Innovations in Preservation: Insights from the AIC Conference on Four-Flap Enclosures

Innovations in Preservation: Insights from the AIC Conference on Four-Flap Enclosures

The annual AIC (American Institute for Conservation) conference is a pivotal event for professionals dedicated to the preservation of cultural heritage. This year’s conference in Salt Lake City, Utah, featured a remarkable presentation by Amanda Hope from Harvard University titled “What does the box say? Improving enclosure design and labeling as a result of user research.”

The focus was on user interactions with different types of preservation boxes, including drop front, clamshell, phase box, and our very own four-flap enclosure.


Key Takeaways from the Conference


Harvard Library Preservation Services, which rehouses over 5,000 items annually, conducted an insightful study to understand how users interact with various types of preservation enclosures. The study revealed critical information that can help improve the design and usability of these essential archival tools. Here's a summary of the findings regarding our four-flap enclosure:

1. Ease of Use and Security:
The study highlighted that users found the four-flap enclosure to be the easiest to handle. Its design inherently feels secure due to the overlapping flaps, which provide added protection for the contents.

2. Intuitive Design:
The four-flap enclosure resembles a book, making it intuitive for users to handle without worrying about orientation. This familiarity reduces the intimidation often felt by individuals who do not regularly work in library or archival settings.

3. Fold Sequence Confusion:
Despite its advantages, some users were occasionally confused about the sequence in which the flaps should be folded. This feedback is invaluable for future improvements in design and instructional labeling.

The Role of User Research in Preservation
This presentation underscored the importance of user research in improving archival practices. By studying how different users interact with preservation boxes and other types of archival enclosures, institutions can make informed decisions that enhance the accessibility and protection of their collections. The findings from Harvard’s study are a testament to the practical benefits of incorporating user feedback into the design process.

Archival Products at the Forefront of Preservation
At Archival Products, we are committed to providing top-tier solutions that cater to the needs of libraries, museums, and educational institutions. Our four-flap enclosures are a prime example of innovation driven by user feedback.

As we continue to innovate and improve our products, we remain dedicated to supporting the preservation community in safeguarding cultural heritage for future generations.  For more details about our products and how they can benefit your institution, check out our products page.

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