Caring For Your Own Records

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Many people have family papers and books that they would like to keep in good condition for years to come.  This leaflet gives simple, practical advice on how you can preserve your own collection. There are three main areas of preservation - handling, packaging and storage.


Careful handling of documents can extend their longevity, ensuring they are still in existence for generations to come.

Before handling any document, ensure that

  • Your hands are clean.  Hands should be washed before and after handling documents.  This is for the benefit of the documents and your well being.
  • The area you are using to consult the records is clear of any obstructions that may damage the documents.
  • Any nail varnish worn is removed or cotton gloves worn.
  • There are no items of food or drink in the vicinity as these could easily be spilled or dropped onto your documents.

When using documents, treat them with respect:

  • Don’t lean on them or place notepads on them.  Indentations are easily made but difficult to reverse.
  • Always use a soft pencil (e.g. 2B) to take any notes.  No pens – accidents do happen to even the most careful person!