What are the requirements for a repository?

By: Marja Verloop on 21 June 2019

When you handover your archive, you want to be certain that your archive is taken care of correctly. How is the climate and the humidity in the repository? Are the archives fire and burglary secured? In this blog we will discuss the requirements for a repository.

Are my archives protected against robbery?
Regarding burglary there are several steps a company can undertake to influence the security of your archives. One can do several things:
• Equip the company building and the entry door of the repository with locks with the SKG** quality label.
• A system for intrusion detection with possible opportunity to report to an alarm at an external emergency services.
• Provide the whole installation with sabotage-alarming. Manipulation or absence of voltage on the installation, besides covering up or disguising the sensors, leads to alarming.
• Supply the system with zone-arrangement. This means that it will immediately be clear where possible (attempts to) burglaries are happening within the building. The PIR-sensors can be installed in every room in strategic locations. Paths and corridors can also be equipped with PIR-sensors.
• A renowned security company that supervises outside off working hours.

What can one do to prevent fires?
To prevent against a fire, one can do these following steps:
• All technical installations are completely outside of the repository situated to prevent the start of a fire caused by technical failure inside of the room.
• No power lines with voltage or components when the light is turned off in the room.
• A climate control system equipped with thermal fire dampers. These fire dampers close automatically if (no regular) heat were to emerge.
• A flame-retardant entry door of the repository and an automatically closing door.
The whole company building should be provided with an advanced system for fire and smoke detection. Besides, it is important to equip the surrounding area of the repository, as well as the whole building, with extinguishing agents. The extinguishing agents will reduce extinguishing damage of paper archives to a minimum. Moreover, the company can make sure the walls, ceiling and floor of the repository are flame-retardant for up to sixty minutes. Finally it is important to appoint a prevention officer, who is accountable for safety issues in terms of fire security.

How can water damage caused by for example leakage be prevented?
In the prevention of water damage one can do the following things:
• Provide the repository with a hygrostat which is connected to a humidification system. A hygrostat is very precisely adjustable.
• Increase the floor of the repository to prevent water to flow into the repository.
• The room is supposed to have a water sensor. The sensor can be connected to an ASD (Aspiration Detection System), which is connected to an emergency services 24/7 connected.
Is the repository suitable for my archives?
To decide whether the repository of a company is suitable for your archives, are certain matters of importance:
• The repository meets the regulatory requirements as in the law of archives.
• The values for fresh air supply, temperature fluctuation and humidity are as stated in the law of archives.
• The room is supplied with climate control system, which is constantly set on eighteen degrees.
• Archives will be stored in the correct shelves. Materials will not be put against the wall or be placed on the ground.
• The whole repository should not have any seams or grooves which can possibly cause encapsulation of dirt, dust, bacteria or mould.
• The room will be cleaned regularly by a professional.
List of all requirements:
• The repository meets the regulatory requirements as in the law of archives.
• Burglary prevention in the repository, as well as the whole company building.
• Fire prevention in the repository, as well as the whole company building.
• Prevention of water damage in the repository.
• Regulation of climate and humidity in the repository.
• Clean and safe storage for your archives.

Want to avoid that your precious archives get damaged and unusable? Digitize your archives!

Marja Verloop Marja is the preservation officer at GMS. She has completed a formal education provided by the National Archive. Marja is an expert on the care of materials and advises operators on how to safely digitize old, unique, and vulnerable material. In addition Marja performs internal quality checks and audits.

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