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Glossary of terms

What's the difference between restoration, preservation and conservation? Why does the word 'cataloguing' mean different things to different people? The staff at the LMA will tell you all about the words and phrases they encounter on a daily basis.

Building Services

Air conditioning

Any equipment which filters, purifies, (de)humidifies, chills or heats the ambient air within a particular office or storage equipment area within pre-specified parameters.

Fire Directives

The written instructions which are given to all new employees or contractors showing what should be done in the event of a fire alarm or fire.

Fire resistance

The ability of a wall, partition or door to withstand a fire for a specific time.

Risk Assessment

This is the method of identifying a hazard in workplace environments and the means of eliminating or reducing the risk, as well as the documentation to show what has been done.


The means of protecting the archives, building and personnel from attack or damage either environmentally or physically. This includes swipe access on doors to protected areas, security guards, ID cards, gates, external lighting etc.

Sprinkler system

An automatic system of water pipes fitted with sprinkler heads at suitable intervals and heights designed to detect excessive heat and discharge the water into the room at a certain temperature.

Thermal inertia

The ability of a building to withstand swings in the external temperature and humidity, usually achieved by construction of walls, windows, and doors.