I think it really depends on how you use the collection. Our extensive Research Center collection is housed in filing cabinets, this includes our 20,000 piece Photo Archives which is stored similar to your situation-in archival, hanging sleeves. The biggest problem we have with storing photos like this is them curling at the edges. Photos which do not fit in the archival sleeve are stored flat in separate “newspaper” storage boxes, to reduce ware on edges. Our entire collection is digitized, so this also reduces ware on the originals. Filing cabinets are much easier for our research center, which gets heavy use. Our numbering and organization system is also optimized for a Research Center, not as a static collection, so filing cabinets are ideal for our purpose.
However, the items in the RC collection are mainly copies, duplicates, or items that we don’t deem particularly important to preserve. The paper items which are in the object collection are the originals of those in the RC, or documents the average researcher is not interested in and a special appointment needs to be made to view them. These are in flip top boxes and organized in a different way than our RC documents.
If you want more specifics on our system, let me know.
Janean Van Beckum