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This is an experimental space in which current M&C staff processing Special Collections materials can post questions related to processing and receive answers from their fellow M&C processors or from their M&C or SCRC supervisors. All current M&C processors as well as the SCRC and M&C processing supervisors will be asked to "Watch This Page", meaning you are subscribed to receive email notification whenever this page changes. Go to the Actions menu in the upper right, click Watch this Page.
The goal of this Q&A space is to gather our collective processing knowledge in a space that is accessible to all of us. When one person receives an answer to a question, all M&C processors will have immediate access to that knowledge. We also hope that the Q&A board will foster discussions about different aspects of processing, evoking answers to a single question from multiple processors or supervisors. The board will also aid current and future processors by providing a permanent and searchable body of knowledge.
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Questions & Answers

Numbering legal boxes?

Question by: cdb
Date: 2/1/2011
Do I number the legal-sized box as "1" or as the next sequential number in the collection?
Answer by: ls
Date: 2/1/2/011
Give the box the next number in the sequence. We give the flat folders different numbers because they get filed in a completely different location but the legal box will be on the shelf with the letter size boxes so it just gets the next number.

Undated materials?

Question by: cdb
Date: 11/29/2010
I have a folder that has no dates whatsoever, so I put "undated" on the folder. Where should this fall in the Inventory List? Should I leave it at the very bottom or file it with the academic year that all the other materials in this carton date from?
Answer by: cp
Date: ?
If the publication has no date anywhere on it and there are no logical clues to what a date could have been, we consider that item to be "undated," and you can write that on the folder and in the Date Expression field in AT. If there is no date on the publication but something about it gives you an idea of what the date could have been, then we use "circa" dates. For example: maybe there is a picture printed on the cover and you recognize from the style of clothing that people are wearing , or a landmark in the background, that it might have been the 1970s. In this case, you can label your folder with a date of "circa 1970s" and put the same information into the Date Expression field in AT. Be careful with circa dates though – it's actually better to say that something is undated than to assign a circa date to it unless you can make a strong case for why you think that circa date is correct. The danger is that a wrong circa date could get assigned and a researcher trying to use our materials will think that the item/s are not useful to them if the dates given fall outside of the date period they are working with, whereas researchers know to always check things labeled as "undated" because those things could be from the time period they are concerned with.
All undated files should get put at the bottom of the list in AT – think of the undated files as their own group, and alphabetize the undated files A-Z, but they should come after everything else in the list we have dates for.

Dates in folder titles?

Question by: ?
Date: ?
Should dates and date spans be included as part of titles?
Answer by: cp
Date: 7/16/2009
Dates and date spans should not be included as a part of the title, unless the publication specifically includes a date as a part of its title; since we are capturing the dates in the Date Expression field in AT, it isn't necessary to have the date in the title as well. If they were written into the title when the re-foldering was done, it's fine to leave it on the folder ,but when you add the titles into AT, omit the dates from the titles and just enter them in the Date Expression field.

How do I know when to make a folder-level note?

Question by: cdb
Date: ?
How do I determine whether or not to make a folder-level note?
Answer by: cp
Date: ?
(paraphrased by jc) Consider the note and materials from the researcher's point of view – is what's in the folder going to be important or valuable to them? If the materials aren't saying anything so important that we need to call attention to it, we don't want to potentially get a researcher excited by putting in a note that makes the materials in the folder sound more pertinent to their research than they are.

Where to file interim chancellors? (Chancellors records collection)

Question by: cdb
Date: 12/14/2010
(paraphrased by jc) have a folder with records from an interim chancellor. Do I file interim chancellors with the preceding or following chancellor?
Answer by: cp
Date: 12/15/2010
We file interim chancellors with the previous or following chancellor, depending on the date of the records. If the records fall in the fiscal year that the iterim took over (i.e. the previous chancellor started but didn't finish serving out that fiscal year and the interim took over), then file with the previous chancellor. If the interim chancellor started the fiscal year, but the new chancellor took over before that fiscal year ended, then file with the new chancellor.

Alphabetization and original order

Question by: cdb
Date: 10/19/2010
When we have a folder that is filed incorrectly alphabetically in the original order, should we physically set that folder aside and put it in the correct alphabetical physical location? Either way, we know we are supposed to put the folders in alphabetical order in AT.
Answer by: cp
Date: 10/19/2010
In terms of physical location, I think it will be easier to just go ahead and put that folder in the physical box right away. Physical order of a collection is essentially meaningless once box/folder locations are assigned. It's the intellectual order (of the list in the finding aid) that matters. Physical order never matters so long as your finding aid folder list is in order.

Single years versus academic years in folder titles

Question by: cdb
Date: 10/19/2010
If we notice that a particular folder only has materials associated with a single year, should we put only that year on the folder and in AT? Or do we always put the academic year span?
Answer by: cp
Date: 10/19/2010
Let's always reflect the true dates of what's in a folder on the folder. That way, we're not misleading researchers. But still file it in its place in the academic year that the folder is a part of.

Folders with the same titles?

Question by: dm
Date: 4/29/2010
Can multiple folders have the exact same title?
Answer by: cp
Date: 4/29/2010
(slightly modified by jc and dm) Yes, multiple folders can have the exact same title as long as they have different dates associated in the Date Expression field. This is because while we enter title info and date info into two separate fields in AT, these fields are actually nested together in a single element in the underlying XML, so a folder is uniquely identified as long as either the date ranges or title are different. If you have a set of materials that don't fit in a single folder but pertain to the same theme and date span, then we usually add "1 of 4, 2 of 4, 3 of 4, etc." to the title. For example, you might have distinct titles with the same date range:

  • Engagements (1 of 2) / 1970-1971
  • Engagements (2 of 2) / 1970-1971

Or you might have the same title with different date ranges:

  • Engagements / 1970-1971
  • Engagements / 1972-1973
How to deal with photographs inside folders?

Question by: fb
Date: 12/17/2009
I found three 8x10 photographs in one of my folders. What do I do with these?
Answer by: cp
Date: 12/17/2009
If it's just a single 8x10 photograph, it's ok to leave it in the folder. If it's multiple 8x10 photographs, you need to put each one in a plastic sleeve so that they don't stick to each other over time (this is a preservation concern). You also want to use gloves when handling photographs. SCRC has both sleeves and gloves for you to use.

How to update Special Collections processing and description matrix

Question by: lb
Date: 02/03/2011
I added 3.75 linear feet to the Chancellor Fox papers (previous end date was 2010/03). I added a row to the FY 2010-2011 table, updated the end date and the dimensions in both tables and I added my initials to the fy 2010-2011 table. Does it look right?
Projects for FY 2010-2011

Project Title

Begin

End

Dimensions

Staff

Process?

Folder?

Desc

Admin

Public

Completed in current fy

Chancellor's Papers. M.A. Fox

?

2011/01

108.75 lf

lb

x

x

 

 

Finding aid

3.75 lf

Projects for FY 2009-2010

Project Title

Begin

End

Dimensions

Staff

Process?

Folder?

Desc

Admin

Public

Completed in current fy

Chancellor's Papers. M.A. Fox

?

2011/01

108.75 lf

la bk

x

x

x

x

Finding aid

105.0 lf

Answer by: jc
Date: 2/7/2011
Yes Liz, that is the correct way to update the matrix. For the rest of you who are cleaning up the end bits of the Chancellors, please remember to add it to the matrix the same way Liz has (meaning: not only adding a new row in the 2010-2011fy with the additional linear feet, but also updating the total "Dimensions" in the pre-existing 2009-2010fy row to reflect the new total linear feet of the collection).

Arrangement of UA 130.001

Question by: cdb
Date: 02/14/2011
I wanted to double-check..I believe we said in our last meeting that if we found any folders that were about an Industry, yet are filed Chronologically (example: I have a folder entitled "Burlington Industries," dated 1956-1957), we would still leave this in the Chronological Files series. Is that correct? (Background info: we are organizing this collection into 2 series, Chronological and Industrial files)
Answer by: ls
Date: 2/14/2011
Leave Industry files that are filed chronologically in the Chronological files. At this point, we don't really know what the original order is but we will only separate the ones that we know the Dean's office was keeping separately, so those are the ones that are all together. The others we will leave where they are now.

Storing duplicate photographs in photoguards

Question by: fb
Date: 02/17/2011
I have two indentical photographs – should I put these together in one photoguard or put them into two separate guards?

Answer by: ls
Date: 2/17/2011
You can put two photos back to back in a photo sleeve but we only need to keep one copy of each photograph so you can discard the duplicate copies of each photo that you keep.

Folder title differs from inside materials

Question by: fb
Date: 03/10/2011
I have a folder titled: Ashe, Dale. However the materials residing in the folder have no information about Mr. Ashe.  Should I keep this title?

Answer by: LS
Date: 3/8/2011

No. It sounds to me like that folder title is inaccurate and would be misleading for researchers. There may have been some connection to Dale Ashe but if it's no longer possible to tell what it is, then I think we should come up with a folder title that represents what is in the folder.

Folder title is publication title?

Question by: CDB
Date: 04/04/2011

I have a folder that only contains an issue from a journal.  I seem to remember Cate saying to italicize a folder title if it is a publication title.  Is this a case where I would do that?  And if so, how do you italicize in AT?

Answer by: LS
Date: 4/4/2011

Yes. Italicize the folder title if it is the title of a publication. To do that, highlight the title in the Title field in AT, then at the bottom of the box, click "Wrap in tag..." and select "title." Then you will get a dialog box that asks you to choose a value for "render" and you should choose "italic."

Are Notification of Gift forms restricted?

Question by: CDB
Date: 4/18/2011

This folder contains gift forms that include donor information, including photocopies of checks and the amount donated. Does this folder need to be restricted?

Answer by: LS
Date: 4/18/2011

I think the answer is "It depends." It may be that we should not keep these records at all. If they are financial records, then we only keep them for Major and Planned gifts or Gifts of property or real estate.  We would keep correspondence, reports, or brochures, or other non-financial records relating to annual giving, capital campaigns, or scholarships/awards. But it sounds to me like these are financial records. If you agree, then they never should have gotten here and we can shred them. If they are not financial records, let me know and we will take another look.

How do we order industry files in AT?

Question by: LB
Date: 4/22/2011
Are we treating the industry files like the chronological files - ordering chronologically and then alphabetically within each academic year?

Answer by: LS
Date: 4/26/2011

If that's how they are now, then that's how we want to maintain them. I remember seeing some files that were alphabetical so that's how I would keep them. If they restart the alphabet every year or two then I'd do that. After talking to Cathy and Flora on Tuesday, it appears that the files were not kept by year but by organization and the time spans are not regular. It looks more like they started a folder and when it got full they started a new one. So, let's put them in alphabetical order. If there are multiple folders with the same folder title, file those chronologically, if possible.

CD-ROMs in files?

Question by: CDB
Date: 5/3/2011

I have a CD-ROM in a folder. Cate had asked us to flag the box saying there's a CD-ROM inside but since we're sending these directly to Duke ourselves now, what should we do with them?

Answer by: LS
Date: 5/3/2011

Send those boxes to me instead of to Duke, please. I'll make sure there's space on top of the cart right inside my office door so you can put them there. Then, I'll take care of the CD and send the box over to Duke. Thanks!