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Handle With Care

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Handle With Care

Postby Daniel Cossins » Fri Feb 06, 2009 9:33 pm

This week Alan discusses the sensitive issue of how best to handle historical documents.

Having watched the recent episode of Who Do You Think You Are?, in which Rory Bremner donned white gloves to handle 19th-century cremation registers, Alan argues against the use of gloves and discusses the importance of preserving fragile records.

Do you handle old documents? What are the rules in your loal record office?

What is the best way to ensure that these fragile records are preserved for future generations?

Should we be allowed to handle them at all?

Click [link=]here[/link] to read the blog and have your say below
Daniel Cossins
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RE: Handle With Care

Postby paulberyl » Sat Feb 07, 2009 10:33 pm

The only point of producing paper records is that they could, and can, be read. If they cannot be used there is no practical reason for keeping them. Having said this it is important that the documents are treated with care and with respect.

Birmingham City Library have an extensive collection of old books and manuscripts which can be viewed by any member of the public by prior arrangement (slightly different arrangements exist for the Birmingham City Archives also based in the library). When viewing these documents you do not have to wear white gloves as the library believes that these are more likely to damage fragile pages and I am sure I once heard one of the archivists say that that the oils from people's hands actually help keep the pages supple. (Totally different when I am handling my collection of model cars when I always wear white gloves to ensure that I don't get any grease on them off my hands!). However they do provide book rests for fragile books and map tables for reading maps.

There is a place for white gloves - handing old paper documents is not one of them.


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