Organization of Archival Materials


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presented at PAARL's Summer Conference on
Promoting Skills Enhancement and Core Competencies for the Professionalization of Librarians, held at Casa Pilar Resort, Boracay, Malay, Aklan, Philippines on 2002 April 10

Published in: Business, Education
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  • Organization of Archival Materials

    1. 1. ARCHIVAL by Fe Angela M. Verzosa University Archivist, DLSU The Organization of Materials
    2. 2. Overview <ul><li>Archives usually consist of unique items, and unlike Libraries, cannot take advantage of standardized organization. </li></ul><ul><li>Archives preserve records of enduring value; these may be organizational or personal records. They are not necessarily old, and may come in different formats. </li></ul><ul><li>Unlike libraries, archival materials are arranged and described in groups. </li></ul>
    3. 3. Differences between archival and library materials Category Libraries Archives Nature published unpublished discrete items groups of related items available elsewhere unique Method of receipt selected as single appraised in aggregates items Arrangement predetermined sub- provenance and original ject classification order Level of description individual items aggregate (record group or series) Descriptive media card catalog, OPAC inventories, guides Access open stacks closed stacks
    4. 4. Defining records and archives <ul><li>RECORDS - </li></ul><ul><li>all books, papers, maps, photos or other documentary materials regardless of format, </li></ul><ul><li>made or received by any public or private institution in pursuance of its obligations or in connection with the transaction of its proper business, </li></ul><ul><li>and preserved by that institution as evidence of its functions, operations, or other activities, or because of the informational value contained therein. </li></ul>
    5. 5. Defining records and archives <ul><li>ARCHIVES - </li></ul><ul><li>those records of any PUBLIC or PRIVATE institutions </li></ul><ul><li>which are adjudged worthy of preservation for reference and research purposes </li></ul><ul><li>and which have be deposited or </li></ul><ul><li>have been selected for deposit in an archival institution </li></ul>
    6. 6. Development of archival organization <ul><li>Archival materials have been organized for centuries . </li></ul><ul><li>A case file system was established in Rome around AD 1200. </li></ul><ul><li>The registry system was developed in the 15th century in Europe. </li></ul><ul><li>The concept of “ provenance” ( or “respect des fonds” ) emerged in France in 1840. </li></ul>
    7. 7. Development of archival organization <ul><li>The principle of “original order” ( or “ respect pour l’ordre primitif”) was established by the Prussians in 1880s . </li></ul><ul><li>The first archival catalogs were lists and inventories. </li></ul><ul><li>Until the mid-30s, US practice was to catalog at the item level. </li></ul><ul><li>A special MARC format for archival and manuscript collections was developed. </li></ul>
    8. 8. Reappraisal Conducting surveys Appraisal Acquisitions Accessioning Arrangement Preservation Security Description Access/reference Outreach /promotion Cyclical expression of archival functions preserve make available make available IDENTIFY
    9. 9. Documentation Strategies based on functions MISSIONS Teaching research public service Confer credentials Convey knowledge Promote culture Foster sociali- zation Conduct research Provide public services Sustain the institution
    10. 10. TYPES OF documentation <ul><li>Constitution , bylaws, minutes, proceedings, transcripts, etc. </li></ul><ul><li>Office files </li></ul><ul><li>Historical files </li></ul><ul><li>Publications </li></ul><ul><li>Audiovisuals </li></ul><ul><li>Personal papers </li></ul><ul><li>Maps, plans, charts, drawings </li></ul>
    11. 11. TYPES OF documentation <ul><li>general correspondence </li></ul><ul><li>transitory correspondence </li></ul><ul><li>case files </li></ul><ul><li>references </li></ul><ul><li>audiovisual materials </li></ul><ul><li>cartographic records </li></ul><ul><li>engineering drawings </li></ul><ul><li>cards </li></ul><ul><li>machine-readable records </li></ul><ul><li>microforms </li></ul>
    12. 12. Other categories <ul><li>Administrative records </li></ul><ul><li>academic records </li></ul><ul><li>accounting/financial records </li></ul><ul><li>legal records </li></ul><ul><li>personnel records </li></ul><ul><li>personal records </li></ul>
    13. 13. Records with evidential values <ul><li>organizational charts </li></ul><ul><li>annual reports </li></ul><ul><li>directives/policy memos </li></ul><ul><li>official histories </li></ul><ul><li>correspondence </li></ul><ul><li>audit/inspection reports </li></ul><ul><li>legal opinions/decisions </li></ul><ul><li>handbooks and manuals </li></ul><ul><li>minutes of meetings </li></ul>
    14. 14. Collecting Priorities <ul><li>records of the governing board </li></ul><ul><li>records of the administrative offices </li></ul><ul><li>records of the academic departments </li></ul><ul><li>theses and dissertations </li></ul><ul><li>records from student organizations </li></ul><ul><li>selected papers and publications </li></ul><ul><li>campus publications </li></ul>
    15. 15. Processing <ul><li>Appraisal </li></ul><ul><li>Accessioning </li></ul><ul><li>Arrangement </li></ul><ul><li>Description </li></ul><ul><li>Preservation </li></ul>
    16. 16. Appraisal act of determining the worth of records to their creator or user <ul><li>in terms of use: primary or secondary </li></ul><ul><li>in terms of content: evidential or informational </li></ul><ul><li>categories: administrative value fiscal value legal value historical/research intrinsic value </li></ul>
    17. 17. Arrangement: Basic Principles <ul><li>Provenance </li></ul><ul><ul><li>refers to the “office of origin”, or the creator </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>synonymous to “respect des fonds” or respect for the integrity of the record group </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>different provenances should not be intermingled, I.e., records of a given creator must not be mixed with those of another creator. </li></ul></ul>
    18. 18. <ul><li>Original Order </li></ul><ul><ul><li>also known as “respect pour l’ordre primitif” </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>means order in which the records were </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>created, or </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>maintained or stored by the creator </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>the original order must be preserved , or restored </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>most evident in organizational records </li></ul></ul>Arrangement: Basic Principles
    19. 19. List of activities in organizing archives Determine priority for arrangement/ description Research the life of the person or organization creating the records Decide if any items need special storage Set aside those recommended for disposal Determine the level of arrangement / description Examine new transfers/collections thoroughly What will I do first?
    20. 20. List of activities in organizing archives -continuation Arrange the items - first on paper, then physically Inventory and describe the records Write the Administrative History or Biographical Note Prepare the finished descriptive guide / inventory Identify the record series
    21. 21. <ul><ul><li>Repository </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>record group ( and subgroup) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>series </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>file unit </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>item </li></ul></ul>Five Levels of Arrangement
    22. 22. Five Levels of Arrangement as applied in a college/university
    23. 23. Series arrangement <ul><li>A set of files maintained together as a unit because of some relationship arising from their creation, receipt, or use. </li></ul><ul><li>The files may relate to a particular subject, function, or activity, or have a common format. Examples: </li></ul><ul><li>Correspondence series </li></ul><ul><li>Election campaign series </li></ul><ul><li>Martial law files </li></ul><ul><li>Arrange series order according to the value of the information within. </li></ul>
    24. 24. S t e p s in arranging a collection <ul><ul><li>Prepare to process </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Review accession register </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Go through entire record without rearranging anything </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Develop the processing plan </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Sort the collection into series </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Process each series down to file unit </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Proceed to item level, if necessary </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Place folders in final order, box, and number the containers. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Prepare container listing. </li></ul></ul>
    25. 25. Description the process of establishing administrative and intellectual control over archival holdings through the preparation of finding aids. <ul><li>provides the general nature of the repository </li></ul><ul><li>gives location of collections on the shelf </li></ul><ul><li>identifies the source/provenance </li></ul><ul><li>outlines the general contents of individual collections </li></ul><ul><li>summarizes information on a specific topic </li></ul>
    26. 26. Types of Finding Aids <ul><li>Item level Calendars Indexes </li></ul><ul><li>Collection level Catalogs </li></ul><ul><li>Container lists </li></ul><ul><li>Registers (for manuscript collections) Inventories (for organizational collections) </li></ul><ul><li>Guides (repository or subject guides) </li></ul>
    27. 27. The END <ul><li>Thank you! </li></ul>