Jana Dambrogio is an emerging expert on letterlocking, the technology of folding & securing an epistolary writing substrate to function as its own envelope, often its own sending device. She coined the term letterlocking in 2009 to describe the systems of deliberate folds, slits, tucks, flaps, locks, cuts, or seals that build security, privacy, and authentication enhancements into letters.
Letterlocking is part of a 10,000-year-old information security tradition ranging from Mesopotamian clay bullae to Bitcoin paper wallets. Letterlocked paper documents have been used from the late Middle Ages to the present by regents, soldiers, spymasters, and the general population.
Dambrogio has studied and conserved library collections and archival holdings for the National Archives and Records Administration, the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, and the Vatican Secret Archives.
A recipient of the Booth Family Rome Prize in historic preservation and conservation at the American Academy in Rome, she is currently the Thomas F. Peterson (1957) Conservator for the MIT Libraries.
She is the co-founder of the Unlocking History research group with Dr. Daniel Starza Smith.