Overview of Archival Processing


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Overview of archival processing, for Society of Indiana Archivists Fall Workshop 2011

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  • Overview of Archival Processing

    1. 1. Overview of Archival Processing Or where on earth do I start with this stuff? A hands on exercise. By jennifer whitlock, archivist at Indianapolis Museum of Art for the Society of Indiana Archivists Workshop October 7, 2011
    2. 2. What is an archive?Archives are the non-current records of individuals, groups, institutions, andgovernments that contain information of enduring value.Examples of Types:•College and University•Corporate•Government•Historical Societies•Museums•Religious•Special Collections•Other…
    3. 3. Category Libraries Archives • Published • Unpublished Nature • Discrete items • Groups of related items • Independent significance • Significance from relationship to • Available elsewhere other items • Unique records Creator Many different individuals or organizations Parent organization or institution Method of Separate, independent actions Organic: normal course of business creation Method of • Selected as single items • Appraised in aggregate receipt • Decisions revocable • Decisions irrevocable (destruction is forever) Predetermined subject classification Provenance and original order (relationArrangement to structure and function) Level of Individual items (books) Aggregate (record group or series)Description • Built into the published item (title • Must be prepared by the archivistDescriptive page, table of contents, index) media • Card catalog, online public access • Guides and inventories, online system (OPAC) systems Access • Open stacks • Closed Stacks • Items circulate • Items do not circulate Adapted from Developing and Maintaining Practical Archives by Gregory Hunter
    4. 4. What does an archivist do?Triple threat:OrganizesPreservesProvides accessBut that’s not all…
    5. 5. How does an archivist doit?Key archival concepts and activities:1. Surveying the collection Provenance or respect du fonds Original order2. Appraisal long-term research value not $$ value3. Arrangement & Description not cataloging! Controlled vocabulary4. Preservation5. Access
    6. 6. Format is irrelevant!!What is a record? Audio visual materials Data or information Digital files Hand-written or typed or ink-jet in a fixed form that is Architectural plans created or received Photographs in the course of Letters Manuscripts individual or Publications institutional activity Brochures and set aside Ephemera Drawings (preserved) Invoices, forms, reports as evidence Meeting minutes of that activity 3-D objects Clippings for future reference. Websites Emails Punch cards Musical score Etc etc
    7. 7. Accessioning and surveying thecollection
    8. 8. What do we have here? Get the context of the materials: •Who made this collection? •What is the size and scope? •Can any organizational scheme be found? Answering these questions as you process will guide the arrangement and description of the
    9. 9. ProvenanceRespect du fondsRespect for Original Order
    10. 10. Appraisal Long-term research value, NOT $$$$$$$Usually takes place prior to donation or at accessioning:Do we want this? Make a collecting policy and missionstatement! Other appraisal considerations : •Provenance •Content •Authenticity •Reliability •Completenes s •Condition
    11. 11. Record Values Primary Value Administrative Value Fiscal Value Legal Value Historical Value Secondary Value Evidential Value Informational Value Other Values Research Value Intrinsic Value
    12. 12. Appraisal Small appraisal decisions happen during processing: Often called weeding… Is this a duplicate? Does this gum wrapper have any research value? Can we keep these explosive nitrate films? Why did someone save this?
    13. 13. Arrangement
    14. 14. Description
    15. 15. Preservation
    16. 16. Access
    17. 17. Fundamentals books from SAA:Boles, F. (2005). Selecting & appraisingarchives & manuscripts.Kurtz, M. J. (2004). Managing archival &manuscript repositories.OToole, J. M., & Cox, R. J. (2006).Understanding archives & manuscripts.Pugh, M. J. (2005). Providing referenceservices for archives & manuscripts.Ritzenthaler, M. L. (2010). Preserving archives& manuscripts.Roe, K. (2005). Arranging & describingarchives & manuscripts.
    18. 18. Internet resources for Archival theory &practiceSociety of American Archivists Statement of Principleshttp://www.archivists.org/news/custardproject.aspSociety of American Archivists Code of Ethicshttp://www.archivists.org/governance/handbook/app_ethics.aspGlossary of Archival and Records Terminologyhttp://www.archivists.org/glossary/index.aspMore Product, Less Process: Pragmatically revampingTraditional Processing Approaches to Deal with Late20th-Century Collections by Greene & Meissnerhttp://ahc.uwyo.edu/documents/faculty/greene/papers/Greene-Meissner.pdf
    19. 19. Internet resources for Preservation Northeast Document Conservation Center(NEDCC)http://www.nedcc.org/resources/introduction.php Library of Congress Preservation http://www.loc.gov/preserv/preserve.html National Archives and Records Administration(NARA) http://www.archives.gov/preservation/ LYRASIS http://www.lyrasis.org/Preservation/Resources-and-Publications.aspx Holliger/Metal Edge Archival Supplies
    20. 20. Questions??Let’s get started!(this is the hand’s on exercise part)