The course syllabus outlines the course goal and learning objectives. The primary purpose of the course is to cover the “core functions” of archiving.
The reading list contains a selection of journal articles, book chapters, manuals, and other resources. Some journal articles are a bit older, but they are included because they are considered a “classic” in the field and still inform current discourse on theory and practice. The reading list is available:Course syllabus (contains links to some, but not all readings)http://www.dal.ca/blackboardhttp://www.zotero.org/info6800
Throughout the course, in addition to addressing the course goal and learning objectives, I will try to touch on four re-occurring themes:Archives and the internetRedefining provenanceFunding and resource allocationEthnographic archives
You will be marked on five equally-weighted assignmentsSeminar PresentationNeptune Theatre Production HistoryArchival Appraisal ReportAnnotated Bibliography/Finding Aid EvaluationParticipation and In-Class Exercises
QUESTION: WHAT IS AN ARCHIVES?
ACA:An archives works to acquire, preserve and make available material collected under the terms of a particular mandate - whether that be to document a community or business, to reflect government policies, or many other reasons.
SAA: The division within an organization responsible for maintaining the organization’s records of enduring value.An organization that collects the records of individuals, families, or other organizations; a collecting archives.
QUESTION: WHAT DO ARCHIVISTS DO?
ACA: Archivists work as part of government, corporations, museums, libraries, historical societies, and many other groups, to control and preserve the recorded memory of these organizations.
SAA: An individual responsible for appraising, acquiring, arranging, describing, preserving, and providing access to records of enduring value, according to the principles of provenance, original order, and collective control to protect the materials’ authenticity and context.
The work of archivists is often broken down into the “core functions.” Most lists include:AcquisitionsAppraisalArrangement and DescriptionPreservationAccessI’ve added Outreach and Management to the list because we’ll be looking at them as functions. But Outreach is increasingly appearing on lists of core functions, and the whole process requires leadership and management, so we’ll look at some of that as well.
QUESTION: HOW ARE ARCHIVES ORGANIZED?
To start, there is a physical aspect of the organization, which is largely determined by your storage facilities. Archives typically have stacks, or storage shelves. They also have separate storage facilities for oversized materials (e.g., maps, blueprints, etc.) and audiovisual materials (e.g., video, photographs, etc.).
Here is another example of the stacks at the Dalhousie University Archives and Special Collections. These are film reels stored in another area of the facility. So, you have the physical stacks, with dedicated storage space for your different kinds of material. But how do you organize the materials in your physical storage space?
Respect des fonds – The principle that the records of a person of a person, family or corporate body must be kept together in their original order, if it exists or has been maintained, and not be mixed or combined with the records of another individual or corporate body.So, this trio of theoretical principles is also what guides virtually all practical decisionsmade in a modern archivesIt helps archivists organize that giant box of materials into different groups of recordsWe’ve talked about fonds, and they will really be the focus of this classBut archives can also hold collections of records – which may contain intermingled records of different provenanceThere are a number of reasons why a collection might exist or be createdArchives can also hold individual items,void of any relationship to other recordsAgain, how these groups of records are formed, how they are organized, stored, and retrieved, and how they are preserved is really the core of archival science
Fonds –The whole of the documents, regardless of form or medium, automatically and organically created and/or accumulated and used by a particular individual, family, or corporate body in the course of that creator's activities or functions.
Provenance – The person(s), family (families), or corporate body (bodies) that created and/or accumulated and used records in the conduct of personal or business life.
So, in that physical space, which can be large and complex, you have to find a way to organize the materials according to provenance – making sure each fonds is kept separately from other fonds and collections in your holdings. This can be quite complicated depending on the archive. A single fonds could be stored in a variety of locations – textual records could be in the stacks, maps could be in a cabinet, moving images might be in some other cold storage area, etc. You need to have an information system that provides meaningful access to researchers and facilitates retrieval.
Archivists typically arrange a fonds into smaller groups of records based on a variety of things – the functions and activities of the creator, the format of the materials, etc.These groups are referred to as the levels of arrangementThe first level below a fonds is normally a series, or a group of similar records that are usually related to an activity or event of some kindA fonds could have any number of series
So the next step, if it is required, is to divide those series into sub-seriesSub-series are groups of documents within series that are readily distinguished by filing arrangement, type, form, or contentFor example, a business could have a financial series that contains all its financial records and then sub-series for things like payroll records, accounts payable, accounts receivable, etc.Or an author could have a series for unpublished manuscripts and then sub-series for each publication – if the records warranted such an approach
Series or sub-series are then divided into filesFiles are relatively self-explanatory. They’re a group of documents related by use or topicPractically speaking, they are the contents of a folder that might come out of a filing cabinetBut a file could actually take up more than one folder So you’ll often see archives arrange records into series and maybe sub-series and then create file lists that describe the files in each group of records
You can even take it a level below that and describe each item in the fondsAn item is anything that can be distinguished from a group and that is complete in itselfSo it could be a report, or a manuscript of a book, a letter, or a postcardItem-level description is rare, but it can be useful for describing materials of high research value or materials where a file-level description doesn’t provide enough detailPhotographs and other visual material are often described with item-level description
It’s best to think of the organization of archival records as a giant hierarchy
Here is another diagram, from the Council of Nova Scotia ArchivesThis one shows the provenance as the highest level of descriptionAnd then it breaks down the hierarchy of the records
You usually see some kind of retrieval, or reference number in the archival descriptions. These are used by researchers to submit requests and by archivists to retrieve the files from the stacks.
The retrieval number is cross referenced against some kind of physical register.
Today, archivists create what’s known as multi-level descriptions. A multi-level description is afinding aid or other access tool that consists of separate, interrelated descriptions of the whole and its parts, reflecting the hierarchy of the materials being described.
Here is a selection from the Oland family fonds at the Dalhousie University Archives. At the fonds level of description, you have information about the fonds, which is the entire body of records created by the Oland family. The fonds has been arranged in a way where each family member has his or her own series. Sub-series are used to group the family member’s primary functions and activities, and each sub-series has a file list.
This is a finding aid created by the National Defence Headquarters Directorate of History and Heritage. It is published on the archeoin website, a website for archives in Ontario to publish their multi-level descriptions.Many organizations only upload fonds-level descriptions – a finding aid that just explains the entire body of records – but all available archives management software supports the management of multi-level descriptions.
The first step after you acquire a group of records is to accession it.Accessioning is also a term used in museums and some librariesIt means to take legal and physical custody of a group of records or other materials and to formally document their receiptUsually there is some kind of register or databaseIt’s pretty straightforward stuff – describing the materials, assigning numbers to them so they can be stored and retrieved, reboxing the materials, etc.Acquisitions is a fairly simple administrative task that encompasses everything from collection policies to donor relations to records management
Here is a screenshot of the Accessions form in the Archivists’ Toolkit, the archives management software we use at the Dalhousie University Archives. It is just a giant data entry form, with pre-defined fields for the different kinds of information you want to record.
Appraisal is the next core functionAppraisal is the process of identifying materials offered to an archives that have sufficient value to be permanently retainedAppraisal can happen before, during, or after accessioning, or even acquiring records from a donorTypically, appraisal decisions are guided by collection policies and appraisal policiesYou evaluate the materials, produce an appraisal report and processing plan, and return or discard the non-archival material.We’ll be spending two weeks talking about appraisal, one week on the theoretical aspects and another week on methods
The next two functions are often grouped togetherWe talked about arrangement when we looked at the hierarchical structure of archivesBasically, it’s the process of organizing archival records – first by separating records of different provenance, then by organizing the records within a fonds
Description comes next. It’s pretty self-explanatory – it’s cataloguingBut there are some major differences between archival description and library cataloguing or museum cataloguingYou’ll often hear arrangement and description lumped together - processingThat’s because the two tasks pretty much go hand in handYou can’t really describe records that haven’t been arrange
Next come preservation – again it’s pretty self-explanatoryThe act of storing records in acid-free boxes and folders is an act of preservation, probably the most common oneThe reason why I mentioned that preservation is often grouped together with arrangement and description is because the three tasks are often performed togetherIt’s what’s known as archival processingIt’s easiest to describe records as you rebox them and assign location numbersSo we’ll spend three weeks looking at the arrangement and description aspects of archival processing and a fourth week looking at preservationThen we’ll have another week to talk about preservation of electronic records, which is a whole different can of wormsIt’s important to remember that there is a difference between preservation and conservation or restorationBut we’ll look at that later in the semester
The next core function is accessIn many ways access is the most complex core functionAccess is more than simply allowing someone to look at a recordAccessrequires a solid technological infrastructure to facilitate search and discoveryIt involves a web of legislation and legal rightsLarge backlogs of unprocessed records are usually inaccessible, so access requires archives to prioritize their activitiesThis is just a picture of the Archives reading room at the Killam Library, and shot from the closed stacks in Special CollectionsWe have one class on access, but throughout the term, we’ll try to touch on related issues –copyright, privacy,software and standards, transparency, right to know, etc...
Outreach is not usually found in lists of core functionsBut most archivists recognize that promotion, outreach, and communications are vital components of running an archivesOutreach is often neglected because other core functions (e.g., appraisal, processing, etc.) take up all the time.We’ll talk about social media, but there are many more strategies (e.g., public events, calendars, promotional material, educational programming, etc.)
Management isn’t usually found in the list of core functions either, but most archives, regardless of the size or collection mandate, operate under some kind of management frameworkFunding and resource allocation is one of the re-occurring course themes, so as we discuss the core functions throughout the term, we’ll also look at management issues:BudgetingResource allocationFacilitiesGrant applications
QUESTION: WHERE CAN ARCHIVES BE FOUND?Archives can be established in a wide variety of settingsThe type of setting an archives is situated in has a major impact on how archivists go about doing their workSome settings include:Art GalleriesChurches and Religious InstitutionsClubs and SocietiesCorporationsHistorical SocietiesHospitalsLibrariesFederal and Provincial/State GovernmentsMunicipalitiesMuseumsUniversities and other educational institutionsOver the course of the semester, we’ll look at how these different settings impact the core functions of archivists.
QUESTION: WHAT DO ARCHIVES AND LIBRARIES HAVE IN COMMON?One of thegoals of this course is to provide you with a sense of the fundamental differences and similarities between archives, libraries, museums and records managementThere are many similarities:Both provide reference servicesBoth have a historical public mandateBoth use descriptive and structural standardsBoth are part of “heritage web”
QUESTION: HOW ARE ARCHIVES AND LIBRARIES DIFFERENT?There are some key differences between archives and libraries:Archives do not loan materialsArchives typically hold unique materialsArchives handle more formatsArchives have preservation mandate (many libraries do not) Archivists and librarians also concern themselves with authenticity for different reasonsWe’ll be touching on the relationship between archives and libraries as we go through the course, so there’ll be opportunities to discuss these similarities and differences
QUESTION: WHAT DO ARCHIVES AND MUSEUMS HAVE IN COMMON?Archives and museums have a lot in common:Both refer to provenance (though in museums, it refers primarily to what’s known as the custodial history of a work)Both tend to hold unique works (as opposed to libraries with published works)Both use descriptive and structural standards (e.g.,RAD, Categories for the Description of Works of Art, EAD, VRA Core, etc.)Both play an important role in preserving our documentary heritageAgain, we’ll be touching on the relationship between archives and museums throughout the semesterSome of the archival functions well be looking at – for example, reference services – share many similarities with libraries and museums
We’ll also talk about records management, which has a more direct relationship with archivesRecords management is a crucial component for businesses, organizations, and institutionsAlso crucial for archiving those records - most records management plans result in records either being destroyed or archived20th century – Archivists became more interested in life cycle of the recordRecords management is a relatively recent system that stemmed from the massive growth of records in the 20th centuryRelationship between records management and archives depends on the settingYou could acquire some or all records though a records management planYou could acquire records organized using a records management plan (if you’re lucky!)Records management will come up throughout term, so we’ll have plenty of opportunities to try and understand archives through their relationships with other information management fields.
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These citations are provided for informational and reference purposes only. Please do not use these citations as examples for formatting your own citations. Refer to style guides.
INFO 6800 (Winter 2013) Week One: Introduction
INFO 6800 - Archives• Introductions• Syllabus• Assignments• Basic concepts and core functionswww.dilbert.com/strips/comic/1998-08-06January 7, 2013 INFO 6800 Archives – Week One 1
Course Syllabus• SIM website www.sim.management.dal.ca/courses• Course Blackboard site www.dal.ca/blackboard• Course website www.info6800.wordpress.comJanuary 7, 2013 INFO 6800 Archives – Week One 2
Reading List “Classics” Available on Blackboard and Zotero! Guides, Recent Manuals, Literature etc.January 7, 2013 INFO 6800 Archives – Week One 3
Course Themes Archives and the Redefining Internet Provenance Funding and EthnographicResource Allocation ArchivesJanuary 7, 2013 INFO 6800 Archives – Week One 4
Assignments Neptune Participation Theatre Bibliography Seminar or Presentation Evaluation Appraisal ReportJanuary 7, 2013 INFO 6800 Archives – Week One 5
What is an archives? ArchivesJanuary 7, 2013 INFO 6800 Archives – Week One 6
What is an archives?An archives works to acquire, preserve andmake available material collected underthe terms of a particular mandate -whether that be to document a communityor business, to reflect government policies,or many other reasonsAssociation of Canadian Archivists (2005)January 7, 2013 INFO 6800 Archives – Week One 7
What is an archives?The division within an organizationresponsible for maintaining theorganization’s records of enduring value.An organization that collects the records ofindividuals, families, or otherorganizations; a collecting archives.Society of American Archivists, 2005January 7, 2013 INFO 6800 Archives – Week One 8
What do archivists do?www.suggesteddonation.comJanuary 7, 2013 INFO 6800 Archives – Week One 9
What do archivists do?Archivists work as part of government,corporations, museums, libraries, historicalsocieties, and many other groups, tocontrol and preserve the recorded memoryof these organizations.Association of Canadian Archivists (2004)January 7, 2013 INFO 6800 Archives – Week One 10
What do archivists do?An individual responsible for appraising,acquiring, arranging, describing,preserving, and providing access to recordsof enduring value, according to theprinciples of provenance, original order,and collective control to protect thematerials’ authenticity and context.Society of American Archivists (2005)January 7, 2013 INFO 6800 Archives – Week One 11
What do archivists do?• Acquisitions• Appraisal• Arrangement and Description (Processing)• Preservation Core Functions• Access• Outreach• Management (Budget, staffing, planning, etc.)January 7, 2013 INFO 6800 Archives – Week One 12
How are archives organized? ArchivesJanuary 7, 2013 INFO 6800 Archives – Week One 13
How are archives organized? Oversized Materials Stacks Stacks Stacks Audiovisual Materials PhotographsJanuary 7, 2013 INFO 6800 Archives – Week One 14
How are archives organized?Film reels at Dalhousie University ArchivesJanuary 7, 2013 INFO 6800 Archives – Week One 15
How are archives organized?Respect des fonds – The principle that therecords of a person of a person, family orcorporate body must be kept together intheir original order, if it exists or has beenmaintained, and not be mixed orcombined with the records of anotherindividual or corporate body.Bureau of Canadian Archivists (1990)January 7, 2013 INFO 6800 Archives – Week One 16
How are archives organized?Fonds –The whole of the documents,regardless of form or medium,automatically and organically createdand/or accumulated and used by aparticular individual, family, or corporatebody in the course of that creatorsactivities or functions.Bureau of Canadian Archivists (1990)January 7, 2013 INFO 6800 Archives – Week One 17
How are archives organized?Provenance – The person(s), family(families), or corporate body (bodies) thatcreated and/or accumulated and usedrecords in the conduct of personal orbusiness life.Bureau of Canadian Archivists (1990)January 7, 2013 INFO 6800 Archives – Week One 18
How are archives organized? Fonds Fonds Fonds Fonds Fonds Collection Fonds Fonds Fonds Collection Fonds FondsJanuary 7, 2013 INFO 6800 Archives – Week One 19
How are fonds organized? Series Series Series Series Series Sous-Fonds Series Series Series Sous-Fonds Fonds FondsJanuary 7, 2013 INFO 6800 Archives – Week One 20
How are fonds organized? Sub Sub Sub Sub Sub Series Series Series Series Series Sub Sub Series Series Series Sub Sub Sub Sub Sub Series Series Series Series Series Sub Sub Sub Sub Sub Series Series Series Series SeriesJanuary 7, 2013 INFO 6800 Archives – Week One 21
How are fonds organized? File File File File File File File File File Series File File File File File File File File File File File File File File File FileJanuary 7, 2013 INFO 6800 Archives – Week One 22
How are fonds organized?ISAD(G), International Council on Archives (2000)January 7, 2013 INFO 6800 Archives – Week One 24
How are fonds organized?Council of Nova Scotia Archives (2005)January 7, 2013 INFO 6800 Archives – Week One 25
How are fonds organized? Correspondence – Box 1, Folder 3 Photographs – Photo Box 3, Folder 9 Blueprints – Oversized File 27 Film reel – Canister 429January 7, 2013 INFO 6800 Archives – Week One 26
How are fonds organized? Box 1, Folder 3 Shelf 8, Room B Photo Box 3, Folder 9 Shelf 2, Room A Oversized File 27 Rack 9, Room B Canister 429 Shelf 4, Room CJanuary 7, 2013 INFO 6800 Archives – Week One 27
What is multi-level description?A finding aid or other access tool thatconsists of separate, interrelateddescriptions of the whole and its parts,reflecting the hierarchy of the materialsbeing described.Society of American Archivists, 2005January 7, 2013 INFO 6800 Archives – Week One 28
What is multi-level description? Oland family fonds. – 1884-1994. – 11.5fonds m of textual records. – ca. 583 photographs. – 2 Japanese silk flags.series Bruce Oland. – 1884-1994. – 4.05 m of textual records. – ca. 209 photographs. Business and charitable activities. –series sub- 1963-1991. – 20 cm of textual records. January 7, 2013 INFO 6800 Archives – Week One 29
What is multi-level description?Canadian Army Historical Section fonds finding aid on www.archeoin.caJanuary 7, 2013 INFO 6800 Archives – Week One 30
What are the core functions?• Acquisitions• Appraisal• Arrangement and Description (Processing)• Preservation Core Functions• Access• Outreach• Management (Budget, staffing, planning, etc.)January 7, 2013 INFO 6800 Archives – Week One 31
Acquisitions Archives Collection Mandate Policy DocumentationCollection Policy StrategyDocumentation Donor Strategy Relations January 7, 2013 INFO 6800 Archives – Week One 32
Acquisitions Meet Negotiate Donor Deed of Gift Accession Physical Materials TransferJanuary 7, 2013 INFO 6800 Archives – Week One 33
AcquisitionsAcquisitions at the Dalhousie University ArchivesJanuary 7, 2013 INFO 6800 Archives – Week One 34
Accessioning 1. Materials enter archives 2. Accession number is assigned 3. Materials are reboxed 4. Accession record is created 5. Materials are shelvedJanuary 7, 2013 INFO 6800 Archives – Week One 35
AccessioningJanuary 7, 2013 INFO 6800 Archives – Week One 36
AppraisalDiscards at the Dalhousie University ArchivesJanuary 7, 2013 INFO 6800 Archives – Week One 37
Arrangement and DescriptionArranging a large fonds at the Dalhousie University ArchivesJanuary 7, 2013 INFO 6800 Archives – Week One 38
Arrangement and DescriptionOld file labels at the Dalhousie University ArchivesJanuary 7, 2013 INFO 6800 Archives – Week One 39
PreservationProcessed fonds at the Dalhousie University ArchivesJanuary 7, 2013 INFO 6800 Archives – Week One 40
AccessArchives and Special Collections reading room and closed stacks in Killam LibraryJanuary 7, 2013 INFO 6800 Archives – Week One 41
Outreach ?January 7, 2013 INFO 6800 Archives – Week One 42
Managementwww.dilbert.com/strips/comic/2010-09-01/January 7, 2013 INFO 6800 Archives – Week One 43
Where can archives be found?Art Galleries Religious Organizations Clubs andUniversities Libraries Societies Historical Societies GovernmentsCorporations Museums HospitalsJanuary 7, 2013 INFO 6800 Archives – Week One 44
Archives, Libraries, Museums What do archives Reference and libraries have services in common? Public mandate Standards Heritage “web”January 7, 2013 INFO 6800 Archives – Week One 45
Archives, Libraries, Museums How are archives Quantity and and libraries type of formats different? Uniqueness of materials Preservation mandate AccessJanuary 7, 2013 INFO 6800 Archives – Week One 46
Archives, Libraries, Museums What do archives Both refer to and museums provenance have in common? Uniqueness of materials Standards Heritage “web”January 7, 2013 INFO 6800 Archives – Week One 47
Archives and Records Management Depends on How does RM setting affect archives? Records life- cycle Records classification Records schedulingJanuary 7, 2013 INFO 6800 Archives – Week One 48
Sources (in order of appearance)Adams, Scott (1998). Dilbert comic. http://dilbert.com/strips/comic/1998-08- 06.Association of Canadian Archivists (2005). What is an Archives? Ottawa: Public Awareness Committee, Association of Canadian Archivists. http://archivists.ca/sites/default/files/Attachments/Outreach_attachmen ts/Whats-an-Archives.PDF.Society of American Archivists. (2005). A Glossary of Archival and Records Terminology. By Richard Pearse-Moses. Chicago: Society of American Archivists. http://www2.archivists.org/glossary.Van Slyke, Andy (2009). Archivist image in Stadarchivist alert! post. http://suggesteddonation.com/author/xantus/page/9.Association of Canadian Archivists (2004). What is an Archivist? Ottawa: Public Awareness Committee, Association of Canadian Archivists. http://archivists.ca/sites/default/files/Attachments/Outreach_attachmen ts/What-an-Archivist.PDF.January 7, 2013 INFO 6800 Archives – Week One 49
Sources (in order of appearance)Bureau of Canadian Archivists (1990). Rules for Archival Description, Appendix D (Glossary). Revised 2008. Ottawa: Bureau of Canadian Archivists. http://www.cdncouncilarchives.ca/RAD/RAD_Glossary_July2008.pdf.International Council on Archives (2000). Model of the levels of arrangement of a fonds. In International Standard for Archival Description (General), p. 36. http://www.ica.org/10207/standards/isadg-general-international- standard-archival-description-second-edition.html.Council of Nova Scotia Archives. Fonds diagram. http://www.councilofnsarchives.ca/ArchWay.National Defense Directorate of History and Heritage. Canadian Army Historical Section fonds. http://www.archeion.ca/canadian-army- historical-section-fonds-2;rad.Adams, Scott (2010). Dilbert comic. http://dilbert.com/strips/comic/2010-09- 01/.Photographs of Dalhousie University Archives and the Killam Library were taken by Dalhousie Libraries staffJanuary 7, 2013 INFO 6800 Archives – Week One 50