Archiving 101: Alaska State Library Public Library Chat Feb 2016


JULIE: OK. So thanks, everybody,
for joining us. And we’ll probably have a
few more people joining us as we get started, here. It’s my great pleasure to
introduce Larry [? Hibshman. ?] Larry used to work
here in Juneau. He worked for the
archives department, and I had many opportunities
to get to know him. And I really appreciate
his sense of humor, but also his depth of knowledge. He has since retired
from the state library and is now living on
the Kenai Peninsula. And he’s also offered
to share his expertise with the public library, and he
will explain that further later on in this presentation. So without further ado,
Larry, take it away. LARRY: Thank you, Julie. Hello, everybody. Welcome to the wonderful
world of archives. This presentation is called
what to do when you discover that cache of historical
papers, letters or photographs in your library collection. And as you can see,
this often results in things like when Walt
found [? skeezicks ?] on his doorstep, saying
please take me in. And it can give you
a good deal of worry, but it also can be
pretty rewarding. The first thing
I want to mention is a useful principle
is cooperate, cooperate, cooperate, and communicate,
communicate, and communicate. Archives are usually
rather small. They don’t have a lot of money. They don’t have a lot of clout. And the best way to deal
with an archival collection is get to know other
archivists and work together in finding information
or getting advice or even there’s perhaps a
cooperative project you can do. The first thing I want to point
out about a useful activity is where to get help. I’m [INAUDIBLE]
three sets of texts that you can get that do
teach you to be an archivist. The first is The Fundamentals
of Archives series, which is prepared by the
Society of American Archivists. There are many volumes,
covering any subject you’re interested in and its
current flagship training set that SAA uses. I would also like
to mention, however, Basic Archives manuals. That was the old series,
which actually I like better. They’re out of print, but if
you can get a set of them, it’s worthwhile to do so
because they are succinct, they are short and brief and
to the point, and very good. They are not out of date
in terms of the content. So if you can find a set of
those, those are also valuable. Those are also done by the
Society of American Archivists. The third thing is describing
archives, the content standard, or the DAX manual,
which is becoming fairly common as
an archival how-to in creating, finding aid. One of the major issues
that occurred in archives is everything
became very digital. Archivists had always
worked on their own and created their
own little systems. Some were one kind of
system, some were another, some were better,
some were worse, but they were almost
all idiomatic. And the DAX manual
was helping to take all of that huge
amount of information that is available
out there and turn it into a mutually
understandable set. Those three applications
are the only three that I’ll mention that you
ought to consider investing in. But all three of them are
very useful to anyone who is trying to do archival work. Also there are three
useful listservs. The first is the Alaskan
Archivist listserv, which is very small. I think it has 15
members at the moment. But I highly
recommend joining it if you are planning to do
archival work in Alaska. It’s got pretty
much everybody who is a professional archivist in
Alaska on it, and most of them are eager to help. And I’ve listed
email, websites, links throughout this presentation,
but they’re also in the handouts. You probably want to go
to there to get them. But I would highly recommend
this listserv for anyone in Alaska who has archives,
wants to have archives, is thinking about archives. The second listserv is what I
call the Great Intergalactic Archives and
Archivists’ listserv. It’s the big,
international listserv run by the Society of
American Archivists. And it has archivists of
every type and description, educational, commercial,
private, government, anyone in the field is there. And those people are also
very quick to advise and offer support, moral support. It’s a worthwhile one. The third listserv is Records
and Records Management, which is kind of parallel to
the Archives and Archivists listserv, except that it is
devoted to records management and records administration. And it’s run out of the
University of Cincinnati. OK. Where to get help. I want to give you
an idea of where to get help in Alaska,
because there are people who can help in Alaska. So I’ve listed
the major archives in the state, the Alaska State
Archives, the Alaska Film Archives. Actually, Alaska has two
film archives, the University of Alaska, Fairbanks’ Rasmussen
Library has a film archive. So does the University
of Alaska, Anchorage, called the Alaska– what is that thing called? The Arctic– do I have it? The Alaska Moving Image
Preservation Association, which is also located at UAA. Additionally, UAF
and UAA have archives that collect all formats. And both of them are
worthwhile, and both of them have people who can help. The Atwood Center at
the Anchorage Museum at the Rasmussen
Center is the archives for the Anchorage Museum. They’re particularly
strong in photographs and are willing to help as well. And then in addition,
I am listing a number of individuals. I checked with each– Individuals in Alaska with
expertise and knowledge who might be willing
to be contacted and to advise anyone
who needs advice. So all these people have
already committed themselves. Yes, they will help
if you need help. Dean Dawson is the
state archivist. Unfortunately, I discovered
after I prepared this that Dean Dawson will
be retiring May 1, but I’m sure whoever comes
in to take his place will be equally willing to help. Chris Hieb has my old
job at the State Archives and is very personable and
approachable and can help. Zach Jones, who is now an
archivist too at the State Archives was originally at the
Sealaska Heritage Foundation, so he has some feeling
for Alaska native records and collections. Karen Gray is the records
analyst at the State Archives. She also has
archival experience. For Alaska State Library
Historical Collection, Jim Savard is the head of the
historical collections and knowledgeable and helpful. I talked to Anastasia Tarmann,
who is the manuscript librarian and curator at the
Historical Library and does a lot of the
day-to-day management and work. The Alaska Moving Image
Preservation Association, Kevin Tripp is the archivist. And finally, there’s the fellow
at the bottom, who if anyone wishes to contact me, I’m here. I think what Julie was
referring to about helping libraries, et cetera,
is that I will, if someone is on the
road system and is willing to pay for
my gas to travel to and from where you are, I’ll
make my own room and board arrangements, and I
won’t charge a fee. So I’m just letting
people know that. As to training, both the UAA
archives and the Alaska State Archives have in the
past presented workshops, but they don’t plan any
for the foreseeable future because they say we think
we’ve pretty much filled up all of the interest for
that particular approach. We’re going to go on
to other approaches for providing training. One thing that it occurs
to me that people might be willing to do
and that they might be willing to work
with you on is doing an internship
or a volunteership at either institution for
the learning experience. The State Archives does have
a basic records management course, which I recommend. It’s a good one. It is open to local
government people. And the person to contact
to get onto the mailing list is the state archivist. It’s offered
several times a year in Anchorage,
Fairbanks, and Juneau, although I don’t know
how the current budget crunch is going to affect that. It’s worth looking into. Additionally, online you
can find Fundamentals of Archive Preservation
by Megan Friedel, who was an archivist at UAA. And it’s a slide show. I went through it recently. I put down the
link as I found it. It’s a cached link. You may just have to Google it. But it comes up, and
it gives a great deal of useful information. The best known training
program in the United States is run by the National
Archives, not surprisingly. It’s open to archivists
throughout the USA. You don’t have to be
a federal archivist. You don’t have to be a
government archivist. You can enroll in it. It’s a two week program. It’s intensive. It’s taught by senior staff. And the unfortunate
thing is that there is only one scholarship to it. It’s offered by the Daughters
of the American Revolution, and it’s only available to
archivists whose collections have material related to
the Revolutionary War, what sort of rules out everyone
west of the Mississippi, which is why the
California State Archives and the Society of
California Archivists developed the Western Archives
Institute, which is also offered at various
places in the country. And it’s intended to be a
cheaper alternative for people in the Western states. It’s essentially the same thing. It’s by senior archivists
around the country. It’s worth looking into if you
want to have an intensive two week training
period, and you don’t feel that you can pay both
airfare and housing, et cetera, to cross the entire
continent to get it. The Society of
American Archivists offers a variety of training
on different aspects of archival activity. And they offer them
throughout the United States. I’ve taken a few. I took the business archives
training and then never dealt with any business archives. But the thing to do is
go to the FAA website to determine what
they’re doing now and what might be
available in the future. There are a few others. There’s the American
Association for State and Local History, which
has, on occasion, offered a few archives and
manuscripts training courses. The Northeast Document
Conservation Center, do not be fooled by
the geographic title. The Northeast Document
Conservation Center covers the country, actually,
in one sense or another. And they have good
conservation and digitalization and digital archives
training courses available. I took one in digital
archiving which was at the University of Texas. They will be all over the place. If you get into one,
and you’re from Alaska, they seem to think you’re
from further away than Mars. But nevertheless, it’s
very good training. And the website
is in the handout. Now, while I was
preparing this talk, I noted that the Archival
Association of British Columbia was offering an online course. No, wait a minute. It’s a face-to-face course. No, it’s an online course. Excuse me. And so I contacted the woman who
is coordinating it to find out about it, and she indicated
they offer six courses over, I think it’s two
years, three each year. They’re relatively economical. Not cheap, but they would
be very happy to see people from Alaska. It was one that was
new to me and one I was very happy to see. OK. Funding sources. Everyone should know about the
Alaska State Historical Records Advisory Board. It’s the state’s referee board
for the National Archives grants. And it also does whatever
it can to help and support archival and
manuscript activities throughout the state. The state archivist
is the coordinator, and he welcomes
people contacting him to talk about it. It’s worth looking into. The National Historical
Publications and Records Commission is the National
Archives grants funding arm. The process is a little slow and
the standards are pretty high, but virtually every large
local archival project in the United States
in the last 30 years has been funded
with an NHPRC money. They have
announcements regularly about requests for proposals. The best thing to do is contact
the state archivist first and talk about the project
you’re envisioning so that you know in advance whether or not
what you’re offering will fly. They don’t fund everything. And they’re fairly picky, and
of course, the money is tight. So I’d say contacting Dawson
first, or his successor, and talk about your project. But they would welcome, I
think, more projects offered from Alaska. The National Endowment
of Humanities offers some small
projects, grants. They’re interesting,
however, and they seem to be things that the
National Archives doesn’t necessarily fund. And the best way to
find out about them is to check their website. And they do make regular
announcements via email. So if you can connect with that,
you can find a variety of– we, the State Archives, hired a
consultant to come and advise us on the quality
and the preservation of our photographs, for
example, and look into it. The Alaska Humanities
Forum, I think the Forum has supported
a few projects of archival objectives. And I know the approach they
take is send us a letter and describe what
you’re interested in, and we will tell you whether or
not we think it’s worthwhile. The Rasmussen Foundation. I’m not aware if the
Rasmussen Foundation has ever supported an archival
project, but it’s worth– it won’t hurt to ask, I do know about Rasmussen
that they prefer to work with private entities. So what you need to do is find a
non-government entity with whom to work, a local historical
society or an interest group or something like that. But perhaps it would be
valuable for somebody to offer some historical
manuscripts type material. Now, as to the steps to take,
the first one is to plan. You should plan early and
plan often, for that matter. And before the question arises
in earnest and catches you flat foot, I recommend preparing
a contingency plan as the best approach,
although I know that’s not easy to do when
you have your plate already very full. Nevertheless, that allows you,
when the contingency arises, to have something to
offer from the beginning. About goals, things
to ask yourself. One thing I found
somewhere else I think is a good question
is what would you like to see develop if you
could have anything you want. You’re not going to
get anything you want, but nevertheless,
it will give you some room for development
for negotiation and for some talking points. And then what do you want
your collection to do. Do you want it to teach? This is a valuable
use of archives. I have taught children as
young as second graders about archives, and it’s
a worthwhile thing to do. It gets schools in
your area interested in and knowledgeable about you. Do you have a support research? I suppose that’s what
most people want to do, and that’s what most
archives are famous for. You want to reach out. I really believe one
thing archivists really need to do very badly is reach
out rather than sit and wait for people to come to you. They’re likely to not
even know you were there. So it’s a worthwhile goal. And then I just
put something else, because there may be
goals I’m not thinking of. Here’s an important
consideration. Are you actively
collecting already? If you are, I’d say you should
seek some formal training. It’s a whole lot easier
to work with archives if you know some
basic techniques that make it easier
for you than it is to simply try to wade through
much in the way of hints about where to start
and how to move. Is the archives
part of a library? That’s probably
true in many cases, but sometimes
archives are stored by a contractual agreement
with another entity. I don’t think that’s a bad idea. When you do that, of course,
then you’re, in a sense, going into a
contracting situation, and you need to make
sure that the contract is very clear about what you will
do, what the other party will do, how long, and any particular
options or issues that you need to be aware of when they occur. Do you have a collection
management policy? I think this is a
very important issue. It’s part of planning. It’s just if you know in
advance what you’re going to do and how big your
collection area will be, it makes it easier on you. And if you don’t
know, or if you have to create that once the
stuff is on your doorstep, do you have a
de-accessioning policy. There are many stories about
poor de-accessioning policy. And while archives
are permanent records, and you probably want to be
much more vigilant about what you discard in the
accession than you might be with published material. Nevertheless, not every
item that has been accepted is going to prove
in the long run to have real long-term value. And you need to have
a policy so that you know how you’re
going to decide that and how you’re going to
document what you’ve decided. Do you have a
collection inventory? It’s the first place
to start, in terms of organizing your collection. You really need to
know what’s there. And as the screen says, if
you don’t have these things, you should probably
try to construct them early in the process. Support considerations. Do you have an archives budget? Archives can be costly. It’s one of the primary reason
that organizations shy away from archives. It takes money if you’re going
to preserve material forever. Archives tend to be old. As you become elderly, you
have a number of issues, and the issues cost you money. And that’s true of
documents as well as people. How will– this is a
very important question. How will program activities be
supported by long-term funds? If you’re establishing
an archive, you’re going to have to
determine some plan for how to make sure that once the grant
project or the initial funding runs out how you’re
going to continue to keep the archives running
and practical and accessible. Here’s one option to
seriously consider, and that’s transferring
to another institution. This often offends people,
because the records are important for emotional
reasons to people. It’s not always
possible to do that. It’s not always the best option. But at any rate, it’s
worth considering as the best approach. It allows people to– more than one group to work
together on a common end, and it also sometimes
defines where the records will get
the best care and access over the long term. So anyway, you need to plan
arrangement and description ahead of time. OK. I want to mention a few
common practices that aren’t recommended and why. One is accepting just
anything that’s offered. Many archives have
started out that way and found that it
wasn’t a good idea. I know that, for example, I
worked for the South Dakota State Archives, and the
State Historical Society had a policy like that for years
and no de-accessioning policy. And it was easier
to find volumes on the genealogy of
New England than it was to find stuff
actually related to South Dakota and its environs. And accepting permanent
loans is a very bad idea. The primary reason
being that you may accept something that
is really, really nice, and it might become the thing
that people know you for, and that you want to
use to your advantage, only to discover that heirs
come along years later and tell you that their
uncle didn’t really mean to give you that. He was only loaning it to you. You need to avoid
accepting permanent loans if at all possible. Accession the things,
the deed of gift that spells out precisely what
the conditions and restrictions for access are. And digitizing just
everything and then disposing of all hard copies
is not a good idea. You need to have some backup. Electronic preservation
is still in its infancy. There are some fairly
big tiger traps. You need to think
about what things you can simply dispose
of and what things you need to maintain in case
you have to redo the work. I want to talk briefly about
record centers in archives. Record centers are for
temporarily storing all your organization’s
records, whether they’re permanent or
non-permanent, and then disposing of them at
set times in the future. And archives maintains
permanent records only. My best advice on
record centers is don’t do records management
if you can help it, unless you have a
background in it. It’s a detailed, organized,
professional activity that can drain all of your
resources if you let it. Again, it’s something you may
not have a choice about doing. But if you do, I would highly
recommend the state’s records and information management
course as your first step. OK. Staff. One question is how large. Archives take a lot of
intensive, work-intensive work. Individual, itemized,
hair-deep knowledge. So you need to
make sure you have a staff that is large enough
to maintain the archives and provide access. A little something
else I would say is that any collection has at
least two sets of finding aids. One is the written or online
finding aids that you prepare. They’re formal and
organized and direct people to a particular collection
for a particular purpose. The other set of
finding aids is inside your reference archivist’s head. If you’re going to be
staffing an archive, you need really to be interested
in the content of your records. How many need archival training? I would say if
you’ve got two staff, then two need archival training. But it is up to the
individual institution to decide how much training is
needed and who it should go to. Is someone assigned
specific responsibility for the archives? I would very much
recommend this. Archives are a
specialized, full-time job. And archives do better and your
patrons are happier with you if someone has direct,
hands-on control and interest. Does this person need
archival training? Yes, they do. Something I would say, however,
is that professional status isn’t the most significant
thing about responsibility for an archive. The most important
thing is they need to have a sense of commitment. You can’t be an
archivist for a while and then go do something else. It’s a long-term commitment. Other types of help. Does the library have a
private nonprofit foundation? Probably not. If it does, it might be one
way to provide paid staff or develop a program
for non-paid staff. Does the library have any
mutual help relationships with other community government
or cultural institutions? That’s another
resource for finding people whom you can use,
volunteers, work study, whatever. And of course there
are other organizations in a community that
have parallel interests. Schools may be looking for
training for their students or for occupations
for the students. It’s worth thinking about
those two questions. Interns are usually students
who want to do this kind of work or at least say that they
want to do this kind of work. And their payoff
is new job skills. So you have to
teach them a skill. That means that it’s
not just free labor, you’re going to have to commit
some of your time and effort to training them. So that instead of one
more FTE or portion of FTE, considering how much
time they spend, it will probably
be 75% of the FTE, because you will
be spending time working, preparing
assignments for them, and then reviewing them
and teaching them what they did wrong, what they did right. I’d say always assign
discrete projects. Don’t design just make
work, it drives people nuts and drives them away. And then when a
student does a project, review it carefully
and require rewrites. That way they learn. One other thing that
I found is very useful is if you have an intern,
and they perform well, you can write them a
“to whom it may concern” letter of reference that they
can use for job searches. That’s slightly more
payment than just having learned a job skill, and I
recommend that fairly highly. There are, I think, three
kinds of volunteers, basically. There are general
volunteers, who are just people who
probably have limited skills but who offer to help. And what I have discovered
is that some of these people can be really valuable to you. They can learn skills. And while, again,
they’re not just slaves. So you have to– they’re
there because of interest, so you have to give them
something interesting. Nevertheless, if they take
an interest in something, they may solve a
minor problem for you that you don’t have the
time or resources to solve for yourself. There are liaison people. I haven’t really worked with
a lot of liaison people. These might be someone who
has worked for a company, and the company gives
you their records, and they come to help with it. I think one thing that can
happen if you’re not careful is that they can
get deeply involved in just how interesting
the company was, and they will have
a point of view, rather than be really capable
of organizing and preparing the stuff for outsiders. On the other hand, they
really know the material and can probably make
it much more accessible in terms of what is really
important about this activity. Then there are a community
of professionals, people with a high degree of knowledge
and professional knowledge, and that’s people like me,
retirees, former interns, people on a job search. Occasionally somebody will be
looking for a job in archives but not have one, and
it’s useful to them both to have something to do
and to have something else they can put on their resume. I’ve put community service
workers under volunteers, but community service
workers really aren’t volunteers
when they come. They don’t have much choice. You can sometimes find
a very motivated person. And in that case, if you
treat them in the same way as you do interns
and volunteers, they may do something
for you that you couldn’t get done otherwise. A community service
worker created an index of Alaska railroad
contracts for me that otherwise I didn’t
have the time to prepare. And there were 400 or
500 in the contract, and he simply got
other community service workers organized and did it
in about a week and a half. There are disadvantages though,
and one of those is that many, many of your volunteers don’t
really want to be there, and you can end up babysitting. And there’s also, I have found,
a problem with establishing a workable work schedule. That, at least in
Juneau, the man in charge of community
service workers would just send us two to six
out of the clear blue sky when we weren’t ready for
them, and then we couldn’t get them when we did. So I’d say consider
community service workers, consider them with caution. Then there’s one other
thing, that’s consultants. They charge money. But sometimes you can negotiate
favorable contract agreements. OK. Processing. I really hate this
term, but it’s the one the profession uses. So we all refer to processing. I think it’s way too
vague, but there it is. There is a difference
between what librarians do and what archivists do. Librarians catalog by
author, subject, and title. Archivists process,
in other words, organize the records
that they have according to a functional approach. We arrange and describe records. It’s very important
to know when you’re doing this who created the
record, what they were created to do, and what their
internal structure is, because those three
things together will determine your arrangement
and your description of the records. There are two primary principles
in arrangement description. One is provenance. It means where did
the records come from. And organizations should
always be organized together, not mixed with others. If you get records from one
lawyer and a historical society and a bank, and they all
discuss a particular subject, you don’t pull the
records out of each and create a subject
file on that subject. You organize each of the records
according to who created them. All of the records of the
lawyer will be one record group. All of the records of
the bank will be another, and the historical society’s
records will be another. And that’s a good thing because
it ensures that anyone who uses those records will be
able to access all three in context and with a
thorough understanding of what that particular topic meant
for that organization. Original order is that
collections themselves should not be rearranged. Here’s the great secret about
archives as an activity. Archivists’
organization of records often is simply what the
organization created for it. If the organization has
organized a file according to some principle, alphabetic,
geographic, numerical, whatever it is, that’s the one you keep. That saves you a lot
of time and effort in terms of organizing
the records, because you don’t have to
physically do it yourself. And you often don’t
have to create anything more in the way of finding aid
except saying the records are organized alphabetically by
name of patron or whatever. The specs in organizing
archives and processing is first accession it. It isn’t really yours unless
you register that you have it. And in fact, most
archives have backlogs because they have limited
staff and sometimes huge amounts of collections. And many records, that’s how you
access them is according, yes, they were [INAUDIBLE]. You know what record
group and series they are, and you move from there. The next thing you do is
a stair step approach. There are five levels of
arrangement inscription, and their depository, record
group, series, file unit, and document, and each
refers to a particular level of the records, [? origins, ?]
and background and content. But the greatest
of these is series, and it’s because
it’s functional. A series is an organized
group of records, organized and created to do a particular
function, an activity, and created by the same entity. And the beauty of
the archival approach is it allows you to
divide and conquer. Because you can organize
records on any these levels as your time and your
resources provide and then plan for deeper organization
in the future. One thing I’d point out is that
the lowest level is document, and archivists almost
never organize records to the document level. It’s just too time consuming. And it’s not really needed. If you know, for
example, that you’re dealing with George
Washington’s papers, and you want to know
his papers on purchases, then you can simply look in the
series dealing with purchases, and you’ll find whatever
document you want, probably a great many that you want. You can make your description
as detailed or as limited as you need it to be. And do what you can when
you can do it, and find additional steps as time
and resources allow. Tools. I’ve limited the list
here to just a few. Two open source resources,
Archivists’ Toolkit and [? Koha. ?] But
something I should point out is that while both of these
still say they are open source, I know that both have
started charging a fee. It’s relatively reasonable. It’s worth accessing
or reviewing if you’re planning
to organize records. Then do you want to
digitize your collection? Almost everybody
does at this point, but you should seek
professional advice early, and Howard Besser
is the recognized expert on long-term protection
of electronic archives. Howard Besser,
along with others, prepared the 1996 Commission on
Preservation and Access Report. And the three essential
tasks that he indicated that you needed if you wanted
to sustain your digital archives are constant refreshing,
migration, and emulation. I also looked at his
website, and on his website, he has sustainability factors
that include disclosure, adoption, transparency,
self-documentation, external dependencies, impact of patents,
and technical protection mechanisms. I would recommend
reviewing those first before you begin to
think about digitization, and then seek
professional advice. OK. Conservation and
preservation is a specialty. And you can save
yourself trouble by first reviewing
what you’ve got and then planning
for what you’ve got. If your stuff
seems to be stable, if it just looks fairly
ordinary, it’s not brittle, it’s not falling apart, then you
can stick to some basic things. You can clean and
dust the records. You can look for
long-term issues and document them
so you have a plan. And you can then concentrate
on how will I store this stuff? Well, I use boxes and folders. How am I going to be
able to walk to the shelf and get the material
six months from now. What shelf locating
system will I have? And if you can
afford it, you can purchase acid-free material. I like acid-free
material a great deal, but there’s less
emphasis now than there used to be on it, simply because
the records themselves will not be acid free, and they
will immediately– or not immediately–
eventually migrate into your acid-free stuff. Nevertheless, it does provide
an extra layer of protection for your material. But if you can’t afford
it, use regular supplies. Everybody does. Serious problems. When you find certain
things, you probably want to at least
contact a conservator. And I’d start out
either by contacting Scott Carrlee at the
museum or by contacting– I think UAF may
have a conservator– and asking questions
with mildew or vermin. Actually, mildew,
if it’s not active, is fairly easy to take
care of, but a conservator can tell you what to do. And vermin means the
critters and the varmints. Water damage is a threat. [INAUDIBLE] getting what help
as soon as you can get it. If it’s just that
stuff is damaged, then a conservator can tell
you what is possible and what isn’t. And that’s true for fading. Freezing and fire damage,
talk to conservator. If you have silver
nitrate negatives, contact a conservator
immediately and put the negatives
in a freezer. Silver nitrate negatives
were the standard in the photographic
industry before safety film was invented. And they catch fire very
easily, and they can explode. They also give off fumes
that are poisonous. The best thing to do is
put them in a freezer immediately and
contact a conservator. It may be a long-term
problem you have. It may be something
that you simply have to freeze the negatives
for the foreseeable future. But at any rate, that
is what you should do. In terms of
measurement, measurement can be somewhat confusing. Some archives use
linear measures. Some use cubic measures. Both are acceptable. I’m used to cubic
measures, and mostly what I’ve put here
deals in cubic feet. If you have some small item,
and you need its cubic measure in terms of inches,
multiply length times width times height, and
then divide by 1728. Because 1728 is 12
times 12 times 12, and it will give
you a cubic measure. Standard manuscript
case, which is one of the little gray boxes
with the [INAUDIBLE] shell lid, is 33/100 cubic foot. It’ll hold 500 to 800
pages of documents. They make a large
manuscript case with a separate lid that’s half
the size of a records center box, and it’s half a
cubic foot and will hold 1,000 to 1,500 pages. A slim-style
manuscript case, which I like if I’ve just
got a few things, is 21/100ths of a cubic foot. It’s 1/5 of a cubic foot. And it’ll hold 100
to 300 or 400 pages, depending on density
and what kind of paper that you’re using, et cetera. I didn’t get records
center box listed here. A records center
box is 1 cubic foot and holds about 3,000 pages. Flat storage for measuring. What you measure is length
times width times height, and then divide if necessary. Ledgers. I always used to
amuse myself when people would refer to
ledgers in my archives as books, because
they’re not books. They’re ledgers,
or they’re volumes. A book is a published entity
which has an author, title, and subject. Ledgers almost always are
lists of content inside. We have measured the books
of the state archives. And I know the Alabama State
Archives measured some too. Books. Didn’t I just say books? Yes. [INAUDIBLE],, to find out what
is an average size volume. And I think Alabama said
it was 16/100 cubic foot. Our measurement was
17/100 cubic foot. And of course when you’re
dealing with ledgers, you’re usually dealing
with groups of ledgers, so you’ll probably just give the
cubic footage for all of them together. That’s a ledger that would
have 350 to 500 pages. Microfiche and card files both
are about 100 sheets per inch. Of course, if you’ve got
those hybrid microfiche that are jacketed, it’s going to be
a few fewer, because then you’ve got three layers
of material there. And then a file drawer,
1 and 1/2 to 2 cubic feet is what a file drawer will have. So that basically, if you’re
going through an office, and you’re going
through 16 file drawers, you’ll know to bring, perhaps,
30 to 35 boxes, records center boxes, to carry them away in. OK. Storage. Here’s a good question. Do you have a budget
for archival supplies? Because they are
relatively expensive, and they have to be shipped. And by the way, if
you ever are doing a large purchase of storage
boxes or folders or whatever, contact Metal Edge. The reason to contact Metal Edge
is that you may get three bids, but all of the other suppliers
are on the East Coast, and they don’t
understand that you’re going to have to
have a shipping cost added for Alaska, particularly
for a place like Juneau, where you can’t get
in by road or air. Metal Edge can always
undersell everybody else. I don’t hold any
stock in Metal Edge, but they have a warehouse
in Sparks, Nevada, for the purpose of
shipping to those of us who live far from the East Coast. Then how will you store them? There are a number of ways. Some places, they simply keep
them in the file drawers. It’s not generally recommended. It doesn’t really
help much in terms of making sure you don’t use up
space you could otherwise use. Shelves is usually
what people use. Wood or metal. Wood isn’t recommended. Wood has acids in the wood, and
they’ll eat into your records. Metal, you want to have
enamel steel metal shelves. Are you going to put them
in a segregated area, which is recommended? Basically, what you
want your patients to do is come and talk to you and say
I’m interested in this subject. And then you can say, well, we
have this particular collection that might deal with that,
and bring it to them, and watch them. And that way, on
the one hand, it allows you to manage
your work day. And on the other
hand, it manages to discourage theft, which can
be a problem in an archive. Flat boxes or flat files. Flat files is the technical
name for map cases, which I invariably
call map cases instead. And if you can
afford them, they’re a good way to store material. They’re very expensive. What I’ve noted is that with the
movement to GPS systems, often, if you can find a surplus house,
they’ve got map cases to spare. But on the other hand,
the other approach is flat boxes, which are
manuscript cases built for flat type things, and
they come in several sizes. What I have found is that
you don’t get much density, because after a certain
amount of material is placed in the
box, it can become unwieldy and difficult to use. In the final
analysis, always adapt to the best storage
conditions you can under your own circumstances. Archives is always a compromise
between what would be ideal, which nobody ever has, and what
is actually manageable and will probably keep your records
fairly well and secure. Measurements. I have a rule for measurements. All measurements
are approximate. No matter how
carefully you measure, you’re dealing with hundreds
of pages put into boxes, and they are not
necessary built– weren’t originally created
to fit those boxes, and you just have to
estimate, no matter what. That’s also true
of inclusive dates. No matter what date, how
often you go to a file and look through it, looking for
the earliest and latest date, you’re going to
miss some sometimes if you have more
than a few pages. But then a record storage
box, a banker’s box, which is the little yellow box
down here, holds a cubic foot. They’re made to hold records. They will hold
letter-sized documents across the short axis. They’ll hold legal-size
documents across the long axis. They’ll hold about
40 normal size file folders and about 3,000 pages. And if your collection is
large, either in the sense of this manuscript collection
or this record group is large, or in the sense
that my entire depository collection is large, I recommend
using record storage boxes over manuscripts cases
because they are sturdy. They will protect the
material very well. They actually help patrons
because a patron with 3,000 pages is happier than
a patron with 800. And they’re– I can’t remember
what the other reason was. Linear measurement. Of course, the manuscript pages
are the little gray boxes. They’re very good for
small collections. By the way, you can buy
acid-free record storage boxes. It’s not a question of
sacrificing acid-free to storage. I know the other thing. You get more density on the
shelf with record storage boxes. I happen to know from
working with them that if you have a shelf that
will hold six record storage boxes, you will get six
cubic foot on the shelf, because each box
is a cubic foot. But if you try to replace them
with the half-size Hollinger boxes, manuscript cases,
you’ll get about five feet, because you can’t get
more than that number of boxes on the space. And if you use the smaller
ones, as illustrated here, you get about 4 and 1/2 feet. But it just translates
into more density, so that you use your space
much more economically with the records center boxes. OK. Reference service. Archival reference service is– JULIE: Hey, Larry? I’m sorry. I just want to but
in real quickly. I know that we’re going to be
ending pretty shortly here, and I want to be
sure that people have a chance to ask you a
question before the end of it. So– LARRY: We can stop
it now if you like. JULIE: OK. LARRY: OK? Oh, let me give the
homework assignment, though. Go to YouTube and
watch these two videos. You’ll enjoy them,
and you’ll learn. OK. I’m through. JULIE: [LAUGH] I’m sorry. So folks, if you
have a question, please ask Larry right now. And you can– we could
do it in the text box, or you can do it–
use your microphone. You have a great
opportunity to ask him a few questions before
the end of our webinar, here. AUDIENCE: Hey,
Julie, are we going to get a hard copy
of the presentation? JULIE: Yes. We’re going to post Larry’s– his webinar, the
archives webinar, and all of his handouts. And Larry, you might
want to real quickly just show everybody your
handouts real quick. LARRY: OK, let’s see. That’s up here. OK. This is a volume
conversion table that the State
Archives developed over a number of years
that will give you– rather than doing a lot
of multiplying length times width times height
and then dividing by 1,728, this is my discussion
of processing. It’s pretty much like
what we covered here. This is the five levels
of archival arrangement description. If anyone has trouble
understanding what I mean because it’s hard
to discuss that briefly, just contact me, and
I’ll be glad to talk to you by phone or email. OK. Bibliography, and I put
it in two categories, important and other. And I have included
the fundamental series in important and the
basic archives manuals in the not so important. And there are a few
other things there too. There is a basic manual on
Native American archives. And I think it still is in print
if anybody’s interested in it. There are also manuals
on business archives and religious archives. This is what I have
on reference service. And it’s basically
the two archives and library reference are
pretty much the same thing. But archivists really have to
be careful about restrictions, copyright, and so on. And there was
something in my other– I’ve got another
version of this, and I’ll try to get
it to you Julie– oh, wait. It is referrals. Something to do is be really
familiar with other people’s collateral collections. Because your primary job
is to help a patron find the information
he’s looking for, and it may not be with you. I have an illustration
of a records center box. And there are a couple. There’s the Hollinger box. And there’s one on
planning considerations, which I think is where we
should start, is planning. All right? Hello? JULIE: [LAUGHS] AUDIENCE: Larry,
can you hear me? LARRY: I can hear you. AUDIENCE: OK, thanks. Hey, is there any way to get
a copy of those YouTube videos again? I have [INAUDIBLE]
click on the screen. I didn’t get it. LARRY: I will go back to the– let me find it. I think I’ve got– remember
finding it during the– in the handouts too. But this one– that’s
just referenced with– yeah. If you go to YouTube and
simply type in archive madness, it will come up. Archive Madness will
come up, and I think So What Is an Archivist. Actually, I suspect if you type
in either title, you’ll get it and the other one and
several others as well. JULIE: OK. And Larry, there’s a
question from Sheila Ring. Do you recommend a particular
scanner for digital archiving? LARRY: I’m too digitally
impaired to do that. The person probably
to talk to about that is at the State Archives. And I’d say talk either to
Chris Hieb or Zach Jones. They’re probably better
informed about that. JULIE: OK. If there aren’t any
other questions, I’m going to go ahead and
turn off the recording. And again, we’ll be posting
the archive recording of the seminar to our web page. And all of Larry’s materials
will be there as well. So thank you very much,
Larry, and thanks everybody for attending. It was really
interesting, Larry. Thanks so much. LARRY: Thank you. AUDIENCE: Thanks
a lot, you guys. Thank you. LARRY: Bye-bye.

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