Most of the materials in our collections are housed in standard archival folders and boxes. Some items, however, because of their size or other physical characteristics, cannot be housed in such containers. When items are separated from their collections for storage elsewhere, they are known as "items separated." Separating these items not only protects them, it also protects other materials in their collections from the damage these items might otherwise cause.
In the Arranging section, we discussed when and why to separate pictures. To recap, preservation points to isolating pictures. Isolated, they are subject to far less handling than they would receive were they interfiled with other materials. This is particularly important in the case of fragile pictures. The main of the collection can also benefit from the removal of pictures, especially when the pictures are photographic images. All forms of photography involve chemical processes that may continue, albeit at very slow rates, long after the image is set. Contact with these chemicals can seriously damage surrounding materials. Additionally, when the day comes that we have cold storage for photographs, separated photographs will be easier to identify and move to a better storage climate.
Papers or photographs that do not fit into legal folders without folding are typically separated from their collections. Medium large materials are housed 16" x 20" or 2' x 3' folders in flat, grey boxes and very large sheets are housed in map and print folders in map cases. Note that folding large items is often permissible if the item is of low artifactual value. The decision to fold, however, should be made in consultation with your supervising archivist. Cutting large items down to size is not acceptable.
Volumes that fit in legal folders are typically housed in document cases or records cartons. If they do not fit, they are separated from the collection.
Finally, audiovisual materials and electronic media such as floppy discs and compact discs, are separated from the collection.
Note that separating items physically has little impact on how you arrange or describe them. These items should be listed and discussed where they belong INTELLECTUALLY in your collection.
The Supply Location List will help you find the supplies you will need to house your items properly.
To determine where in the stacks you should store your separated items see Where to Put Away Materials
Numbering items separated
Each item separated receives an item number with the following three parts: a prefix indicating which type of item separated it is, the collection number, and a sequential number.
For example, a photograph could have the number P-4007/1. The P represents "photographs," the 4007 is the collection number, and 1 means it is the first separated photograph. The sequential number for each different type of item separated begins with 1.
See Container Types for a list of the items separated prefixes.
Many of our items separated formats are housed "Z-style," which is our way of saying that items from several collections are housed in the same container, a la the Z collections. Z collections are collections that have five or fewer folders and are all housed together in document cases. That way we do not have half-empty document cases scattered through the stacks unnecessarily taking up space. The Z collections and Photograph Z folders are housed in collection number order. The rest of the formats that are housed Z style do not need to be housed in collection number order.
The principle behind housing Z-style is that you find the next available place for your materials in the run of boxes or drawers. Each box or drawer is numbered and this number is recorded in the location database. There will also be a place for you to record your item numbers, usually on the lid of the box or the front of the drawer, as a double-check.
Unlike the three-part item number, the box number or drawer number represents the item's physical location and is recorded in the location database, but not recorded in the finding aid. For example, an audio cassette may have the item number C-2504/3 and be housed in Audiocassette Box 25. Patrons would request the cassette using the number C-2504/3. Research and Instruction staff would check the database and see that that particular cassette can be found in Box 25.
Pictures in legal-size folders (P-)
Pictures that will fit in legal folders are stored in folders in document cases or records cartons in the same manner as papers. Do not overfill the folders. Overfilling folders with photographs is especially dangerous, since photographic emulsions are easily cracked.
You can describe each individual photograph (containertype="image") or in groups (containertype="imagefolder") in the finding aid.
Oversize papers or photographs (OP-,OP-P-, or OB-)
Oversize papers or photographs is our medium size designation for flat items. This designation is for items that are too large to fit in legal folders but small enough that they do not need to be stored in the very large map and print folders. Oversize papers or photographs can be described as individual items or as groups of items. Regardless, the items live in folders stored in flat, large, grey storage boxes. You may enclose multiple items in each folder, but do not overstuff the folder such that the materials are at risk of injury each time an unwieldy folder is removed from the grey boxes. We house oversize papers and photographs similarly so they are grouped together in our documentation, but do keep in mind that we do NOT mix papers and photographs in the same large grey flat box.
There are some occasions in which it is not feasible to house the materials in folders, and they can simply live in the large, flat, grey box on their own. In that case, your items will have the designation of "oversize box or (OB-)."
Here are the specifics on handling oversize papers or photographs:
Oversize materials in the finding aid
Oversize materials are described the the finding aid as follows:
EAD: <c0x><did><container type="opaper">OP-1234/1</container><unittitle>Map of North Carolina showing barbeque restaurants</unittitle></did></c0x>
Display: Oversize Paper OP-1234/1 Map of North Carolina showing barbeque restaurants
EAD: <c0x><did><container type="oimage">OP-P-1234/1</container><unittitle>Photograph of Serge Zwicker, 1993</unittitle></did></c0x>
Display: Oversize Image OP-P-1234/1 Photograph of Serge Zwicker, 1993
Groups of items housed in folders
EAD: <c0x><did><container type="opaperfolder">OP-1234/Folder 1-2</container><unittitle>Maps of southern states showing barbeque restaurants</unittitle></did></c0x>
Display: Oversize Paper Folder OP-1234/Folder 1-2 Maps of southern states showing barbeque restaurants
EAD: <c0x><did><container type="oimagefolder">OP-P-1234/Folder 1-5</container><unittitle>Photographs of 1993 University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Men's Basketball Team</unittitle></did></c0x>
Display: Oversize Image Folder OP-P-1234/Folder 1-5 Photographs of 1993 University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Men's Basketball Team
Groups of items housed in boxes
EAD: <c0x><did><container type="obox">OB-1234/1</container> <unittitle>Sheet music for various University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill fight songs</unittitle></did></c0x>
Display: Oversize Box OB-1234/1 Sheet music for various University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill fight songs
Note: At the moment, we do not designate in Oversize Box between a paper box and a photograph box. In general, we should not house photographs in the flat, gray boxes without folders. This container type is used for sturdy materials that will not be damaged if they are not placed in folders.
Labeling individual oversize items
Do your labeling neatly and in pencil in the top right hand corner on the back of the item with OP-0000, where OP is for oversize papers or OP-P-0000 where OP-P is for oversize photographs followed by the collection number. If you are describing your oversize items as a group, you do not need to label each individual oversize item. The label on the folder will suffice.
Labeling oversize folders
Labeling oversize folders is a simple affair. With the fold at the top of the folder, do your labeling on the bottom right edge so that it is easy to see collection numbers as you flip through the folders in the map cases and flat boxes. Label grey box folders with OPF-0000, where OPF is for oversize paper folders or OP-PF-0000 where OP-PF is for oversize photograph folders followed by the collection number. Number the folders according to how many are in each run (e.g., #1 of 1; #3 of 6). Restricted items should be isolated in their own folders. Stamp or write "RESTRICTED" in red on folders that contain restricted items in a clearly visible place near your other labeling.
Housing oversize materials
Instead of separate runs for boxes of oversize folders (OPs), boxes of oversize photographs (OP-Ps), and boxes with other items, such as oversize photo-albums housed in the large flat boxes, these all live together in the same run. Collections are not housed in numerical order in this run; locations are tracked in the location table.
Note: There are two sizes of flat, gray boxes. The 16" x 20"s and the 2' x 3' (a.k.a. Jackie's Folly). Both sizes are represented with same container type (OP, OP-P, OB); in the finding aid, we do not distinguish between the two. The larger flat gray boxes are better for lighter materials since these boxes are difficult to maneuver on and off of the shelves.
Oversize papers in folders
|We house oversize papers Z-style, i.e. we fill each box before moving on to the next. When oversize papers are housed in folders, collections can intermingle, and can stretch across boxes. (e.g. oversize box 85 can hold 1 folder for collection number 5202, 2 folders for collection number 5124, and 3 folders for collection number 20405; the remaining 3 folders for collection 20405 can be in box 86). We put an indicator on the last box of oversize paper folders. You should fill that box before a new oversize paper box is started.|
Oversize photographs in folders
|As with the oversize papers in folders, we want to fill an oversize photograph box before moving to the next. We put an indicator on the last box of oversize photograph folders. You should fill up that box before a new oversize photograph box is started. Just like with oversize papers, we can intermingle collections of oversize photographs in folders.|
Oversize items not in folders
These should get their own box(es). Loose items from different collections, e.g. posters not in folders, should not be intermingled with items from other collections.
Putting folders in boxes
Boxes should only hold six to eight folders. If they have too many folders, it's difficult for Research and Instruction staff to flip through to find the folders they need to retrieve. Record the collection number on the sticker on the box's lid; the box number should also be recorded on the sticker. As a double-check, record the box number on the folder.
Making a new oversize box
Pre-printed labels for new boxes can be found on the grey bookshelf in front of the vault in the manuscripts processing room.
There are sticky labels for recording collection numbers on the lid and "Photographs" labels for boxes with photographs.
Check the Supply Location List to find empty boxes.
Extra-oversize papers or photographs (X-OP, X-OP-P-)
The extra-oversize designation refers to our largest papers and photographs. These live in very large folders (typically called map and print folders) in map case drawers. Like oversize papers and photographs, extra-oversize papers or photographs can be described individually or in groups. Note that these materials are quite awkward for our Research and Instruction staff to page, so it is important to describe them thoroughly in the finding aid.
The extra-oversize designation is a relatively new development in the history of oversize papers at the SHC. In the past, all oversize papers were numbered OP-0000/n, regardless of whether they were housed in the grey boxes or in the map cases. A filing system and a coded list of oversize papers with Series A (map cases) and Series B (grey boxes) assignations steered Research and Instruction staff to the location of the item. This system became increasingly unwieldy and is superseded by the OP/XOP runs.
Extra-oversize materials in the finding aid
Extra-oversize materials are described in the finding aid as follows:
Describing individual items
EAD: <c0x><did><container type="xopaper">XOP-1234/1</container><unittitle>Map of North Carolina depicting historic sites</unittitle></did></c0x>
Display: Extra Oversize Paper XOP-1234/1 Map of North Carolina depicting historic sites
EAD: <c0x><did><container type="xoimage">XOP-P-1234/1</container><unittitle>Photograph of 2005 University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill mens' basketball team</unittitle></did></c0x>
Display: Extra Oversize Image XOP-P-1234/1 Photograph of 2005 University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill mens' basketball team
EAD: <c0x><did><container type="xopaperfolder">XOP-1234/Folder 1-2</container><unittitle>Maps of southern states showing barbeque restaurants</unittitle></did></c0x>
Display: Extra Oversize Paper Folder XOP-1234/Folder 1-2 Maps of southern states showing barbeque restaurants
EAD: <c0x><did><container type="xoimagefolder">XOP-P-1234/Folder 1-5</container><unittitle>Photographs of 1993 University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Men's Basketball Team</unittitle></did></c0x>
Display: Extra Oversize Image Folder XOP-P-1234/Folder 1-5 Photographs of 1993 University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Men's Basketball Team
Labeling extra-oversize items
Do your labeling neatly and in pencil in the top right hand corner of the item with XOP-0000, where XOP is for oversize papers or with XOP-P-0000 where XOP-P is for oversize photographs followed by the collection number.
Labeling extra-oversize folders
Label map case folders for extra-oversize papers with XOP-0000, where the XOP indicates extra large oversize papers and is followed by the collection number. Label map case folders for extra-oversize photographs with XOP-P-0000, where the XOP-P indicates extra large oversize photographs and is followed by the collection number The collection creator is added under the collection number. Number the folders according to how many are in each run (e.g., #1 of 1; #3 of 6). Restricted items should be isolated in their own folders. Stamp or write "RESTRICTED" in red on folders that contain restricted items in a clearly visible place near your other labeling.
Separated volumes (SV-)
Any volume that cannot be foldered and housed in document cases or records center cartons is a separated (SV) volume. Separated volumes should be marked clearly with SV-0000/n, where SV (for separated volume) is followed by the collection number and the individual volume number. Some separated volumes have custom boxes, but most are wrapped in alkaline paper and tied with linen tape to keep out dust and reduce abrasion. Separated volumes that likely will be used frequently may sit naked on the shelf because frequent use prevents dust from settling for too long on the volume. Separated volumes that are too large for wrapping or not valuable enough for custom boxes may be housed in a flat box (more than one volume may be housed in one box) or, as a last resort, sit naked on the shelf. Ask your supervising archivist if you are unsure of the best method to house and store your separated volumes.
Wrapping separated volumes
Separated volumes should be wrapped with archival paper. Because these volumes will be repeatedly wrapped and unwrapped, tape is not used. Instead, linen tape is used to keep the wrapping together. However, this does not mean that you can practice your boy/girl scout ties. A simple bow will suffice.
Write the volume number on the wrapper so that it is clearly visible when the volume is placed on the shelf (typically on the edge of the package). Also write the volume number on the wrapper covering the top of the volume to reduce confusion when the volume is unwrapped and re-wrapped. For restricted volumes, stamp or write "RESTRICTED" in both places on the wrapper.
|Some volume are too large or unwieldy to wrap or box. Generally, these are sturdy enough that they should not face too much harm sitting naked on the shelf.
You can pencil the SV number on the inside front cover of the volume, or write the number on strips of acid-free paper tucked into the volume. If you have a restricted volume, write "RESTRICTED" on the strip of paper, do not write RESTRICTED on the volume itself.
Volumes in boxes
Volumes may need the stability provided by a box. We typically have a supply of clamshell boxes that can be used for this purpose.
Special cases: oversize volumes in oversize boxes
|It's possible to use the flat, gray boxes for volumes. You may place more than one volume in a box, being mindful that the Research and Instruction staff will have to maneuver the boxes off and on the shelves.|
You can pencil the SV number on the inside front cover of the volume, or write the number on strips of acid-free paper tucked into the volume. If you have a restricted volume, write "RESTRICTED" on the strip, do not write RESTRICTED on the volume itself.
These boxes will live in the same run as the other oversize materials and are treated in the same manner. See Housing Oversize Materials for specifics on housing volumes in flat, gray boxes.
Photograph albums (PA-)
Photograph albums are a special type of separated volume and receive item numbers starting with the prefix PA-0000/1. They receive this special designation because we want to be able to identify all photographic materials in case we have the opportunity to move all of our photographs to cold storage. See the Separated Volumes section for information on how to wrap or box photograph albums.
Special format photographs (SF-P-)
Special format photographs such as daguerreotypes, ambrotypes, and tintypes receive item numbers starting with SF-P-0000/1.
Cassettes must have cases before they can be housed. Audiocassettes frequently arrive in their own containers and, typically, it is fine to use these.
Every audiocassette receives an item number starting with C-0000/1.
Reel to reel audio tapes (T-)
Audiotapes must have boxes before they can be housed. Audiotapes frequently arrive in their own containers and typically, it is fine to use these.
Audiotapes receive item numbers starting with T-0000/1, where T (for tape) is followed by the collection number and the number of the individual audiotape.
Audiodiscs (D-) (a.k.a. records or vinyl)
Audiodiscs should be stored in record jackets. If they have no jackets, place them in alkaline jackets. Audiodiscs receive item numbers starting with D-0000/1, where D (for disc) is followed by the collection number and the number of the individual disc.
Films receive item numbers starting with F-0000/1, where F (for film) is followed by the collection number and the number of the individual film.
We decide how to provide housing for film on case-by-case basis. Consult with your supervising archivist on the available options.
Note: If a strange and unpleasant odor emanates from the film, you may be dealing with nitrate-based film. If you can detect the unpleasant odor before the canister is opened, DO NOT OPEN THE CAN. This film, used between 1915 and 1950, is highly unstable and can be dangerous. If you think that you have nitrate-based film, consult with a supervising archivist immediately.
Videotapes must be stored in cases. Videotapes typically arrive in their own cases and it is typically fine to use these.
Label the videotape and videotape case with VT-0000/1, where VT (for videotape) is followed by the collection number and the individual item number.
You may have to create labels for the tape and the case.
Discs: CDs and DVDs (CD-, DCD-, DVD-)
We distinguish between data compact discs (DCD), music compact discs (CD), and digital video discs (DVD), but they are all treated in much the same way.
Discs usually arrive with their own jewel cases and it is fine to use these. Discs that arrive without jewel cases must be cased before they are shelved.
Number each disc with item numbers starting with the prefix, for example DCD-0000/1, where DCD is followed by the collection number and the number of the individual item.
Floppy Discs (FD-)
Floppy discs are handled on a case by case basis. See your supervising archivist for help with floppy discs.
Rolled items (R-)
|Rolled items should be marked clearly, starting with R-0000/1, where R (for rolled item) is followed by the collection number and the individual item number. Several drawers at the end of the extra-oversize papers in the map cases have been reserved for items that cannot or should not be unrolled. Consult with you supervising archivist about whether or not to unroll a questionable item.|
Items separated can also include wire recordings, microforms, digital audio tape (DAT), computer tapes, and framed items. See your supervising archivist for help with housings these items.