\\acad1\ZSR\SpecialCollections\Administrative Files\ProcessingMay 20102
Overview of Archival Processing
What is Processing?
In order for a collection to be made available to research, the archivist gathers and analyzesinformation about the collection, organizes and arranges its contents, and creates finding aidsin order for the user to discover relevant materials.
is the term used to encompassall of the work required to make collections available and accessible for research.There are three main parts of processing:
Gathering and analyzing information about the collection
Organizing and arranging the collection
Creating finding aids to allow access to the collection
What Is a Finding Aid?
A finding aid is a written description of archival materials. Finding aids are what enableresearchers to discover the nature and contents of a collection. They are made available
typicallyconsist of two parts:
outlines the nature of a collection. Essential parts of the front matter include:location of collection, collection number and name, name of creator(s), date range, size (extent),abstract, acquisition information, biographical/historical information, scope and content notes,arrangement, access and use restrictions, and subjects indexed. Most front matter is createdafter the arrangement and description of a collection. When doing processing, it is important toconsider the front matter, because you may come across information that will be helpful whendescribing the collection as a whole.The
is a detailed inventory of a collection. A collection may be described at thebox level, folder level, and rarely, at the item level. Your processing plan will determine thelevel of description to be used. Descriptions in a container list should be clear and concise.Folder level description typically consists of the box and folder number, a brief description/title
Basic Principles of Archival Description
Provenance tells the history of ownership. It refers to the origin of an item orcollection, identifying the original owner or creator, as well as subsequentowners and creators.