- Do not eat or drink while handling photographic materials [prints, negatives, slides, etc]. Food attracts bugs.
- Wash your hands before working with collections. Oils from your hands can transfer to the photographic materials and cause permanent damage.
- Make sure you have sufficient workspace to accommodate the items with which you intend to work in order to prevent damage to the materials.
- Use number 2 pencils when you are working with or near collections, not pens or markers. Ink marks are irreversible. Pencil is erasable. Number 2 pencils are soft and don’t leave pressure marks unlike harder leads or mechanical pencils.
- Always check the condition of items before moving them. If they are damaged seek advice before proceeding and use care.
Handle with Care
- Do not lean on or set heavy objects on top of photographic items, even if they are covered or in a folder. The pressure can break older photographs if they are not perfectly flat or fully supported underneath.
- Do not write on paper, folders or envelopes while they contain photographic materials. Pressure marks can go through to the photographs and cause damage.
- To prevent scratches, avoid touching the surface of images or dragging anything across the face of an image. Also be careful not to drag negatives or slides across any surfaces.
- Always keep photographic materials completely flat on a level, well supported surface. Do not place photographs on your lap, under a stack of books, or let part of the photograph hang unsupported over an edge. Accidental application of pressure can cause breaks.
- Support items carefully when moving them. Use both hands to hold parallel sides of a photograph or place one underneath and hold an edge with the other to prevent bending, tearing or breaking.
Based on: Library of Congress, Prints & Photographs Division, "Safe Handling Tips for Pictorial Collections," http://www.loc.gov/rr/print/tp/SafeHandlingTip.pdf (accessed Nov 19, 2005).