I store my negatives in printfile sleeves in archival binders. This may be a dumb question but if I write on the top of the printfile sleeves do I need to worry about using an archival pen? Or would I only have to worry about the pen being archival if I was writing on the back of prints, or on contact sheets?
Good question actually,
I believe you can use any pen, a Sharpie or Pilot pen is best to write on the print file page at the top for topic, location and date as such. You can also use them to mark what frames you like etc. Just do not press hard as to scar the neg inside the print file page.
I have used pencil and a pilot pen for the back of prints, usually in the border area for good luck. Same rules apply about not pressing hard as to not damage the print.
We have many prints from my grandfather from the 1880s and such that have pencil marking on them and no issues, but they had no idea how long to wash a print, many still smell like fixer but are in great shape.
BTW, I love where you are from. Wife and I visited in 2011. Amazing
I would not write on the sleeve while the negative is in it. Additionally I would wait until the writing is completely dry before reinserting the negative. However I have noticed bleed through after some years. It might be better to affix a paper label and write on that rather than directly on the plastic. For a number of years I used glassine holders and find them to be better. But of course you cannot print through them. Negatives tend to stick to the plastic after awhile but with glassine.
I would be more concerned about the archival nature of the negatives.
Originally Posted by nwilkins
okay thanks - I won't bother getting a special archival pen then.
I used to attach Avery labels to Printfiles until they began detaching on their own, and who's to say about the archivability of the adhesive. Now, I just write in the margins (non-negative areas) with sharpies. I have kept negs from 35 to 5x7 for as long as 30 years in these things with no sticking. Frankly, my negatives only need to last as long as I am able to print them. Fine art prints are a different matter. Proper processing is your best bulwark for archivability.