Articles, Technical Leaflets, Books, Guidelines, FAQs

Articles, Technical Leaflets, Books, Guidelines, FAQs

A large body of written material on disaster planning is available in both print and electronic formats. This section links to and annotates some fundamental readings by credible institutions, organizations, and government agencies. For more extensive reading, visit the bibliographies list and the other resources included in this guide.

  • After a Fire: A brochure created by the Australian Institute for the Conservation of Cultural Materials (AICCM) walks you through what to do with fire-damaged material. AICCM encourages anyone to print and distribute this two-page flier. Formatted as a PDF.

    Target audience: General population.

  • Caring for Your Family Archives: Presented by the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) under the tabs Preservation and Archives Professionals, Family Archives. FAQ-style guidelines for the care, display, and conversion of personal archival materials.

    Target audience: Anyone maintaining a collection involving photos or videotapes.

  • Caring for Your Treasures: Presented by the American Institute for Conservation of Historic and Artistic Works (AIC). Contains guidelines, organized by medium (books, glass, metal, photos, etc.), for how to care for and maintain heirloom objects.

    Target audience: General population.

  • Damaged Books Pamphlet: Authored by Caroline Bendix and presented by the British Library Preservation Advisory Centre. Describes the most common types of damage to books and outlines potential remedial work for that damage. Formatted as a PDF; contains illustrations and charts.

    Target audience: Library/archives professionals.

  • Disaster Preparedness Plan: Created by the State Historical Society of Iowa. Summary document of why disaster plans are important, with interspersed guidelines on how to deal with each emergency.

    Target audience: Records custodians.

  • Emergency Preparedness: Created by Library of Congress. Presents an overview of why it's important to be prepared for an emergency and of insurance and risk management. Breaks down disaster recovery by type of disaster (earthquake, fire, flood, etc.).

    Target audience: Librarians and Archivists.

  • Film Damage: Presented by the Association of Moving Image Archivists (AMIA). Contains general guidelines on how to salvage water-damaged film and videotapes, FAQs, and a list of film labs across the country.

    Target audience: Those affected by hurricanes or floods.

  • Guide to Navigating Federal Emergency Management Administration and Small Business Administration: Disaster Aid for Cultural Institutions: Created by Heritage Preservation in support of the Heritage Emergency National Task Force, this guide summarizes federal recovery funding regulations tailored for cultural heritage resources, includes state emergency management agency contact information, and pinpoints relevant FEMA, SBA, and IRS policies and procedures. Guidebook formatted as a PDF, 66 pages. This guide was originally published in July 2008, updated January 2009, and is based on current Federal policies. Visit for updates.

    Target audience: Cultural and arts institutions.

  • National Park Service Museum Handbook, Part I: Museum Collections: Available through NPS. "Focuses on standards and procedures of preventive care for musuem collections," and "includes numerous appendices on techniques for the preservation of specific types of materials found in museum collections." See especially Chapter 10: Emergency Planning.

    Target audience: Museum professionals.

  • Preservation FAQs: Prepared by the Preservation and Conservation Unit at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign (UIUC). Responses to frequently asked questions about books and paper, photographs, and artwork.

    Target audience: Library/archives professionals.

  • Preserving Family Heirlooms: Created by the Northeast Document Conservation Center (NEDCC). When asked for preservation advice on “preserving family documents and memorabilia” by patrons or members, here is a concise list of tips to give.

    Target audiences: Libraries and historical organizations.

  • Preservation Leaflets: Available through NEDCC. Approximately 70 leaflets grouped under the headings Planning and Prioritizing, The Environment, Emergency Management, Storage and Handling, Photographs, Reformatting, and Conservation Procedures. Leaflets are internally cross-referenced with linked material.

    Target audiences: Museums, libraries, archives, historical organizations, cultural institutions, and private individuals.

  • Rescuing Family Records: A Disaster Planning Guide: Available from the Council of State Archivists (CoSA), written by David W. Carmicheal. Provides practical guidance to help individuals and families protect their most important legal documents and irreplaceable pieces of family history from loss during a disaster. Describes the records that protect a family’s finances, health, civil rights, and family history. Fillable tables prompt readers to think through all the records that may help their family survive disaster and return to normal afterwards, noting locations of originals and any duplicates available.

    Target audience: Individuals and families.

  • Resources for Recovery: Post-Disaster Aid for Cultural Institutions: Written and distributed by Heritage Preservation for the National Task Force on Emergency Response. Pamphlet formatted as a PDF, 13 pages. Gives disaster response tips, lists conservation resources, and outlines government aid obtained through the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and the Small Business Administration (SBA) and from the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA), the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH), and the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS).

    Target audiences: Nonprofit arts centers, archives, conservation and historic preservation organizations, historical societies, historic sites, libraries, museums, theaters, and more.

  • Safeguarding a Nation’s Identity: Compiled by CoSA. The first product of CoSA’s Emergency Preparedness Initiative draws on an assessment of records-related preparedness completed by all fifty state archives in 2006. Both the full report (74 pages) and the executive summary (8 pages) can be downloaded (contact CoSA for availability of printed executive summaries).

    Target audiences: Advocacy tool among government officials at the federal, state, and local levels.

  • Save Your Treasures the Right Way: Presented by Heritage Preservation for the National Task Force on Emergency Response. Basic guidelines for heirlooms, photographs, and other keepsakes.

    Target audience: Those affected by hurricanes and floods.

  • Selected Readings in Preservation: Presented by the Preservation Section of the Society of American Archivists (SAA). “An annotated list of selected sources released in a given calendar year on archives preservation” that is “issued annually by the Society of American Archivists Preservation Section as a service to the Section and the archives community.”

    Target audience: Archives community.

  • Shelter from the Stormy Blast: A Guide to Disaster Recovery Services for Georgia and the Southeast: The Atlanta Regional Council for Higher Education (ARCHE), the Society of Georgia Archivists (SGA), and the Southern Libraries Regional Network (SOLINET) present an online Shelter from the Stormy Blast disaster preparedness guide, published in 1998. The guide is an essential resource for emergency resources and recovery services and products in Georgia. Formatted as a PDF.

    Target audience: Georgia and the Southeast.

  • Storage Standards: Presented by CoSA. Archives and records administration storage standards for state and local government records as published by state archives, state libraries, and local cultural preservation institutions. Organized alphabetically by state.

    Target audiences: State and local government archives and records administrators.

  • Technical Leaflets: Presented by American Association for State and Local History (AASLH). Leaflets, available for purchase individually or in bundles, cover a variety of topics, including disaster planning and preservation.

    Target audience: “History organizations in the United States” that tend to be “small, volunteer led and, often, volunteer staffed.”

  • Tips for Salvaging Water-Damaged Valuables: Presented by Heritage Preservation for the National Task Force on Emergency Response. Ten Tips for Homeowners on the Care of Water-Damaged Family Heirlooms and Other Valuables presents guidelines from AIC and Heritage Preservation on the salvage of documents, books, photographs, works of art on paper, wallpaper, photographs, textiles, leather, other organic material, garments, baskets, furniture, and metal objects.

    Target audience: “Homeowners who have had family heirlooms and other valuables damaged by flooding.”

  • Vital Records Awareness: An Overview: Produced by FEMA. PDF available from CoSA. Brochure provides guidance for identifying vital (essential) records, i.e., those necessary for the continuity of operations during and following a disaster. Identifies components of a vital records plan and provides advice on protecting vital records (including proper storage).

    Target audiences: Governments, private businesses and organizations, and nonprofits.