New Publication: Atlas of Damage Descriptions of Archival Materials

May 20, 2013

By the end of June this year (at the latest) a new book named the Atlas of Damage Descriptions of Archival Materials will be published in co-operation with the National Archives of Estonia and the National Archives of Latvia.

The Atlas will be addressed to every person who needs to understand if there is anything ‘wrong’ (in preservation terms) with the archival materials they hold or use, and when the only means to determine condition or make an initial diagnosis is through visual observation.

The content of the publication is derived from a selection of the most commonly observed damages to archival objects and presents 46 damage types, providing descriptions of their visual characteristics and indicating the severity and possible causes of each. Each damage type explanation is accompanied by illustrative photos showing examples of damage on archival records, i.e. paper, bindings, parchment and seals. Finally, possible preservation actions to stop or slow down the damaging processes are suggested. All content is presented simultaneously in English, Latvian and Estonian.

The publication was supported by the Latvian State Culture Capital Foundation, the Latvian Society of Archivists and the Estonian Ministry of Education and Research Compatriot Program. The topic of archival materials’ preservation surveys was also briefly raised and discussed during the Baltic Heritage Network Summer School held in Estonia in the summer of 2007, while records preservation issues were addressed to the expatriate archivists.

The Atlas will be distributed free of charge, please contact the National Archives of Estonia for more information: