Filing cabinets versus boxes on shelves

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      Hi all,
      I’ve been in my current position for two years now, and I’m starting to seriously evaluate the storage of paper and photographic objects that was taking place before my arrival. We currently have a number of filing cabinets filled with folders of paper (concert programs, newspaper clippings, correspondence, etc.). These are somewhat organized but often difficult to browse because the drawers are so full. We also have additional cabinets that have our photographic archive. The photos are stored in clear C-Line poypropylene sheet protectors of a variety of sizes. This product was selected primarily due to the fact that you can insert a metal/plastic (we have a mix) hanger through the sheet to hang in a filing cabinet. There are often multiple pictures to a sheet section and many of the photographs don’t actually fit in the sheets, so they edges are getting significant damage. We also have a number of slides and negatives that are also stored in a similar manner, and not always separated from the developed photographs.

      As I think about alternative storage, I am just curious what others think about a filing cabinet system such as ours (that apparently needs more filing cabinets to help ease the crowding problems) versus a system that would incorporate a variety of archival boxes of varying sizes that could then be placed on shelves. It seems that one advantage of the latter is that you can then access only the materials in which you are interested and leave the other items undisturbed. But that system would also be quite an investment (appropriate boxes, new folders/sleeves, shelves). Would it be worth pursuing? Any other suggestions on storage? We aren’t quite at a digitization phase, so keeping our print objects safe is very important.

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