4/9/14 Susan Hewitt posted on Conch-L:
"Just wanted to remind everyone that the ink in ordinary ball point pens and felt pens is not archival. As well as making the air in contact with it acidic, it also fades remarkably over time.
Pencil on the other hand is totally archival. And these days acid-free paper is much easier to come by than it used to be."
Paul Callomon, Collection Manager, Malacology, Academy of Natural Sciences of Drexel University reported:
"In the Academy collections we use Pigma pens (Micron brand*; sold at art stores) for marking shells and writing labels. Size .005 for shells, size 0.1 for labels. Very durable inks, but will wash off shells if necessary.
I also have some old-fashioned steel-nib fountain pens that I fill with regular India Ink. Labels written by Tryon in the 1870s using this technology are still nice and clear today."
*Pigma Micron pens are acid-free and archival, making them ideal for papercrafts, journals, illustration, crafts, or any application requiring precision and permanance.
Unlike dye-based ink found in most pens and markers, Pigma ink will not feather or bleed, even through the thinnest paper. Pigma ink is derived from a single pigment to ensure color consistency, and is fadeproof against sunlight or UV light. Pigma inks will not clog or dry out like most mechanical pens.
Charles Sturm added:
"Another maker of fine point marking pens is ZIG. They are similar to Pigma pens: archival, lightproof. I usually purchase whichever one is on sale at my local art supply store. I concur with Paul's comments. I have used dip pens; however, they take a bit of getting use to and the marking pens tend to be better for those of us who are clumsy with liquid ink."
Vicky Wall informed us:
"If you don't live near an art store, I found the Pigma archival pens on ebay."
Pigma pens are for sale on Amazon too. They are not expensive, easy to use, not messy, and are well worth their quite modest price.
Once again, I would strongly recommend keeping a few pencils with you when in the field or when working on the collection.
Pencil is cheap, easy, clean, and archival. It does not erase unless deliberate erased, but can be erased in the case of mistakes. Long live the pencil!