Learning Objectives

  • List the ways of providing reference
  • Construct the reference process, interview and interaction

Scenario

An undergraduate student has contacted you through your organization’s email. You’re organization collects local records, but has an emphasis on local business records. Some of your collections are from fairly large organizations. This student, from a local university, is working on a research paper dealing with marketing approaches during the hey day of the madmen era. They’ve looked at your site and seen some of the digitized collections and have a rough idea of one collection that they wish to look at during a visit. They’ve asked to set up an appoint for later in the week.

Questions

  • From this initial overview, what preconceived notions do you have of this student? How would you feel if this student hadn’t examined digitized collections or had an idea of which collections they wanted to examine?
  • Can you determine what information this researcher will need? Why or why not?
  • What follow up questions will you ask to help answer this student’s request?
  • When the student arrives for their appointment, what process will you use to help them with their research? Consider mapping out your?

Bibliography

Pugh – Chapter 5, “The Reference Process”


Learning Objectives

  • Describe uses of archives and information
  • List different user groups
  • Interpret information seeking behavior

Scenario

You work for a state archival agency on the reference desk. On a typical day you see a variety of reference request from a variety of different patrons. Today though was different. It was dark and stormy, and unlike a typical day, your desk was rushed by three patrons.

The first patron is an elderly gentleman who’s movements seem labored but determined. He informs you that he’s just started researching his family history because sister insisted that he help her with her research. He has a print out from your finding aid system with several items highlighted on it. He informs you that he’s supposed to examine a few things for her and make copies if he finds reference to General Roy A. Musa.

The second patron seems to be in a big hurry. They inform you that they are an assistant to some official in state government. They are here to request information about the late 1970’s banana scandal that happened in your state. Without going into great detail, this scandal involved a overseas banana plantation, 50k dollars, and some very incriminating photos of the the Secretary of State. There was a major inquiry and report, all of which should be housed in the state archives.

The final researcher is a college student who, besides being very, very wet, has the look of a small child lost in a grocery store. They inform you that they are working on a paper about the civil war and want some primary sources for this assignment. They are clutching the assignment rubric and a rough secondary source bibliography.

Questions

  • What information needs do each of these researchers need from your archive?
  • How would you determine the information needs of each of these users?
  • How would you go about prioritizing how you’d help these different researchers

Bibliography

Pugh – Chapter 3, “Identifying Uses and Users of Archives”


Learning Objectives

  • Explain how provenance and original order are useful for organizing records.
  • Describe principles of hierarchical levels of arrangement.
  • Define structure units: fonds, collection, record group, series, subseries, filing unit, item, “component.”

Scenario

You’re a new archivist at Zeta University in the processing department. You’ve been assigned to review and arrange three new collections that have arrived other the last several days.

One collection is a local author’s personal paper collection. This collections is approximately ten 1 cubic foot boxes. Reviewing it you’ll not that that some correspondence has been organized chronologically by correspondent. While the rest was just thrown into boxes. The author’s novel manuscripts are not arranged at all, but various drafts and galley proofs of works are held together by rubber bands. There is also a box of awards and other nick-nacks.

The other materials are a bit more complicated. It seems that a very tiny, but strong localized earth quake occurred in your storage area. That or Jerry had come through at some point. Jerry always leaves destruction in his wake. Regardless the other materials you need to arrange are a categorical mess. You know that this grouping of records is all university records, but you can make out records from the History Department, including some faculty papers (1 Cubic foot) which includes two folders of photographs that have been well labeled, papers from the registrars office including reports and student records (10 cubic feet), and correspondence from the Office of the President (5 cubic feet). All of the materials is rather jumbled and a mess. You should also remember that you already have an office of the president collection that has three series: Correspondence, with sub series by year; Reports; Board of Governors.

Questions

  • How would you arrange these collections?
  • How much long do you think these arrangement activities would take an archivist? How might you determine using a best guess the amount of time it would take to arrange these collections? What resource could you use to help make this guess?
  • Which collection should get priority?

You’re in a bit of pickle. You’ve been tasked with “getting it all online”. This is a mandate not from your direct supervisor, but from some unknown higher up, who to you seems like a shadowy figure with the title of VP of something or other very scary sounding. This means you have to decide how to approach getting your collections online. You know how to digitize, but you’re having trouble with a few collections. Mainly you’ve run into some copyright concerns.

You have the materials from a local politician. There seem to be some records related to state and local government, but there are a lot of correspondence between donors, constituents, and others of a very, very personal nature.

You have the materials from a local author. This includes unpublished manuscripts, drafts, correspondence, and photographs

You also have a local historical society’s records. These date from the late 1700’s until nearly the present. These materials include documents, photographs, post cards, audio recordings, and videos. The audio recordings are mostly a local concerts.

  • How would you approach making decisions about placing these materials online?
  • How thorough of a copyright search would you need to do before making these decisions?
  • How would you mitigate your risk once you place materials online?

You’ve been working with a donor on acquiring a new collection for your archive. This collection is a family collection and contains many different parts. There’s a more modern collection of digital file, and the primary donors writings and research. There’s a traditional archival collection that contains documents and photographs of a regional history nature. The third portion of the collection contains the drafts and unpublished manuscripts of a famous poet member of this family. This author’s works are not in the public domain and occasionally are republished.

There’s a small issue with this collection. Death. No not the typical death that usually warrants a transfer of materials to archival institution. No in this case the death of the donor’s parent and the donor’s other family members attempting to stake a claim to parts of the collection. Namely they want to claim ownership of the copyright of the works of their relative poets. Some are even claiming physical ownership of those records.

  • What would a deed of gift look like for this collection? What sort of statements would need to be included in order to obtain the most ability to work with this collection both in a digital and physical environment?
  • What can you do about the questions of ownership? How does this impact the decision making and contract negotions in the archive?