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ARCHIVES Home

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ARCHIVES  December 2001, Week 2

ARCHIVES December 2001, Week 2

Subject:

Re: Rough processing statistics

From:

Charles Schultz <[log in to unmask]>

Reply-To:

Charles Schultz <[log in to unmask]>

Date:

Wed, 12 Dec 2001 16:59:41 -0600

Content-Type:

text/plain

Parts/Attachments:

Parts/Attachments

text/plain (32 lines)

Twenty-five years ago when I chaired the SAA committee on Collecting Personal Papers and Manuscripts each member of the committee kept records of the amount of time they spent on one or more collections during the year and sent that information to me.  The collections were quite diverse in size as were the institutions and the amount of time per foot processed also varied.  The institutions included a county museum, a state historical society, and four large universities.  The collections processed included business records, family papers, papers of a university professor, records of a marine insurance company, and personal papers.  The times per hour ranged from 8.7 hours per foot for a small collection of family papers to 40.7 hours per foot for a large somewhat disorganized set papers of a long time Texas congressman.

For the past seven years I have been processing the papers of a two term (four years per term) Texas governor.  After I completed the official state records for those two terms I calculated that I spent approximately 18 hours per foot but I did not subtract from this my vacation days, sick days, holidays, days spent at professional conferences, faculty committee responsibilities, or research and writing days all of which were to some extent my other responsibilities as a faculty member.  The finding aids I prepared include considerably more detail than do most such documents prepared for other political papers.  I also devoted much time to removing staples so that I could remove unnecessary envelopes for certain series (especially the records of the scheduling office and to some extent the general correspondence files) all on the assumption that the more such stuff I removed the less space the collection would occupy and thereby reduce the long term storage costs.  I was able to reduce the size the official state records by around 30% from approximately 1000 feet to a little less than 700 feet.

In a way all of this supports the statements already made that attempting to come up with an average number of hours per foot for any collection is to all intents and purposes meaningless.



Dr. Charles R. Schultz, CA, SAA Fellow
Clements Professor and Clements Archivist
Cushing Library
Texas A&M University
College Station, TX  77843-5000
[log in to unmask]
979-862-1555
FAX 979-845-1441

State-of-the-art automation will never beat the wastebasket 
when it comes to speeding up efficiency in the office.
Ann Landers Gem of the Day, July 27, 1994

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