Thursday, January 20, 2005

Light, Heat, Air: Good for Humans, Bad for Books

Reflecting on today's and Tuesday's preservation class:

Chemical reactions are catalysts, or in business terminology, "change agents" which engage a change and activate energy to upset the inertia of an item's environmental condition. Something like that...basically, if you change an element of your collection, say the relative humidity or the temperature or introduce foreign elements...then you change the environment, and allow reactions to happen in living items (a book, or a polyester tape) that will change their chemical composition. Heh--not bad for doing so badly in chemistry class in high school

Also, another lesson: the elements that allow us as humans to thrive: light, air, water are the most corrosive to collections, be they paper, plastic, or magnetic. A good lesson to learn: Maintain a balance in your approach to your collection. Just because all the best tools are available, are they appropriate to the collection, to access?


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