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Subject: Storing liquids

Storing liquids

From: Juli McLoone <juli.mcloone<-at->
Date: Friday, March 1, 2013
Our department recently acquired the archive of a local flavoring
extract company.  Included with the records are several original
boxes containing glass bottles of numerous flavors of extracts, many
of which have never been opened.  We need to decide whether to
retain the liquids or open and dispose of all liquid prior to
placing the collection in long-term storage.  Concerns have been
raised about possible attraction of insects and the danger of future
leakage/breakage causing water damage to other portions of the
collection.  I'm hoping this list may be able to offer advice based
on your experience.

    Do any of you have a standard policy in place regarding
    retention of food or liquid in archival collections? Are there
    any resources you would recommend consulting on this question?

    If you do/have stored liquid, what precautions did you take
    against insects and/or breakage? Would you estimate that a
    barrier board box would present enough of a barrier against ~1/4
    cup liquid to prevent damage to materials in adjacent boxes if
    one or two bottles broke?

    If we dispose of the liquid, would you anticipate that residue
    would create problems with insects or staining of nearby paper?
    It would be very difficult to rinse the bottles without
    destroying the labels, and to the best of our knowledge, the
    extracts are alcohol based and do not contain sugar.

Should we decide to retain some or all of the liquid, I'm
contemplating only keeping extracts in the case of still-sealed
bottles and/or possibly enclosing each bottle in archival-quality
plastic bags (though due to size constraints, although this would
probably require removing the bottles from the original boxes, which
currently hold the bottles securely upright and stationary).

One further note that may be of importance: the company claims that
its formulas have not changed in the past hundred years, so on one
hand, retention of the liquid for possible future chemical
analysis/reproduction doesn't seem necessary, but on the other hand
it is not clear that they will/would actually provide us with the
recipes for their extracts, and who can tell what will happen in the
next hundred years?

I very much appreciate any advice or research leads that you can
offer on this question.

Juli McLoone
Rare Books Librarian
University of Texas at San Antonio

                  Conservation DistList Instance 26:40
                   Distributed: Monday, March 4, 2013
                       Message Id: cdl-26-40-019
Received on Friday, 1 March, 2013

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