Archives and Manuscripts Week 3

This week our class discussed arrangement and description of archival collections.

One of the most interesting things from the readings was from Terry Eastwood’s “Systematic Arrangement of Archives.” In this article, Eastwood believed that arrangement should identity relationships as opposed to just physically ordering the documents. This is an important idea because it reveals that archives are more that just the storage of old papers but rather it is a place that allows one to see how the past was connected. This connected to Jennifer Schaffner’s “The Metadata Is the Interface,” in which she stated that the description of archives has to be made with the users in mind since if they cannot easily use the collection then it will go unused and thereby defeat the purpose of it being saved. This connected to our classroom discussion on ease of access in terms of finding aids and how there needs to be better ways to connect them to the public. This is a problem that I have experienced both as a researcher and as an archivist, in that some institutions have not made all of their finding aids available online so that it is difficult to know what they have in their collection. This is why I am excited about the web project ArchivesGrid from Worldcat, which collects finding aids and has them accessible in a single database. This is a great step forward for the profession as a whole as it will make archives more accessible to the oublic as more people can find archives that fits their researcher needs.


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