Users have a responsibility in helping PRONI to preserve the records by handling the records with care. Mishandling of records is a major cause of deterioration. The effects of mishandling may not appear immediately but can suddenly become obvious, particularly if the record is used often.
Practical advice for safe document handling
- Make sure your hands are clean and dry. Wetting fingers (to turn pages) must be avoided.
- For heavy or outsize documents staff are available to help with moving the items to and from the Issue desk – just ask if you need help.
- Place documents securely onto the table - do not let documents overhang the edges of the table.
- Heavy volumes should not be placed on top of other documents/maps.
- Book support cushions are available to support bound volumes.
- Do not force a volume to lie flat or leave it open face downwards Book support cushions and leather weights are available from staff.
- For a rolled document leather weights can be placed at both ends of the document for support.
- Do not fold, crease or bend any document – care should be taken when turning pages or unfolding documents.
- If pages are stuck together talk to a member of staff. Do not try to free or prise apart pages that are stuck together.
- Pencils only must be used around documents. Pens or typing correction fluid must not be used.
- Take care not to mark a book or document; do not lean on a book or document; do not place the paper on which you are writing onto a book or document.
- If paper clips, pins or staples are attached to documents do not try to remove them.
- If documents are held in clear protective sleeves do not remove them.
- Take care when removing or replacing documents in envelopes.
- Do not re-arrange loose papers.
- Gather the document bundles together with care. Do not tie document tape too tightly around bundles.
- Hold photographic negatives carefully, do not flex/bend photographic negatives and prints and do not touch them, except at the edges.
- Take care when loading and removing microfilms.
- Documents must not be removed from the Reading Rooms or taken out of the building.
- Report any document missing or in a fragile condition.
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