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ARCHIVES Home

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ARCHIVES  April 2006, Week 1

ARCHIVES April 2006, Week 1

Subject:

Thank you for your kind and helpful responses

From:

Florence Paisey <[log in to unmask]>

Reply-To:

[log in to unmask]

Date:

Sun, 2 Apr 2006 00:55:27 -0500

Content-Type:

text/plain

Parts/Attachments:

Parts/Attachments

text/plain (151 lines)

Hi all,
I want to thank all of you who graciously responded to my query 
regarding "starting an archive". Each response was appreciated and has 
helped me prioritize my tasks. Many of you asked me to post the 
responses I received. The following is a list of the comments and 
recommendations I received. I have not included names of the 
respondents, though be assured, that I do appreciate your taking the 
time to respond.

In addition to the written responses, many offered contact numbers and 
made themselves available for questions. Thanks to all of you. As all 
the documents were collected by the former village clerk, now 82, my 
first endeavor will be setting the mission, intent, criteria for 
retention and administrative policies. While surveying the documents, 
I'll be taking the oral history, probably both with tape and written 
notes. Following the survey and oral history, I'll start looking at 
record management. The first thing that we have done is to digitally 
photograph  every document (with brief notations regarding the scene 
and condition of the document or photo -- a spreadsheet has been used 
for this initial effort). The following is the group of responses I 
received -- many thanks. ...I hope I'm posting this correctly; I 
haven't posted responses before. Please excuse any lapse of protocol.

Hi, Florence,
        You may want to contact the Florida State Archives.  I know that
here in NY there are specific retention schedules pertaining to county,
village, and town governments.         Electronic records are usually 
managed using records management
software that is, I believe, separate from the software that creates the
records, although I'm sure there are all-in-one packages out there.
Good luck,


Hi Florence:

1.  Accession numbers track records as they enter the archives.
Therefore, you only assign an accession number when records come in.
2006.001 = year, first accession.  You can have multiple accessions in a
collection.  How you number your collections can be idiosyncratic. For
example, my county records all have record group numbers according to
the office of creation - Treasurer, Auditor, Justices of the Peace, my
manuscript collections or private donations, are numbered in order of
creation - MC001, MC002, etc.  In archives we do not arrange according
to subject except in vertical files.

2.  Can't help on the electronic records - it's all greek to me!

Let me know if you have any other questions Florence:
You might visit the Society of American Archivists website catalogue at
http://www.archivists.org/catalog/index.asp

There are several titles that can help with your project. Good luck.


Florence,

When you survey the records, you may want to mark the boxes with a unique
number which is tied to your survey.  This will allow you to pull record
groups together later on because you'll be looking for specific box numbers.

After you know the record groups and their inclusive dates, you can check
the record schedules to determine which groups are permanent records and
which ones are temporary and past their disposal date.  For the records
eligible for destruction, you can make an appraisal decision regarding
keeping them or heavily weeding them.  For the permanent records you need to
confirm that the municipality and not the state maintains them for
posterity.

Once you have the group of records that will be maintained in the municipal
archives, you can determine the accession scheme.  If the archives begins
operations in 2006, then the backlog of records will all be accessioned in
2006.  You should accession them by series or group rather than one big
batch.  This way you'll have one accession per collection/series.

Some places use the file system code and the year accepted as their
accession number, others use a department/year combination.  The scheme is
what makes sense for the archives.




You may want to familiarize yourself with the following

http://dlis.dos.state.fl.us/recordsmgmt/gen_records_schedules.cfm

http://shrinkster.com/dg6



Florence:
How exciting for you! It sounds like you will be involved in some very 
interesting work in the years to come. My responses to your questions 
are as follows:

1. Everyone I know in the field seems to use the system that works best 
for them. However, there are certain standards that you can use to 
assign accession numbers. I invested in a copy of "Organizing Archival 
Records: A Practical Method of Arrangement & Description for Small 
Archives" by David W. Carmichael that has a lot of useful information 
on this subject. It's available through Altamira Press. Also, you can 
contact the National Archives and Records Administration or your state 
records office for further assistance.

2. Be careful when dealing with vendors. Don't let anyone bully you 
into purchasing anything inappropriate. The best way to get feedback is 
pick one or two names that look like potentials and ask the List for 
input. Again, NARA or your state records office might be able to help. 
PastPerfect is one tried and true program that you might want to look 
into.

If you haven't already done so, consider membership in a government 
archives organization. If nothing is available locally, then consider 
joining the Society of American Archivists, which is a good umbrella 
agency.



Accession numbers do not relate to the subject per say, but relate 
rather to the kind of record. We don't usually accession item by item, 
but on the collection level. Our accession numbers always start with an 
"A" for accession , then the year, then the accession number for that 
year. So it looks like this: A2006-47, which means that the particular 
collection was the 47th accession for the year 2006. We use a database 
for keeping track of our accessions. That way they are searchable by 
record collection, record size, etc.
Unless you have hundreds of scrapbooks, it doesn't sound to me like the 
City Clerk has been pasting all of the permanent records in the 
scrapbook. You might need to look around the storage area where the 
records are kept. You state will have its own retention records 
schedule where you will be able to see the kinds of records that are 
considered permanent/historical, e.g. meeting minutes, annual reports, 
photographs documenting the work of the office, substantive 
correspondence and so on. Please feel free to e-mail me if you have any 
questions.



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