www.archives.gov/preservation/formats/paper-parchment.html — The National Archives have a great deal of information available for those wanting to preserve family documents, recordings, photographs. This link puts you in the middle of it and you can go from there.
Pens & Inks:
Noodler’s Ink Bottled pH-neutral inks, some formulated to be absolutely archival-quality (the “eternal” line), others forger-proof (the “bulletproof” line), all non-corrosive to your favorite pens and useful to artists as well as writers. Noodler’s also makes a refillable rollerball pen for these inks. Cost and environmental-impact comparisons to disposable writing implements is favorable to a Noodler’s pen and ink.
On the site, there is a list of retailers who sell this ink. And the “contact us” on the site has so far given impeccable response.
Sakura Pigma Micron Pen M901 pH neutral black pigment ink pen — used by conservationists, archivists, photographers, and you — to write your ethical will — if you like fiber-tip-like finepoint pens rather than fountain pens or rollerballs, and don’t mind using another disposable stick. These pens are readily available at art supply and photography stores, and online.
CDs/DVDs There are archival-quality “optical media” — CDs and DVDs — and the specifications can be confusing. I have read that gold-based disks, such as the ones sold by MAM-A, Inc. www.mam-a.com were considered generally more stable the more typical silver-based ones, but recently I have seen some disagreement about that and more companies have developed what they, too, claim are archival-quality disks. I’ll have more information on them soon.
For now — I urge you to check out following link, and especially note page iv, a quick reference on handling/labeling/storing your optical media. I learned two very important things, and one of them was that there is something, finally, on which I should NOT use my beloved Sharpies! National Institute of Standards and Technology’s Care and Handling of CDs and DVDs — A Guide for Librarians and Archivists: http://www.itl.nist.gov/iad/894.05/docs/CDandDVDCareandHandlingGuide.pdf
And one I have not personally used yet but which offers a wide range of products and lots of information: www.archivalmethods.com. In future posts we will take a look at some of the better products out there and describe them here for you.