As students and faculty return to campus and think of interesting research projects using Special Collections, our processing team is reassembling and gearing up to make more of our collections findable and usable for them. From receiving a collection to making it available for research, many people are involved. Today we’ll tell you a little bit about who they are and what they’ll be working on this fall.
We receive new collections and additions to existing collections nearly every week, and we make these collections available as soon as possible by preparing container lists and preliminary collection guides immediately when they arrive. Then they go into a queue for extra arrangement and description depending on how we expect they might be used, and on the availability of processors and space.
Special Collections staff, of course, work on arranging and describing collections year round. Our University Archives Specialist spends much of her time inventorying materials as they arrive from University offices. Right now she is also working on a project with Cooperative Extension annual reports to describe them in a way that will make them easier to find and use, in preparation for digitizing them. Our Digital Program Technician is currently arranging and describing a collection of comic books. A staff member in the Libraries’ Acquisitions and Discovery Department also helps with processing collections. Her expertise in metadata and cataloging are particularly helpful, especially with some of the large collections she has worked on.
We have two Library Associates– part-time, entry-level professional archivists who are graduate students in public history or library science–who arrange and describe collections. They also help with other aspects of archival work, including helping pick up collections from donors, writing blog posts (stay tuned – you’ll be hearing from them!), and other special projects that come up during their time with us. Because they are new this year, they will start out with some smaller collections, and as the year goes on they will work on larger and more complex collections.
This semester we will have two other graduate students processing collections in the SCRC, one from NCSU’s Public History Ph.D. program and one from UNC-CH’s Library Science program. These particular students have both worked at our Public Service desk and have helped inventory collections while there. We are fortunate to have graduate student processors who have worked with researchers so they will have researchers’ needs in mind as they arrange and describe collections.
We will also have three work-study students working with us this semester. The majority of their work will be re-foldering and inventorying collections. They will remove collection material from the folders in which it arrives and will place it in acid-free folders, then label the folders clearly and consistently, place them in acid-free boxes, and list them in a spreadsheet or directly in ArchivesSpace, our collection management software. Students who work at our Reading Room desk also do this kind of work when they are not actively engaged in helping researchers.
Visit our website for more information about finding and using archival collections at NCSU. You can also search directly within our collection guides or browse a list of our collections for more. If you have any questions about how to find or use the collections, as always, contact us! We are here to help you find what you need.