9. How to Care for Audio/Visual Collections
Audio-Visual collections include a wide range of formats and materials. The most effective and economical preservation measures for saving the physical objects are preventive: good care, storage, and handling.
Tips for handling and storing film
Always handle film by the edges to avoid leaving fingerprints on picture or sound areas.
Store films in plastic film cans or acid free boxes to enable air exchange. Do not tape shut.
Store films on a shelf flat like a pancake rather than upright like a book. Film should be stacked no more than twelve inches high in similar-sized boxes or cans.
Do not throw away your film; get it transferred to DVD or a file for access and preserve the original film.
Look for danger signs like a vinegar smell or white powdery mold. If you find either or both of these, check the websites below for tips on what to do.
Tips for handling and storing video and audiotape
Handle tapes gently and avoid dropping or jarring them.
Never touch a tape (except at the end/beginning of an open reel).
Break off the Record Tab to protect the original recording.
Learn and use correct procedures for operating equipment.
Protect the tape machine and tapes from dust.
Always eject tape at the beginning or the end—not in the middle.
Keep tapes in protective cases when not in use and store them vertically (like a book).
General Storage Guidelines
Wash and thoroughly dry hands before handling A/V materials.
Handle materials in a clean environment and do not allow food, drinks, or smoking in either the storage or use areas.
Store materials in a cool, clean, stable, and dry environment with a consistent temperature and minimal exposure to light. Avoid attics, basements, and other locations with high risk of leaks and temperature and humidity extremes. Storage location should have minimal exposure to strong magnetic fields (such as those created by motors, transformers, loudspeakers, vacuum cleaners, and television sets).
If it is not possible for the collection to be kept in a safe place, consider donating it to a local archival repository after a copy of the original has been made.
Allow materials from cool storage to acclimate to room temperature before playing back.
Ensure shelving is sturdy enough to support the heft and weight concentration of these materials (e.g., grooved discs average 35+ pounds per shelf-foot; all formats concentrate weight on the centerline of a shelf, which can cause some shelving to collapse).
Store grooved discs on shelves with sturdy, immovable dividers every 4-6 inches that support the entire face of the disc in its sleeve.
Do not store grooved discs of different diameters together.
Store 10" reels in boxes with supports for the hub so that the entire weight of the reel is not on the reel edge.
Seek experienced help as soon as possible in the case of disaster.
Audio Preservation: http://guides.lib.uw.edu/research/audiopreservation/home
Library of Congress Keeping Personal Digital Audio: http://digitalpreservation.gov/personalarchiving/audio.html
Washington State Film Preservation Manual: http://www.lib.washington.edu/specialcollections/collections/film-preservation-manual/
National Film Preservation Foundation’s Film Preservation Guide: http://www.filmpreservation.org/preservation-basics/the-film-preservation-guide
Center for Home Movies: http://www.centerforhomemovies.org/
The Home Film Preservation Guide: http://www.filmforever.org/
Video Preservation at Moving Image Preservation of Puget Sound: https://www.mipops.org/
Library of Congress Keeping Personal Digital Video: http://digitalpreservation.gov/personalarchiving/video.html