Within the scope related to Cieszyn’s Branch of the State Archive in Katowice, the project of “Protection and Preservation of Cieszyn’s Writing Heritage” required transferring of the entire archive and library collection to the State Archive building in Katowice.
In order to do so, the State Archive in Katowice was provided with a separate storage room equipped with new bookstands. In July 2007, the transfer of records and collections, including 600 running meters (shelves) of files and 8 000 books, was started. Transportation operations took two months. The maximum volume of a single transfer batch was 100 rm. of records in order to avoid damage to the documents and disturbance of the identification system during transport. Following the transfer to Katowice, reference codes of all records were verified. At the same time, the emptied room in Cieszyn was refurbished, including wall painting and bookstand disinfection, in order to ensure bringing the cleaned files to a clean storage area. In October 2007, transferring the records back to Cieszyn was started. The process will be completed in the mid September of 2008.
Archive file transportation is contracted out to a carrier, however, loading and unloading of the resources is performed by the State Archive personnel with experience in that type of work – e.g. unloaded records are classified by reference codes and stored on proper storage room bookstands directly.
Based on the approx. eighteen months of resource transferring operations, the following comments can be made:
- Protection of any transferred records is the key requirement. The files must be carried in properly identified packaging (cardboard boxes, plastic containers, plastic bags). Identification marking on the packaging allows proper arrangement of the transferred files on bookstands and verification if any item is missing. Packaging itself protects the items against possible damage.
- Collection transferring operations should not be expected to run faster. The State Archive personnel experienced a few failures of the lifting device due to overload, which brought additional delays of the unloading time, as well as on-the-road failures of overloaded trucks. The vehicle had to be hauled to the nearest gas station where the files had to be transferred to another truck.
- Transportation of files requires the presence of the State Archive representative in the vehicle with the carrier’s personnel. The representative performs piloting operations and holds necessary documentation confirming the type of files and containing destination data.
- Additionally, weather forecasting should be reviewed. If possible, weather forecast should determine scheduling of transportation, as in spite of the multiple protecting measures applied (closed trucks, packaging, roofing of the building entrance area), it is preferred that there is no rain expected on the date of transport. So far, the State Archive personnel has been able to avoid these problems and the project of file transferring is about to be completed.