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Newspaper: One of the greatest archival challenges
Updated: 2013-02-28 10:28:55.0 CST Category: Newspaper Archiving Methods
No one will forget legendary headlines like "MAN ON THE MOON," "KENNEDY SHOT" and even "U.S. KILLS BIN LADEN." As memorable as these pronouncements are, museums and archives across the nation and around the world have still saved and archived them so future generations can look back and remember these notable times in history.
Reading the newspaper is one of the best ways to get a feel for what is going on in a culture and time period, making it one of the most commonly archived items in historical centers, museums and other organizations. Unfortunately, newsprint is one of the most difficult documents to store and maintain.
Whether you are saving clippings from a historical event, articles you have written or pages that are relevant to your organization, there are some techniques you can employ to best preserve these important documents.
Why is newspaper so hard to archive?
Newsprint was and still is designed to be cheap and temporary - after all, most people skim and discard the millions of pages that are printed each day. Produced at the lowest possible cost, newsprint contains acid, lignin and many other impurities that make it a poor candidate for preservation. Fortunately, various processes and products have been developed and designed to extend the life of newspapers as long as possible.
Bring it to a pro
Store it right
• Bags. With their high acidic content, newspapers need to be stored in archival quality Polyethylene Bags in order to be preserved. Polyethylene is a chemically stable plastic, and will not interact with the chemicals in the newsprint and cause damage. Plus, this plastic is transparent, which makes organizing or sorting through your documents easy.
• Boxes. Once your newspapers are bagged, it is important you place them in archival Drop Front Boxes. These archival boxes are particularly well-suited for newsprint because they feature a hinged "drop front" panel on the long side. This makes it easy and safe to insert, remove and examine the documents without bending or flexing the items or risking accidental dog-earing. It is important that you choose the right size - simply measure your newspaper's length and width and choose the appropriate size.
If you are storing a number of newspapers, you might consider purchasing New Storage Kits. These come with one drop-front box, 10 poly bags and a metal or plastic desiccant canister. The latter item is an agent that can be used to further reduce the humidity within the box and provide thorough protection for the newspaper. The canister can be reused after it is carefully heated.
• Location. Even with this protection strategy, the storage location matters. Make sure you keep newspapers in a cool, dry environment.
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