Archival Materials

This workshop discusses the structure, composition, and format of various types of archival media. Agents of deterioration are covered, as well as ways to promote longevity through selecting appropriate media, understanding both controllable and less controllable factors, and ensuring proper handling and storage. Ways to minimize potential damage and information loss in an emergency or disaster are also included.

Learning Objectives

Upon completion of this workshop, participants will be able to:

  • identify and explain differences in structure, composition, and format of various types of archival media
  • identify agents of deterioration and understand the effects
  • understand factors affecting longevity and choose media for maximum life span
  • implement proper handling and storage procedures for various media
  • recover media from emergency or disaster situations properly


Structure, Composition, and Formats

Structure and composition of information carriers including paper documents, books, photographic materials, optical discs (read-only, write-once, erasable, and DVD), magnetic disks (hard and floppy), and magnetic tapes (computer, analog, and video).


Why and how archival information carriers deteriorate, including physical damage and environmental conditions. Common deterioration problems and how to recognize them. Remedial actions that can be taken to save information.


Factors affecting the longevity of information carriers, including those that are controllable (handling procedures, storage conditions, frequency of use) and those that are not controllable (quality of the media itself, changing technology, and obsolescence of equipment). Expected life span of various media. How to maximize longevity.

Storage and Handling

Proper storage conditions including temperature, relative humidity, light, pollution levels, type of storage room, and storage container. Handling procedures to minimize physical abuse and damage including equipment maintenance, labelling of materials, physical handling of items, and periodic winding of magnetic tapes. Existing technical standards and recommendations by experts in the field.

Disaster Recovery

Procedures for the recovery of archival materials from water and other disasters. Precautions to avoid damage in the event of a disaster.

Target Audience

Curators, collections managers, conservators, archivists, and other personnel responsible for the preservation of archival materials.


English (written materials available in both official languages)

Enrollment Limits

Minimum 10; maximum 20


2 days

Special Requirements

  • Meeting room
  • Projector
  • Screen
Report a problem or mistake on this page
Please select all that apply:

Thank you for your help!

You will not receive a reply. For enquiries, contact us.

Date modified: