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1 Recommenc3 ations The recommendations of the Committee on Preservation of Historical Records on various options available to the National Archives are presented below. Some general recommendations are given first, and these are followed in turn by recommendations on mass treatment of records, on archival copying, on preliminary preservation actions, and on preservation strategy. GENERAL RECOMMENDATIONS 1. A general improvement in the quality of paper used by the federal govern- ment would be an important step in minimizing future paper problems of the sort now experienced by the National Archives. Since permanent papers are available at a reasonable cost, the government should use such papers for records that have permanent value. 2. Archival standards are available for papers and photographic films. Archival standards are also available for electrophotographic reproduction. The National Archives and Records Administration tNARA) should ensure that the records it creates or copies with these media or processes meet these standards. 3. Archival standards do not exist for magnetic tape or optical disks or for the reproduction of records on such media. Since these media are currently being used by the federal government, and since their use will greatly expand in the future, NARA should promote the development of standards for these media at the earli- est possible date. 4. Major deposits of machine-readable records exist. If these records are to be useful to future research at the National Archives, NARA should be prepared to accession them and to preserve the information they contain. RECOMMENDATIONS ON MASS TREATMENT 5. The standards given in Chapter 3 for temperature, humidity, and pollutants should be implemented [see Tables 3-4 and 3-5 for specific standards). 1

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2 PRESERVATION OF HISTORICAL RECORDS 6. NARA should conduct a study of archival storage containers and microenvi- ronments, including boxes, folders, and polyester encapsulation, with a view to understanding the maximum benefit that can be obtained from particular materi- als and designs. The committee feels that this is an underexplored area that may yield results highly significant to NARA's preservation efforts. 7. NARA should not undertake a mass deacidification program at this time but should monitor the development of deacidification processes. RECOMMENDATIONS ON ARCHIVAL COPYING 8. The media that are appropriate for archival preservation are paper and photo- graphic film, and the processes appropriate to copying using these media are archivally standard electrophotographic processes {for paper) and silver-based micrographic processes {for film). 9. The materials and technical problems inherent in the use of magnetic and optical storage media and the lack of suitable standards for archival quality make their use as preservation media for archival storage inappropriate at the present time. RECOMMENDATIONS FOR PRESERVATION ACTION 10. The National Archives should institute procedures immediately that will yield statistics concerning damaged records that are useful for long-term preserva- tion planning and for deciding treatment priorities. The committee suggests that statistics be kept that reflect the condition of records used both in the reading room and by the staff, and that these statistics be supplemented by the informa- tion generated by the ongoing maintenance operations. 11. The National Archives should establish criteria for frequent and infrequent use and for satisfactory and unsatisfactory conditions so that priorities in treat- ment may be assigned. RECOMMENDATIONS ON PRESERVATION STRATEGY 12. The NationalArchives should adopt the decision procedure and the recom- mendations on treatment and records disposal that are embodied in the decision tree, Figure 8-1, with the caution that this recommendation cannot be separated from Recommendation 13. 13. Portions of the proposed preservation plan include disposal of original records after copying. In these cases, the copy will be the record. The National Archives must establish in perpetuity a program of effective quality control and verification of copying.

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RECOMMENDATIONS ma Ad_ _~ CD'^ . . - - T~ 3 ~.i~....i.~_ ~_e ~- _~ _= ...~........ :.. .i : - == ~ - i ~-~ Asia --- ~~ ~ NahonaJ Archives Central Research Room. A wide range of historical records is available forpub7:ic examinah on.

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- ~, ::~ 1 - - ~ ~ - ; : : : : : : - : - ~ ~ ~d - i: :; a:: t: Record storage stacks at the NationaJArchives. The huge coBec~on includes bound volumes, boxe~papers, andpaperrecord~s of all shapes and sizes.