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Subject: Mass preservation of photographs

Mass preservation of photographs

From: Richard Pearce-Moses <buster>
Date: Wednesday, October 4, 1995
Several aspects of preserving large collections of negatives have
been bouncing around in my head recently, and I'd be curious the
opinions of others in evaluating the following possibilities.

    1.  While we've seen preservation projects for duplicating or
        otherwise preserving nitrate and diacetate negatives, IPI's
        research suggests that virtually all 20th century negatives
        (other than those on a polyester base) will need
        preservation.

    2.  Cold storage is an effective means to slow the rate of
        deterioration.

    3.  At SAA, I heard a paper on Archives II's photo storage.
        They were able to regulate the environment within their cold
        storage chamber that the materials did not need to be put in
        special cold storage enclosures.  (As I understood it, they
        were able to get around this by ensuring that the materials
        never crossed the dew point.  Keeping the room around 55F
        was part of that trick.)  Hence, you're not spending lots of
        money on materials and labor housing the materials.

    4.  Instead of investing lots of money in duplicating a portion
        of the collection (the nitrate/diacetate, and often just a
        sampling of those negatives), spend that money on building a
        cold storage unit that could contain all the negatives
        (including the triacetate).

Given some of the budgets I've seen for dupe projects--even those
that are based on samples--and the figures for cold storage
facilities I heard at SAA, seems like one could preserve the whole
in cold storage for less than a fraction through duplication.

Thoughts?

Richard Pearce-Moses
Documentary Collections Archivist/Automation Coordinator
The Heard Museum
22 E. Monte Vista
Phoenix AZ 85004
602-252-8840
Fax: 602-252-9757

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                  Conservation DistList Instance 9:32
                 Distributed: Thursday, October 5, 1995
                        Message Id: cdl-9-32-003
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Received on Wednesday, 4 October, 1995

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