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Two books spanned open with spines touching. Emergency Preparedness and Response

Collection Recovery Methods: Items Housed in Plastic Enclosures

Items Housed in Plastic Enclosures include any fully-encapsulated items or items in plastic sleeves.

Follow instructions based on type or material (e.g., stable or soluble inks and colorants, plain or coated paper, and resin-coated photographs).

Recovery Priority during the first 24-48 hours

  • Leave dry items as they are; do not remove their plastic enclosures, but wipe off any water on the outside.
  • To remove plastic from wet or damp items prior to drying:
    • Slit the sealed edges and carefully peel back the top plastic sheet at a sharp angle. Stop if the item starts to tear or resists peeling.
    • If the top sheet cannot be removed without causing damage: slit sides, squeeze out any excess water, and lift top sheet at edges to allow air entry. Gently attempt to remove the top sheet as the item dries.
    • Leave bottom sheet as a support for the item during handling.
  • Use extra caution with large objects; wet paper is easily torn. Support with screens or polyester webbing.

Freezing Procedures

  • Leave items that are going to be air dried after freezing as they are. Remove the plastic prior to air drying.
  • Leave items that are going to be vacuum freeze-dried as they are if at least one side of the enclosure is unsealed (slit open an edge or clip corners if necessary).
  • For normal freeze drying, or freezing followed by desiccant drying:
    • For smaller quantities:
    • For larger quantities:

Air Drying Procedures

  1. Remove plastic by slitting the side and carefully peeling back the top sheet at a sharp angle.
  2. Blot surface with absorbent material if appropriate for that medium.
  3. Spread items out to air dry.
  4. When items are nearly dry, flip them over and peel back the plastic from the other sides. Place items between blotters or absorbent floor matting in stacks to reduce severe distortions during final drying.
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