Every archivist has encountered a collection that has given them a hard time or left them with a puzzled look on their face as they ponder where to start. As an archivist, preserving materials is one of the most important tasks that we face in our jobs. Here at the ALA Archives, we receive collections with materials that range from oversized posters, 100 year old documents, and pictures, and it is our job to keep these historic materials in the best shape as possible.
While working on reprocessing a collection that included Executive Board minutes from ALA meetings, I encountered an interesting situation. The documents were all bound together by different materials, some screwed together with metal, some with plastic, and it was my job to get the potential paper damager out.