Protecting the Source: The UK National Archives’ “Deep Store”
Submitted by on Wed, 2010-08-18 11:29
Ithaca, NY My father used to say that he was “off to the salt mines” as he left for his job as an early IBM engineer each day. He did not know that he was predicting the future location of UK archival information with that witticism.
The UK has designated the Winsford salt mines in Cheshire as a storage facility for materials from the National Archives. As more and more information is converted to digital formats constant temperatures of 14C (57F) and a stable environment–large vaults held up by salt pillars–make these mines an ideal long-term storage facility for valuable manuscripts and paper document originals. Read more about “Deep Store” here: http://www.guardian.co.uk/uk/gallery/2010/aug/10/cheshire-salt-mine-national-archive
Paul N. Banks offers a U.S. National Archives perspective on the merits and disadvantages of “caves” as alternative archival document facilities that could include underground mines in “Overview of Alternative Space Options for Libraries and Archives, 1999″: http://www.archives.gov/preservation/storage/overview-alt-space.html.
Libraries, archives and cultural institutions continue to explore alternatives for “keeping the originals safe” as online access to better quality digital facsimiles of original documents improves and storage facility costs increase.