Archival processing is a crucial element of collections care and stewardship. Processing is how we know what we have in our collections, how we ensure our collections’ ongoing preservation and security, and how we make our collections available to the public. But how much processing is enough? Does every document require its own housing and description or can we arrange and describe materials in aggregates? How do we determine what’s necessary? How quickly can I make a new collection available to researchers? Can it be minimally processed and safely made available in the reading room? How can I easily make collection descriptions available online and what is the minimal amount of information necessary for them to be useful? This webinar will discuss the basic principles of archival arrangement and description, including imposing basic physical and intellectual control over new acquisitions, minimal processing standards, descriptive standards and practices, and practical strategies for managing a processing program with limited staff and resources. Our goal will be to help you identify practical solutions for overcoming barriers to processing in your home institution.Sarah Quigley, CA, is a Manuscript Archivist and Interim Head of Manuscript Processing at Emory University’s Rose Library. She has a BA in History and a MS in Information Studies, both from the University of Texas at Austin. She has worked with a variety of collections in her career, including legal and political collections, Southern historical collections, African American collections, and British and Irish Literature collections. She is committed to principled, ethical, transparent, and inclusive arrangement and description. Sarah is currently Chair of SAA’s Committee on Public Policy, which guides the organization’s legislative and policy priorities, and an instructor for SAA’s Arrangement and Description: Fundamentals workshop.
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