Processing A Collection

Processing a collection can be a lengthy and involved project. Typically processing a collection starts with an inventory of all materials. It is important to take note of the original order of the materials, and to decide if this order makes sense for researchers to work with, or if a new order should be created. Usually an archivist will rearrange the materials according to the simplest organizational method, either chronologically, alphabetically or by subject matter. Once this is decided upon, materials are cleaned as is necessary, identified, researched, labeled, and re-housed in materials that will preserve the individual items. Items are housed in a variety of materials which ensure their survival over the years. Bulky items and artifacts are often wrapped in acid-free tissue paper and stored in archival boxes, while many photographs and photographic materials are stored in acid-free archival paper envelopes, with extra padding as needed for more fragile objects. When all of this is completed, a container list and finding aid are created for each series within the collection, which allows researchers, students, and the public to view materials available in the archives. Requests may be made by anyone wishing to view or learn more about each collection.