Learning Objectives

  • Students will analyze the scenario based upon their understanding of records management principles
  • Students will design appropriate methods for capturing and registering records from this hypothetical organization.
  • Students will assess these systems that have been developed through discussion posts.


You are the new records manager at H & M Pulp Paper company, and you’ve been tasked with examining systems to capture and register certain records. Some of the records that you’ve been confronted with today include:

  • Correspondence between the main office of HMPP and the division that manages the various forest lands owned by the organization. Much of this correspondence is paper records, but within the last year these records have been sent electronically. Typically this set of records illustrates growth and management activities, tree disease, and harvest plans for various properties. Often these reports are transmitted together, except for the electronic versions which are transmitted regularly, but with each report coming separately.
  • Records documenting advertising campaigns for various products. This includes drafts of print advertisement, logos, and branding kits. You are also confronted with completed document for campaigns. These documents seemed to be held by both marketing and communications departments. Marketing holds the final versions of print advertisements and communications holds the final versions of web based advertisement. Typically, marketing department begins the process of creating these records, but communication often proofs and consults on these projects.
  • Documents dealing with major wholesalers of your products. HMPP keeps order, delivery, and sales records in a centralized electronic system that tracks analyzes all of this information. Account managers and their subordinates also keep electronic folders of information about the various client accounts that they manage. These files can be updated by a group but contain exported emails, contract drafts, promotional materials for specific accounts.


  • What records would capture and how would you capture them?
  • For any records you chose not to capture, what was your reason?
  • For one set up records, define some meta data heading and fill out, or make up, the meta data for that record/record group.


  • Shepard and Yeo, Chapter 4

Learning Objectives

  • Students will given a prepared collecting policy, make decisions based on this collecting policy and have the ability to explain the reasoning for making these decision.
  • Students will offer suggestions to make to the collecting policy.

consider assigning members of the class to groups depending upon class size. Students will not self select into groups. If working with a small class consider walking the class through the scenario. Also consider creating breakout areas either in d2l, google, etc.


You’ve been hired as an archivist at Super Serious University Archives. This archives at a mid-sized regional university has a completed and detailed collecting policy. The archives space is small but a planned renovation with triple the size of the space in one year. You are given several collections and are asked to appraise them based on the policy below.

Collecting Policy: Super Serious University Archives

University Archives

Faculty Office

A faculty member is retiring. You’ve been called to help this faculty member move their paper collection to the archive. The faculty member was involved with creating several new varieties of apples. His materials comprise his work computer that has research data, lecture notes, and email. His paper records contain faculty senate papers, some research note, patent information, and materials related to his teaching. Note that all of his research was funded by a private company that is not based in the region.

Student Bulletin Boards

Members of several student organizations have approached your archives about documenting current campus student life in a much more complete way. They’ve suggested that you need to find away to document the events on campus better that your current collecting practices of only taking the official calendar for the university. As examples of records, they have brought you posters for student events. This is what they wish for you to collect.

Administrative Office

The provost of the university is leaving campus for another position at another university. Their office files contain administrative records going back nearly twenty years. This includes mostly paper records. The IT department also share with you the disk image of the provost’s computer. One of the workers mentioned that he saw a “lot of personal” stuff on the image as they were making it.

Student Group (Men’s Rights Group)

Before the ALT-right was at a common term shouted over the American dinner table, SSU had it’s own men’s right group that fits right in with the current alt-right understanding of world. This group created in reaction to the push for the Equal Rights Amendment and has been operated in some fashion since that time. This group has an on again off again relationship with student affairs. They have previously been a recongized student organization but were booted in 1999. The group is currently fighting their rejection as a formal student organization from last year. You’ve been offered their materials up to 2000. These are exclusively paper records.

Community Collecting

Home Movie Collection

You’ve been offered the materials of a local camera shop that has gone out of business. Included with the business records are many duplicates of home movies that the shop had made in agreement with local customers. The shop was to hold the duplicates as backup for the community. The agreements for all of these duplicated movies are intact and apart of the collection. In addition, the owner of the shop collected rare prints of hollywoods and international films, including some nitrate films.

A prominent family

A prominent family in your community, one that has had multiple legislators and a state official, would like to donate a family collection to your archives. This collection will comprise family records as well as the personal papers of several of the families political person. The catch is that includes a lot of large pieces of furniture, including desks, sofas, painting, etc. The family will not separate out the furniture pieces.

Women’s Civic Organization

You’ve been offered a collection for women’s organization that form to support the ERA. This group did not disband after the amendments failure but continued on to become a group that supported women’s issues through a combination of activism, community service and fundraising. This groups materials are mostly paper based, but they’ve become extremely active on twitter in recent months.


Small Company, Big Company

A major agricultural company in your area does not want to maintain it’s business archives. This organization has existed for over 100 years and played a significant role in your community. This company was recently purchased by a major international agribusiness. The new parent company is fine with the archives being transferred to your college. This division of the major company will continue to be located in your community and may continue to add to their collection.

Family Farm

You’ve been offered a small family farm collection. This includes several journals, scrapbooks and a box of letters. The family has some concerns about one of the scrapbooks created by an late aunt. They are worried that the contents will paint the family in a bad light. This aunt was a lesbian and active in the women’s civic group.

Local Rodeo Organization

The local rodeo organization would like to work with your archive to help it maintain its vast holding. It currently has materials going back to the 1950’s and the founding of the rodeo. This includes paper and photographs, but also audio visual materials, including concert records and filmed events. The event also has small collection of digital materials that will continue to grow over the years.


  • Based on the collecting policies that you have been given.
    • What are the decisions you will make for the collections that you’ve been offered?
    • Why did you make these decisions?
    • How will the politics as Super Serious University impact the decisions that you’ve made?
    • For collections, you choose to acquire you must deal with the acquisition process and note the issues any issues that will need to be resolved in the deed of gift or purchase agreement.
  • Now given the collecting policies that you currently have, what changes would you make to them?
  • Create a plan for focusing on collecting more for your institution. How would you market to potential donors? How would you solicit more collections.


Out with the Old
Image source: joshuafkitchens

Learning Objectives

  • Students will apply an understanding of best practices for archival reference work to the scenario and make decisions based on their understanding of best practices.
  • Students will develop appropriate policies for the given scenarios based on best practices for an archival organization.


You work for an archival organization that has a staff of ten archivist. Your organization has never had a staff dedicated to reference, and most of the long-term staff has retired in the last six months. Because of this, the current staff, including the administration, isn’t able to determine why there was never a formal reference group within the archives. You’ve had some training in reference and you’ve been assigned to create a proposal for forming a formal reference group for your organization.

Most of the staff don’t have training in reference work, with many having skills that support processing more than reference. All staff have worked reference at some point, so everyone will have some experience with the issues involved with reference work. Two archivist in your organization despise working reference and the public in general.

As far as you know, there are no formal polices or procedures for how a reference interaction should occur, how requests are tracked, and how users are engaged with in the reading room. The organization did have pull slips that were created 15 years ago, but that’s all you’ve been able to discover. The pull slips are not well loved, but this is the only formal procedure your organization has for reference work.

Questions and Application

  • Create access/reference room policies for this institution. Think about:
    • How many staff should be assigned to reference?
    • What type of policies and procedures do you wish to create?
    • How will you implement these?
    • Do you need to institute training for staff that have been assigned to reference?
  • After creating these policies, apply them to them to the follow situations.
    • A user wishes to use a camera to copy records from a collection that you do not own the copyright for.
    • A user comes into the archive unprepared for research. They have a vague idea of the subject, but don’t know which material that they would like to work with.
    • The reference staff is busy with other activities in the archives, and the other staff need to help out. How will you setup backups for the reference staff.
    • You recieve a request for information via email. One of the staff who isn’t a part of the reference group has expertise in this area.
    • You need to decide how to approach reference work online and decide which tools you will use to answer online reference questions. Based on your policies and procedures, what platforms would you use for engaging with uses online to conduct reference interactions.


ALA, SAA. “ALA-SAA Joint Statement of Access: Guidelines for Access to Original Research Materials (August 1994, revised 2009).” 2009.

One of Us
Image source: joshuafkitchens

Learning Objectives

  • Students will evaluate a situation and develop a proposal for archival outreach for a fictional archival organization.


You work at a smaller archives within an academic library at mid-sized regional university. The rest of the library regularly reaches out to the students of your institution, the community, and outside researchers through various types of activities. This includes regular social media posts, lectures, fun events around finals, workshops, and the occasional traveling exhibit.

Your archive has never regularly or systematically conducted outreach activities. You have a face book page, but post infrequently. You have hosted a few workshops that were not well attended by the public. You’ve always felt that your staff of three was too small to do much outreach.

The library administration thinks differently. Because of your lack of outreach, the administration sees your group as not being a team player and siloing your department away from the rest of the library. It has been decided for you that you will increase your outreach activities subsantainally.

Questions and Application

  • Think about the current outreach situation and make decisions on how to improve it. Do the following:
    • Create a proposal for this organization’s outreach program.
    • Create a budget and an initial proposal for two types of programs, a lecture and an exhibit. Describe the audiences for these programs.
    • How will you ask for help from the rest of the library staff if you feel that your staff doesn’t have the appropriate skills, resources and time to accomplish this directive.


Did you get that thing I sent you? (A Reference Case Study)
Image source: joshuafkitchens

Learning Objectives

  • Describe the use of social media as and access an reference tool


You work at a business archives. Your company has a well known brand that has existed for nearly a century, and has a very active following of collectors who seek out your company’s branded products. You’re organizational archive is very active of face book, with posts automatically being placed onto twitter. Two post that you’ve recently put up have caused a bit of a kerfuffle. One post involved a recently acquired set of products that bear the company logo that your archive wasn’t sure what they were used for or if they were actually created by your company. These items were purchased from a very active and well known collector. Your social media followers got into a heated argument over the provenance of the items. The other incident was sparked by your archives sharing an image of a female scientist who worked for your organization during women’s history month. The comments don’t bear repeating here, but they were not things you’d want your daughter to read.


  • How would you handle these situations? Do they make you rethink your social media strategy?
  • What policies and procedures could you put in place to minimize these types of incidents?
  • How would you try to minimize any damage done to your organization by these incidents?