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  • Content Details


  • Preservation warehouse
  • Preservation equipment and facilities
  • Organization of documents in the warehouse
  • Implementation of preservation methods and techniques
  • Rehabilitation and restoration of documents


  •  Archival documents are valuable assets of the nation and have special value in the work of country development and protection. Therefore, they must be

preserved in absolutely secure manner in accordance with State requirements and regulations.

  •  Preservation of archival documents is a process of applying technical and scientific measures to ensure the security and prolong the lifespan of the documents (archival documents will be called thereafter as documents).
  •  Document preservation comprises of following areas:

A. Preservation warehouse
B. Preservation equipment and facilities
C. Organization of documents in the warehouse
D. Implementation of preservation methods and techniques

E. Rehabilitation and restoration of documents
F. Scope of application: This instruction mainly applies to documents where data carriage is paper (documents with other data carriage can be found in other instructions).
1. Warehouse location: Location for construction of warehouse shall meet following requirements:

  •  Dry place
  •  Fresh air environment
  •  Stable engineering geological conditions with high load-bearing capacity
  •  Convenient for transportation, protection, fire fighting and prevention and use of documents

2. Size of warehouse .

  • In defining the total area of warehouse to be constructed, it is required to consider the available quantity of documents and plan on collection of documents from different sources within 15-20 years later
  •  Preservation warehouse should have different type of warehouse rooms to meet different requirements and preservation conditions of various documents.

3. Plan and direction of warehouse .

  •  Apart from warehouse rooms for document preservations, the warehouse should also have several offices to implement operational procedures and some rooms for management, administration and supporting, etc.
  •  If the warehouse has one building only, offices should be at lower level while preservation rooms are on higher level. If it has two buildings, offices and preservation rooms are located in the same building while another building will be used for visitors to use the documents and for other working functions. These two building are arranged in T or L shape and connected to each other by roofed corridor.
  •  Direction of the warehouse should be South or Southwest. Western gable of the building is left without windows.

4. Area of warehouse rooms .

  •  Area of each room is the sum of area for document preservation shelves, area for aisle between lines of shelves, aisle at the end of shelves and main path inside the warehouse, etc.
  •  Area of each warehouse room should not exceed 200 m2.

5. Aisle .

  •  Aisle between lines of shelves: 0m70-0m80, aisle at the ends of shelf: 0m40-0m60, main path in the warehouse: 1m20-1m50, path around the warehouse (corridor or cloister): 0m80-1m20.
  •  Aisle must be convenient for lines of operation and transportation of documents (line of performance).
  •  Aisle outside the door must facilitate the easy travelling and access to fire of fire extinguishing vehicle in addition to the role of document import and export.

6. Wall of warehouse

  •  Walls and partitions in the warehouse rooms must meet State standard on fire resistance (they should not be collapsed after 4 hours of fire).
  • External walls must ensure heat insulation, temperature resistance and rain waterproof, etc.
  •  Wall with air conditioner installation must be built with 2 layers and the distance between 2 layers must be filled with moisture resistant insulant, etc.

7. Doors and windows of warehouse

  •  Warehouse door must be secure and properly locked.
  • Door wings must open from inward to outward.
  •  Door with air conditioner installation should have one wing only, 2 layers with moisture resistant insulant in between, etc.
  •  Windows must ensure no break-in, no direct light and no penetration of insects.
  •  Too many windows are not necessary.

8. Height of warehouse

  •  Each floor is 2.80m high, calculated from one warehouse floor to the other.
  •  Basement with ventilation and moisture proof functions must be 1.80m above the ground. Garret with ventilation and

temperature resistance functions is over 1.00m high (2-layer roof).

9. Load of warehouse floor

  •  Designed load of warehouse floor is 850-1000 kg/m2
  • Warehouse floor using compact racking has the load of 1,200 kg/m2.

10. Electrical system in the warehouse

  •  Preservation warehouse has 2 separate electrical systems: Electrical system for operation inside the warehouse and electrical system for protection outside the warehouse. Common MCB for entire warehouse and separate MCB for each floor are required. Electrical line must be leaded cable and buried. Lighting in the warehouse use filament bulb with protecting layer. Each bulb has separate switch. Sockets must be covered.

11. Water system of warehouse

  • Apart from water source for domestic use, it is required to install a water system for fire fighting and prevention. The system comprises of water supply cock, water tank and pump, etc. Water pipeline should not pass through document preservation area.
  •  Drainage system must ensure quick discharge, both on the roof and on the wall.

12. Temperature and humidity conditions

  •  In the paper document warehouse, following temperature & humidity conditions shall be maintained 24 hours within a day:
  •  Temperature: 20 ± 2oC
  •  Humidity: 50 ± 5%.

13. Lighting condition

  •  Direct sunlighting to documents must be minimized. Windows should have curtain of dark color. Lighting inside the warehouse mainly comes from electric bulbs which are used in necessary cases only. Frequent power up should be avoided in the warehouse.
  •  Illumination on the document surface is 15-25lux in the warehouse and 100 lux in reading room.
  •  (Horizontal) shadow structures should be used for warehouse.

14. Ventilation

  •  Ventilation in the warehouse should always be maintained at the wind speed of: 5m/s.
  •  Hourly Air flow is around 1-8 times of warehouse volume.

15. Other requirements:

  •  In case old buildings or offices are utilized as document preservation warehouse, they must be improved to meet requirements for secure preservation of documents. Special attention should be paid to load of floor, windows, doors, electrical and water system, etc.

1. Preservation facilities

  •  Major facilities in preservation warehouse are boxes and shelves for document preservation. Boxes and shelves shall meet latest standards issued by State Records Management and Archives Department of Vietnam.
  •  Newly-built specialized preservation warehouses should use compact shelves.

2. Heat and moisture meter

  •  Each room must have a set of heat-moisture meter located in the middle of the room.
  • Outside the warehouse, a set of heat-moisture meter should be placed in clear area to compare weather condition between inside and outside part of the warehouse.
  •  Meters must be checked and cleaned regularly. Annually, accuracy of each meter must be verified and calibrated.

3. Ventilation fan

  •  Popular type of ventilation fan is wall fan.
  •  Quantity and capacity of fan used for each room depend on area and document preservation conditions of that room.

4. Dehumidifier and air conditioner

  • Quantity and capacity of dehumidifier and air conditioner depend on area and tightness of warehouse and temperature-moisture requirements for document preservation of the room.
  • Such devices and accessories should be fully equipped to ensure that they work constantly within 24 hours in the day.

5. Fire fighting equipment

  •  Preservation warehouse must be fully equipped with fire fighting facilities to ensure absolute security for documents.
  •  Normal fire fighting tools and measures such as sand, sack cloth and blanket for fire extinguishing, foam extinguisher and fire hydrant, etc. can be used. However, they are used only in the area outside the document warehouse.
  •  The only fire extinguishing device used for document warehouse is either CO2 fire extinguisher or carbon tetrachloride powder fire extinguisher.

6. Tools for document cleaning

  •  Warehouse should be fully equipped with document cleaning tools such as vacuum cleaner, dust precipitator for entire warehouse or other popular cleaning facilities.

III . ORGANIZATION OF DOCUMENTS IN THE WAREHOUSE 1. Processing of documents before storage :

  •  Before being stored, documents must be sterilized, cleaned and checked by comparing the accuracy of documents and statistic figures.
  •  Before being preserved in the warehouse, documents must be placed in boxes. In the absence of boxes, they must be filed in three-wire cases or covered. Each box or case must be labeled with sufficient information for statistic and searching purposes.

2. Arrangement of documents on the shelves

  • Documents are arranged on the shelves in the order of archival code marked on the boxes of each archive. Shelf arrangement principle is from left to right, top-down, in each shelf compartment and in the direction in which arranging person faces the shelf.
  • In the whole warehouse, documents are arranged on the shelf faces with the principle of left to right, from outside to inside and in the direction of person coming into the warehouse from the door.

3. Preparation of shelf diagram in the warehouse

  • Each warehouse must have a diagram of document shelves in the warehouse. The diagram shall clearly indicate document position of archives in the warehouse.

4. Taking document to use

  • When documents are taken to use, they must be rechecked in terms of quality and geophysical status. For heavily damaged or very valuable documents, original copies will not be used.
  • In the reading room, regulation on document security must be strictly followed.

5. Inspection of documents in the warehouse

  • Annually, quantity and quality of documents must be inspected. Inspection results shall be recorded with details on quantity of documents as per statistics, quantity of documents newly collected in the year, quantity of damaged documents and quantity of lacking documents.
  •  Upon finding out the damage, documents must be rehabilitated and restored or copied in a timely manner.

IV . TECHNICAL MEASURES OF PRESERVATION 1. Moistur prevention : Moisture prevention for documents can be done by following measures:

  • Ventilation: Natural ventilation for moisture prevention for documents is done by turning the fan or opening the doors and windows. Ventilation is only done when inside temperature is not 5ºC less than outside temperature. When doors and windows are opened for ventilation, it is necessary to avoid the penetration of dust, insect, gas and light, etc..
  • Use of dehumidifying agents: Silica gel can be used for dehumidification of document boxes. Each box uses 2-3 grams contained in cloth bag. After 3 months, the gel must be taken out, dried at 130ºC within 6 hours and reused.
  •  Dehumidifier and air conditioner operate 24 hour constantly in the day.

2. Mildew-proof

  • For mildew-proof, it is necessary to frequently clean documents, preservation facilities and warehouse. Optimal ventilation, humidity and temperature conditions shall be maintained for document preservation.
  •  When mildew is found, the affected documents must be isolated and mildew-proof measures must be applied.
  • It is not allowed to directly apply anti-mildew compound on the documents. The compound shall be sprayed, swept and brushed on the cover, box, case and shelf containing documents. For valuable documents affected by mildew, after being cleaned, the documents are hold in between 2 filter papers soaked in anti-mildew agent.
  • Chemicals which have not been tested in terms of safety for documents are prohibited.

3. Prevention of insects

  •  In order to prevent the appearance of insects in the warehouse, preventive measures shall be applied. Documents, preservation facilities and warehouse must be cleaned regularly. Documents shall be sterilized before bringing into warehouse and periodically sterilized during the use (once every 2 years).
  • Gas-operated smoking is used for sterilization.
  • Sterilizing agents used for documents shall be allowed and instructed by State Records Management and Archives Department of Vietnam.

4. Termite prevention

  •  Prevention measure shall be planned and implemented right after starting the construction of preservation warehouse
  • If termite appears, penetrates into the warehouse and destroys the documents, etc., it must be immediately notified to termite prevention agency for effective, safe and long-term solutions.

5. Rat prevention

  •  It is necessary to minimize the possibility of rat penetrating into the warehouse (attention should be paid to pipes, culverts, electrical lines and ventilating holes, etc.)
  • No food shall be left in the preservation warehouse.
  • Trap or poison is used to kill rats. Use of chemical poisons shall follow instructions of functional agencies.

The rehabilitation, restoration and preparation of insured copies shall follow the specific instructions of State Records Management and Archives Department of Vietnam.




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