At the end of last semester, I finally decided to enroll in a course on collection management. Despite the fact that most of my library experience is in archives, throughout the course, I have been reading about collection management in public libraries, academic libraries, and even museums. However, last week, my professor, Dr. Carla Stoffle, invited Lisa Duncan, the Collections Management librarian at Special Collections, to guest lecture.
Up until last week’s class, I had a somewhat hazy understanding of the role of a Collection Management librarian in an archival setting, especially since at a Special Collections library, items are typically donated, not purchased. However, Lisa explained that her role is to manage collections from the moment they arrive at our repository to the moment they are put on the shelf, ready to be accessed. It turns out this is actually a large job, as it requires the overseeing of all processing activities.
One of the things Lisa brought up in her presentation was ArchivesSpace, an open source archives information management application that we use at Special Collections to organize and manage our collections. I have done some tinkering with the website, but now that I am finishing a new collection, the Dr. Laura Lee Cummings Pachuco/Caló Oral History Project Collection, one of my next tasks is to input my finding aid into ArchiveSpace.
I started by finding the accession record in ArchivesSpace associated with my collection and then spawning a resource record from within the accession record. The next step is to fill out the resource record.
Following the basic information and dates sections of the resource record, there are a dozen more sections to fill in. Luckily, Lisa has already created a document to aid staff with entering information into resource records. Using the information in my finding aid, I can complete this ArchivesSpace record and it will be available for viewing by other Special Collections staff.