I will suggest that a story by Sophie Yeo in the PacificStandard web site should be required reading by archivists, librarians, genealogists, government officials, and anyone else who cares about preserving old paper documents. She writes, “Almost all American archives are at risk from disasters or changing temperatures. Community history will probably be the first to go.”
She also writes:
“This history, in the form of manuscripts, codices, printed books, and other material artifacts, is kept in expensive and well-ventilated university collections; it is tucked in crumpling cardboard boxes under the desks of local librarians; it sits crammed into the storage cupboards of city governments. Some documents attract scholars from around the world, while others hold scant interest beyond hobbyist historians. Many are irreplaceable.
“Almost all are at risk of degradation caused by projected temperature changes, humidity, sea level rise, storm surges, and precipitation, according to new research on United States collections by a group of archivists and climate scientists.”
The article also points to a recent study that says, “2.4 percent [of the U.S. archives] are susceptible to surface water flooding, while 17.7 percent are at risk of the combined effects of sea level rise and storm surge. The biggest threat was increased variance in humidity and temperatures, with 90 percent of archives expected to experience a swing of at least 1 degree Celsius, and 7.5 percent projected to face a variation of 10 degrees Celsius or more, under a high-emissions scenario.”
The article then goes on to offer solutions, including: “In addition, many libraries and archives are digitizing their collections, ensuring that anything destroyed by climate change continues to exist in pixels, if not on vellum and parchment and paper.”
You can find the article at: http://bit.ly/2wCqQb1.