Materials Specifications: Housing Enclosures for Archival Records


A primary preservation goal is to:

  • House all records appropriately based on their size, format and composition.
  • Use housing enclosures that provide physical support and protection as well as a buffer against adverse or fluctuating environmental conditions.
  • Provide a mechanism for organizing and maintaining records in intellectual units that can easily and safely be handled.

Factors that are considered when designing housings include:

  • The optimum method of accessing, storing and using the records.
  • Stability of all component housing materials
  • Method of fabrication or assembly
  • Cost

The attached specifications for boxes, folders, envelopes, labels and spacer boards describe the physical and chemical properties of the component materials, design features, and workmanship criteria against which the finished products are evaluated. The specifications are used during the procurement process to assure that boxes and folders of the required quality are acquired for the long-term housing of archival records. Standard test methods of the Technical Association of the Pulp and Paper Industry and the American Society for Testing and Materials are employed as part of quality assurance testing.

Archival repositories that do not have conservation or chemistry labs to perform testing should still find the specifications helpful in describing requirements for housings and evaluating purchased goods. Independent paper testing laboratories can also be used to perform basic paper testing.

Housing Enclosures and Other Materials by Type



Envelopes and Folders

Adhesive Labels

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