Academic journal article Library Resources & Technical Services

Better, Faster, Stronger: Integrating Archives Processing and Technical Services

Academic journal article Library Resources & Technical Services

Better, Faster, Stronger: Integrating Archives Processing and Technical Services

Article excerpt

The University of Denver's Penrose Library implemented a consolidated cataloging and archives processing unit for all materials, taking advantage of the structure, workflow design, and staff resources that were already in place for library-wide materials processing: acquisitions, cataloging, binding, and stacks maintenance. The objective of Penrose Library's integrated approach was to efficiently create metadata that allow searches based on subject relevance rather than on collection provenance. The library streamlined archives processing by integrating digital content creation and management into the materials processing workflow. The result is a flexible, sustainable, and scalable model for archives processing that utilizes existing staff by enhancing and extending the skills of both experienced monographs catalogers and archivists.

**********

The focus of library technical services is moving away from activities such as processing and binding print journals and print government documents and upgrading copy cataloging records. These shifts are accelerating the channeling of technical services resources toward giving higher priority to providing access to unique materials, including content that increasingly appears in digital form. At the same time, libraries that include special collections are faced with the challenge of improving workflow while describing unique content at a sufficiently high level of granularity to meet demands to provide greater digital access to their collections. In a world of shrinking budgets and reduced staffing, these challenges are an opportunity to integrate archives processing into technical services while making a library-wide commitment to special collections. Concurrently rethinking the approach to managing and creating access to unique collections makes it possible to create a streamlined and sustainable process that combines the item-first culture of monographic cataloging with the context-forming culture of archival processing, resulting in a hybrid approach to archival cataloging. The higher levels of description, collection, and series are performed by professional archivists or highly trained staff members, but many people touch the collection at different stages of processing. This approach stresses both productivity and an item-centric view of archival material and allows the user to discover primary resource content in a deep, flexible way driven by user-centered (versus archivist-centered) means of providing intellectual access to information.

With the growth of the digital environment and the potential for greater online access to archival materials, archives" potential user base has expanded beyond the serious or expert researcher, who is familiar with archival organization, access tools such as finding aids, and even archival terminology. (1) Archival processing must meet the needs of an increasingly diverse community of users by providing access to primary resources without requiring the user to navigate through the top-down organizational collection structure to find primary resources or to physically go to the repository to interact with the individual primary resources.

These imperatives must be met by being more efficient and production-oriented without sacrificing quality or professional standards, which add value for both the experienced and the novice user.

This paper describes an initiative at the University of Denver's Penrose Library that consolidated cataloging and archives processing units for all materials, taking advantage of new technologies and the structure, workflow design, and staff resources that were already in place for library-wide materials processing--that is, acquisitions, cataloging, binding, and stacks maintenance. The purpose of this consolidation was to streamline archives and create a model for archives processing that uses existing staff and increases the capacity to process these unique materials. …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.