Strengthening the Archives
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Strengthening the Archives

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This presentation from 2008 describes how I transformed our archives by creating inventories, digitizing publications and periodicals, reducing a three-year backlog of materials in 9 months, and ...

This presentation from 2008 describes how I transformed our archives by creating inventories, digitizing publications and periodicals, reducing a three-year backlog of materials in 9 months, and gaining physical and intellectual control of our analog and digital images and documents.

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  • Product, Less Process: Pragmatically Revamping Traditional Processing Approaches to Deal with Late 20th-Century Collections"

Strengthening the Archives Strengthening the Archives Presentation Transcript

  • Presented by Margot Note on December 10, 2008 Strengthening the WMF Archives
  • Overview
    • Chronological narrative of past two years
    • Slow, steady advances
    • Kress Grant allowed faster progress and broader approach
    • Project profiles, digitization, internship
    • Improvements to all aspects of archives
  • My Background
    • Joined WMF in December 2006
    • Database Administrator/Archivist
    • Lisa, IT Director, Development Staff
    • “Real” archivist in Spring 2008
    • MA, MLIS, Post-Master Study
    • Drexel: technology and access
  • Archives Objectives
    • Identify and collect records of enduring value
    • Process by recognized standards
    • Organize collections for physical accessibility
    • Improve intellectual accessibility
    • Ensure secure storage and preservation
    • Leverage digital technologies
    • Digitize and create materials for new website
  • Challenge
    • Archives are not a central, physical location, but digital, on-site, and off-site elements:
    • On-site Archives Slides
    • Resource Room Prints
    • Library Digital Images
    • Image CDs Digital Documents
    • PDF/As Off-site Files
    • Videos Off-site Publications
    • DVDs
  • Philosophy
    • More Product, Less Process*
    • Processing practices, developed for 19 th century collections, cannot keep up with the growth of modern collections, resulting in backlogs.
    • New practices improve accessibility.
    • *Based on “More Product, Less Process: Pragmatically Revamping Traditional Processing Approaches to Deal with Late 20th-Century Collections,” by Mark A. Greene and Dennis Meissner ( American Archivist , 2005).
  • Philosophy (cont’d)
    • User-Centered Design*
    • Focus on the needs, wants, and limitations of users
    • Simplifying structures
    • Intuitive systems
    • *Based on The Design of Everyday Things (originally titled The Psychology of Everyday Things ) by Donald A. Norman (Basic Books, 1988), as well as his other publications.
  • Digital Image Collection
    • 57,000+ digital images
    • Arranged by country, site, and project
    • Overhauled in Summer 2007
    • Uncorrupted 1/3 of the collection
    • Consistent file labeling
    • Images added daily
    • Metadata (country, site, caption, year, photographer, provenance, and origin)
  • Image CD Collection
    • 1,700+ CDs organized by country
    • Created cataloging system for instant access
    • Cataloging completed in Summer 2007
    • Maintained through Collections database
    • Lookup tool created for staff use
  • IFM Materials
    • Digitized in Winter and Spring 2008
    • Brochures
    • IFM Materials
      • Church of Santa Maria del Giglio
      • Church of the Piet à
      • Lalibela Phase I
      • Walls of Verona
    •       
  • On-site Resources
    • Library
    • Arranged by theme, region, country, site
    • Weeded and reorganized in Spring 2008
    • Resource Room
    • Mac, light table, slide collections, publications
    • Reorganized in Spring 2008
  • Periodicals
    • 1969-2007: newsletters, Milestones, and ICONs
    • Digitized in Spring and Summer 2008
    • Searchable PDF/As
    • Finding aids created
    • Staff buy-in to the archives
  • On-Site Archives
    • Books, newsletters, magazines, Watch, Hadrian, annual reports, brochures, etc.
    • Created a box system for instant access
    • Organized by format/subject in Summer 2008
    • Finding aids created
  • Off-Site Storage
    • 1,900+ boxes of project and department files and extra copies of publications
    • Collections database reorganized in Summer 2008
    • Lookup tools created for files and publications
  • Project Profiles
    • 15 profiles completed in 6 months
    • 10-40 pages of text and pictures
    • WMF projects from 1970s-1990s
    • Diversity of work: fresco cleaning to site management plans
  • Objectives
    • To tell a richer story about our 40+ years of architectural preservation
    • To demonstrate continuing themes and concerns for building types and geographic regions
    • To validate the accessibility and importance of the archives
    • To serve as an institutional record
    • To supply content for our website
  • Sources
    • Archival Material
    • Digital Archives
      • Newsletters, Publications, Brochures
    • Grant Management Database
    • Staff Interviews
    • DVD and Video Collection
    • Library
    • Internet
    • Italy, Palazzo Contarini del Bovolo
    Spain, Convento de la Coria Haiti, Citadelle Henri Italy, Temple of Hercules Ireland, Doneraile Court Ireland, Castletown House Italy, Biblioteca Marciana Italy, Church of the Pietà Project Profile Sites Spain, Ochavo Chapel Hungary, Eszterháza Castle Italy, Misericordia Laboratory France, Hôtel des Invalides Great Britain, St. Mary’s Church Portugal, Tower of Belém Czech Republic, Lednice and Valtice Landscape
  • Profile Format
    • Introduction
    • Project Origin
    • Historical Background and Significance
    • Physical Description
    • Site Condition
    • Project Description and Objectives
    • WMF Collaboration
    • Conservation
    • Recognition and Subsequent Developments
    • Archival Holdings
    • Photographic Supplement
  • Introduction
            • After Conservation Picture
            • Site Name
            • Location
            • Date of Construction
            • Dates of WMF Conservation
  • Project Origin
    • Summary of events leading to our involvement
    • Prior conservation efforts by local, government, or cultural organizations
  • Historical Background and Significance
    • Contextualizes structure in history
    • Discusses design origin, architectural influences, and local patronage
    • Introduces political or social catalysts
    • Identifies architectural innovations, specialized functions, and community significance
  • Physical Description
    • Summarizes site layout, architectural components, and materials
    • Provides orientation for conservation issues and areas of concern
  • Site Condition
    • Describes threats to structural and aesthetic integrity
    • Identifies conservation issues caused by previous restorations
  • Project Description and Objectives
    • Explains development of the conservation plan to address threats
    • Identifies major players in conservation
    • Outlines educational objectives (i.e. museum exhibitions) and threat analysis via exploratory methods (i.e. architectural surveys)
  • WMF Collaboration
    • Identifies organizations, government offices, and individuals who collaborated with WMF in fundraising and executing project objectives
  • Conservation
    • 1-3 pages: the heart of the profile
    • Recounts conservation phases initiated by WMF and its collaborators, including local firms
    • Examines discoveries, challenges, and innovations
    • Explains technical conservation procedures utilized to restore architectural surfaces or reinforce structural stability
  • Recognition and Subsequent Developments
    • Records awards and recognition for WMF sponsored conservations at the site
    • Traces new conservation concerns, continued WMF commitment, and post-restoration educational programs
  • Archival Holdings
    • Summarizes our holdings of digital photos, slides, and prints
    • Identifies vital archival material by box number, file name, and contents
  • Photographic Supplement
    • 5-25 pictures per profile
    • 50-word caption, year, and photographer
    • Best slides and prints digitized
    • Before and after conservation shots
  • Image Digitization
    • 700+ prints and slides digitized
    • Most sites had no digital pictures
    • Knowledge creation
    • Metadata: caption, year, photographer, etc.
    • File name denotes conservation phase
  • Discoveries
    • Extensive archival information to be harnessed
    • Profiles illustrated the need to create and improve archival access tools.
    • Intern assistance expedites projects.
    • Digital access is key.
  • Digitized Publications
    • Past publications digitized in Fall 2008
    • High-resolution master copy
    • Low-resolution downloadable version
    • ISBNs assigned and/or updated
    • Vast amount of information available
    • www.wmf.org/archival_pubs.html
  • Slide and Print Collections
    • 105 binders of slides
    • 9 drawers of prints
    • Organized by country, site, project
    • Key images already digitized
    • Organized in Fall 2008
    • Created finding aids and lookup tools
    • Intellectual control of materials for first time
  • Video and DVD Collections
    • 400+ videos and DVDs
    • Organized in boxes by country and site
    • Cataloged in Fall 2008
    • Created Finding aids and lookup tools
    • DVDs of important videos
  • Virtual Archives
    • Digitized archives on WMF Intranet
    • Makes archives visible and centralized
    • Internal use formulates strategy for external use
    • Publications, periodicals, Watch catalogs, brochures, project profiles
    • Finding aids and lookup tools
  • Overall Results
    • Knowledge creator rather than container
    • Digitization of important publications
    • Three-year backlog cataloged in 9 months
    • Information requests fulfilled same day
    • Physical/intellectual control of materials