on Asia-Pacific Forum for Library and Achives Management Training
Bangalore, India, UTC- June 1-30, 2004
Martha Lund Smalley
Management: Part I: Setting the stage
of collections in a repository:
1. Records of your organization
- predecessor organizations
2. Administrator / faculty papers
3. Personal papers and/or archival collections gathered to document
a particular subject area / era / etc.
4. Records of parent organizations
- Administrative records
- Minutes, annual reports, committee records
- Program documentation
- Financial records
- Student records
- Artifacts / memorabilia
- Photographs / videos
- Rare books and manuscripts
realistic about what you can
create and sustain.
is needed to proceed?
Commitment of support for:
Statement of Goals & Policies
A foundational document, “for the record”
- Have it in written form & distributed!
- Defines the rationale and parameters for your archives program
of the Statement of Goals
- Whose records are being collected?
- Who is going to use the records?
- What is the relationship between the archives repository and
creator of the archives?
- Who (specifically which person) is responsible for caring for
- How will you collect it?
- Who is allowed to use materials?
- How will the use of materials be regulated?
- What about photocopying, borrowing, etc.?
it in writing!!
- Organization is committed to provide staff, space, and materials
- You know in theory what types of records we will seek to collect.
- You know who will be allowed to use these records and in what
the material into the repository:
Acquisition: obtaining material
Accession: registering material
Appraisal: determining the value of material
Make an inventory what is already “in house”
Gather appropriate materials from offices or individuals who have
If you need to create new content, consider the following:
- Ask appropriate leaders to write down their memories.
- Send a questionnaire asking for information.
- Develop an oral history project
Register incoming material with paper-based records or a simple
computer database or spreadsheet
- Deed of Gift form for personal papers - formal agreement that
the person has donated his/her papers.
- Organizational agreement - formal agreement regarding the donation
or deposit of records in the archives.
currently-produced records of your institution, Records Management
is the key:
- It’s about being proactive instead of reactive
- Begin with a survey or inventory of the types of records being
produced by your organization.
- Communicate with the people who are creating these records.
- Write down your policy about retaining records - make a “records
most situations, records fall into the following four categories:
1. Records that are used daily or weekly -- should be close at
hand in the organization’s office
2. Records that are used infrequently (monthly or a few times
a year), or which need to be retained for a set period of years
-- can be stored in a more remote storage area (e.g., a storeroom
within the office).
3. Records that have historic value but are not used frequently
-- should be deposited in the organization’s archives, a
safe and secure place
4. Records that do not have lasting legal or historic value, are
no longer used, and are not needed for tax or legal purposes --
should be discarded.
an “Archives Day”
- Many organizations find it useful to have one day annually when
records are evaluated.
- On this “archives day,” infrequently used records
are removed from current office files and placed in boxes that
are clearly labeled with an indication of the contents and the
date until which they should be retained.
- Records with historic value are sent to the archives.
- Records without lasting value are destroyed or recycled.
- On this day, the records manager should check the storage area
and disperse all records dated for removal.
deciding exactly what to keep
* It’s okay to discard some material!
* Don’t discard on an item-by-item basis - too time consuming
* Types of things that can be discarded:
- Multiple copies - 2 is enough to keep
- Printed material from another organization
- Redundant financial records
- Routine administrative material
do we decide about the value of records?
- Primary value- the records’ functional use to the person
or agency that created them.
- Secondary value - their value for research, both now and in
- “Archival” value - how do they fit in to your context?
Management Part II Arrangement and Description
the difference between an archivist and a file clerk?
- An archivist has a sense of perspective.
- The archivist has a role in forming the history of an organization
- This power to form the history is regulated by certain archival
- Increasing standardization in the archival field.
- But there is no one right way to do things!
little bit of archival theory:
The concept of "provenance” (originating source): records
generated by a particular individual or agency should be kept
together, not mixed with records from another individual or agency.
- When records come to a repository with an existing system of
organization, this system should be kept intact as much as possible.
. The archivist's task is to discover or clarify this system of
organization and keep it intact.
- This is more true for organizational archives than for personal
1: Preliminary Inventory
Step 2: Initial sorting / grouping / establishing “record
Step 3: Establish “series”
Step 4: Organize material within series
Step 5: Put the records in folders (best quality available); label
and number the folders & put in containers
Step 6: Prepare a finding aid
Step 7: Make a catalog record
1: Preliminary Inventory
- Find and read material that provides an idea of the background
and significance of the individuals or organizations in question.
- Go through each box or file cabinet drawer and make a preliminary
inventory of what types of material are present
- Preserve the original order of the collection at this stage.
2: Initial sorting / grouping / establishing “record groups”
- You may need to establish the “provenance” of the
material. Who generated or created the records?
- A “record group” reflects the source or provenance
of the material.
of establishing record groups: A seminary has
- Annual reports of seminary
- Faculty minutes
- Personnel Committee /other committees
- Publications / events / programs of seminary
- Records of local churches
- Souvenir booklets of local Christian schools
- Unpublished biographies of church leaders
- Church conference journals
- Student papers on individual churches
Record Group #1: Archives of the Seminary
- Record Group #2: Local Church and School Records
- Record Group #3: Records of Parent Church Body
3: Establish “series”
- A series is a grouping of similar material within the larger
record group. The material may be similar in format or in purpose.
The series can be defined in any manner that makes sense.
- Creating series allows for a kind of architecture or structure
that will make the collection as a whole easier to describe and
possible series titles:
- Legal and policy records
- Formational documents
- Committee records
- Executive director’s files
- Collected material
- Financial records
- Audio-visual materials
of Record Groups and Series at academic institution (Lady Doak
Record Group 1: Administrative Records
- Formational documents
- Principal’s office [Files, reports, minutes]
- Bursar’s office [Budget, scholarships, etc.]
Record Group 2: Academic Affairs
- Dean’s office [Academic Council reports, etc.]
- Academic calendars, course bulletins
Group 3: Student & Alumnae Records
- Vice Principal’s office [Attendance, Alumnae records,
- Student Services office [Student activities, Union, clubs]
Record Group No. 4: Administrator and Faculty Records
- Material regarding founder
- Biographical material or publications for other administrators
Record Group No. 5: Departmental Records
- By department
- Seminars, conferences
- Activities: invitations, reports
- Record Group No. 6: Programs and Centers
- Child programs
- Women’s Study Center, Etc.
Record Group No. 7: Publications
- Brochures, publicity
- Record Group No. 8: Photographs
- Faculty and administrators
- Student activities
Record Group No. 9: Collected Material and Related Organizations
- Material from other colleges, etc..….
4: Organize material within series:
- Put each series into an appropriate order - alphabetically,
chronologically, by subject, by type, or whatever.
- But not all materials are important enough to warrant painstaking
efforts to put them in alphabetical or chronological order.
- Use common sense
5: If possible, put the records in new acid-free folders
- Putting records into folders of manageable size facilitates
identification of appropriate segments of the records and makes
it more likely that the records will be kept in good order when
they are used in the future.
- Label the folders with descriptive headings, not with a list
of each item in the folder.
- It is useful to number the folders -- and the boxes, or drawers
in which the folders are housed -- so that material can be more
easily retrieved and re-filed.
of folder labeling:
Box 5 Record Group 9 Executive Committee
Folder 31 Alumni Board Minutes 1999 Jan-May
6: Prepare a finding aid
- The finding aid provides the researcher with information necessary
to evaluate and gain access to a group of papers
- It can be distributed so that others learn about the contents
of the collection or archives.
parts of a finding aid:
- An historical or biographical note regarding the organization
or individual documented
- An introduction describing the kinds of materials in the collection,
the quantity of materials, and the general arrangement
- A folder listing (or sometimes a box or drawer listing) for
finding aids on the Internet: nice but not necessary
- Encoded Archival Description (EAD) - a way of coding finding
aids that allows for more sophisticated searching.
- Finding aids can also be made as word-processed documents and
“saved as” HTML to put on Internet.
but not necessary: a delivery system that searches throughout
all available finding aids
Also good to make a catalog record
Management Part III Preservation
- Physical maintenance of the records
- All metal paper clips, rusting staples, and rubber bands should
- Documents should be in containers that prevent dust from entering
- Large items should be stored flat.
ideal storage area for records:
- Amenable to consistent environmental control (temperature and
- No water pipes running nearby
- Little or no natural light
does paper deteriorate?
- Wood pulp = acid content = slow burn
- Any paper manufactured since the mid-19th century -- unless
it is of the type designated permanent/durable or acid-free --
has an expected useful life of less than fifty years.
is the best defense against paper deterioration?
- A chemical reaction is taking place in acidic paper, and this
reaction is accelerated by high temperatures and high humidity
- Ideal temperature: 16-20 degrees C
- Ideal relative humidity level: 40-60%
If ideal conditions cannot be
reached, try to maintain
- Some records are valuable as physical artifacts while others
are valuable primarily for the information they contain.
- For some deteriorating items, photo-copying them onto acid-free
paper and discarding or restricting use of the originals makes
more sense than spending money to deacidify, repair, or encapsulate
still the most stable way to preserve records
. - Optical scanning and digitization are solutions of the future.
- “Latourette Initiative” - program of Yale Divinity
School Library to subsidize microfilming of materials.
- NEVER use cellophane tape
- Get some basic supplies:
* archival repair tape, e.g. “Filmoplast”
* wipe cloths
* acid free paper
of archival supplies:
- Light Impressions: http://www.lightimpressionsdirect.com
- University Products http://www.universityproducts.com
needs for photographs
1) Never label photographs on their reverse with ballpoint pen.
The ink may bleed through to the front. Reference numbers on mounts
should be written discreetly in light-resistant ink. Reference
numbers on the back of photographs that have not been mounted
can be written with a soft pencil that leaves a clear mark.
2) If possible, put photographs in chemically stable polyester
or paper sleeves (e.g., made of a material such as Mylar, or acid-free
paper.) Such sleeves help prevent curling of photographs and reduce
physical contact with the photos. It is also possible to label
the sleeves with identifying information or to insert a separate
written label inside the sleeve.
3) If it is not feasible for you to use sleeves, be sure to store
the photographs in such a way that they will not curl over time
and will not be subject to excessive handling.
- The conservative stance for a repository to take regarding electronic
records is to require that all records be deposited in hard copy.
- This stance will be increasingly untenable as organizations
and individuals wholeheartedly enter the electronic age.
- Even now, there is a danger in requesting hard copy printouts
of records to be saved. The extra steps of selecting and printing
records to be saved will inevitably limit the number and variety
of records saved.
strategies for preserving electronic data:
- Medium refreshing: copying data from one physical carrier to
another of the same type, e.g. backing up a hard drive, diskette,
or CD ROM.
- Medium conversion: transferring electronic data from one medium
to another – this might mean transferring to a non-digital
* High quality acid neutral paper can last a century or longer
and archival quality microfilm is projected to last 300 years
or more. Paper and microfilm have the additional advantage of
requiring no special hardware or software for retrieval or viewing
conversion: converting the data format in order to reduce the
number of different formats being used in a particular setting,
e.g. converting WordPerfect word processing files to a Word format.
Migration: converting the data so that it can operate with different
hardware and software than originally intended. This could involve
transferring data to a central server or computer housed in the
most important thing that an archivist can do at this point is
to work with those generating the records to raise their consciousness
about the problems involved in preserving electronic data. If
records are received in electronic format, repositories may need
to reformat them at intervals to avoid obsolescent formats and
the need for obsolete hardware. A schedule should be put in place,
and a particular person made responsible, to intentionally verify
at specific intervals that the following types of electronic data
are still readable: · Email, Word processing and web documents,
- A disaster plan in the event of fire or flood should be an integral
part of any repository's program.
- It is important to have the plan in written form because of
potential chaos and confusion at the height of the emergency
- If there should be water damage, it is best to rescue photographs,
microfilm, and any materials with coated (glossy) paper
Management Part IV: Promoting Use
your archives a professional operation, but also a place where
people feel welcome
- Define your access policy and procedures
- Prepare an appropriate reading area
the news about your archives :
- Make a repository guide:
* provides an overview of materials available
* Can be printed form or online – preferably both.
* Distribute it at conferences and meetings
the news (2):
- Write an article for your institution’s newsletter.
- Engage the faculty at your institution. See if they will give
the students an assignment that requires use of the archives.
the news (3):
- Make an exhibit
- Originals should be displayed only in secure area - use reproductions
- Lighting should be restrained
- Items should be well-supported
- Choose items with visual appeal, e.g. 3D
- Captions need to be large enough
- A portable exhibit can be brought to various venues.
ways to spread the news:
- Speaking engagements
can be a way to promote use of the archives
- increases accessibility and visibility (service)
- enhances usefulness: search abilities, linking, navigation,
- enhances manipulation: annotations
REMEMBER: digitization is NOT the same as conservation / preservation
(lack of permanence)
-> microfilm still the standard for preservation
-> electronic formats become obsolete
if you decide to digitize:
- Is it worth digitizing the materials? -> selection
how unique is the item; value of its content; demand; risks to
- Can the material be scanned without damaging it?
avoid improper handling of the materials; avoid rescanning
- Do you have the proper equipment to digitize at high quality?
- Have you taken into account the costs of storage of the files
and necessary back-up procedures?
Your first task is to convince the leaders of your organization
that there are concrete, practical advantages to maintaining an
-- Maintaining good archival records can help save the time and
energy of staff members who need certain information in order
to accomplish their duties
. -- Archival records are a good source of material for an organization’s
publications. They can make planning of programs and events more
-- Archives are important for establishing and preserving the
identity of our organizations. Organizations need the support
of successive generations in order to survive and archives can
play an important role in fostering this support.
When financial support for an archives program is lacking, or
the leaders of an organization question the need for archives,
it is important to remember these very practical advantages that
archives have for an organization.
2) Be very intentional about the subject of saving archives. Put
specific policies and procedures in place, otherwise, as time
goes on, the enthusiasm about keeping archives may diminish and
the program will begin to disintegrate.
It is important to have a formal Statement of Goals that has been
approved by the highest leaders of the organization.
3) It is very important to have a particular person who is responsible
for maintaining the archives in an organization. This person must
have the authority to request and receive organizational records
on a regular basis to be kept in the archives . Every organization
should have someone who is the designated “archivist”
or “records manager” or “historian.”
4) The archives should have a designated place
5) The archivist needs to have some training and familiarity with
6) Begin by making a survey of what types of records are available
and where they are currently kept. Decide what types of records
the archives should contain. Establish procedures for getting
records to the archives.
7) Make accession records and preliminary inventories for all
materials received in the archives. Have some means of controlling
8) Organize the materials according to archival principles.
9) Make finding aids that describe the records in a way that makes
10) Make a distributable guide or brochure that describes your
feel free to contact me if you have questions: firstname.lastname@example.org