Information about the Triton College Library Archive Holdings, Mission, and Policies. Created by Reference & Archives Librarian Mary Grace Maloney, 2012-2014. Currently maintained by Library Chairperson and Faculty Librarian Robert Connor.
The following terms are commonly used in relation to the collection of Archives here in Triton College's Library and elsewhere:
In general, "accession" refers to adding something to a collection. We create "accession records" when new items are donated to the collection. It is important to complete accession records as close to the time the item was donated as possible. Accession records can also be thought of as inventory records. Filling out an accession record form is the first step towards adding an item to our collection. An accession record can help us determine where the item came from and what its significance is to the overall collection of Archives.
In preserving paper archives, it is important to copy important documents onto acid-free paper. Acid-free paper does not break-down and deteriorate as quickly as non-acid-free paper. It is also important to store paper items in acid-free folders and photos in acid-free envelopes.
An item that is donated, transferred, obtained, or bought for a collection.
According to the mission statement for Triton's Archives (c. 2011) "archives" refers to the "historical records that document the growth and development of the institutional memory of the Triton College community." Additionally, The Archives "record the achievements, values, history, and tradition of those who have contributed to the educational development of the surrounding community." Examples of items in our collection include: reports, memos, photographs, press clippings, student newspapers, dissertations, annual reports, newsletters, scrapbooks, etc.
In librarian-speak, an "archivist" refers to a professional, MLS or MLIS librarian who also holds a certificate in Archival and Cultural Heritage Resources and Services. An "archivist" is a person responsible for managing the physical and intellectual collection of archives. In non-librarian speak, an "archivist" is someone who works in an office with archives.
When we "process" an item in Archives, this means we firstly, create an accession record. Then we "process" the item if it is paper, by photocopying it onto acid-free paper, labeling an acid-free folder with the academic provenance and item name in pencil, and housing it in an acid-free folder. It is important to wear cotton gloves when handling ANY archival item, as the natural oils on our hands can accelerate deterioration and potentially damage the item permanently. Afterwards, we enter the item into the "Detailed Archives Inventory" Excel spreadsheet and finally, we put the item away safely in its new file cabinet or acid-free box home. It is at the discretion of the archivist, the Archives Liaison, and the Library Chairperson whether the original item needs to be kept in the folder with the acid-free copy.
To process a photo, first we dust the photo with a magnetic wiping fabric, then we label an acid-free envelope to house the photo. It is OK to put more than one photo into envelopes as long as the photos are back-to-back, meaning the back of the photo only touches the back of the other photo. Then we enter the item into the "Detailed Archives Inventory" and house it in an existing or new folder, in the file cabinet or an acid-free box. Photos can be scanned for digital preservation, as well.
The origin of an item is its "provenance". In the world of archives, "provenance" is a fundamental principle as it has everything to do with where an item originated, the context of it when grouped with similar items or the "family" it belongs to. "Provenance" also has to do with respect and being pro-active in identifying the intrinsic history of an item. In an academic archival collection such as ours, the items are organized by the way the institution is organized. For example, the Board of Trustees, is the family name or provenance for Board meeting minutes, Budgets, the Office of the President, Board publications such as Budgets and Annual Reports, etc. A separate provenance is the College of Arts and Sciences. Faculty Associations, Bulletins, individual Faculty member's papers, academic departments: Architecture, Behavior Science, Education, English, Mathematics, Science, Social Science, Visual, Performing, and Communication Arts, Health, Sport, and Exercise Science are all housed in the broad College of Arts and Sciences. Review the highlighted headings in the "Detailed Archives Inventory" to see the different provenances established by the previous and current archivist.
Please note: Academic and non-academic departments often change year-to-year within an academic institution. It is important to re-visit Triton's departmental Web page: www.triton.edu/Departments/ at least once a fiscal year to make sure new acquisitions fit within the current structure of the College.
A place that houses institutional documents is a "repository". As such, Triton College's Archives is a repository. Digitally, specific hard drives on the archivist's PC where scanned images and documents are saved, are also repositories. Since there is no current collection development policy written for the Archives, we are an open repository for Triton College faculty, staff, current students, alumni of the school, and community members. Quite simply, we collect.
Essentially, the slang librarian term, "weeding" refers to removing items from a collection deemed no longer relevant according to the instution's collection development policy. In Archives, the common practice is to "weed" duplicate items in effort to free physical space in the Archives for future acquisitions. Since there is currently no collection development policy in place for the Archives, it is at the discretion of the archivist, whether items are weeded from the Archives or not.