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Article
Publication date: 1 March 2002

Randall C. Jimerson

Archives and manuscripts require special techniques based on their distinctive nature as the byproducts of transactions rather than the result of deliveration or creative…

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Abstract

Archives and manuscripts require special techniques based on their distinctive nature as the byproducts of transactions rather than the result of deliveration or creative endeavors. They are natural, organic, impartial, authentic and unique materials that acquire significance from the context of their creation rather than from their subject matter. Archival principles of provenance, original order and collective description ensure the preservation of these important qualities. Understanding the nature of archives and manuscripts forms the basis for the archival theory and practices that anyone responsible for such collections should know.

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OCLC Systems & Services: International digital library perspectives, vol. 18 no. 1
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1065-075X

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Article
Publication date: 1 September 2002

Randall C. Jimerson

Archival arrangement and description establish physical and intellectual control over archives and manuscripts, enabling users to find the records they need. Description…

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6004

Abstract

Archival arrangement and description establish physical and intellectual control over archives and manuscripts, enabling users to find the records they need. Description is the process of analyzing and recording information about these materials. The descriptive tools used to convey this information are called finding aids. In order to find manuscripts and archives when we need them, we must shift our orientation from single documents to groups of materials that can be described collectively. The principle of provenance likewise changes our focus from subject matter to the organic origins of documents, based on the purposes for which they were initially created and used. Archives and manuscripts are unique materials, but they can be organized and described using standards that permit data exchange and access by means of national networks, such as OCLC and RLIN, and through Web sites, using encoded archival description for archival finding aids. Descriptive practices continue to evolve, and improved systems are likely to be developed within the next decade.

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OCLC Systems & Services: International digital library perspectives, vol. 18 no. 3
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1065-075X

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Article
Publication date: 1 March 2003

Randall C. Jimerson

Providing reference and access services for users requires special techniques and knowledge of a repository’s holdings. Archivists need to identify their user clientele…

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3959

Abstract

Providing reference and access services for users requires special techniques and knowledge of a repository’s holdings. Archivists need to identify their user clientele and design services for their needs. User studies provide a means to collect valuable information about the clientele. In order to consult manuscripts and archives, users need to have both intellectual and physical access to the materials. Each of these access types requires repository policies and procedures, both to assist users and to protect the rights of donors and third parties who might be affected by disclosure of sensitive information. The reference process usually requires personal interaction and mediation by archival staff, both for security reasons and because of the difficulty of identifying potential sources to meet reference queries. The Internet provides important means of publicizing information about repositories and their collections, but technical and intellectual considerations limit the options for providing an entire records series or manuscript collection on‐line.

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OCLC Systems & Services: International digital library perspectives, vol. 19 no. 1
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1065-075X

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Article
Publication date: 1 June 2003

Randall C. Jimerson

Whether working in institutional archives or manuscript collecting repositories, archivists must consciously decide what to collect and preserve. Collecting policies for…

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2505

Abstract

Whether working in institutional archives or manuscript collecting repositories, archivists must consciously decide what to collect and preserve. Collecting policies for acquisition of manuscripts and archives are based on the institution’s mission and goals. The process involves donor relations, legal and fiscal concerns, and accurate recordkeeping. Archives cannot save everything. Once considered an almost routine process, defining an institutional collecting policy for manuscripts and archives has recently been challenged by postmodernists who contend that the decision of what to collect is not neutral or objective, but a mediated construct based on cultural values.

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OCLC Systems & Services: International digital library perspectives, vol. 19 no. 2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1065-075X

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Article
Publication date: 1 December 2002

Randall C. Jimerson

The Canadian‐US Task Force on Archival Description (CUSTARD) has undertaken the process of reconciling the two principal North American standards for archival description…

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663

Abstract

The Canadian‐US Task Force on Archival Description (CUSTARD) has undertaken the process of reconciling the two principal North American standards for archival description – the Canadian Rules for Archival Description (RAD) and the US’ Archives, Personal Papers, and Manuscripts (APPM) – with each other and with the broader international standard of ISAD(G) (General International Standard Archival Description). The anticipated final product of the CUSTARD project will be a new standard for rules governing description of archival holdings. The first tangible product is a “statement of principles” concerning archival description, which will guide the final development of descriptive rules. A complete draft of the CUSTARD rules should be available for review by June 2003, with publication expected in 2004. The new standard being developed will guide the future of archival description.

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OCLC Systems & Services: International digital library perspectives, vol. 18 no. 4
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1065-075X

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Article
Publication date: 1 June 2002

Randall C. Jimerson

Arrangement is the process of gaining physical and intellectual control over archives and manuscripts, in accordance with archival principles. Throughout the arrangement…

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6555

Abstract

Arrangement is the process of gaining physical and intellectual control over archives and manuscripts, in accordance with archival principles. Throughout the arrangement process, two goals must be kept in mind: protecting the integrity and identity of the records, and making them accessible for research. Archivists base arrangement decisions on provenance and original order, and they establish control over groupings of materials rather than individual items. Up to five levels of control may be established, based on provenance and filing structure. The most critical level, the series, identifies records with common characteristics based on function, activity, form, or use. When manuscripts and archives are disorganized, the archivist must bring order out of chaos.

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OCLC Systems & Services: International digital library perspectives, vol. 18 no. 2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1065-075X

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Article
Publication date: 1 December 2003

Randall C. Jimerson

Archival appraisal is the process of determining which manuscripts and archives acquired by a repository are worthy of long‐term preservation. The abundance of modern…

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4588

Abstract

Archival appraisal is the process of determining which manuscripts and archives acquired by a repository are worthy of long‐term preservation. The abundance of modern records prevents saving everything, so archivists must make difficult choices. Records have value as evidence of organizations’ functions and activities, or for their informational content. Appraisal criteria include analysis of functions, context, content, future uses, and cost‐benefit of retention. Decisions to discard manuscripts are irreversible, so choices must be carefully weighed. Reappraisal and deaccessioning may also be applied to legacy holdings. The challenging task of appraisal also contributes to the preservation of institutional evidence, cultural heritage, and social memory.

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OCLC Systems & Services: International digital library perspectives, vol. 19 no. 4
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1065-075X

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Article
Publication date: 1 December 2001

Randall C. Jimerson

As the archival profession seeks a wider role in the field of information science, the need to prepare students for careers in a rapidly changing world requires…

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1557

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As the archival profession seeks a wider role in the field of information science, the need to prepare students for careers in a rapidly changing world requires multidisciplinary education, greater emphasis on core archival knowledge, and fully articulated graduate programs combining structured course sequences with practical experience and sophisticated research projects. The Society of American Archivists is currently considering new “Guidelines for a graduate program in archival studies”. This case study of the graduate program in archives and records management at Western Washington University provides one example of the diverse offerings available for archival students. The six key aspects of the Western Washington University curriculum include: linking history and archives, integrating archives and records management, emphasizing information technology, incorporating management principles, including practical experience, and requiring research for a master’s thesis.

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OCLC Systems & Services: International digital library perspectives, vol. 17 no. 4
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1065-075X

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Article
Publication date: 1 September 2003

Randall C. Jimerson

Archives are repositories of memory, providing reliable evidence for examining the past. The four types of memory – personal, collective, historical, and archival …

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Abstract

Archives are repositories of memory, providing reliable evidence for examining the past. The four types of memory – personal, collective, historical, and archival – interact in complex and sometimes baffling ways to enable one to understand the past and to draw lessons from it. Archival memory is a social construct reflecting power relationships in society. Archivists and manuscripts curators play the important role of mediator in selecting records for preservation and providing research access to such collections. By recognizing and overcoming the bias toward records of powerful groups in society, archivists can provide a more balanced perspective on the past, and enable future generations to examine and evaluate the activities and contributions of all voices in one’s culture. Archives thus serve an important role in identifying and preserving the documentation that forms one’s historical memory.

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OCLC Systems & Services: International digital library perspectives, vol. 19 no. 3
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1065-075X

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Article
Publication date: 1 March 2004

Randall C. Jimerson

The archival profession faces many challenges in the near future, including electronic records, new technology, defining the profession, diversity, cooperation with other…

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5586

Abstract

The archival profession faces many challenges in the near future, including electronic records, new technology, defining the profession, diversity, cooperation with other information professions, access to records, and enhancing the public image of archivists. Individual archivists and manuscripts curators also face daily challenges of resources, funding, and time. However, there are many resources available for learning more about manuscripts and archives.

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OCLC Systems & Services: International digital library perspectives, vol. 20 no. 1
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1065-075X

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