Coming out of the Closet and the Basement (A Preservation Case Study)

Learning Objectives

  • Students will consider their current space and environmental issues given the described space and make suggests for how to manage this space.
  • Students will apply archival preservation preservation practice to a given situtation.

Scenario

You are a new archivist at an academic library at a college that has recently grown and become a full fledged university. This library is beginning to establish an official archives. Perviously, materials were collected, some organized into two collecting rooms, such as a Rare Book room and University History room. Other materials, like the records of a local insurance company and an oral history collection, are scattered around the building in various closets. Some materials are stored in the basement that has a history of HVAC leaks and sewage backups. There are plans to have a dedicated archival space created that will have good, but not perfect, environmental controls and provided a centralized space for granting access to archival materials. This space will not be completed for at least one year, and you have regular users, including students, who access materials that are both processed and unprocessed. There are currently no policies and procedures for handling or granting access to collections. Previously researchers would be allowed to check out a key from the circulations desk of the library to visit one of the rooms. Researchers were rarely supervised. A university trustee is one such user who enjoys having their lunch in the rare book room. They say is quiet in there.

Questions

  • What major preservation issues do see for this collection before beginning a more thorough assessment?
  • What preservation related procedures and policies do you feel need to be implemented immediately, in six months and when your new space is completed?
  • Considering you have time before you new space is completed you may have the opportunity to advocate for a better preservation infrastructure to be included in this renovation. What types of preservation infrastructure would you advocate for and why?
  • How will you deal with backlash to you new procedures?

Bibliography

Tyler O., Walters. 1995. “Thinking about Archival Preservation in the ’90s and Beyond: Some Recent Publications and Their Implications for Archivists.” The American Archivist no. 4: 476. JSTOR Journals, EBSCOhost (accessed March 20, 2018)

Paul, Conway. 1990. “Archival Preservation Practice in a Nationwide Context.” The American Archivist no. 2: 204. JSTOR Journals, EBSCOhost (accessed March 20, 2018)

Everything But the Kitchen Sink (A Preservation Case Study)

Learning Objectives

  • Students will think through how to respond to a disaster scenario.

Scenario

You are a staff member in a large organization that collects a wide variety of traditional and electronic records. Your stack space has a sophisticated HVAC system that is capable of maintaining ideal temperature and humidity in several zone for a variety of materials. Air is filtered appropriately, and lighting is controlled by motion sensors. The archive space is on the main floor of a several story building. Unfortunately directly above the archive space is a staff break area with kitchen facilities, and Friday before a three day weekend there was a staff get together in this space. Somehow things got out of hand. There are pictures on Facebook if your are curious, but despite the evidence and the good times had by all, the kitchen sink either became clogged or damaged. This caused it to dump an unknown quantity of water into the archive space. Not enough to float an ark, but close. Somehow the water shorted out the HVAC, and lead to no temperature and humidity controls over the weekend. This resulted in an ideal mold germination environment. You return on Tuesday to the aftermath of the party now apart of the archives.

Questions

  • What are your first steps as part of a recovery process? Think first that there is no disaster plan for this organization, and you must proceed into recovery without guidelines. How will you access issues caused by the sink? How will you recover?
  • If there was a disaster plan, what important features should it contain and issues should it cover? What type of supplies should have been set aside for such a disaster?

Bibliography

Mallery, Mary. 2015. Technology Disaster Response and Recovery Planning : A LITA Guide. Chicago: ALA TechSource, 2015. eBook Collection (EBSCOhost), EBSCOhost (accessed March 20, 2018)

Get Jerry to do it: A public records case study

Learning Objectives

  • Students will consider the following scenario and make decisions based on their understanding of legal access to records.
  • Student will be able to explain their decisions and how they would seek outside help in making those decisions.

Scenario

You’re a records manager at a Massachusetts government agency. You regularly receive requests for information related to you agencies business practices. You have two employees working for you. One employee makes 12 dollars an hour, another make 15 dollars an hour. On Monday you received the following requests. (Look at the Bibliography for guidance)

  • Files related to disciplinary actions against a specific officer. These file contain the home address of the officer and their email.
  • A repeat requestor is asking for bid files related to road construction projects.
  • A request for emails to and from agency officials regarding the construction of a new building and the bidding process. Some of the emails in the thread contain personal conversations and not government business.

Questions

  • When would you have to respond to the requests?
  • How would you determine what a reasonable fee would be for these requests? Would you waive the fee for any of them?
  • What information do you think should be redacted or not given to the requestor?

Bibliography