Collections At Large (Reaction Paper 5)

In this world, people are often attracted to nostalgia from the good ol’ days. This nostalgia attraction created a want for keeping old items such as diaries, newspapers, photos, emails, and more. Eventually, people kept on collecting more and more items that led to full on collections that filled entire buildings. Upon filling buildings worth of materials discovered a problem. How would one regulate such large collections?

Well there ended being a controversy between American Historical Society and the National Archives according to Thomas Cauvin on page 29.This caused split in 1936 creating when archivist left the national archives and created the Society of American Archivists (SAA).  This split also caused a split in a different area. The split between what skills are more useful in a collection? A historian’s skill set or record management skills? The ideal is to have both historical knowledge of your collection and record management background to organize collections efficiently. Something like a B.A in history and a masters in library science would fit nicely. (SAA) Provides training courses in persevering and organizing collections. Recommend checking them out their two different certification programs.

In persevering and organizing collections it’s important to identify what collections should go where. There are various kinds of institutions such religious, government, university, and museum archives. Instead of identify what institutions carry collections like SAA does, it’s more important to note what kind of collection such as, photos, manuscripts, Ephemeras, and special collections. An example of special collection is something like the libby collection at the Museum of Arts and Culture.

Even though the SAA describe work environment, they don’t do a good job and one of their links is not working. They do not list any sort of examples of the previous institutions. I have seen two different archives the Washington State Archives and the Museum of Arts and Culture and they appear almost identical to an untrained eye. Most collections are stored in a temperature control room (60-65celsus approximate) with white shelves that are 10 feet tall. There could be anywhere of 30-100 of these shelves in an archive building. The safety hazards are paper cuts, lifting things over 50 lbs (rare occurrence), climbing ladders and staring at a computer for too long. So work environment is pretty good, especially when you compare it to a harvesting job cleaning combines.

This kind of harvesting should be reserved for people like Sandy Berger. New York Times reported that Berger illegally took manuscripts without permission of the archivist. Berger assumed that he had authority to take them under his government position. He then had to pay 50,000 dollar fine along with returning the documents. Don’t take documents without asking.You can read more about this on the this pdf called berger


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