The following are my highlights/notes from her very worthwhile presentation. I hope you will be as surprised by some of her insights as I was.
Preservation of records - general rules to prevent damage and reduce deterioration:
0. - If what you are planning to do isn't reversible - then simply don't do it!
1. Lower temperatures - keep them cool.
2. Lower humidity - keep them dry
3. Low light - keep them in the dark
4. Low air pollutant levels -
Foxing - records with rust looking stains from higher humidity
Mold & Insects also cause deterioration and damage
Confusing and Clearer Preservation Terms:
"ARCHIVAL" - it actually has no meaning from a presevation standpoint and is primarily for mere advertising to convince you that some product is better than another.
"ACID FREE" - not a good term because no sold paper or sleeve or folder is completely free of substances that deteriorate over time. Wood pulp with high cellulose makes paper that can last longer naturally, but it still deteriorates.
Better Materials to Use:
Polyester is a good example and Gaylord and Hollanger both sell preservation materials that are reliable in these two regards (Chemical Inert and Stable).
Beware of general plastic especially if it designed for long term storage of food products. i.e; baggies and cellophane, etc.
Acid Free Folders, Acid Free Document Boxes, Other Ideas:
The Container Store sells some pricey materials labelled "Archival"
New Terms: "Buffered vs. Unbuffered" - buffered adds recyclable materials to reduce acid levels, but alkaline issues can be problematic - pH is a delicate balance. Unbuffered has cellulose only so it is best. Acetic acid was mentioned several times by Pamela which is essentially vinegar in various pH concentrations. A difference of just a few % strength can mean a world of difference with paper, folder, and even cardboard deteriorating more quickly.
FAMILY PHOTO PRESERVATION:
Black and White photos are more stable and usually fine to last a long time when not interfered with by other adjacent less stable materials.
Color photographs, however, are problematic due to the vast array of less stable ingredients used in the various dyes so Copy/scan & digitize them for longer preservation options. You may want to modify scanned color images with the MSO Picture Manger back to black and white and save under a slightly different name, print and file that if you like - this is incredibly easy on most recent computers. Below are two images as an example of one of my compilation images switched to B & W which took only about five seconds to modify and save: