Quote Originally Posted by Sean
I am also wondering about negative storage, i see buffered and unbuffered envelopes for storage. What is recommended for 8x10 B&W negs? Or is plastic sleeve inside an envelope the best?
depends...the best way to store your negs is in layers. sleeves in envelopes in boxes or cabinets. or film stored emulsion facing away any neutral pH adhesive seams, in PAT approved paper. Paper is good if your storage area gets humid--because even the best plastic sleeves have problems with high humidity. Paper breathes a bit, and in layers it also buffers the changes in room temp. So you can have a swing of a few degrees out in the room and under all these layers--in a file cabinet--the negs will slowly respond. mostly they will stay fairly constant within a range as the room cycles a bit. I see this in our file area from time to time--we track the room on a datalogger and have smaller devices in the file drawers.

there are three types of plastic considered to be "safe"--polypropylene, polyethylene, and polyester. The best materials will be *uncoated*. The best sleeves are Mylar D--now called Dupont Archival Polyester. Alot of polyethylene notebook type pages and polypropylene pages use slip agents--an additive added during the manufacturing process to keep the plastic from binding on the machines. There's maybe only one or two pages on the market without them-- The pages are opaque--not clear. These would be a good choice for a notebook page.

Otherwise, you can get certain sleeves in long rolls that are uncoated. For sheet films--you'd probably want to use a fold-lock type mylar D or uncoated polypropylene. We use Mylar D in our files at the museum and use unbuffered/acid & lignin free for our color transp. and buffered/acid & lignin free for the b&w negs. Each type of film is stored separately. Contact sheets are stored in buffered 9x12 envelopes in a separate cabinets as well. The cabinets are baked enamel, steel film cabinets. Lately, I've been using ubuffered for both b&w and color--only because someone ordered about twice as many and we ran out of buffered. I don't foresee it being a big deal....if we could afford them, I think the microchamber papers or silversafe enclosures would be worth getting. I think they're a good product for "modern" storage, but it's not a cheap product. Neither is Mylar D.

Mylar D is the best material, but at higher temps & humidity--it can stick to the negs. Poly notebook pages pose an even great risk here though, because any slip agents can leech out and stick to the contents stored in them. I have seen alot of negs and prints stained from glasseine and kraft envelopes and just bad storage over many years--but the worst thing I've seen from a short period of time, was from a "archival negative preserver" that had leeched this oily goop all over the negs and pretty much ruined them. didn't stain them, just couldn't get the crap off.

If you get into the finer points of these products--they assume that you'll be storing your materials within the ansi/iso type standards--which would be less than 70 deg. F and 30-50% relative humidity. The PAT is an independent test--the materials can be destroyed within the test as well. You could have a notebook page pass a test like this because it didn't cause any chemical stains to your negs/slides etc--but the page could have caused physical damage and still pass. they call this blocking, and they do test for this as well--but it's all confidential. So, the manufacturers might not readily divulge this information in ad copy. and even so, if you store your negs at high temp & rh say above 55-60% humidity--the lifespan even outside of the sleeve is compromised....so..oh well. nothing's ever easy. I don't think a manufacturer can really claim a product to be 100% archival, because even in the ANSI standards now, they don't use that term anymore--rationale is that it's meaningless. They assign lifespans based off these really stringent environmental factors. So--it comes down to the room environment in the end--not so much the type of material, although that's a factor as well.

SO--go to the IPI link above and read about the PAT test. Download the Preservation Calculator or read the guide that comes with it about the effects of temp & rh on your materials. In the end, it's more important to get the temp & humidity right--than it is to spend a bunch of money on the best enclosures. If I were using notebook pages though--try to avoid excess pressure on the page, and keep them cool & dry. high temp, humidity and pressure can cause problems with those products.

btw--IPI has a site set up for scrapbooking and they have some good general information there. The climate notebook might be of interest to some of you as well.

MY opinions only/not my employers.