Author Archives: appraisalsaa

Creating or expanding collection policy

Hi everyone,

As you may have heard, the A&A Best Practices Subcommittee recently produced a survey report on practices surrounding institutional collection development policy. The focus on policy writing is not over yet though, and the Best Practices Subcommittee is seeking your help in compiling a resource package to better equip archival staff with tools to create or update their workplace acquisition policy. Please get in touch with feedback on the survey (accessible here) and/or what resources would you find useful.

Questions to answer could include (and were also posted through our #appraisethis Twitter chat):

  • Do you think collection development or acquisition policies are necessary?
  • What are your initial thoughts or feedback after reading through the survey?
  • Do the survey results represent your institution accurately?
  • The data indicates many often have little influence on writing a policy, what would increase your ability to influence it more?
  • Do you think these kinds of policies should be easily available, such as on institutional websites?  Why or why not?
  • For those whose policies need revision before uploading, could the A&A section offer some assistance? In what form?
  • For those whose institution lack policies, what would help you get those written? Could the A&A section offer assistance to get that process jump-started?

 

Please write to Marcella Huggard (mdwiget@gmail.com) and Julie May (julie.ilene.may@gmail.com). Any contributions are most appreciated!

 

Voting for next A&A leadership team

Hello Acquisitions & Appraisal Section members,

The nominations for leadership positions are all in, and we are now approaching the time for elections! Thanks to everybody who nominated themselves or another member for candidacy, and thanks to all of you in advance for voting.

This year we have three open positions for its steering committee this year: one Vice Chair/Chair Elect position and two positions for Steering Committee At-Large Member.  Candidate statements and bios can be found here:  http://www2.archivists.org/groups/acquisitions-appraisal-section/2017-election-candidate-statements-and-bios

 

A few additional logistic details:

  • Election ballots will be sent out via Survey Monkey June 26-28 with voting ending on July 10, 2017.
  • All those who are active section members as of June 30 are eligible to vote. 
  • The ballot email may go to your spam inbox; please adjust your filters and/or check there if you do not receive a ballot by June 28th.
  • If you have any difficulties receiving or casting your ballot, please email Felicia directly at fowens@archivists.org.

Thank you,

Nominating Committee

Policy Survey Report & June Chat

Two announcements from the A&A team focused around our recent policy survey project:

1.In the winter of last year, the Best Practices Subcommittee of the A&A Steering Committee gathered survey responses on institutional collection development policy work. A report on the survey is now available on the A&A microsite and contains a summary of results, aggregated data collected from survey answers, as well as anonymized individual responses.

Read the report: Collection Development Policy Survey.

The second phase of this project will be to create a resource package to help guide policy development. Subsequently, the Best Practices Subcommittee team is interested to hear what kinds of information would be useful for this resource.

2. This month, we’ll be dedicating our Third Thursday Twitter online chat to discuss the results of the survey and invite further feedback. Please note, that the date of this chat will be on June 22 (as a special “4th” Thursday) at the regular time, 4:00 PT/ 5:00 MT/   6:00 CT / 7:00 ET. Follow #appraisethis to join the chat.

While the report has been posted, the Twitter chat will frame open questions so folks can participate even if you don’t get the chance to read the document ahead of time! This chat is an opportunity to talk to others about the survey results, talk to the survey creators, and provide any further feedback about collection development policy-making.

If you are unable to join the chat but still want to provide feedback on this project, please contact the Best Practices Subcommittee Co-Chairs, Marcella Huggard (mdwiget@gmail.com) and Julie May (julie.ilene.may@gmail.com).

For further background information on the survey, check out this earlier post.

Repository Update: FROGG records at Brooklyn Historical Society

Written by Julie I. May, Managing Director of Library & Archives, Brooklyn Historical Society, Brooklyn, NY

Brooklyn Historical Society receives many calls and emails from people interested in donating to our collections.  The Founder of the Friends and Residents of Greater Gowanus (FROGG) called me one recent afternoon offering the organization’s records to the Library & Archives. It was immediately compelling due to the fact that the Gowanus Canal is a Superfund Site and records pertaining to that struggle would have high research value, but also that contemporary collections bring their own set of appraisal quandaries that require careful evaluation.

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Photo credit: Julie I. May, 2017

FROGG was founded by a long-time Gowanus resident in 2004 in opposition to developers who sought to replace low-rise industrial buildings with luxury condominiums and a strong proponent of designating the canal a Superfund site. The organization continues to lobby for the preservation of the neighborhood’s industrial buildings and to educate the public on the canal’s history. The 16-linear-foot collection consists of research files relating to development and environmental protection of the Gowanus neighborhood of Brooklyn, with the bulk of materials dating from the 2000s to the 2010s in mostly good condition including reports, clippings, photographs, protest signs, educational posters/maps, files on CD-ROMs, and artifacts from the 19th century and early 20th century.

I considered the records in relation to collection scope defined by BHS’s Collection Development Policy based on its 7 main principles:

Scope: the materials have enduring historical and cultural value that document Brooklyn, NY

  • Formats: the materials are published and printed materials including organizational records
  • Geography: the records pertain to Brooklyn, New York
  • Time period: the records document a period between the mid-17th century and the present day
  • Language: materials are in English
  • Subject areas: within the long list of subject areas we collect, the materials fall into Business & Industry, Geography, Land Use & Real Estate, Organizations, Politics & Public Affairs, and Social Action and Activism.  

Where things get tricky is the Collection Rationale articulated as Scholarly research value is the primary criterion for collecting materials; exhibit and educational value are also considered. Collecting foci are based upon our knowledge of researcher needs, and are guided by current strengths as well as areas where we see a need or opportunity to build the collection. Condition, extent, and preservation or conservation needs of materials, as well as our ability to meet those needs, are also considered in any collecting decision.

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Photo credit: Julie I. May, 2017

The records have research and educational value based on research trends observed in the reading room and from area teachers/faculty who bring their students to BHS for Library Seminars.  A search of existing collections reveals a few photographic collections of the Gowanus area but skimpy representation in other formats making this subject area neither a strength nor a need, but deeming most additions welcome. Despite the collection being stored in a basement of a low-lying geographic area, the materials showed very little signs of mold or other condition issues. However, several factors arise when we consider extent. The collection is a significant size for BHS, but in order to process the collection, we need to send it to our off-site storage facility in the meantime while we search for funding.

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Photo credit: Julie I. May, 2017

The organization is still in existence and would continue to send accruals to the collection on an occasional basis.  However, the organization lacks funds to support the retrieval, processing, rehousing, and maintenance of the collection. Since the bulk of the collection is 2000-2010, the processing archivist and I will need to carefully consider appraisal of the collection at a more granular level in order to keep only what BHS can responsibly care for.  Therefore, we will likely consider publications that are available elsewhere, clippings that are in poor condition and/or maintained by a digital repository, artifacts that lack provenance as candidates to return to the donor or for destruction, and closely consider other as yet unknown items that are  on the border but would usually be considered worthy of retaining.  While this is a more aggressive method to adopt when we seek to maintain contextual connections among records and acknowledge the organization’s collection logic, contemporary collections offer this as a sustainable option for BHS given our staff, financial, and space resources.

 

Thanks to A&A Steering Committee member, Julie, for submitting this article. The A&A team is currently seeking submissions for more “repository updates” to feature on the blog. New writers welcome. 

Deadline EXTENDED! 2017 Election Call for Nominations

As you may have heard, the Acquisition & Appraisal Section is currently accepting nominations for candidates to join our Section leadership team! Three spots are available: Vice Chair/Chair Elect, and (2) Steering Committee positions.

Nomination deadline has been extended to this Friday, May 19th June 2nd.

So send us your information for nomination or, alternatively, nominate another person. Our Nominations Committee is also happy to answer any questions.

Please review the SAA A&A website for further information on available candidate positions and the upcoming election.

 

 

 

Repository Update: Women’s March on Denver

Written by Jamie Seemiller, Acquisitions Archivist, Denver Public Library, Western History and Genealogy Department

Denver Public Library, Western History Collection, WH2371

Denver Public Library, Western History Collection, WH2371

On Saturday January 22, 2017, over 100,000 people flooded the streets in downtown Denver to protest. The Women’s March on Denver was one of many marches across the country in collaboration with the Women’s March on Washington. The march took place at the door step of the Denver Public Library. As the Acquisitions Archivist in the Western History and Genealogy Department (WHG), I felt that this event gave us a unique opportunity to reach new donors and to preserve the history of the event.

On Sunday, we posted a donation call on the WHG Facebook page. The post reached 25,440 people and was shared 234 times within the next few weeks. We received over 250 emails that resulted in donations of over 1,200 digital photos/videos, 105 protest signs and 12 pieces of ephemera such as “pussy” hats, buttons, and artwork.

In an average year I have about 80 in person donor meetings and receive several hundred emails and phone requests, so this kind of response was exciting and overwhelming. While we normally review every potential donation in a staff acquisitions committee meeting, we decided to forgo our normal procedure. We felt it was more important to encourage “citizen archivists” and engage with the community.

During the collecting phase, I corresponded with donors by email, phone and in person. I strive to have every donor sign a gift form and to give me background about the items they were donating. In order to manage the flow of donors and materials coming into the library, we created two excel spreadsheets one for the physical materials and one for digital donations. We had a volunteer inventory the physical materials. Meanwhile, I documented the digital donations and downloaded them on our server. Each individual donation was placed in a folder with the donor’s name in order to track their provenance.

Denver Public Library, Western History Collection, WH2371

Denver Public Library, Western History Collection, WH2371

The next step was to appraise the collection. First, we decided to review any materials without a gift form. For the digital material, any donation without an gift form was removed from the collection. This amounted to 18 donations and 160 digital photos. For the protest signs, we decided to keep signs that had a unique message or design. We kept 8 of the 40 signs that did not have gift forms.

Next we discussed how we are going to provide access to the collection. We agreed that we would like to have every donor represented in the online collection. We decided that we can not keep everything, but by curating the donations one by one we can fully represent the event and the individual stories that brought people to the march. While appraising the digital material a metadata spreadsheet was created for import into our digital collections, and a priority list for digitization of the physical materials. Any videos selected will be available on YouTube. We plan to share the collection with the public with a program and exhibit in September and to have the digital materials online this summer.

Note: This piece was  originally shared as a Collection Highlight in the Society of Rocky Mountain Archivists Newsletter.

Recap: Third Thursday with DocNow

Last week we hosted another Third Thursday chat on Twitter with Bergis Jules of DocNow to talk with us about A&A issues of social media.

Catch up on the chat with this Storify summary of the conversation!

Remember, we host Third Thursday chats every other month. Follow #appraisethis. Chat summaries are posted by the following week. Next up is June 15 – topic TBA so stay tuned!