exposing hidden collections through consortia and collaboration

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Society of American Archivists Annual Conference, 2011Session 503Increasingly, archival repositories are collaborating to provide access to records across institutional and geographic boundaries. This session highlights three collaborative, consortial/regional programs that reach out to and partner with a range of institutions--public and private, large and small--to expose hidden collections. Panelists reflect on challenges, solutions and lessons learned within the context of collaboration, including cross-institutional processing projects, shared digital repositories and statewide digitization programs. Audra Eagle Yun, CA, Chair, Wake Forest UniversitySherri Berger, California Digital LibraryNicholas Graham, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill Holly J. Mengel, Philadelphia Area Consortium of Special Collections Libraries


  • 1. Then join Hand in Hand brave [Archivists] all, By uniting we stand, by dividing we fall --John Dickinson Holly Mengel Philadelphia Area Consortium of Special Collections Libraries Hidden Collections in the Philadelphia Area: A Consortial Processing and Cataloging Initiative Society of American Archivists Chicago, Illinois August 27, 2011
  • 2. Philadelphia Area Consortium of Special Collections Libraries: Collaborators since 1985
    • Established in 1985
    • Recently: projects that can only be achieved by working together
      • PACSCL Survey Grant
      • PACSCL Hidden Collections Grant
    • Now: not just projects, but collaborative approaches in day-to-day work flows
  • 3. PACSCL/CLIR Hidden Collections Grant
    • The Goals
    • Process 114 archival collections (consisting of nearly 4000 linear feet) at 23 repositories
    • Upgrade 82 legacy finding aids to EAD
    • Establish a shared EAD repository
    • Methodology and Tools
    • Consortial collaboration
    • MPLP (2 Hours)
    • The Archivists Toolkit
    • Student Processors
    • University of Pennsylvania technology (human and machine)
    Today: 123 collections, 3897 linear feet, 83 legacy finding aids updated, and a shared EAD repository
  • 4. Project Collaboration
    • Standards
    • Methodology
    • Training
    • Student processors
    • Sharing lessons learned with the archival community
  • 5. Challenges
    • Technology
    • Space
    • Unequal resources
    • Different standards and goals at 23 repositories
  • 6. Shared EAD site (findingaids.pacscl.org)
    • Good for repositories
    • Good for users
  • 7. Unexpected successes: Team processing
  • 8. Unexpected Successes: Centralized Training and Project Team
  • 9. How you can make collaborative projects work for you (with or without a grant, with or without a consortium)
  • 10. Know your region
    • Colleagues
    • Resources
    • Shared challenges
    • Shared skills
    • Non-shared skills
  • 11. Assign:
    • A Collaboration ENFORCER
  • 12.
  • 13. Develop a system of standards and training
  • 14. Make your work an experiment
  • 15. Things will probably not always go as you plan
  • 16.
  • 17. Celebrate Milestones and Successes
  • 18. Learn from others successes and failures
    • PACSCL/CLIR Hidden Collections Project
    • clir.pacscl.org
    • PACSCL Finding Aids site
    • findingaids.pacscl.org
  • 19. Contact Information
    • [email_address]


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