Donnelly providing reference services in archives


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  • Equal access: make materials available to researchers on equal terms. Neither permit access by only one researcher nor discriminate against particular types of researchers. “Special treatment, unless sanctioned by the institution’s policies, should be avoided. However, institutions can and should indicate preferences for certain types of research and researchers in their mission statements, should consider these in appraisal and selection processes, and should take them into account when setting priorities for outreach activities and researcher services priorities. This does not mean that there is a discriminatory or exclusionary approach; it does mean that priorities have been set and resources allocated accordingly (Dearstyne 105) “ The repository must face this issue before users request to use records. Access policies must be determined in consultation with all interested parties, applying relevant laws, in the context of the mission and resources of the repository” (Pugh 150) Policies and procedures: formulate, document, share, enforce – externally and internally
  • Important that staff members as well as researchers follow policies.
  • Materials-centered versus client-centered
  • Includes a range of activities to assist researchers in using archival materials. Effective service does not happen by accident. Archivists provide four types of information: about repository, about holdings, and from holdings, about records creators (Hunter 218) “ Reference services are one of the most powerful tools a repository has to build relationships with stakeholders”
  • Reference archivists e ncourage research use of holdings, actively counsel and assist researchers, make records available, analyze and measure research use; active/proactive.
  • UV filters = help protect documents Researchers generally sympathetic to rules once they understand why. Records are most at risk when they are in active use.
  • Chairs: some researchers will spend several days. Square feet: table, chair, room to manuever
  • “ The built environment and the way it is maintained is rich in sensory clues that tell visitors about the nature of the place they are in” (Finch and Conway, quoted in Pugh 176) Creating a secure space that is also welcoming
  • Limit number of boxes and folders Keep information about patrons and the materials they access confidential Communication is key – listening – let researchers know what to expect by defining the services and response times available to them Reference archivists frequently mediate among users, finding aids, and records Ideally, the reference archivist is not a barrier, nor a gatekeeper, but rather a partner facilitator, and guide. Know your collections and tools
  • Welcome to contact me; also if interested in a tour of Spencer to see first-hand example of space.
  • Donnelly providing reference services in archives

    1. 1. PROVIDING ACCESS ANDREFERENCE SERVICES INARCHIVESCaitlin DonnellyHead of Public ServicesKenneth Spencer Research LibraryUniversity of KansasApril 5, 2013
    2. 2. Access Policies• Are written statements describing the repository’s rules andprocedures for providing public access to its collections.• Reflect decisions about and document who gets to see whatand when.• Should take context into consideration, i.e.:• The type of records that are contained in the repository.• The mission of the repository.• The desires and needs of users.• Should apply all relevant laws.
    3. 3. Access Policies• Are important because they:• Protect the rights and privacy of record creators and thesensitivity and confidentiality of records.• Help repository staff communicate and enforce restrictionson access.• Help provide security for records that may be fragile, highlysensitive, or extremely valuable.• Reassure donors and creators that their materials will beproperly protected and used in the repository.Bruce W. Dearstyne, Managing Historical Records Programs, pp. 199-200
    4. 4. Access Policies“Access policies protect records from harm and someinformation from premature disclosure, while making as muchinformation available to researchers as possible. An accesspolicy mediates among the competing demands of privacy,confidentiality, public right to know, and equality of access.Some of these concepts are embodied in law, others in deeds ofgifts, and still others in ethical norms. Access policies alsoallocate repository resources for reference services as equitablyas possible.”Mary Jo Pugh, Providing Reference Services for Archives and Manuscripts, p. 149
    5. 5. Elements of an Access Policy• User communities• Resources and restrictions• Intellectual access and reference services• Fees• Physical access and conditions of use• Use of information• Loan of materialsMary Jo Pugh, p. 163
    6. 6. What is Reference?“Archival records exist to be used. Identifying and preservingrecords, though laudable goals in themselves, are not enough tojustify an archival program.”Gregory S. Hunter, Developing and Maintaining Practical Archives, p. 207
    7. 7. What is Reference?“Reference work involves matching user needs to relevantresources. Reference staffers manage access to collections,while keeping collections secure....Reference services fulfillthe repository’s core purpose, which is collections use byresearchers. Reference services ensure that many people useoriginal [materials], even though they may be unfamiliar andchallenging to use…[Reference] is rewarding to staffers andhelps underscore the reason for the repository’s existence.In effect, good reference builds your repository’s base ofsatisfied customers – your stakeholders – which can help yourrepository survive in tough times.”Mary Lynn Ritzenthaler and Diane Vogt-O’Connor, Photographs: Archival Care andManagement (Chicago: Society of American Archivists, 2006): 271.
    8. 8. What is Reference?• Reference services in archives provide:• Information about the repository.• Information about holdings.• Information from holdings.• Information about records creators.• Referrals to other repositories or resources.• Information about laws and ethics regarding the use of information.• Instruction in using records.• Education about the research process.• Physical access to holdings.• Copies, permissions, and loans from holdings.Mary Jo Pugh, p. 23
    9. 9. What is Reference?• Reference service is important because:• It makes research materials more accessible to the public.• It helps the staff monitor the condition of materials.• Good service enhances the organization’s public image andreinforces the repository’s goals of preserving and providingaccess to historical information.• Skilled reference service combined with detailed descriptionsprotects materials from unnecessary or inappropriate use.Bruce W. Dearstyne, pp. 200-201
    10. 10. Dimensions of Reference Services• Intellectual• Facilitating research• Undertaking research• Educating users• Human/interpersonal• AdministrativeMary Jo Pugh, p. 23
    11. 11. Creating a Secure Reference Space• Separate, secure storage for collections (closed stacks).• Limited entrances and exits.• Lockers for researchers’ personal belongings.• Ultraviolet filters on all fluorescent lights.• Posted or accessible policies, including those pertaining to copyright.• Workstation for the reference archivist on duty.• Tables for patrons within eyesight of archivist workstation.• Tables for oversize materials.• Staff and researcher access to photocopiers, scanners, microfilmreaders, and audio-visual equipment.• Staff and researcher access to tools for using collections, e.g.magnifying glasses, gloves, book trucks, cradles and supports,weights, pencils, notepaper, and out cards.
    12. 12. Creating a Comfortable ReferenceSpace•Accessible to all researchers, including those with disabilities.•Appropriate noise level conducive to research.•Staff and researcher access to reference materials andcollection descriptions.•Public computer workstations.•Forty to fifty square feet per user; eighty to one hundred squarefeet for oversize materials.•Comfortable chairs for staff members and researchers,adjustable if possible.
    13. 13. Creating a Welcoming ReferenceSpace• Easily accessible from the outside.• Prominent and clear directional signs.• YOU!
    14. 14. Policy Statements and Forms forResearchers• Location and hours• Access• Accommodations• Directions• Parking• Registration• Finding aids• Requesting materials (callslips)• Use of materials• Copyright• Ordering copies (policies,instructions, fees, and formsfor each of the following):• Electrostatic• Photographic• Microfilm• Audiovisual• Digital• Publishing copiesMary Jo Pugh, p. 188
    15. 15. The Reference ProcessGregory S. Hunter, p. 220
    16. 16. References/For Further ReadingBooks•Dearstyne, Bruce W. Managing Historical Records Programs: AGuide for Historical Agencies. Walnut Creek, California: AltaMiraPress, 2000.•Hunter, Gregory S. Developing and Maintaining PracticalArchives: A How-To-Do-It Manual. Second edition. How-To-Do-ItManuals for Librarians, Number 122. New York: Neal-SchumanPublishers, Inc., 2003.•Pugh, Mary Jo. Providing Reference Services for Archives andManuscripts. Archival Fundamental Series II. Chicago: Society ofAmerican Archivists, 2005.
    17. 17. References/For Further ReadingSociety of American Archivists Online Resources•Archives & Archivists listserv and roundtable discussion emaildiscussion lists:•Lone Arrangers Roundtable resource page:•Standards Portal:•“Using Archives: A Guide to Effective Research”:
    18. 18. References/For Further ReadingOther Online Resources•Society of Georgia Archivists Forms Forum:•Miller, Lisa, Steven K. Galbraith, and the RLG PartnershipWorking Group on Streamlining Photography and Scanning.“Capture and Release”: Digital Cameras in the Reading Room.Dublin, Ohio: OCLC Research, 2010.