Hello! On Tuesday I finally finished processing and organizing my first collection. On the left is my finished product, all labeled and organized. Processing this collection was a very enjoyable experience for me–I feel that I am the expert on this collection. Throughout the process it was sometimes difficult to know how to group some of the items. Certain things, like meeting minutes, are easy to group together. Some things like handwritten notes or various articles are more difficult to group. If the notes contain a wide variation in subject matter, it might be better to group them into several groups according to subject. However, if there are only a few pages of notes, it might be easier to group them together and indicate their subject matter on the folder in which they are placed.
On the left is how my work space looked as I was learning how to group all the items in this collection. Sometimes pieces of the collection were grouped in a way that seemed intentional, even if the items did not go together. For instance, I had a folder for memoranda, but occasionally a single memorandum would be placed with a document that it referenced. I would then try and keep those items together, even though they could hypothetically go in different places. Then a person looking through the memoranda would not have to search through the collection to find a specific document referenced in a memorandum. I also tried to group memoranda and meeting minutes chronologically so the collection would be more user-friendly.
A good deal of my time was spent removing staples and paperclips. I did not realize this before, but staples can rust relatively quickly. This collection is, at most, 30 years old. To the left is an example of the damage a staple caused to one of the documents in the collection. Staples and paper clips can also cause a lot of clutter. If many packets are stapled it makes the folder very thick in some places and thinner in others. Removing such items allows the folders to be much more neat and organized. If it is necessary we can replace metal paperclips or staples with plastic clips. This prevents document damage. It also helps keep small documents that might move around from getting lost.
Currently I am working on finishing the finding aid for this record group. The finding aid will assist any user of this record group by telling them about the collection and what materials are in what folders. Hopefully I will be able to complete it by the end of the week and be able to move on to my next project!