Green archives

It struck me the other day that us archivists have really wasteful practices. Take, for example, this method of organizing cassette tapes:

Post it notes on tapes

Yes, those are post-its. Nothing against my colleague who was doing this. As he said, “If you can think of a better way of doing it, tell me.” Well, I couldn’t.

Today I threw out some forty-odd perfectly good folders (acid-free and everything!) and replaced them with new ones simply because they were bent. The sad part is that I felt okay about doing it because a) I put the old ones in the recycling bin and b) it was done in the name of preserving the past.

So I’m wondering, with all the noise about the “greening” of archives, how much we let ourselves get away with. We save a lot, but we make a lot of trash too.