Conservation issue - shrink-wrapped manual

Ian S. King isking at
Wed Jan 6 11:57:13 CST 2016

On Wed, Jan 6, 2016 at 9:42 AM, Noel Chiappa <jnc at>

> So I have a question for people who are involved in museums, and similar
> roles - how intense should I be about keeping things just as they were?
> I have a DEC manual (actually a Products Guide) still in its original
> shrink-wrap, and I'm interested in hearing opinions/rationales on whether
> or
> not I should keep it like that, as opposed to (carefully) opening it to be
> gain access to the content. Is there any value at all, historically, to
> keeping the original packaging intact, or should I just go ahead and open
> it?
> Thanks!
>         Noel


The 'original packaging' approach is more relevant for resale value of
collectables, e.g., toys.  Technology artifacts convey information beyond
simple existence, and I would encourage anyone to explore that
information!  Now if one is keeping a database of museum artifacts, I would
certainly note the original condition in that database, to serve as
evidence that the artifact is almost certainly complete (i.e. no pages were
removed or added).  Then I'd open it up so it can be read!

But keep in mind that I am of the opinion that vintage systems should be,
to the extent possible, restored to running condition *and run*.  :-)

Ian S. King, MSIS, MSCS, Ph.D. Candidate
The Information School <>
Dissertation: "Why the Conversation Mattered: Constructing a Sociotechnical
Narrative Through a Design Lens

Archivist, Voices From the Rwanda Tribunal <>
Value Sensitive Design Research Lab <>

University of Washington

There is an old Vulcan saying: "Only Nixon could go to China."

More information about the cctalk mailing list