Student Snippets A Window Into The Daily Life & Thoughts of SLIS Students

The Processing Plan

Open access and fair use and two issues concerning archives and archival materials is an issue that has recurred in my work and research time and again.  Ideally, I believe that information should be freely available for students, researchers, and the average citizen to access and use, but the reality is often much different.  Barriers—whether in terms of economics, time, or organization—rear their ugly heads from all angles.
This week, I’ve been working on processing plans for two separate collections (one for a class and one for an internship), and “access” has been at the back of my mind for each project.  Archivists are the gatekeepers, not just in the sense that we are safeguarding materials, but that we are also responsible for guiding people to materials relevant to their need.  In laying out the foundations for a finding aid, our ultimate search tool, how do I ensure that I am doing my job effectively?

Fortunately, I am working with other people on both projects.  I used to dread group projects.  What if someone doesn’t carry his or her weight?  What if I can’t work with a person?  But I’m finding that in this field especially, having the advantage of multiple perspectives is extraordinarily important.  How I perceive the value of a collection could be drastically different from how another person perceives it.  Moral of the story:  play well with others.