Archiving and Preservation

Conservation Online (CoOL) 
CoOL, a project of the Preservation Department of Stanford University Libraries and Academic Information Resources, is a full text library of conservation information, covering a wide spectrum of topics of interest to those involved with the conservation of library, archives and museum materials. The dedicated webmaster acknowledges the continuous improvements necessary - particularly to the design and look of the site. But, he also stresses that all required information is available, albeit formatted in various styles. A fundamental resource for conservators.

Cornell Photo Conservation Unit
Cornell University’s well-respected network of 19 libraries is home to a varied collection of photographs and photographic reproductions that are cared for by the University’s Photo Conservation Unit, a group that asses, repairs and rehouses delicate photographic material. The Conservation Unit has published two documents designed to help the general public care for family photo collections: Preserving Your Family Photographs, and Care of Family Papers and the Home Library. Both are available on the site in PDF format.

Getty – Research on the Conservation of Photographs 
Over 100 different chemical photographic processes have been developed since the beginning of photography, and the Getty Museum’s Conservation Institute is engaged in a research collaboration that will help identify the products of these different processes in order to better preserve them. Along with the Image Permanence Institute in Rodchester, NY, California State University, Northridge and Centre de recherches sur la conservation des documents graphiques in Paris, the GCI is seeking to give the world the tools to identify and preserve chemical photography, even as the medium is rapidly shifting to digital.  

Library of Congress and National Science Foundation — Digital Preservation Project 
“How will society preserve [digital] information and make it available to future generations? How will libraries and other repositories classify this information so that their patrons can find it with the same ease that they can locate a book on a shelf?” These are the questions that the Library of Congress has bravely chosen to address. The digital world leaves very little trace in the physical world, a fact that has long concerned those who seek to preserve the staggering amount of information that the internet generates every day. Supported by $100 million Congressional appropriation, the Library is leading an initiative that will take on the impossible–sounding job of preserving the internet–in effect building an Internet Library, open to all.

Library of Congress Preservation
The Library of Congress provides this informative, thorough and accessible overview of the care, handling and storage of photographs, an “information leaflet” that outlines how to identify photographic processes, and concise information on the many, many factors to be considered when preserving them.

Minnesota Historical Society – Conservation of Photographs
The Minnesota Historical Society offers a series of PDF tutorials that address frequently asked questions on the subject of conserving different types of photographs.

Northern States Conservation Center
Northern States Conservation Center is a sort of one-stop resource center for collectors and institutions with collections, offering a wide range of information and services pertaining to collection care, preservation and conservation. Covering issues from collection care to emergency preparedness, the NSCC also sells specialized equipment, offers workshops, lectures and online classes, and sells the books and reference manuals they recommend most.

Photograph Magazine
Formerly, Photograph maintains its useful and well-constructed compendium of listings for photographers and photo lovers with scrupulously up to date information tracks a very wide range of people, events and resources. Their resource page, for example, offers rare and valuable listings for such things as appraisal and conservation services, while their calendar lists current local, national and international photo events. Be sure to investigate their rich Links page and the 'Eye On The Scene' announcements.

Preserving & Protecting Photographs
This excellent collection of tips and recommendations on how to preserve various types of photographic prints from the American Museum of Photography succinctly addresses the problems of caring for a variety of historic photographic documents.

Regional Alliance for Preservation
Assembling the conservation and preservation expertise of several nonprofit organizations across the country, the Regional Alliance for Preservation coordinates outreach activities, educational programs, and publications, all aimed at providing the services that help institutions and individuals preserve our cultural heritage. An extensive range of services are listed by category, along with the names of the organizations providing services from archeological to contemporary art conservation. 

In order to help countries of the European Union share knowledge and experience in photo preservation issues, the SEPIA project (Safeguarding European Photographic Images for Access) united representatives from 19 photo-collecting institutions in 11 countries. The results of SEPIA’s collaborative work can be found on the site, where in-depth reports on a surprising variety of subjects from a layman’s guide to photo preservation to the many tricky issues surrounding digitization. Most of SEPIA’s work can be found on the site in PDF format, as well as an excellent introduction to the history of photography, and current knowledge about preservation and digitization.  

Wilhelm Imaging Research 
In the age of instant gratification digital photography, Wilhelm Imaging Research is concerned with the long term: the posterity and conservation of digital prints and film. WIR evaluates and compares printers, inks, papers and storage methods, publishing the results on their highly informative, newspaper-style site. Wilhelm’s quest to answer the question “How long will this image last before noticeable fading and/or staining occur, and under what conditions?” makes their research an invaluable resource for museums, archives, galleries and photographers.