I was lucky enough to attended this workshop on archives security, sponsored by the New York State Archives.  The presenter was Mimi Bowling and it was an excellent program. The handout is also great and includes samples of suggested forms and a selected bibliography. “True stories” of thefts added a lot to the day.

Topics covered included hiring practices, security systems, researcher room layout, researcher registration and paperwork in general.  It is going to take a while to determine which of the solutions offered might be workable for our small archives.  I don’t envision getting the funding necessary to install laser beam motion detectors and round the clock video cameras.

It’s not my personal style to make people jump through too many hoops to get to the materials they need.  Too many years as a public librarian, I guess. But I think finding ways to have a tighter control are needed.

I’ll try to keep you up to date on the procedures we put in place, but in the mean time, if you get an opportunity to attend this workshop, I can recommend it highly.

Reevaluating archives

September 7, 2010

We’ve been talking about reorganizing the archives for close to a year now.  We had what we thought of as the Colleges’ archives is what has been called the “Geneva Collection”. This collection has anything and everything we have that pertains to the Colleges and/or the local area.  It includes published and unpublished materials and is divided into mss, programs, alumni, faculty, photo, and letters files, as well as books and items such as faculty meeting minutes that have been put in binders.

The reorganization was looking like it would take the form of separating published from unpublished, and organizing unpublished into records groups.  We had quite a lengthy discussion last Friday that led me to pose the question on Twitter, “When is an archives not an archives?”

To my knowledge (I’ve only been here 7 years) nothing has been deposited in the archives from any official office. eg: trustee minutes have been gathered when someone retired or left and sent all their files to us; faculty meeting minutes are those sent out before meeting to the archivist, as faculty member (no additions or corrections); commencement and convocation programs are here because the librarians have sent them down after attending an event.  Is this really an archives?

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