St. Francis Xavier University Archives Preservation Policy

1. Introduction/Background

The St. Francis Xavier University Archives (hereafter, the Archives) is committed to the preservation of archival collections in its Mandate and Polices (revised and approved June 24,1996). The Preservation Policy is a detailed expression of this commitment and is in keeping with the criteria for institutional membership for the Council of Nova Scotia Archives.

2. Purpose/Objectives

This policy will establish guidelines and procedures for the preservation management of all archival material housed in the Archives. It will provide consistency, uniformity, and impartiality in the procedures and conditions under which preservation decisions are made. This policy will also provide the necessary legal and authoritative basis for the Archivist and archives staff to exercise preservation duties.

3. Strategic Direction

The Archivist will assume the overall responsibility for the planning and implementation of a preservation management program for the Archives. He/she will direct archives in order to provide optimal preservation to preserve the archival collection. Preservation management will become part of all archival functions and will be implemented in order to provide continued access to the collection.

4. Scope

This policy pertains to all records housed in the Archives.

5. Authorities

Authority to implement this policy is obtained through the sanctioning of the University administration and by virtue of the St. Francis Xavier University Archives Mandate and Policies.

6. Definitions

The act of obtaining records for the archives, through donations, transfers, loans, or purchase.

The physical care and treatment of archival materials, including cleaning, storage, and repair of records to prolong access without or with minimal sacrifice of historic and aesthetic integrity.

Preservation is the prevention of deterioration, damage or loss of material in the collection and may include stabilization, repair, and conservation treatment.

Preservation Management
The managed, archives-wide program under which assessment, planning, and acting on preservation manners will take place. It entails, but is not limited to, evaluating the present state of preservation in the archives, establishing and implementing policies and procedures to correct or mitigate preservation problems in the everyday archival functions of the archives.

The process that involves the transfer of information, not limited to textual, from an unstable format to a more stable one. The original will be retained where possible.

7. Policy Statements

It is the policy of the St. Francis Xavier University Archives to apply professional archival standards and preventative conservation in relation to the care and handling, storage, and access of archival material to ensure longevity of the collection.

7.1 Acquisition and Retention

The Archivist and archives staff will examine all new acquisitions for pest infestation, mould and other contaminates. Staff will conduct necessary procedures to prevent the spread of further contamination and deterioration. (See St. Francis Xavier University Archives Mandate and Policies for further information regarding acquisition and retention.)

7.2 Accommodation

Storage of all archival material will be provided in a secure, clean, and adequate storage space with attention to proper temperature, relative humidity, lighting, pollution and air quality standards.

7.3 Care, Handling, and Storage

All archival material will be evaluated and housed in appropriate protective archival enclosures. Necessary re-housing will be undertaken as soon as possible upon receipt.

All archival material will only be stored in the designated stack area, which provides proper shelving and is environmentally controlled.
Limited access to the collection will be strictly enforced. The Archivist and archives staff only are permitted to handle archival material for retrieval. At times it may be necessary for certain University personnel to gain access to the storage area to undertake University related duties. The Archivist will be informed when this is necessary.

All archival materials will be handled according to accepted care and handling standards by both archives staff and users/researchers.
Archives staff will be provided with training and instruction in the care and handling, and preservation of archival material.

Instruction in the proper care and handling of archival material will be given to users/researchers upon registration. Users/researchers will receive copies of the Research Services Policy upon registration.

Damaged and/or deteriorated archival material will only be provided to researchers in a reformatted or copied form. The Archivist and/or archives staff reserves the right to control access to materials and maintain control over them.

7.4 Collection Maintenance

Preventative preservation techniques and procedures will be put into place. All archival material, regardless of medium, will be stored in proper archival enclosures. Customized enclosures will be provided when necessary.

7.5 Service and Public Access

Retrieval of information from the collection will be provided to University personnel and the public according to the Mandate and Policies. Restrictions apply to certain records. (See St. Francis Xavier University Archives and Mandate Policies and the Research Services Policy for further details.)

7.6 Conservation Treatment

Cursory conservation treatment will be undertaken by the Archivist and archives staff for more simple conservation problems. A professional conservator will be hired and consulted for more complicated problems when resources allow.

7.7 Exhibitions and Loans

Loan of material will be made to University personnel only according to the loan agreement policy. (See Loan Agreement and St. Francis Xavier University Archives Mandate and Policies.) Only copies of archival material will be provided for external exhibitions. The Archivist and/archives staff will provide assistance and archival material for external exhibitions at the discretion of the Archivist.

7.8 Reformatting and Copying

The Archivist reserves the right to deny access and copying of certain material. Reformatting will be undertaken when resources allow. Copying will be permitted if the material is stable and is not closed. Users/researchers are responsible for obtaining copyright and/or permission to publish. (See the Research Services Policy and St. Francis Xavier University Archives Mandate and Policies.)

7.9 Security

The Archivist and archives staff will provide necessary security measures to prevent theft, vandalism, damage, and/or sabotage to the archives and its collection.

7.10 Disaster Management

The Archivist and the University Archives and Records Management Committee (hereafter UARMC) will examine the need for a disaster management policy. Contingency plans and procedures will be put into effect if necessary.

Related Policies

St. Francis Xavier University Archives Mandate and Policies
Research Services Policy
Loan Agreement

9. Promulgation of Policy/Communication

This policy will be publicly posted in the Archives. It will also be placed in the Library reference binder located in the Reference Department of the Angus L. Macdonald Library and be distributed amongst necessary University personnel. This policy will also be placed on the St. Francis Xavier University Archives web site.

10. Monitoring & Review

The Archivist and the UARMC will periodically review this policy or as needed.

11. Roles & Responsibilities/Accountability

All Archives, Library, University personnel, and users/researchers of archival materials are responsible to abide by this preservation policy under the direction of the Archivist who is responsible to the University Librarian.

12. References

An Ounce of Prevention: A Handbook on Disaster Contingency Planning for Archives, Libraries and Record Centres. Toronto: Toronto Area Archivists Group, 1985
Basic Conservation of Archival Materials: A Guide, Ottawa: Canadian Council of Archives, 1990
Marrelli, Nancy, Implementing Preservation Management, A How-to Manual for Archives, Ottawa: National Library of Canada, 1996
Ritzenthaler, Mary Lynn. Archives and Manuscripts: Conservation. A Manual on Physical Care and Management. Chicago: Society of American Archivists, 1983

Approved by the St. Francis Xavier University Archives and Records Management Committee,
31 March 1999
Effective date 31 March 1999


Angus L. Macdonald Library

Angus L. Macdonald Library
3080 Martha Drive
Antigonish NS B2G 2W5

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