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Archival records are unique. When you are handling an archival record you are usually handling the only copy that exists. Because of their age, archival records are fragile and rough handling renders them vulnerable to damage and loss of information.
Ensure that you have sufficient clean work space:
Sometimes you may come across two file pins joined together. Please carefully remove the pages above the join, then using your spatula carefully lift the prongs to separate the file pins and with your spatula or pliers straighten out the prongs and proceed as per the images above.
If a pin is badly crimped, you may need to remove the pages in groups, straightening out the pin as you go rather than as one block.
Do not use staple removers. If the staple has not rusted, and the paper is sturdy, a staple can be removed by gently prying the prongs pen and carefully slipping them through the puncture holes. The safest method is to place the stapled papers on a flat work surface with the prongs of the staple facing up. Insert the tip of a microspatula between the paper and a prong of the staple and gently pry open one prong at a time.
Many of the files we digitise have pages with edges that are folded over or creases through text. If any information is obscured please carefully fold back and/or flatten the relevant area to show all the text or information so that it can be easily read.
A completely blank page should not be digitised. We do not scan blank pages but we do scan forms that are not filled out.
In the following example, this form has the words "PLEASE TURN OVER" printed on the bottom of the page which indicates there is information on the other side.
Clients may want to know what information was on the other side of the form so the reverse side should be digitised.
If pages are glued together you need to scan and then gently fold back the top page to reveal as much of the one below as possible, scan and crop this image as shown below. DO NOT attempt to separate the pages to reveal obscured information. These may need to be copied using an overhead scanner.
If you have to dismantle a page, i.e. remove photographs or layered documents obscuring text, do not use plastic clips to position the items back into their original place.
Photographs should only be removed if they are obscuring text with relevant information especially handwritten notations. Otherwise they should be left in place. In this instance the use of an overhead scanner for image capture may be required to prevent scratching of the scanner glass from staples.
Photographs need to be removed with great care to avoid damage:
Sometimes, a file may contain an envelope or plastic bag, a folded map, plan or booklet.
Large format items such as maps and plans can be difficult to work with because of their size and are susceptible to damage through improper handling.
Maps and plans are generally stored flat in folders, or rolled up in long boxes.