Each Wednesday, I usually write a post from my dissertation.
Scrapbookers should use “appropriate” materials in their scrapbooks, by which industry workers mean archival though every respondent broke this rule at least some of the time. One industry worker states, “if you’re going to go through that time and effort that you want them to last so you should use materials that are going to help be durable and long lasting.” Industry workers find it frustrating if customers resist using non-archival materials in their scrapbooks because one of the goals for industry workers is that scrapbooks are meant to hold and preserve memories for future generations. Using non-archival materials defeats the purpose in their eyes. Most scrapbookers, too, emphasize using archival products in their scrapbooks. Scrapbookers talk of “resuscitating” the photographs and memories they find in older family albums by removing the photographs from non-archival albums (e.g., magnetic albums) and placing them in archival quality scrapbooks.
The use of non-archival materials also varies depending on where the person fits within the thought community of scrapbooking. For example, Inspired Stories emphasizes the superiority of their products over all others and extensively tests all of their products for durability. Inspired Stories scrapbookers are less likely to include non-archival materials and products not made by Inspired Stories even if labeled safe for scrapbooking because they support the view that all non-Inspired Stories products are inferior, potentially non-archival, and non-safe.
The emphasis on archival materials also depends on the purpose of one’s scrapbook. If the purpose is to preserve one’s memories for future generations, then archival materials are very important. If, however, one’s purposes are only that the person enjoys the process of scrapbooking, then using archival materials may not be as important. The use of archival materials also depends on what photographs are going into the album. Scrapbookers using older photographs (i.e., heritage albums) or photographs that belonged to a loved one (i.e., their mother) tend to be more concerned with using archival materials.
From my observations as an industry worker, one major shift has been the technology. With digital cameras it is so much easier to just print out another photo than with film cameras. Because of this, it seems more scrapbookers are less concerned with exclusively using archival materials compared to when they were using photos developed from film (whose negatives may be non-existent). One respondent mentions this difference and her apprehension with scrapbooking the older family photographs. Her mother-in-law, who was present during the interview, points out, however, that the photographs are no less safe outside of the scrapbook. In this case, if the photographs are not going to be safe, then they might as well not be safe in a scrapbook rather than a shoebox.
 Archival materials include using paper that is acid-free and lignin-free (e.g., not pages from magazines or newspapers), photo-safe adhesive (e.g., not rubber cement), and a waterproof pen (e.g., not a Sharpie®).
Do you choose archival materials over non-archival materials for your scrapbooks? Why or why not?