I am Meaghan O’Riordan, Accessioning Archivist for the Stuart A. Rose Manuscript, Archives & Rare Book Library at Emory University and Member-at-Large on the Steering Committee for the Acquisitions & Appraisal Section. At the Rose Library, we set goals on our performance evaluation schedule, which runs from May 1-April 30, so by the time we had to go home due to the pandemic, we were close to the end of our reporting year, and I was able to accomplish many of the goals I set out. I created 500 linear feet of contiguous space to hold material waiting to be accessioned. I completed a shelf read of our manuscript and archives materials. I established metrics for stacks management, which did not exist previously. Post-pandemic, I was focused on cleaning up data in ArchivesSpace, which included de-duping and normalizing source agent records, creating a spreadsheet to import and match containers to container profiles and locations, and entering legacy accession data only available on paper records into the database. I also implemented Airtable for the accessioning workflow, including co-creating a more robust and accessible version of our potential acquisitions report form. In collaboration with the University Archivist, I finished creating a list of Emory University Archives material in need of accession work.
Finally, I spent a significant portion of 2020 working with the Accessioning Archivist for the Beinecke Rare Book & Manuscript Library at Yale University, Rosemary K. J. Davis, on our research project, “Caring for Collections: Accessioning and Effective Archival Stewardship.” Right before the pandemic, we completed an additional three in-person site visits (for a total of 13 once added to the ones we completed August-December 2019). We sadly had to cancel our remaining nine visits due to the pandemic, but we successfully pivoted to focus on writing about the data we had already gathered from those visits and the survey that we circulated. We also received a Strategic Growth grant from the SAA Foundation in May in the amount of $5000 to use to travel (once it is safe again) to other regions not included in our original slate of site visits, including the Pacific Northwest, the Southwest, and the Midwest. We petitioned for a new Section of SAA for Accessioning, and we feel successful in that endeavor because of the overwhelming support and because we will be merging with Acquisitions & Appraisal for better support for this function. We also submitted a proposal to SAA Standards Committee to form a working group to write best practices for accessioning, and we were approved to move forward. We have applied for an IMLS grant to support that work, and, once we learn whether we have moved from the pre-proposal stage to the full proposal stage, we will begin recruiting for the working group.