Lowell Deeds

The latest on real estate recordings and new technology from the Middlesex North Registry of Deeds in Lowell

March 22, 2007

More on Visit to NEDCC

by @ 6:13 am. Filed under Registry Ops

The decision of whether to spend a significant amount of money to clean and repair the books damaged by the floor cleaning slurry that we’ve been describing for the past few days will be influenced by our long term plans for our historic record books. By “historic” I mean the approximately 3000 books created between 1855 and 1984. There are the larger books, measuring 11 inches by 15 inches, with tan fabric encased covers and sewn bindings. The more recent books, those in the 9.5 inch by 12 inch snap together white plastic covers are a different breed, never intended to be a permanent record of the document images contained within, but something easily replaced when wear, tear and age took their toll on the first edition. But the older books are historic artifacts and should be retained as such. This means taking them out of circulation and storing them in a manner that will prolong their existence. As they are stored down, standing upright, cover-to-cover on metal shelves in our Lower Record Hall Annex, they are exposed to light, air, dirt and pollutants. Those are the things that account for the discoloration that appears on the page edges. Repeatedly being plopped onto copy machines doesn’t do these heavy, dusty, difficult to grasp volumes any good either. According to the experts at the Northeast Document Conservation Center, the single most important thing we can do to preserve these books is to place them in individual storage boxes and stack them on their sides, no more than three high, in a place where the temperature and humidity are both below 70 with neither varying very much. The individual boxes must be custom made and are fitted to the millimeter. They’re not cheap, but these books, in their existing manifestation, will last for many years if properly protected. This is not something we must do immediately, or all at once, but it is something we should do to preserve these important records.

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