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Archiver > ESSEX-UK > 2006-06 > 1150415511

From: "jacqueline.cooper" <>
Subject: Re: FILING
Date: Fri, 16 Jun 2006 00:51:51 +0100
References: <>

It seems ill-advised to throw away hard copy since, as someone says, the
life of all digital media is limited. Microfilms can last 100 years but no
one knows if digital media will last that long as it hasn't been around long
enough to tell, and of course the technology keeps changing. But of course
it does take up a lot of space - I would be lost without a proper
office-size filiing cabinet or two, it is still the best way to keep things
organised, although they still overflow into box files, lever arch files,
paper folders and boxes.

The Uttlesford Recorders, of which I'm chairman, had a very useful workshop
once, given by the Saffron Walden Museum conservator in which she gave a lot
of tips about how to ideally look after things. One thing, for instance, is
that she said those sticky transparent photo albums we all buy are deadly
for photographs as they are acidic. She gave us the names of proper
suppliers of acid-free envelopes and boxes. It is cheaper to buy these in
bulk, and is worth approaching the conservator at your local museum to see
if they can buy some on your behalf.

The Recorders are also addressing the problem of how best to catalogue
material and in the autumn will be launching our very own database for this
purpose. Initially it is just aimed at village history Recorders with large
collections to manage, but we will be putting the catalogue online. There
are all sorts of things lurking in village archives, that no one knows
about - we hope to unlock them!

We are also looking into tips on how to index things and came across some
information put out by Devon libraries - I don't know if it is still on
their website. I liked the format for subject headings they gave:

I keep six honest serving men
(They taught me all I knew):
Their names are What and Why and When
And How and Where and Who.

This probably all sounds rather dull, but actually sorting things out,
indexing them logically and conserving them properly is a very creative
exercise and helps ensure that your hard work lives beyond your own
lifetime. We are also advised not to asssume we are immortal and to stick a
label in a prominent place telling our nearest and dearest what should
happen to our archives in the event of sudden demise!

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