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Processing workshop 2010_04_23_final

Processing workshop 2010_04_23_final



Introduction to archival processing, presented as part of a one-day workshop on the same topic, Drexel University, April 23, 2010. Adapted with permission from training materials created by Holly ...

Introduction to archival processing, presented as part of a one-day workshop on the same topic, Drexel University, April 23, 2010. Adapted with permission from training materials created by Holly Mengel for the PACSCL Hidden Collections Processing Project. http://clir.pacscl.org/



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    Processing workshop 2010_04_23_final Processing workshop 2010_04_23_final Presentation Transcript

    • Processing Workshop
      Drexel University Archives
      April 23, 2010
      Presentation adapted from CLIR PACSCL “Processing Boot Camp,” with permission
    • Rebecca Goldman
      Margaret Graham
      Laurie Rizzo
      Rob Sieczkiewicz
      Your guides on the journey today
    • “Archivists are intermediaries between the creator of a collection of manuscripts and the present and future users of the papers. The papers we process will soon become the “stuff” of history. Each one of us is a link in the long chain of knowledge that stretches from the lives of the men and women who created the papers to the eventual users of the manuscripts.”
      University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
      Who are archivists and what do we do?
    • *
      The arrangement, description and housing of archival materials for storage and use by patrons.
    • Processing Principles:
      Provenance: A fundamental principle of archives, referring to the individual, family or organization that created or received the items in a collection and dictating that these collections be maintained as a unique body and not intermixed with collections of different provenances, regardless of their similarities in topic.
      Original Order: The organization and sequence of records established by the creator.
    • Processing Components
      Arrangement: The process of organizing material to achieve physical and intellectual control over the materials, while respecting original order whenever possible.
      Description: The process of creating a finding aid or other access tools that allow individuals to identify the contents of the collection and determine its relevance to their study.
      Also, Housing…
    • Arranging and describing archival collections at a less intensive level than is considered standard in order to make the collections available for use.
      Generally, no preservation work is completed and arrangement and description within series and folders is limited.
      Introduced by Mark Greene and Dennis Meissner in an article entitled “More Product, Less Process” in 2005 and is still considered extremely controversial.
      Minimal Processing:
    • Take control! Pre-processing
      Before we process a collection, we ACCESSION it -- that is, we take physical and intellectual control of a donation of papers or deposit of records
    • Minimal Processing and "More Product, Less Process"
      • Why Minimal Processing?
      • Backlog (It is everywhere!)
      • Increased size of late 20th century record collections
      • Reduced resources, especially in a recession.
      • Arguments Against Minimal Processing
      • The finished product is not finished.
      • The finished product does not conform to standards.
      • Processors may never have time to return and finish.
      • Collection that are not fully processed may create additional work for staff when researchers ask questions.
      • Arguments For Minimal Processing
      • What is the point in keeping materials that researchers do not know exist or cannot use?
      • It is not our job to do all the work for researchers, but to make it possible for them to do their work.
      Minimal Processing : Pro and Con
    • Minimal Processing
      Intended for collections created in the late 20th century.
      Still new, not accepted by all archives
      MPLP is an exciting experiment!
      Is not sloppy processing
      MPLP still requires adherence to strict standards.
      Archivists still use processing manuals and guides for adhering to standards, consistency and best practices.
    • Best practice for handling materials:
      When carrying large or oversized materials, hold onto top-right corner and bottom-left corner.
      If you have to unfold materials, be very careful of brittleness (items folded and unfolded many times are weakest at the fold line)
      If items are sticking together, call for help, do not risk ripping materials.
      Bound volumes should be placed in the boxes, spine down.
      Do not eat or drink near archival collections.
      Never use pens, ONLY pencils (everything we do should be reversible)
      NEVER throw anything away without consulting with repository staff and receiving permission.
    • Your notes and folder titles let researchers know what is in the collection and if it is necessary for their research.
      Minimal processing means any notes and folder titles you provide must be informative and well-written.
      You will most frequently be writing:
      Biographical/Historical Notes
      Scope and Content Notes
      Folder Titles
      NOTES and TITLES…
    • *
      Biographical Note (ABOUT THE CREATOR):
      This is written when the creator of the collection is a person or persons. It should include items such as birth dates and location, family, education, occupation, reason for importance, context, death dates, etc.
      Historical Note (ABOUT THE CREATOR):
      This is written when the creator of the collection is an institution, a business/corporation or an organization. It should include items such as dates of incorporation/organization, location, type of work conducted, reasons for importance, context, etc.
      Scope and Contents Notes (ABOUT THE COLLECTION):
      This is written for all collections at the collection level and very often at the series or even subseries level. It should include the types of records (genres), topics, dates of the contents, and highlights and/or concentrations.
      Folder Titles (when applicable):
      If you are writing folder titles, make certain that they are clear and concise—don’t use abbreviations unless they have already been described.
      Think about how you might search for material, especially via the internet.
    • *
      Tools of the Archival Trade:
      The Finding Aid
      Describing Archives: A Content Standard (DACS)
      Encoded Archival Description (EAD)
      MAchine-Readable Cataloging (MARC) Records
    • A description of records that gives the repository physical and intellectual control over the materials and assists users to gain access to and understanding of the materials.
      Often called an index, a contents list, or a register.
      It contains administrative information regarding the collection and the repository and frequently, a container list, detailing the contents of folders.
      Sometimes, item level description is utilized.
      Here’s an example:
      The Finding Aid:
    • Describing Archives: A Content Standard (DACS)
      A standard for creating access tools for all forms of archival materials, including their archival creators and the forms of creator names.
      This is a fairly recent attempt by the archival field to standardize finding aids and other tools across repositories.
      Almost every repository has their own way of creating finding aids and making their information accessible to researchers.
      Without standardization, each time a researcher visits a new repository (in person or online), they need to learn how to use that repository’s system.
    • A standard used to mark up (encode) finding aids that reflect the hierarchical nature of archival collections and that provides a structure for describing the whole of a collection, as well as its components.
      This is another attempt for standardization within the archival field.
      EAD requires attention to detail! If one character of the code is not correct, the finding aid will not validate.
      Encoded Archival Description(EAD)
    • MAchine Readable Cataloging Records(MARC)
      A data communications format that specifies a data structure for bibliographic description authority, classification, community information, and holdings data.
      This cataloging information describes what is contained within a collection and is usually what is searched within a library catalog. Therefore, it is a powerful discovery tool.
      A collection management tool that creates DACS compliant finding aids, encoded archival description and MARC records, at the click of a button.
    • Slides adapted from Holly Mengel’s presentationPACSCL/CLIR “Hidden Collections in the Philadelphia Area: A Consortial Processing and Cataloging Initiative”PROCESSING BOOTCAMPOctober 2009