When looking for suitable premises or moving your archive, safety for your users and collections should be one of your top concerns. Fire and moisture has historically caused the most damage to archives, so safety from those elements is paramount. Additionally, you'll want to ensure that your documents are adequately protected from pollution, damage and unauthorized access.
If you are storing brittle or sensitive collections, it is important for the archive to be stored in a cool and quite dry room with stable temperatures. The daily variation in temperature should not exceed ± 2 ° C. High temperatures, humidity and changes in temperature speed up chemical changes and the degradation of your stored material. With humidity above 65%, mold can easily spread through your collections.
In order to properly regulate the temperature and humidity in an archive, a climate system is recommended to be installed. Additionally, ventilation ducts and filters are necessary to prevent dust and mold from accumulating in the room. If you are using an electronic high density mobile shelving solution for your archive, make sure it is equipped with a “ventilation mode” so that optimal ventilation can be achieved throughout all aisles at scheduled times.
Fire prevention is an important consideration when archiving documents and collections. To ensure that your archive stays safe from potential fire damage, it is important to consider installing fire-resistant doors, window, walls, floors, and ceiling. If you are using electronic high density mobile shelving systems to store your documents or collection, you have the possibility to connect the system to your fire alarm. When the fire alarm goes off, the system gets a signal to go into a certain position e.g. close to protect the collection from smoke.
Archivists should be aware of the potential for water damage. Pipe work and plumbing should never be routed through an archive storage area, and the archive should neither be placed directly under water tanks, boilers or pipes. For added safety, shelving should always be secured to both the floor and ceiling rather and never directly affixed to exterior walls. This will ensure proper airflow around your items.
Archive collections must be minimally exposed to both sunlight and artificial light sources. LED lighting is a great option as it can provide the same levels of illumination in a much more energy-efficient way, without releasing any UV or infrared radiation that could degrade the documents and artifacts stored within. Electronic mobile shelving systems can also be equipped with lighting that only turns on when someone enters an aisle. This will help to ensure the longevity of historic collections.
When selecting an archive storage solution for your documents and items, you also have to make a choice on the material of the storage system. To keep in mind:
In order to keep your stored possessions safe from unauthorized access or theft, security features can be added to your high density mobile shelving system. Features as:
In addition to these 6 important factors, there is a lot more to take into consideration when creating a safe and secure archive. With over 70 years of experience in developing storage systems for archives, Bruynzeel Storage Systems understands the importance of safety when archiving documents or collections. We can provide you with valuable advice on how best to proceed when archiving your documents or collections.