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

 

Upon receiving the material, the reader commits to handling it with the utmost care:

 

  •  Direct handling of the pages must be kept to a minimum. Parchment and paper are very sensitive to the hand’s natural moisture and oils, which can cause damage. Hands must be clean and dry before any contact with the item. Misuse may cause rapid deterioration in the state of the item.

  •  Avoid tearing or folding. Do not use bookmarks, paper clips or other foreign objects. Do not place anything inside the book or on the item.

  •  Do not erase or write any notes or make any marks or any other additions on the material itself, on its margins or on the folders containing the material. You may make notes on your own paper, using pencil only.

  •  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, staplers, other books, etc.). Ensure that the support is readjusted every time the item is opened to a

     different page.

  •  The manuscript should not be opened any wider than the angle it can easily achieve naturally and without strain.

  •  When viewing archival material, the reader commits to not changing the order of items in the file. If you discover a mistake in the order or catalog information of the material, please notify archive staff.

  •  Do not leave the item unattended without notifying a librarian.

 

Damage to manuscripts, books and archival material is accumulative. Misuse can cause rapid deterioration in the state of the material.