Archivist’s note: We also could have called this post, “Repacking the Douglas Coupland fonds.” We get a lot of questions from the general public about how we choose storage for archival material. Many of these questions can be answered with common sense, sometimes we use more specialized knowledge. Below our student archivists explain their storage choices for this collection:
In previous posts, we discussed preservation practices regarding some of the incredibly unique items that are part of this accrual. To switch things up a bit, we thought we would take you on a little tour of our oh-so-ordinary storage practices which help ensure the long term preservation of archival material.
The most common type of storage is the record storage box.
Typically, these boxes are used to store paper records (go figure!). In the case of the Douglas Coupland fonds, we also occasionally house other items in these boxes – such as the small canvases shown below. Note the file support that ensures the items don’t slip and slide around inside the box.
Some items are too large and unruly to be contained in a typical records box. In cases such as these, we store items in oversized boxes like these:
Items should never be placed in boxes that are too small or too large. You don’t want the material to be squashed or knocked about. If material doesn’t fit in any of the standard sized storage containers, custom boxes can be ordered to fit the exact dimensions of the items. Custom boxes not only ensure that we safely and properly enclose items, but also allow us to maximize space in the vault — a hot commodity in archives!
Some items need to be stored flat. In this fonds, we have large photographs and poster boards that would warp if stored vertically. Map cabinets are the perfect solution for these items.
I bet you had no idea we put so much thought into something as simple as a box!