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Preservation of Archival materials is very important and very essential for prolonging of information and knowledge form one generation to another. This study discusses the methods of preserving Archival materials. The work is arranged in chapters for easy understanding. The chapters contained in this work are form one to five. The work does not only stop with the protection and safe-guarding of he archives from authorized access and loss resulting from water and fire but the provision of sophisticated and special storage building and also the control of the surrounding in which the records are kept. The cause of damages and deterioration of the Archival materials which includes chemical, physical and biological agents were also discussed. Interview method was used in the study, where some of the staff were interviewed to know how they preserve records (materials) and also the durability and effectiveness of the preservative measures in their Archives. Observation method was applied also to see how the materials were arranged and what they (staff) use in arrangement. At the end of this work, additional possible solutions will be suggested on how to preserve the materials




The practice of keeping record is as old as civilization itself we would know little about civilization and ancient kingdoms but for the fact that records of Archaeologicla evidence of written record the discovery of the manuscript of the Hebrew torah in the temple is good example form biblical times. The Romans Emperor Justine (527-565 AD) has been quoted as issuing a decree to this governors in every province to set apart a public building to store their ecordsa.

As a matter of fact, the measure of a nations civilization has always been judged by the pride. It place on its written records which from the raw materials of it history many individual does not know the important of preserving records of the past history until when hey are in need of it, this behavior is not peculiar to Nigeria alone but has prevalled in every country where people have not been in the habit of taking adequate care of their records, despite this archival centers have sprang up. Where ever it is realized that to destroy record is to destroy the very source form which reliable history could be written.

Archives have been defined as those records of any public private institution which are adjudged worthy of permanent preservation for reference and research purposes and which have been deposited or have been selected for deposit in an archival institution, Archives is also repository for an organized body of records produced or received by a public, semi-public institutional or business entity. In the transaction of its affairs and preserved by it or its successors. People some times refer to Archival institution “As Archives”.

The institution and Administration of Archives may be traced from autiquity Archives and Archival administration as they are understood today, dates from the French revolution. The establishment of the Archives departmentales in 1796 and Archives National in  1989, there was for the first time a unified Administratiion of Archives that embarked in existent repositories and records producing public agencies, they are responsible for the care of its documentary heritage. Another result was the principle of accessibility of Archives to the public.

The united Nations and the several internatioanal organizations maintain Archives. The internaitoanl council on Archives was founded in 1948 by professional Archivists. Meeting paris under the help of UNESCO. Membership is open to all professional Archivists and to representative of:-

  1. Central Archival directorates or administration.
  2. National and international regional association of Archivists.
  3. All Archival institution.

The science of records controls has to face at least three central issues such as

  • The determination of types of removed from agencies of origin.
  • The time of disposition
  • The manner of disposition.

Practice varies but elimination usually occur before transferring records from the agency of origin. The Archival materials include all books, maps, papers, photographs and other documentary materials other Archival materials include motion pictures, sound recording, photographic records and computer records micro copies are determined by special legislation as a practical medium for making additiaonl copies of warfare as preservation against normal deterioration or damage for use in international exchange.


The function of any Archival institution. The world over includes records disposition, arrangaement, description, publication, reference services and preservation of all the functions record.

Preservation of Archival materials does not stop with safe-guarding he Archives form losses resulting form fire and water. It includes also the provision of special storage buildings the control of the environment in which the records are kept, provision of conservation workshops and laboratories and well trained staff for conservation and restoration of activities.

In Nigeria these functions seems to have suffered prolonged neglect, due to miss guided actiosn and priorities misplacement, the term preservation has been defined as all measures taken by an archival to his archieves from deterioration. Preservation is aimed at preventing damages to the Archieves or restoring documents that have been damaged. According to Kelthpellia, and Meelia conservator constitutes two aspects conservation and restoration. Conservation is aimed at preventing measure taken to protect our Archives against diseases. It includes telling such steps as good house keeping or maintaining hygiene.

Restoration on the other hand means taking correction measures for strengthening weakened or brittle documents. When deterioration has set in on paper restoration is the only way to revive the documents and make it useable and serviceable. The history or preservation is as old as he invention of the art of writing, before the invention of writing, the primitive mam had learnt to make impressions on the walls of his caves such drawing provided useful research information for the archives.

Ancient Egypt were the first to develop the art of writing to record his dally activities record his social, economic physical and cultural as well as communications with others in distant lands and to records natural charges. The use of day of metal back leaves, parehments, papyrus, vellum, and paper. Some of those old form to written are still in else in some parts of the world despite the invention of paper. The felt still remain that all these materials were subjacent to rapid deterioration owning to national ageing and prolong stay and as a result of adverse weather effects and environmental factors such humility, light, insects heat and vermin’s.

However for this preservation, different measures are adopted such as wrapping the materials with clothes using preventice and preservative oil and storing them in cylindrical tubes. The problems of preservation of document have increased tremendously as a result of the predominant use of paper in printing and writing.


The pioneering efforts of DR. KENNETH .O. DIKE  a prominent historian and scholar led to the establishment of the Nigerian records office, now called the NIGERIAN NATIIOANAL ARCHIEVES in 1954 with headquarters at Ibadan. His survey and report of non-current official records of Nigeria were accepted by the colonial government on 1st April 1954 he was appointed the supervise of records to preserve and organize the records of Nigeria.

          The Nigeria records office as it was first called was place in the Federal Ministry of education in 1957, and in the same year it become a division in the federal ministry of information till 1979, when it was again transferred to the newly ereelted ministry of social development, youths, sports and culture.

          The National Archives right form the beginning has established its branches at Enugu and Kaduna. The Enugu office was opened in 1952, the development now have two repositories bult with part of he U.A.C independence gift to the chief. The Archivist is Mr. UWAKWA ORIJI. There are many sections in the National Archives Enugu, they are as follows:

1        Processing unit

2        Bindery / repairing section

3        Reprographic section 

4        Research room

5        Library section


This is where Archives start, the staff in this section will search for records and these records are in form of books, maps, papers photograph and other documentary materials. Records record of any public or private institution which is adjudged worthy of permanent preservation and conservation.

After the survey of the materials the staff will inform the office that has those record to tie and keep them, provision should be made and how to carry those materials to the Archival institution. Now the material acquired is in Archival custody. After acquiring sorting follows. The material are now order. Listing and classification of these records is another stage. Then these records are prepared for easy identification. During the real processing, then the records are based and labeled to know the contents of each box. The box will be in stock and are placed in the shelves, now open for use because the physical and intellectual control has been done.

MR: DENNIS OKE is in charge of this processing base unit. He is  an Archivist grade 2.




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