International Congress on Archives
When it is not a historical flood but just broken pipes?
When it's broken pipes you are much more lucky. What's important generally is that you are dealing with
clan water so the parts in the salvage phase on cleaning the collection with the fresh water is of less importance.
As was said already you need to stabilize the wet or dump objects. It depends of the scale. If you have just a
few objects wet you can easily air-dried them if more freeze them first and than take the best procedure to dry
them (whatever is available for your institution).
Remember to renovate and make better storage space.
You need to remember that just dried archival materials can not be packed in boxes for at least half of a
year. They need to be monitored in case of the biological infection as well.
5+6. Some people want to use: hairdresser dryer, electric iron, electric fans?
You can use any kind of equipment that provides air circulation in case of drying. Generally speaking
everything that does not cause deforming and buckling is recommended if needed. Particularly apparatus
generating hot air are forbidden.
How to dry?
Michal will explain in detail drying methods witch use more than human strength.
There are several possibilities for drying, but remember that rare or unique materials require special care and
Methods of drying materials:
vacuum freeze drying.
Air-drying has been used for centuries to dry wet archival collections. This process is appropriate if only a
few books or documents are involved, if material is slightly damp or if the use of better drying methods is not
possible or available.
Maintaining good environmental control is important in this technique to avoid mildew and excessive
swelling. Items should be dried in a low humidity environment with good air circulation ('wind tunnel'); the
temperature must be kept under 21ºC, some experts say 19ºC. Constant monitoring and the relieving of the
condition of materials as it dries is essential.
Air-drying is not suitable for: vellum, parchment, coated paper.
Interleaved books with absorbent paper are dried standing on the end of absorbent paper, soft-covered or
paperback books may need support if they are to stand upright while drying.
Remember to exchange this paper for a dry one as frequently as necessary. When books are dry to the touch
they may be pressed to flatten them a little bit between covered boards weighted with concrete blocks or bricks
or with the book press.
Single sheet material should be fanned out and dried flat on absorbent paper or between blotters. After
drying if necessary pages may be flattened sandwiched between blotters in a book press etc.
Wet photographs should receive the care of a conservator, if not possible dried flat in a single layer on clean
absorbent paper in a cool low humidity environment etc. Do not dry them between filter paper, always use
The same procedure follows in case of other media.
May national officers accept the help of volunteers? Is it possible to manage them?
It depends of the scale of the disaster but in more cases volunteers are 'the most wanted material'. Although
some procedures should not be left to inexperienced people.
There are some regulations concerning this subject on government level. Also ICBS activity is based on
volunteering. The national offices of the Blue Shield should be able to collect the people and send them to the
institution in trouble.