This activity is aimed at reducing risks to collections through sets of activities directed at collections or groups of records. Most of this work takes place in areas of storage and involves both intervention and prevention measures. Records spend most of their lives in their storage facility and it is in these facilities where undetected damage takes place. Damage could be as a result of the following:
- Improper shelving;
- Uncontrolled temperature and humidity;
- Uncontrolled lighting;
- Pests and rodents;
- Pollution from fumes and dust;
- Inappropriate storage enclosures;
- Water and fire; and
- Handling, usage and transportation.
The objective of the Strongroom Maintenance Section is to ensure that the above list of threats are either reduced or totally eradicated. This is done through regular inspections which are carried out to ensure threats are identified and reported sooner. Where threats are identified, corrective measures are taken as speedily as possible and follow up monitoring and evaluation is conducted to ensure that the corrective measures taken are effective. Some of the corrective measures involve the training of staff on recordkeeping, transportation and handling.
Currently the National Archives and Records Service of South Africa (NARSSA) is implementing a project to upgrade shelving, air-conditioning, heating and ventilation (HVAC) and other protective systems such as security and fire protection. These new installations will increase the accrual space and provide added protection for collections. The NARSSA will continue to support and promote initiatives aimed at improving the preservation of archival material nationally, regionally and internationally.