Facilities and Equipment and Raw materials

Space requirements and facilities will vary with the size of the institution and the development of the archival program. Planning for archival facilities should include consideration of the potential types of media to be stored, the archives’ organizational environment, the potential clientele for the archives to support and serve, and the types of functions and services the program will provide. The following recommendations are for minimal facilities and equipment for the proper functioning of an academic archives.

A. Facilities for Academic Archives

1. General considerations.

Fire Resistant

The archives should be in a fire-resistant or fireproof building and equipped with an appropriate heat/fire detection and suppression system, including smoke and heat detectors and fire extinguishers. Local fire codes and regulations may dictate the final choice of these items. Archivists should consider their specific needs, resources, and the range of system alternatives before selecting one.

Temperature and Humidity

Maintain constant temperature and humidity conditions. Since most archives store a variety of materials together, each with different optimum storage conditions, it will be impossible to provide ideal conditions for all materials. Archivists should be familiar with professional and industry standards for their range of record storage media. Suggested ranges are—temperature of 60-70ºF. (16-21ºC.) and relative humidity of 40-50%. It is especially important to minimize fluctuations within the suggested ranges.

Security System

A security system should protect the archives. All archives areas should have locks. Only authorized personnel should ever have access to the keys or combination to these areas’ locks.

Ultra Violet Light Filter Screens

All windows and fluorescent lighting in the archives should have appropriate ultra violet light filter screens, particularly display areas and areas where archival material is on open shelves.

Archives Building Features

Archives should have convenient access to a loading dock and elevators as required.

Archives should have direct access to running water and sinks.

In a multi-story building, archivists must ensure that floor load capacities will support appropriate shelving and records loads.

Protect or locate archives away from environmental or structural hazards such as leaky pipes or wet basements.

Adequately wire the archives for computer and communications services.

2. Other considerations.

a) Administration: Provide adequate space for staff and standard office equipment and supplies.

b) Work areas: Provide separate space for examining and processing records. This area should be large enough to accommodate large tables, computing equipment, and other equipment for processing records.

c) Reference/research area: This space should be separate from, but convenient to, storage and work areas. It must be:

Supervised and restricted;

Large enough to accommodate several users;

Well lighted;

Furnished with appropriate furniture and accommodations for lap top computers and other electronic devices if the archives’ reference policies permit their use.

It should provide:

A separate space and facilities for checking bags, briefcases, and coats;

Space for user registration;

An area for discussing researchers’ needs without disturbing other researchers;

Space for reference collections and finding aids.

d) Storage areas: Only archives’ personnel should have access to the stacks. The area should be large enough to:

Accommodate present holdings;

Permit the future growth of the archives. Determination of future space needs will depend on several factors, but reviewing annual accession rates will provide some guidance.

e) Other areas: The functions provided by the archives program will determine the space for other areas. Space needs may include areas for;

Exhibits and public programs;

Special media, such as microforms, photographs, oversized items, and emerging electronic media.

B. Equipment and Supplies

Archives should have enough shelving for present holdings and for five to ten years of projected growth. It should be constructed of material that is safe for archival records with adjustable shelves to accommodate the types of materials and containers used for storage.

Archives must provide appropriate storage equipment for oversized items, photographs, maps, and other items which may vary in size or types of media. Major types of necessary equipment and supplies include:

Computers, word processors, printers, photocopiers, and other electronic equipment as appropriate;

Equipment appropriate for transporting boxes and other archival materials;

Folders, document cases, boxes, or other containers appropriate for the long-term preservation of archival materials; Shiffoning materials

  • Standard office supplies.

Special equipment required will depend upon the types of records and their potential uses. Other items to consider include microform reader/printers, public access and network computer terminals and printers, Micrrofilm, Fumigations section, Preservation section, De-acidification Section and a scanner.