Care and Handling

Policy Statement

The St. Francis Xavier University Archives recognizes that most damage to archival materials occurs during handling, mismanagement, through abuse, and or vandalism. As part of its preservation management program, the St. Francis Xavier University Archives commits itself to the appropriate care and handling of all archival materials, as set out in this policy and related guidelines and procedures. (See the Preservation Policy for further details.)


  1. Normally, only one archival box or five items (photographs, pamphlets, etc.) may be requested and accessed by a researcher at one time.
  2. Normally, for original and fragile materials, only a copy (microfilm, photocopy, electronic) will be made available.
  3. Archival material is to be handled as little as possible and with extreme care. When possible, researchers are requested to handle the enclosure, rather than the records themselves.
  4. Researchers may be required to wear cotton gloves for handling fragile or delicate items, such as photographs or maps. These will be provided by Archives staff. Special care must be taken with fragile, rolled, or oversize material.
  5. Researchers are responsible for all archival material delivered to them and should notify the Archives staff immediately of any discrepancies, damage, or problems.
  6. Researchers are requested to maintain the original order within each box and within each file folder. They are also expected to realign documents in file folders before returning a file folder to a box. This is done manually, not by tapping the folder on a table. Documents and other records, which extend beyond the file folder, will be seriously damaged if they are placed back in the box in this manner.
  7. Researchers are not permitted to lean on documents or archives boxes. This causes stress and can result in irreparable damage. Note pads or papers are not to be placed on archival records when taking notes. As well, it is not permitted to annotate, mark, tear, fold, damage, and/or dirty the records. Archivally safe, permanent paper markers can be provided to indicate pages for photocopying or other purposes. Post-it notes are not permitted since the adhesive causes damage to the records.
  8. Photocopying and reproduction services are available upon request. (See Research Services Policy for details)
  9. All researchers are requested to use only pencils when taking notes. No pens or highlighters are allowed at the research tables.

Approved by UARMC
23 January 2002


Angus L. Macdonald Library

Angus L. Macdonald Library
3080 Martha Drive
Antigonish NS B2G 2W5

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