Processing Toolkit

 

Harvard Processing Levels

 

Processing Manuals

Harvard:

Graduate School of Design

Houghton Library

Schlesinger Library

 

Beyond Harvard:

Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library

University  of Maryland

 

Processing Plans

Templates:

Center for the History of Medicine

From Schlesinger’s processing manual

From Houghton Library

 

Examples

From Schlesinger: Eloise Bittel Cohen papers

From Houghton: Christopher Durang papers, Randy Weston papers (for Music)

From Graduate School of Design: Kenzo Tange Archive

 

Moving Local Paper-Based or Electronic Inventories Online

Moving all available description of archival collections online is a critical first step in opening our collections to users. In 2018, the Working Group will be focusing on suggestions for a number of models repositories can use to move locally-held description to an online platform.

 

Processing Priorities Strategies Examples

Simple ranking:

A collection is ranked on basic categories of priorities established by a repository, in which each category has its own set of criteria. These categories are typically translated into high, medium, and low. ArchivesSpace uses these levels in the Collection Management fields in the Accession Record.

 

Decision matrix model:

An approach in which two or more factors are selected which are deemed the most important to the repository for determining processing. A grid is then created according to impacts and actions. The number of factors need to match the grid model (i.e., two factors translates into a 2x2 grid, 3 factors a 3x3 grid, etc.). Each collection is assessed against the matrix and will sort unprocessed collections into general categories. Two examples are below:

 

High Impact

Low Effort

High Impact

Great Effort

Low Impact

Low Effort

Low Impact

Great Effort

High Research Interest

Easy to Process

High Research Interest

Difficult to Process

Low Research Interest

Easy to Process

Low Research Interest

Difficult to Process

 

Overall numeric ranking:

Numeric values are assigned according to a predetermined criteria ranking formula, which in turn can be a complex or simple as needed. Using a formula sheet and rating worksheet, each unprocessed collection is rated to determine priorities. The formula sheet should include a description of the criterion and details on how the ratings are applied to the criterion (see Columbia's Survey Rating Description as an example).

The rating worksheet should include the Collection Name, Collection Description, and Extent, and then list the different criteria (e.g., content, physical condition, time to process, staff needed to process, etc.) with a corresponding scale (e.g., 1-5). After each criterion is evaluated and assigned a number, an overall numerical ranking is given. The rating sheet should reflect the institutional priorities and what is most important (or not important) in determining what should be processed first or last.