Library > Services > Ordering Rare Items > Guidelines for the Handling of Manuscripts, Rare Books and Archival Material

Guidelines for the Handling of Manuscripts, Rare Books and Archival Material

  •  Minimize handling of the pages. Parchment and paper are very sensitive to
      the hand’s natural moisture and oils, which are damaging to them.
  •   Use gloves. In special cases where direct contact cannot be avoided, ensure
      that your hands are freshly washed and dried prior to handling the item.
  •  Avoid keeping food and beverages in the vicinity of the item.   
  •   Always use appropriate support (weights/foam, wedges) in order to maintain a
      book in the open position. For this purpose refrain from using instruments that
      may damage the item (hands, clips, other books, etc.).
  •   Ensure that the support is readjusted every time the item is opened to a 
      different place.
  •  The manuscript should not be opened any wider than the angle it can easily
       achieve naturally and without strain.
  •  No objects (paper, pencils, notes etc.) may be placed between the pages
      of the manuscript.
  •  Paper clips may not be used to mark or join pages.
  •  Refrain especially from touching or brushing illustrations or ink
  •  Do not fold the corners of the page.
  •  Only pencils may be used to take notes in the proximity of the items. It is 
      forbidden to use ink pens.
  •  Work on a clean surface.
  •  Do not leave the item unattended. Notify the supervising librarian prior to 
     leaving the room. 
  •  The item was documented and photographed before being brought to you. You 
     are responsible for any damage to it while it is under your supervision.
All damage to the materials of a book, manuscript or archival item is cumulative.
Rapid deterioration is likely to result from improper handling.