It is important to know that providing proper storage for film materials may not always guarantee a satisfactory life span. Often, libraries and archives need to access, inspect, and use collection materials. It is important to realize that even if films are stored at frozen conditions, bringing them out of storage periodically can have a drastic impact on the stability of the film. In fact, repeatedly moving a film from cold/frozen storage into a work space maintained at normal room conditions will significantly undercut the benefits of low temperature storage. The longer film materials are kept out of storage, the greater the extent of damage will be.
To use the table below, first locate the vault conditions on the left-hand side of the table. Once you locate the storage conditions, notice the estimated years until significant damage occurs at various periods of time spent out of storage. Tip: The most frequently-requested and used films in your collection are often the most significant, and therefore most likely to spend a lot of time out of storage. It’s good practice to limit time out of storage for all films, but especially for those that get used the most.
This table provides time estimates for the least stable color dye to lose 30% of its initial density based on accelerated aging tests conducted on color materials from the 1990s. For fresh acetate, see the Days Out of Storage for Fresh Acetate table. For degraded acetate, see the Days Out of Storage for Degraded Acetate table.
|Storage Conditions||Average number of days per year out of storage at 70°F/21°C & 50% RH|
|T°C||T°F||RH%||No Days||2 Days||4 Days||7 Days||30 Days||60 Days||90 Days||120 Days|
|Time in Years to Damage|