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Archives & Special Collections at the Rakow Library: Preservation Tips

The Rakow Research Library is the world's most comprehensive glass research library. What's in special collections and archives? Find out by using this guide.

History in the Making: Preserving Your Archives

Your archives are an important part of your legacy. Take some time to store, conserve, and describe the materials you create and accumulate as a glass artist.


  • Your collection in a cool, dry location (around 60°F and 40% humidity) -- avoid the attic and basement 
  • Away from areas with pests, mold, water leaks, or risk of flooding and extremes in temperature
  • Materials in acid-free boxes, folders, and polyester sleeves (no PVC -- if it smells like a new shower curtain don't use it)
  • Digital files on hard drives and in the cloud -- CDs and DVDs do not last


  • By avoiding adhesives like tape, glue, sticky notes, and magnetic albums; rubber bands; and fasteners like staples and non-stainless steel paperclips
  • By handling with clean, dry hands as little as possible
  • By saving digital images in a high resolution and in file formats such as .pdf, .jpg, and .tif
  • By backing up your digital files and keeping multiple copies of your physical and digital collection in different geographic locations (and/or in the cloud)


  • Photographs, slides, negatives, and audio/video recordings with people, places, dates, and what was happening at the time (pro tip: use full names, not 'Sam' or 'Mom and Dad')
  • Digital files with the same details as above, using a spreadsheet and detailed file names
  • Physical materials using a pencil with soft lead -- never pen or marker
  • Your materials clearly and consistently throughout your collection, to make it easier for you -- and people using your collection in the future -- to navigate


For More Information...

Ask Someone!

Contact the Rakow Library at, (607) 438-5300, or

Attend a preservation workshop at your local library

Consult experts at a regional preservation center (