Storage: Albox Archival Storage Boxes

· Further Notes…

For archival material Albox archival storage boxes work really well

I first came across Albox because of their archival storage boxes made from polypropylene. They are great value in bulk, large enough to hold a reasonable amount of files, but small enough that you don’t overload them. For papers and files I much prefer this size to the standard commercial archive box, and I can see why for institutions like PROV and NAA these are the preferred form factor.

While the 1.0mm polypropylene used for these boxes has advantages over cardboard (water resistance, thinner) it has some disadvantages too. Notably you can’t really stack these for long term storage at all, and for the short term I would never go more than three high, and and even then if they weren’t too heavy. They are quite floppy until closed with their four top tabs, but then they become a pretty good solid unit. They seem to be better at attracting dust than cardboard, but perhaps it is just more obvious. If you get them delivered in quantity, be warned they will come on a pallet on a truck.

I also have some of Albox’s lever arch file replacement, the Freestanding Archfile, unfortunately it now seems these are only available made-to-order. These work great standing vertical, and are much better than a lever arch file when used in shelving, as they all want to stand straight rather than lean on each other and curve because the open ends don’t want to sit parallel to the spine. Unfortunately they don’t quite fit inside the archive boxes, and even if they did I suspect unless wedged in they may tend to bow or bulge as there is less rigidity when they are placed horizontally.

The nylon “arches” where one leg of the arch swivels to open are quite ingenious, and I’ve found them useful when photographing material that is hole punched. I can remove the material from it’s binding, then bind it with the nylon arches to keep the pages in sync. This allows me to photograph it flat which can be a challenge in the original binding, and easily return it to the original binding when complete. There is a lot less risk of mis-ordering or losing pages, and a lot less work on aligning the punched holes to get it back into it’s binding.

I’ve never tried their eponymous ALBOX, the price versus other options and their uneven internal base put me off them.

This is the second in a series on the storage solutions that work for me.