Preservation through Poetry:
Tape is Evil
Tape is evil, tape is bad
Tape makes Preservation staff really really mad.
Scotch, masking, duct or the blue one used by a painter,
None of these should be used; you’ll thank us later.
Tape is made of two parts: a carrier and the glue
One will degrade over time, the other too.
The carrier will dry out, crumble and crack,
The adhesive will seep out or lose its tack.
The glue could ooze onto the photos, you see
Or it could fuse the papers, we won’t get them free.
Normally tape would be used for attaching fragments and closing rips.
But this is not the best archival practice, please take these tips.
So what should be used instead, you ask?
We have a couple options, depending on the task.
First, we could mend it using a wheat starch paste,
Which is applied to an archival tissue, with ease, not haste.
The tissue with paste is then laid over the fragment or tear,
Providing stabilization for the paper from handling and wear.
Second, if the page is torn or has fragments abound,
We place them in a Mylar sleeve, so later they can be found.
The sleeve keeps the loose fragments together with the original sheet,
Without all the pieces, this page would be incomplete.
The longevity of the papers and photos are what we guarantee,
Here in the St. Louis Preservation Lab at the NPRC.