offer complete restoration services of archival and permanent records books and documents. Our methods are time tested as we have been providing these services to hundreds of local governments over the past 50 years. Whether your project is a few books or a complete archive restoration with hundreds of books, rest assured the end result will be something you can be proud of.