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What is archival?



At  9:49 am 11/11/1995 -0500, Peter D. Verheyen wrote:

>I think we're confusing the issue of what archival means ...
>Archival, to
>me as a conservator, means reversible and not harmful to the object.

As a library administrator, I'm inclined to say that a temporal factor
should be part of the definition. All a person has to do is to study a
library where 30 years' worth of book repairs are falling apart at once to
be deeply impressed that durability counts. The less frequently one has to
restore an item, the more items one can save.

(If a conservation department restores 1,000 books per year with a 20 year
durability, 20,000 books can be saved before the process must start over.
But if the durability is 200 years, then 200,000 books can be saved. Even
if the rate per year is cut in half, a total of 100,000 can be saved by
that department.)

I would suggest too that the term "archival" has more than one proper
meaning. For example, it wouldn't make much sense to say that archival
paper is reversible. Sometimes archival means stable and designed to last,
does it not?

______________
-- Norman E. Anderson
    anderson@xxxxxxxxx
    http://www.shore.net/~anderson/neapage.html


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