Canadian Conservation Institute (CCI) Technical Bulletins

The Canadian Conservation Institute (CCI) has published more than 30 Technical Bulletins (TB) to assist heritage professionals and institutions in the care and preservation of their objects and collections. Since these Bulletins contain useful and relevant information for conservation practices, research or reference, we are pleased to provide a majority of them for free. Please note that some titles have been retired and are no longer available due to outdated content.

Recently published Technical Bulletins

Recently published Technical Bulletins are available for purchase as print copies for the first five years after publication. Please click on the order button to purchase a TB through the CCI bookstore or click on the title of the Bulletin to consult a free HTML version.

  • TB 31 The Digitization of VHS Video Tapes

    [HTML Version]

    Order a print copy

    Most archives, libraries and other heritage institutions have VHS video tapes in their collections. Unfortunately, like other magnetic tapes, the preservation of VHS video tape faces certain key challenges: it has a finite lifetime before degradation occurs, its playback technology is nearing its end of life and the expertise to repair playback equipment is disappearing. If the information recorded on VHS video tapes is to remain accessible, it must be migrated to new technology. This Technical Bulletin provides information and procedures for digitizing VHS video tapes. It is intended to assist small to mid-size heritage institutions that lack the funds for professional digitization.

Previous Technical Bulletins

Technical Bulletins published more than five years ago are available for free. To obtain a paper copy, please contact CCI, or click on the title of the TB to consult an HTML version, when one is available.

  • TB 30 The Digitization of Audio Tapes

    Paperback, 30 pp., 2012 - ISBN: 978-0-660-20257-0

    [HTML Version] [PDF Version, 1.60 MB]

    Many archives and heritage institutions possess audio tapes that are the only record of culturally significant information. Unfortunately, these analog audio storage formats have a finite technology lifetime. If the information is to remain accessible, it must be migrated to new technology. This Technical Bulletin provides information and procedures for digitizing cassettes and reel-to-reel tapes. It is intended to assist small to mid-size heritage institutions that lack the funds for professional digitization. Note that the procedures discussed in the Bulletin are intended primarily for oral history collections; they will not capture all the fine details extant in high-fidelity recordings.

  • TB 29 Combatting Pests of Cultural Property

    Paperback, 44 pp., 2009 - ISBN: 798-0-660-19899-6

    Pests can be very destructive to both aesthetic elements and the structural integrity of collections, historic buildings and objects. Protection against pests requires attention to the collection’s environment, containment, discovery of pests, response to pests and remediation actions. Reducing loss of value over time is the goal of preventive conservation strategies. Integrated pest management (IPM) practices are part of this process. Having a safe work environment and minimizing adverse effects to objects from chemical exposure is a background concern. Effectiveness of any control procedure or treatment can be measured by reducing the extent and repeated incidence of the problem. Basic pests found in collections and a structured approach to pest reduction activities are presented. A survey method with remediation activities appropriate to pest infestation findings is provided to help start an IPM program for a wide range of collections from outdoor installations to state-of-the art preservation facilities.

    To obtain a PDF version, please visit publications.gc.ca.

    To obtain a paper copy, please contact CCI.

  • TB 28 Guidelines for pH Measurement in Conservation

    Paperback, 23 pp., 2007 - ISBN: 978-0-660-19766-1

    The pH of an artifact is an important consideration when selecting suitable conservation treatments, storage conditions and accompanying exhibition materials. Determining pH is therefore a common procedure in the assessment and documentation of museum objects. Measuring pH is generally simple and straightforward. However, the constraints imposed by artifacts can complicate the process and produce ambiguous, difficult to interpret or erroneous results. This Technical Bulletin discusses the principles behind reliable and reproducible pH measurements, points out common pitfalls and suggests ways to determine the pH of many materials found in museum objects. Descriptions of general measurement procedures are included, along with a comparison of various methods of measuring devices.

    To obtain a PDF version, please visit publications.gc.ca.

    To obtain a paper copy, please contact CCI.

  • TB 27 Remedies for Deteriorated or Damaged Modern Information Carriers

    Paperback, 23 pp., 2005 - ISBN: 0-660-19527-5

    Modern information carriers encompass optical discs (CDs and DVDs) and magnetic media such as tapes (audio, video, computer) and disks. These carriers differ from traditional materials in that the information they contain cannot be viewed directly; it can only be accessed by playing the carriers on a machine. And for the carriers to play properly, they must be in relatively good condition. This Technical Bulletin discusses the myriad types of damage that can occur to modern information carriers due to age deterioration, poor storage conditions or poor handling practices and presents various remedies to restore these carriers to a playable condition.

    To obtain a PDF version, please visit publications.gc.ca.

    To obtain a paper copy, please contact CCI.

  • TB 26 Mould Prevention and Collection Recovery: Guidelines for Heritage Collections

    Paperback, 34 pp., 2004 - ISBN: 0-662-35932-1

    Mould infestation in heritage collections can damage artifacts and may pose a health risk to individuals who work with these collections. This Technical Bulletin presents information on mould morphology, prevention of mould growth, actions to take should mould occur and health effects relating to mould exposure. It informs the reader how to remove mould growth from artifacts, and it describes the appropriate personal protective equipment to wear when working in a mould-contaminated environment or when working with mould-infested artifacts.

    To obtain a PDF version, please visit publications.gc.ca.

    To obtain a paper copy, please contact CCI.

  • TB 25 Disaster Recovery of Modern Information Carriers: Compact Discs, Magnetic Tapes and Magnetic Disks

    Paperback, 16 pp., 2002 - ISBN: 0-662-33031-5

    This Bulletin summarizes some procedures for the disaster recovery of modern information carriers such as CDs, magnetic diskettes and magnetic tapes following immersion in tap water, seawater and dirty water. Procedures are also given for dealing with media that have hard-to-remove deposits on them or have been exposed to heat, dust/dirt, mould and shock. These procedures are a compilation of information from the few case histories published, recommendations made by experts in the field and research performed at the Canadian Conservation Institute. The information in this Bulletin represents one piece of a comprehensive disaster plan; for disasters to be handled effectively, other key elements such as those dealing with disaster preparedness also need to be in place.

    To obtain a PDF version, please visit publications.gc.ca.

    To obtain a paper copy, please contact CCI.

  • TB 24 Water Quality for Treatment of Paper and Textiles

    Paperback, 12 pp., 2001 - ISBN: 0-662-30078-5

    The installation of water purification systems in conservation treatment laboratories has become standard practice in recent years. Choosing a suitable system within a given budget requires knowledge of the way the systems work, the factors that influence the quality of water and the water quality requirements for treatment. This Bulletin provides basic information about water purification methods and guidelines for water quality requirements for treatment of paper and textile artifacts.

    To obtain a PDF version, please visit publications.gc.ca.

    To obtain a paper copy, please contact CCI.

  • TB 23 Guidelines for Humidity and Temperature for Canadian Archives

    Paperback, 20 pp., 2000 - ISBN: 0-662-29509-9

    This Bulletin discusses temperature and humidity recommendations for archives and explains how and why they have changed. It also provides practical strategies and straightforward advice to help you meet these new guidelines and protect your collections. Although aimed primarily at those in cold-weather climates, the information is applicable to all archives.

    To obtain a PDF version, please visit publications.gc.ca.

    To obtain a paper copy, please contact CCI.

  • TB 22 The Stability of Photocopied and Laser-printed Documents and Images: General Guidelines

    Paperback, 8 pp., 2000 - ISBN: 0-662-28503-4

    This Bulletin reviews the technology of photocopiers and laser printers and discusses the stability and preservation of copies. The conclusion is that black-and-white copies (i.e. those using carbon-based toner) on alkaline paper form very stable records, but colour photocopies do not. A full-sheet test for assessing the adhesion of toner to paper is described, and the results of testing papers according to the American Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM) standard for permanency of copy paper are given. The Bulletin also includes a list of preservation concerns that will be useful to archivists responsible for the care of photocopied documents and a number of current technical references that discuss the topic in more depth.

    To obtain a PDF version, please visit publications.gc.ca.

    To obtain a paper copy, please contact CCI.

  • TB 21 Coatings for Display and Storage in Museums

    Paperback, 46 pp., 1999 - ISBN: 0-662-27955-7

    Coatings are used in museums, archives and galleries for new construction, storage facilities or exhibitions; but coatings have the potential to cause damage (such as corrosion and discolouration) to objects either by direct contact or the emission of volatile compounds. Most problems caused by contact can be solved by using interleaves, and problems related to volatile emission can be controlled by selecting appropriate coatings and allowing adequate drying periods. Coatings formed by oxidative polymerization (such as oil-based or alkyd coatings) emit harmful volatile compounds and should be avoided in conservation contexts. Other types of coatings are usually acceptable provided sufficient drying time is allowed: four days is usually enough in a ventilated room, but up to four weeks may be required in airtight enclosures such as well-sealed display cases and cabinets. The general recommendations in this document are based on the nature and use of the coatings rather than their trade names, as formulations may change. Information on the nature of coatings can be obtained from technical data or material safety data sheets, or tests can be run to determine the properties of a coating. The use of appropriate procedures and mitigation strategies will minimize any risk of damage. CCI can help you to define the necessary specifications for your coating projects and can perform a variety of physical and chemical tests to ensure that those specifications are met.

    To obtain a PDF version, please visit publications.gc.ca.

    To obtain a paper copy, please contact CCI.

  • TB 20 Construction of a Constant-current Power Supply for Spot Electrolysis

    Paperback, 10 pp., 1999 - ISBN: ISBN 0-662-27651-5

    A method for building a small, lightweight power supply that provides low constant current is described. The unit is powered by a 110-V alternating-current wall outlet and uses economical, easy-to-acquire components. It is specifically designed to treat localized corrosion on metal objects.

    To obtain a PDF version, please visit publications.gc.ca.

    To obtain a paper copy, please contact CCI.

  • TB 19 Security Hardware and Security System Planning for Museums

    Paperback, 16 pp., 1998 - ISBN: 0-660-17257-7

    Theft and vandalism of our cultural heritage is escalating every year. This Bulletin will help cultural institutions with their preparations against these threats. Numerous, inexpensive methods of improving security and various types of currently available sensors and computerized alarm systems are illustrated and described. Several kinds of sensors and their placement within a standardized level of protection proposed for each area in a cultural facility are also recommended.

    To obtain a PDF version, please visit publications.gc.ca.

    To obtain a paper copy, please contact CCI.

  • TB 18 Fire Prevention Programs for Museums

    Paperback, 12 pp., 1997 - ISBN: 0-660-16968-1

    Fire damages and destroys museum collections every year. This Bulletin will help museums develop and implement effective fire prevention programs. The basic elements of a fire prevention program are discussed, as well as the administration of the program. Numerous examples are provided to help museum staff prepare documents and procedures.

    To obtain a PDF version, please visit publications.gc.ca.

    To obtain a paper copy, please contact CCI.

  • TB 17 Threaded Fasteners in Metal Artifacts

    Paperback, 12 pp., 1997 - ISBN: 0-660-16950-9

    In the course of cleaning or restoring historical artifacts, it is often necessary to tighten, loosen or remove threaded fasteners. The fasteners are often permanently damaged or lost in the process due to the use of improper tools and techniques. This Bulletin offers practical guidelines for the removal, cleaning, documentation and reinstallation of threaded fasteners in metal artifacts.

    To obtain a PDF version, please visit publications.gc.ca.

    To obtain a paper copy, please contact CCI.

  • TB 16 Care and Preservation of Firearms

    Paperback, 12 pp., 1995 - ISBN: 0-662-61515-8

    This Bulletin offers guidelines on the care of firearms to curators, conservators and others. Topics covered include deterioration, examination, handling, conservation and storage of firearms. A glossary is included as well as a bibliography for further research on the subject.

    To obtain a PDF version, please visit publications.gc.ca.

    To obtain a paper copy, please contact CCI.

  • TB 15 Solving Museum Insect Problems: Chemical Control

    Paperback, 26 pp., 2000 - ISBN: 0-662-28311-2

    Insect infestations can severely damage museum collections and buildings. This Bulletin is intended to help museum staff understand commercial pest control operations. It describes chemical methods of controlling insects and includes information on regulations, modes of action and application methods necessary for the safe use of insecticides. A detailed guide helps in decision making about the appropriate chemical method of control.

    To obtain a PDF version, please visit publications.gc.ca.

    To obtain a paper copy, please contact CCI.

  • TB 14 Working with Polyethylene Foam and Fluted Plastic Sheet

    Paperback, 19 pp., 1994 - ISBN: 0-662-61042-3

    Polyethylene foams and fluted plastic sheet have become widely used in museums for artifact support and storage purposes. This Bulletin discusses several techniques and illustrates a series of basic approaches that have been developed for working with these materials. The many detailed illustrations clarify for the reader the fabrication methods described in the text.

    To obtain a PDF version, please visit publications.gc.ca.

    To obtain a paper copy, please contact CCI.

  • TB 13 Controlling Vertebrate Pests in Museums

    Paperback, 9 pp., 1991 - ISBN: 0-662-54950-3

    When vertebrate animals, particularly rodents, gain access to museum collections, they can soil or destroy artifacts. Prompt identification of the pest and the use of suitable methods to control it are essential. In most cases, nonchemical methods can be used to control vertebrate pests in museums; chemical methods are also discussed.

    To obtain a PDF version, please visit publications.gc.ca.

    To obtain a paper copy, please contact CCI.

  • TB 12 Controlling Museum Fungal Problems

    Paperback, 8 pp., 1991 - ISBN: 0-662-54950-3

    Fungi can seriously damage artifacts in museums and archives. Controlling Museum Fungal Problems provides guidance on identifying a fungal problem, fungal problems in wood outdoors and controlling fungi.

    To obtain a PDF version, please visit publications.gc.ca.

    To obtain a paper copy, please contact CCI.

  • TB 11 Dry Methods for Surface Cleaning of Paper

    Paperback, 10 pp., revised 2001 - ISBN: 0-662-30077-7

    This is a practical instruction guide for use by those responsible for the care and preservation of collections of works on paper. The problems caused by dirt are described as are potential difficulties arising from the nature and/or condition of paper artifacts. Cleaning materials and techniques are discussed and suggestions are made regarding specific types of works of art and archival material.

    To obtain a PDF version, please visit publications.gc.ca.

    To obtain a paper copy, please contact CCI.

  • TB 4 The Care of Musical Instruments in Canadian Collections

    Paperback, 18 pp., 1982 - ISBN: 0-662-50412-7

    Guidelines for looking after a musical instrument collection from the acquisition of the items right through to their cleaning, care and maintenance are presented. The Bulletin discusses documentation and the problems of display and storage.

    To obtain a PDF version, please visit publications.gc.ca.

    To obtain a paper copy, please contact CCI.

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