Rockefeller Archive Center Guide to Processing Collections - Processing

The processing phase of each assignment begins with establishing the current arrangement of the material, evaluating the arrangement needs, and crafting an arrangement proposal for the project. The proposed arrangement should then be approved by the Head of Processing and stated in the Project Vitals.

Arrangement

Arrangement is the organizing and sequencing of materials in a collection in a meaningful way. More specifically, it is the process of ordering materials with respect to provenance and original order to preserve context and to attain physical and intellectual control of the holdings.

Describing Archives: A Content Standard (DACS) defines the process of arrangement as: “identifying the logical groupings of materials within the whole as they were established by the creator, of constructing a new organization when the original ordering has been lost, or of establishing an order when one never existed. The archivist may then identify further subgroupings within each unit down to the level of granularity that is feasible or desirable. This process creates hierarchical groupings of material, with each step in the hierarchy described as a level.” (DACS 2013, Principle 3, p.xvii).

The hierarchical levels commonly used at RAC are: Collection, Record Group, Subgroup, Series, Subseries, and File.

Item-level description is extremely rare, and such detailed description must be pre-approved by the Head of Processing.

The concepts of archival arrangement apply to the organization of all records regardless of format, including paper collections, audiovisual collections, digital collections, and “hybrid” collections which consist of multiple formats including paper and digital files. When arranging hybrid records – whether representing original order, maintaining an existing order, or otherwise establishing an arrangement – the archival arrangement is pertinent to all holdings across all applicable hierarchical levels and should be designated and expressed consistently regardless of the format being arranged.

Description reflects arrangement, but the physical arrangement of the items in a collection may or may not parallel the intellectual arrangement. Items that are described together may be stored separately because of their differing size, shape, condition, access or use conditions, physical composition, format or other factors.

Arrangement

Step 9 - Follow Arrangement Recommendations in Project Vitals

Step 10 - Standard Arrangement

The most common and often the most appropriate arrangement action is to leave things as they are. In such cases, the processing archivist should:

  • Maintain original order/as received

  • Conduct minimal physical arrangement

  • Not undertake rearrangement of material within folders

Whenever it exists, original order should be maintained. Original order represents the creator’s structure, and reveals information about the creator, the use of the records, and the relationship among and between the files. However, in cases in which the original order is indiscernible or untenable, introducing or establishing a workable arrangement is an acceptable option. As stated in the Society of American Archivists online glossary, “archivists are not required to preserve ‘original chaos’ and may arrange such materials in a way that facilitates their use and management without violation of any archival principle.”

Often it may not be known if the existing arrangement comprises the original order. In cases such as this, the processing archivist consider retaining the existing order “as received”.

In addition to Original Order or “As Received”, common arrangement types include: Type/Format; Activity/Function; Alphabetical; and Chronological order.

Arrangement creates an intellectual and most often a physical structure for a collection, with the objective of enabling accurate descriptions, which lead to efficient access and management. Effective arrangement opens collections to research as quickly as possible, but it is not a tool used to create perfectly manicured collections. If assigned a project which necessitates considering arrangement options, consult the Head of Processing and receive his/her approval before proceeding to alter the existing arrangement.

Description

Once an arrangement plan is chosen, archival description begins, and this work continues through all phases of the project until completion. As processing of a given collection concludes, the Processing Team periodically takes further steps to evaluate, improve, and optimize the description through editing and updating all collection guides as necessary.

Description is the creation of an accurate representation of the archival material by the process of capturing, collating, analyzing, and organizing information that serves to identify archival material. Description also explains the context and records systems that produced the archival material, as well as the results of these processes.

The RAC has adopted the Society of American Archivists’ endorsed Describing Archives: A Content Standard (DACS) to govern the archival description of all RAC archival holdings, regardless of form, medium or creator (individuals, families or corporate bodies). For details, please refer to http://www2.archivists.org/standards/DACS.

Archival description most often consists of a multi-level structure that reflects the arrangement of the material, and the relationship between those levels, beginning with a description of the whole and most often continuing with description of the parts. It may consist only of a description of the whole, but most often the description tends to be more and more detailed with progression through the parts. Within a given collection or project, and depending on the chosen processing level, some parts may be described at greater or varying levels of detail, with the resulting finding aid intentionally flexible in order to produce a variety of descriptive outputs.

Building the Finding Aid

At RAC all archival description is recorded in our collections management system (ArchivesSpace), and all completed processing projects are displayed online through our collection guides website DIMES.

100% of our online guides conform to DACS single-level minimum compliance. To ensure that the quality and completeness of our guides is maintained, we take steps to comply with DACS as soon as the initial draft finding aids are created.

Step 11 - Receive a Resource ID from the Head of Processing (DACS 2.1.3)

  • Each resource record/finding aid at RAC is assigned a unique ID.

  • Resources created during Processing are assigned a FA#.

  • Resources created during Accessioning are assigned an AC#.

  • AC# records may be converted to FA# during processing.

  • The Resource ID (FA#) may be included in the Project Vitals or may be assigned at a later date (as needed).

Step 12 - Create (or receive from the Head of Processing) a Shell Resource Record in ArchivesSpace for the Finding Aid

  • For assistance or instruction with creating the shell, please see the Head of Processing.

Step 13 - Establish DACS Single-Level Minimum Compliance at the Collection Level/Highest Level of the Finding Aid

1. Title (Collection Level/Highest Level of finding aid) (DACS 2.3)

RAC has established a normalized descriptive Naming Convention, which augments DACS guidelines, pertinent only to the top level of a finding aid.

For archives consisting of multiple collections, the title consists of:

  • The name of the Creator (individual, corporate body) + the term records, papers or collection (as applicable) + the collection name.
Examples

Ford Foundation records, Oral History Project

Ford Foundation records, Urban Poverty Program, Office Files of Robert Curvin

Rockefeller University records, Plant Operations

Rockefeller University records, President, Joshua Lederberg

Rockefeller Foundation records, Cox and Reece Investigations

For Rockefeller University faculty or Rockefeller Institute for Medical Research Scientific Staff collections, the title consists of:

  • The name of the Creator (individual) + the term papers or collection (as applicable) + the term Rockefeller University Faculty or Rockefeller Institute for Medical Research Scientific Staff (as applicable).
Examples

Ralph Steinman papers, Rockefeller University Faculty

Maclyn McCarty papers, Rockefeller University Faculty

Max Bergman papers, Rockefeller Institute for Medical Research Scientific Staff

The top level presented in RAC’s finding aids vary depending on the level being described (Collection, Record Group, Subgroup, Series, Subseries). When describing components within a collection at the highest level of a finding aid, the title consists of:

  • The name of the Creator (individual, corporate body) + the term records, papers or collection (as applicable) + the name and number (or letter) of the component being described.
Examples

Commonwealth Fund records, Commission on Women's Health, SG 2, Series 4

Rockefeller Foundation records, Projects, RG 1.2

Office of the Messrs. Rockefeller records, Cultural Interests, Series E

Nelson A. Rockefeller Gubernatorial records, Speeches, Series 33

Nelson A. Rockefeller Vice Presidential records, New York Office, Series 10

Consult the Head of Processing for more information regarding the RAC Naming Convention.

Additional Required Collection Level Elements

2. Extent (DACS 2.5) (in cubic feet and/or born-digital in estimated number of files and MB/GB or appropriate measure)

  • 1 record storage box = 1.3 cu. ft.

  • 1 letter document box = 0.38 cu. ft.

  • 1 legal document box = 0.47 cu. ft.

  • 1 letter half-document box = 0.19 cu. ft.

  • 1 legal half-document box = 0.24 cu. ft.

  • Example: 30 cu. ft. and 3000 digital files (1 GB)

3. Date (DACS 2.4)

  • Record inclusive date when known (Begin Year–End Year).

  • Recording bulk date is optional.

  • Date may initially be recorded as “undated” in order to save the shell record.

4. Language (English) (DACS 4.5)

  • Records the Language term and code predominately represented in the material described.

  • The overwhelming majority of RAC’s collections are in English.

  • A natural language note should also be recorded at the top level of the finding aid for user readability.

5. Creator/Author (DACS 2.6)

  • Record the provenance of the material in the “Agent Links” in ArchivesSpace.

  • In rare cases it is appropriate to record multiple creators. Limit creators to a maximum of three.

  • If the creator is unknown, “Source” can be used as an acceptable substitute.

6. Scope and Content (DACS 3.1)

The processing archivist should document the nature of the materials and activities reflected in the unit being described to enable users to judge its potential relevance. The Scope and Content may include information about any or all of the following, as appropriate:

  • The function(s), activity(ies), transaction(s), and process(es) that generated the materials being described

  • The documentary form(s) or intellectual characteristics of the records being described (e.g., minutes, diaries, reports, watercolors, documentaries)

  • The content dates, that is, the time period(s) covered by the intellectual content or subject of the unit being described

  • The geographic area(s) and places to which the records pertain

  • The subject matter to which the records pertain, such as topics, events, people, and organizations

  • Any other information that assists the user in evaluating the relevance of the materials, such as completeness, changes in location, ownership, and custody while still in the possession of the creator, etc.

  • This information should be derived from the materials themselves and any relevant documentation.

  • When the unit being described is known to be incomplete due to reasons other than archival appraisal decisions, information about the gaps should be recorded.

7. Conditions Governing Access (DACS 4.1)

General Collection-Level Access Statements Approved for Use at RAC

The following four approved collection-level standard access statements cover the large majority of RAC collections. Select the access statement that fits the collection. If the project entails processing a collection with unique conditions, contact the Head of Processing.

General Collection-Level Access Statement I

Open for research. Brittle or damaged items are available at the discretion of RAC.

Basic Access Statement I is appropriate if/when the collection/finding aid contains only open materials and includes NO digital, AV, film, or memorabilia items.

General Collection-Level Access Statement II (appropriate for many RAC collections)

Open for research with select materials restricted as noted. Brittle or damaged items are available at the discretion of RAC. Researchers interested in accessing digital media (floppy disks, CDs, DVDs, etc.) in this collection must use an access surrogate. The original items may not be accessed because of preservation concerns. To request an access surrogate be made, or if you are unsure if there is an access surrogate, please contact an archivist.

When requesting to view audiovisual material, please refer to the Title and the AV Number (example: AV 1916). Researchers are asked to check the "Restrictions" note for each Title. If a Title does not currently have an access copy, please contact a RAC archivist for further instruction.

General Collection-Level Access Statement III (For materials governed by a date embargo)

Records more than (25/10/XX) years old are open for research with select materials restricted as noted. Brittle or damaged items are available at the discretion of RAC. Researchers interested in accessing digital media (floppy disks, CDs, DVDs, etc.) in this collection must use an access surrogate. The original items may not be accessed because of preservation concerns. To request an access surrogate be made, or if you are unsure if there is an access surrogate, please contact an archivist.

When requesting to view audiovisual material, please refer to the Title and the AV Number (example: AV 1916). Researchers are asked to check the "Restrictions" note for each Title. If a Title does not currently have an access copy, please contact a RAC archivist for further instruction.

General Collection Level Access Statement IV (For Rockefeller family collections)

Open for research with select materials restricted as noted. Brittle or damaged items are available at the discretion of RAC. Material in the Rockefeller family collections that provides the names, correspondence, or activities of living members of the Rockefeller family, and/or documents the net wealth of any Rockefeller family members, is restricted. Researchers interested in accessing digital media (floppy disks, CDs, DVDs, etc.) in this collection must use an access surrogate. The original items may not be accessed because of preservation concerns. To request an access surrogate be made, or if you are unsure if there is an access surrogate, please contact an archivist.

When requesting to view audiovisual material, please refer to the Title and the AV Number (example: AV 1916). Researchers are asked to check the "Restrictions" note for each Title. If a Title does not currently have an access copy, please contact a RAC archivist for further instruction.

Notes on the four general collection-level access statements

  • The term “with select materials restricted as noted” should be added or removed depending on if the contents of the entire guide are open.

  • The portion of the statement pertaining to digital and/or audiovisual materials (see below) should ONLY be included if the collection/finding aid actually contains those materials.

Format-Based Collection Level Access Statements Approved for Use at RAC

The access statement used should only refer to the terms of access for specific formats if those formats are indeed found in the collection/finding aid being described.

1. For collections/finding aids which contain digital media the following language should be added to the end of the access statement

Researchers interested in accessing digital media (floppy disks, CDs, DVDs, etc.) in this collection must use an access surrogate. The original items may not be accessed because of preservation concerns. To request an access surrogate be made, or if you are unsure if there is an access surrogate, please contact an archivist.

2. For collections/finding aids that contain audiovisual materials the following language should be added to the end of the access statement

When requesting to view audiovisual material, please refer to the Title and the AV Number (example: AV 1916). Researchers are asked to check the "Restrictions" note for each Title. If a Title does not currently have an access copy, please contact a RAC archivist for further instruction.

All inquiries to view films require advanced notice of at least 2 business days, and may necessitate notice of up to one week. Individual items, including those that are not available in modern formats, may be restricted from access at the discretion of RAC.

3. For collections/finding aids that contain memorabilia/realia the following language should be added to the end of the access statement

All inquiries to view memorabilia require advanced notice of at least 2 business days, and may necessitate notice of up to one week. Items are available at the discretion of RAC.

Step 14 - Add Additional Required Elements to the Shell Record

In addition to single level compliance – RAC required data elements for the shell include:

  1. Finding Aid Title

    • The bibliographic title of the finding aid itself.

    • The standard term “A Guide to the…” Is used to differentiate the finding aid title, for example: “A Guide to the Warren Weaver papers”

  2. Finding Aid Filing Title

    • An edited version of the Formal Title intended to facilitate searching, sorting and browsing of finding aids.

    • In most cases, the Finding Aid Filing Title is the same as the Formal Title. For example:

    Rockefeller Brothers Fund records

    William T. Grant Foundation records

    Ford Foundation records, Office of Communications, Advisor on Communications, Office Files of Fred W. Friendly

    • For personal papers, the Finding Aid Filing Title should be listed with the last name first, followed by other names in parenthesis.

    Weaver (Warren) papers

    Frantz (Harry S.) papers

    Harrar (J. George) papers

  3. EAD-ID (FA#.xml)

    • This is the unique identifier for the EAD file which is exported out of the collections management system for online display in DIMES.

    • PDF versions of the EAD file can also be exported.

Create Inventory

Step 15 - Create Inventory, or Build Upon/Revise/Confirm Existing Inventory

  • At Processing Level 1, particularly during initial ingest and accessioning, the minimum requirement is single-level general description of contents, which can serve in lieu of an inventory.

  • General description can be a summary statement describing the whole such as:

Accession contains grant files, Board of Directors records, and subject files.

  • General description of contents from an appraisal report, or from documents provided by the donor/depositor, could also serve in lieu of an inventory.

  • Ideally, the donor/depositor will provide RAC with an inventory.

  • If the inventory prepared by the donor/depositor adequately meets basic processing requirements, no additional RAC-produced inventory is required at accessioning.

  • For the purposes of Level 1 inventorying, file-level description also can be utilized to generally describe the contents of an entire file, often spanning multiple folders or multiple boxes, with individual instances assigned for each box.

Examples

Title: Grants, A-D

Instance 1: Box 1
Instance 2: Box 2

Title: Board of Directors

Instance 1: Box 4
Instance 2: Box 5

Title: Subject Files

Instance 1: Box 6

The inventory/container list, at all levels of Processing, should focus on FILE LEVEL description, with each archival object/inventory entry comprised of four vital parts

  1. Title
  2. Date
  3. Instance information
  4. Associated notes

Remember FILE LEVEL description does NOT equate to FOLDER LEVEL description.

In multi-level description, always remember to focus on the level being described (Collection, Record Group, Subgroup, Series, Subseries, File) with the description reflecting the arrangement and the inherent relationship among and between the records of each level.

Describing Titles

See section 2.3 of DACS for a complete description of the guidelines for the title element. Guidelines for establishing name authorities and forms of names including those of persons, families, geographic names and corporate bodies are available in DACS -Part II and Chapter 10.

  • Title is intent on concisely describing the content or nature of the file.

  • The Title for each file should answer the question – What is this file? Or, what is the content of this file?

Example

Title: Board of Directors Meeting Minutes

  • The File Title can be a Formal Title (supplied by the creator) or it can be a Devised Title (created by the archivist during processing).

  • In multilevel descriptions the name segment, or a portion of the name segment, may be inherited from a higher level of description and may not need to be explicitly stated at lower levels.

A. Titles should be brief, yet uniquely identify the material.

B. Titles should not end with a period.

C. When listing the contents of a file in an alphabetical run, list the letters actually found within the run, such as “A-Z”, or portion of the run, such as “C-Y”. If unaware of the specific letters represented, use “A-Z”.

D. Use a comma when recording locations. For example: Cummings Lecture at the Educational Alliance, New York City

E. All RAC finding aids should be written predominantly using the English language. When working with titles in languages other than English, use the original title when feasible. If the language in question uses a different alphabet, such as Russian, provide an English language description of the type of records housed in the file (if known) and include a language of materials note at the appropriate level to indicate the language used.

Example

Title: Reprint

Language of materials note: In Russian

Recording Names in the Title Element

It is important to note that this section addresses NAMES USED IN THE TITLE ELEMENT ONLY. If a name has been chosen for recording in the name of creator element, an authority record, or as an access point, the form of that name is established by approved sources and national standards, such as the Library of Congress Authorities and the Library of Congress Subject Headings.

A. Record the name(s) of the person(s), family (families), or corporate body predominantly responsible for the creation, assembly, accumulation, and/or maintenance of the records. (DACS 2.3.4)

B. Record the name(s) in the form by which the creator(s) or collector(s) is generally known, and by using the natural language order of the English language (or the natural language order of the language of the person or corporate body’s country of residence) (DACS 2.3.5).

Example

Detlev W. Bronk

In ordered lists, the Surname (often the name by which the creator is generally known) can be presented first.

Example

Bronk, Detlev W.

C. Abbreviations are strongly discouraged.

When recording the name of an individual, family, or a corporate body, use the full name rather than an abbreviation. For example, Detlev W. Bronk should be used rather than DWB or DB. Use of abbreviations, instead of the full names, for a limited number of the most commonly found names in the RAC collections is acceptable (such as the abbreviation JDR Jr. for John D. Rockefeller Jr.). Use of abbreviations is also approved when an abbreviation is commonly known and used by the general public.

Examples

NATO can be used rather than North Atlantic Treaty Organization

FBI can be used rather than Federal Bureau of Investigation

D. Acronyms should be spelled out, with the full name followed by the acronym provided in parenthesis. This allows researchers to search for terms using the name or the acronym.

Example

National Academy of Sciences (NAS)

E. Titles recording multiple names should be written as follows:

  • If three or fewer persons are credited with, or predominantly responsible for, the creation of the materials as a whole, record their names in direct order. (DACS 2.3.7)

  • If more than three persons are responsible for the creation of the materials, record the name of the individual who predominates. (DACS 2.3.8) Optionally, include all the names of the persons who are credited with or predominantly responsible for the creation of the materials. (DACS 2.3.9)

Examples

John Smith and Al Jones

John Smith, Al Jones, and Paul Adams

If 6 people are responsible for creating the materials and John Smith predominates, record John Smith as the title (or the names of all 6 people)

F. If multiple files contain the same basic title, with varying added components, the components should be subdivided with a hyphen or colon to signify subordination.

Examples

Job Jackets - Maps for Trustees

Job Jackets - Open House

G. Titles physically written or recorded on folders may be abbreviated or truncated. Corresponding finding aid description should follow all stated rules and guidelines.

Describing Dates

  • Answers the question – When is the content of this file created?

  • It can be a single date (like the date of a meeting), or a range of inclusive dates.

  • At RAC the date assigned is most often an inclusive date.

  • Date should be expressed as year month day.

Example

1982 April 5.

  • When describing consecutive spans of years, record the full years:
Example

1941-1944.

  • When describing multiple non-consecutive dates, use a comma:
Example

1941, 1953, 1962.

  • Date ranges that encompass a combination of consecutive and non-consecutive date spans should be recorded as:
Example

1941-1944, 1953.

  • If the material in the file is not dated, record it as “undated”.

  • If file contents are differentiated by months rather than years, record the dates as:

1915 January-May

1915 June-December

  • If the contents are differentiated by days, or days, months, years, record dates as:

1915 January 5-12

1915 January 5-June 30

1915 January 5-1916 March 10

  • If the dates of the material are unknown, leave the field blank.

Instance Information

  • Instance information should answer the question – Where is the file?

  • The instance connects intellectual control with physical control of the file.

  • FILE LEVEL description does not directly equate to FOLDER LEVEL description.

  • Instance Information records the carrier or container. Most often the container is a Box, Box/Folder. In some cases, it is used to record the Reel/Frame of microforms, or the Unique ID (AV#) of an audiovisual item.

  • The primary instance (most often a “Box”) is designated as a Top Container. For assistance with Top Container creation see Head of Processing.

  • It also records the instance type – most often “Mixed Materials”. “Microform”, “Moving Image”, “Still Image” are also common types used.

Associated Notes

  • Notes most often used at the FILE Level are the Conditions of Access note, and the Physical Description note (which is used to answer the question – What is this physically?).
Examples

Title: Board of Directors Meeting Minutes
Date: 1947
Instances: Box 1, Folder 1
Associated Notes: Only used when pertinent.

Title: Board of Directors Meeting Minutes
Date: 1948-1952
Instances: Box 1, Folders 1-5

Title: Board of Directors Meeting Minutes
Date: 1953 June-1954 July
Instance: Box 2

Title: Board of Directors Meeting Minutes
Date: 1955 July 1-1958 July 15
Instances:
Instance 1: Box 2
Instance 2: Box 3
Instance 3: Box 4

When the instances span multiple boxes, assigning each box to a separate instance allows each box to be designated as a Top Container and each barcode to be individually documented.

Stabilize and Describe At-Risk materials

Step 16 – Stabilize and Describe At-Risk Materials

Identify and provide care for those materials, regardless of format, that are at greatest risk for obsolescence or data loss to facilitate their stabilization, preservation, further processing, and researcher access.

Most at-risk materials should be retained within the originating collection. Some commonly found at-risk materials should be transferred to the Library collection, while others require specialized care to enable their preservation, facilitate migration, extend their lifespan, or otherwise limit the risks of loss.

Materials to be transferred to the Library collection

  • An item belongs to either the RAC Archive or the RAC Library collection, not both.

  • The library collection consists of stand-alone items, independent of archival
    provenance, which are most often described, stored and accessed at the item level.

  • Library holdings are described bibliographically.

  • Eligible materials include but are not necessarily limited to:

    • Collections or accessions whose entire contents is published materials within the scope of the RAC Library collecting policy.

    • Published studies, reports and scientific or technical publications sponsored by, or otherwise produced through, direct grants or funding from RAC or a donor/depositor.

  • No more than two copies of any publication will be acquired, cataloged and added to the Library collection. (Any additional copies should be submitted for disposal or return to the donor/depositor in accordance with RAC Collections Management procedure.)

  • Bibliographic records will be created in the Collection Management system by RAC Collections Management/Library staff as applicable.

  • When transferring published materials to the RAC Library, the processing archivist should provide Collections Management/Library staff:

    • The Resource ID Number (FA#)

    • Accession/Collection Title

    • If no applicable Finding Aid is created, provide the accession number.

  • No separation number(s) is assigned, and the separation sheet is not used.

  • No archival description should be added to the finding aid.

*All processed at-risk materials should be arranged in accordance with the Project Vitals, approved by the Head of Processing, and described in the finding aid at applicable levels within the originating context. Materials arranged and described together may be physically stored separately. The associated description should also detail any applicable conditions/restrictions of access and use as well as any significant stabilization or preservation issues*

Archival Materials to be retained within paper-based collections

A. All materials that are an integral part of the originating accession/collection should be retained, including those for which provenance and the contextual relationship among and between associated records is essential.

B. Digital media.

  • Digital media should be retained within the originating file or an accompanying associated file (as feasible), and inventoried at the file-level.

  • When processing:

    • A physical description note should be included at the file-level indicating the existence of the digital media.

    • When the entire contents of the file is digital media, the INSTANCE TYPE “Digital” should be used.

    • When the file also contains paper records or other materials, the INSTANCE TYPE “Mixed Materials” should be used.

    • Include a conditions governing access note at the file-level indicating either of these two options (as applicable):

      1. Access copy available.

      2. Researchers interested in accessing digital media (floppy disks, CDs, DVDs, etc.) in this collection must use an access surrogate. The original items may not be accessed because of preservation concerns. Access copy currently unavailable. Please contact a RAC archivist for further instruction.

  • The processing archivist will:

    • Receive training to develop the necessary proficiencies for each of the common removable media types and sizes.

    • Appraise and assess the eligibility of the item(s) for preservation in the RAC digital repository.

    • Image the removable media, note the presence of the item and document the imaging process in the digital media log and finding aid. See Step 22 for details.

    • Describe the resulting file(s), within originating context, in aggregate in the finding aid and insert the applicable Processing Information Note.

    • After imaging the original digital media should be submitted for disposal in accordance with RAC Collections Management procedure.

C. Oversized materials (larger than legal size: such as reports, studies or ledgers), index cards, postcards, unrolled or flattened materials, or other such files that can be appropriately preserved in specialized archival boxes.

  • When processing:

    • Collaborate with Collections Management as necessary.

    • Seek assistance from Collections Management to safely unroll or flatten applicable records.

    • Remove the entire file from its existing housing or storage and rehouse or relocate the file in its entirety to appropriately-sized archival folders and/or boxes. This rehousing may involve one file, a group of files, or the contents of an entire box. It should never involve an individual item(s).

    Example: rehousing material into legal-size box(es) and folder(s) that was originally folded/creased to fit in letter-size housing or vice versa.

    • No separation number(s) is assigned & the separation sheet is not used.

    • Finding Aid instance will designate the box and folder number(s) of the new container(s).

    • All appropriate Top Container data should also be recorded in the Collection Management System (Barcode, Location, & Container Profile).

    • Care of posters, blueprints and other flat files is addressed below.

D. Still images or small items found within files of mixed materials.

  • Individual items, small items (business cards, postcards, photographs, telegrams and greeting cards), or small volumes of still images should be retained within the originating file or an accompanying associated file (as feasible).

  • When processing:

    • Stabilize the items in accordance with recommendations from Collections Management.

    • A physical description note should be included at the file-level indicating the existence of the still images.

    • When the entire contents of the file is images, the INSTANCE TYPE “Still Image” should be used.

    • When the file also contains paper records or other materials, the INSTANCE TYPE “Mixed Materials” should be used.

E. Published articles, journals, magazines, papers, books, reprints, brochures, and pamphlets (and any other publications less than 50 pages) found within files of mixed materials.

  • Published material that is an integral part of the content and context of the originating collection/accession, or otherwise benefits from the retention of archival provenance, should be retained within the originating file or an accompanying associated file (as feasible).

  • Case by case recommendations will be addressed in Project Vitals preparation in coordination with recommendations of Collections Management/Library staff.

  • Process and describe the materials in accordance with all RAC standard practices and procedures.

At-Risk materials which may require specialized care

A. Brittle or damaged items or materials with significant/immediate preservation concerns.

  • Contact Collections Management immediately if the issue involves evidence of active, suspected, or dormant mold/mildew/pests.

  • Submit a Collection Concern form to Collections Management to document a non-immediate preservation issue(s).

  • Collaborate with Collections Management as necessary and implement any recommendations received.

  • Completion of the processing entails fully addressing each preservation concern(s) and documenting the necessary care in the completed finding aid, including but not necessarily limited to stabilization and/or the creation/assignment of any applicable containers/instances.

  • Select materials may require removal from the body of the collection, or from reference circulation, due to preservation concerns.

B. Audiovisual materials

  • Remove audiovisual material from its originating archival container and relocate the item(s) to a temporary container(s) exclusively holding AV material.

  • This newly created temporary container(s) should be used to house all AV holdings for a given processing project.

  • The number assigned to the temporary container should be “T 1”, “T 2”, etc.

  • No separation number is assigned, and the separation sheet is not used.

  • Finding Aid instance will designate the box and folder number(s) of the temporary AV container(s).

  • The INSTANCE TYPE “Audio” or “Moving Image” should be used as applicable.

  • All appropriate Top Container data should also be recorded in the Collection Management System (Barcode, Location, and Container Profile).

  • After recording all applicable Top Container data, notify the Audiovisual Archivist via Project Management software (Asana) to inform him/her of the existence of the AV material.

  • AV Archivist will assign permanent unique identifiers (AV Numbers), adjust the finding aid accordingly, and perform preservation tasks in accordance with the Guide to Processing Collections at RAC and the Collections Management Manual.

  • To facilitate long term storage the AV Archivist will make the following modifications to audiovisual top container:

    • For Film Material: All film is stored individually on a shelf and therefore is its own Top Container.

      Instance Type: Moving images

      Top Container:

      • Container Profile: choose correct film container

      • Container Type: Reel

      • Indicator: Unique AV Number (AV 100)

      • Barcode: Add barcode to film container

      • Add permanent location

    • For Audio or Video Material: Individual video and audio items are stored in a box. The box is the Top Container.

      Instance Type: Audio (for all audio) or Moving Images (for all video)

      Top Container:

      • Container Profile: choose correct box

      • Indicator: Enter box number

      • Barcode: Add barcode to box

      • Container Type: Box

      • Add permanent location

      Child Type:

      • Choose Reel (for open reel formats) or Tape (for cassette formats)

      Child Indicator: Unique AV number (AV 100)

  • Large volumes of audiovisual materials may necessitate the creation of an Audiovisual Series or Component.

  • Following digitization, the Processing Archivist may be consulted for creation of further metadata (Scope and Content note, etc.) or viewing/listening to the item(s) as applicable.

Describe audiovisual item(s) within originating context, using the following basic information:

Title

  • Description in the title element should be based on container and/or item annotations, usually on accessioning inventory spreadsheet.

  • Title may be revised after the material in question has been digitized and played if content and/or title differs from original container/item annotations.

Level of Description: File

Dates

  • Date for audiovisual materials is most often recorded as single creation date.

    • Label: Creation

    • Type: Single

    • Expression: YYYY-Month-DD (example: 1976 July 04)

  • If recorded date is not a single creation date follow standard practices.

  • Use “circa” or “c.” if approximating a date (example: c. 1970s)

Extent: TBD

Notes:

  • Conditions Governing Access (choose appropriate note at the file-level)

    • Access copy available.

    • Access copy currently unavailable. Please contact a RAC archivist for further instruction.

    • The AV collection-level-note can also be used at the series level.

  • Scope and Contents (Collaborate with AV archivist to watch/listen to the material AFTER a digitized access copy is created, and generate applicable notes.)

  • Materials Specific Details (Add format or film gauge from accession inventory.)

    VHS, ¼ inch audio cassette, 16mm film.

    See PBCore controlled vocabulary or Audiovisual Archivist for details.

  • Physical Description (Data should always be written in the sequence below.)

    • Silent or Sound, Black and white or Color, xx minutes.

    • Record, in Arabic numerals, the total duration/running time in minutes, normally rounded off to the nearest minute. Example: 75 minutes.

  • Physical Characteristics and Technical Requirements Note (Not required; use only if needed to inform user of important playback issues.)

    Sound has heavy static throughout recording; Image goes black intermittently near end of program.

For further assistance with the description of audiovisual materials please refer to:

C. Materials whose composition or format places them in particular risk of obsolescence or loss, such as:

Flat files that will benefit from long-term flat or oversized storage (drawers, cabinets, rolled canisters) such as architectural drawings, blueprints, maps, plans, and posters.

Ephemera, memorabilia, realia, and three dimensional objects.

Photographic albums or large volumes of still images, and/or scrapbooks.

Microforms (microfilm, microfiche, microform cards, or associated cartridges)

  • Seek assistance from, and work collaboratively with, Collections Management including formulating case by case recommendations in Project Vitals when feasible.

  • Inform Collections Management when flat files are encountered during processing, so that the Collections Management team can assign suitable flat file storage space.

  • Stabilize and house the materials in accordance with recommendations from Collections Management.

  • No separation number(s) is assigned, and the separation sheet is not used.

  • Finding Aid instance will designate the box and folder number(s) of the new container(s).

  • INSTANCE TYPE should be recorded as appropriate (“Mixed Materials”, “Still Image”, “Bound Volume”, etc.).

  • Inform Collections Management of all containers that house materials in this category (III.C) so that Collections Management can allocate space for these containers in suitable storage locations (Vault 105, Vault 106, Vault 107 drawers).

  • All appropriate Top Container data should also be recorded in the Collection Management System (Barcode, Location, and Container Profile).

Rehouse Archival Materials

Step 17 - Rehouse Archival Materials and/or Retain Existing Housing

(See Vitals)

  • Minimal Processing projects will most often retain existing housing when feasible.

  • Standard Processing projects will most often rehouse materials, with limited retention of existing housing when feasible.

Selecting Storage Containers and Enclosures

  • Select a box and folder size for documents based upon the dimensions of the majority of those to be contained within an enclosure. Most documents are up to 8 ½” in width and 11” in length, require a letter-size folder and box; papers larger than this size and up to 8 ½” in width and 14” in length, require a legal-size folder and box. Box sizes may vary within a collection.

  • Do not combine ‘unlike’ items in the same box.

Examples

Documents with metallic items (medals).

Documents with leather items which may be subject to deterioration (red rot) and bleed into the box.

Documents with liquid or powder in an envelope or container.

Coordinate with Collections Management whenever the project necessitates the use of non-standard containers — including but not limited to: oversized or undersized flat boxes, clamshell boxes, index card boxes, microform boxes, still image containers, newspaper-sized and textile boxes, and flat files or tubes.

The Collections Management team can assist with:

  • Ordering, or confirmation of on-site availability, of RAC-preferred containers.

  • Identifying box-types that may already be assigned container profiles in the RAC collections management system.

  • Measuring the boxes to create container profiles when needed.

  • Identifying and ordering of mylar, paper enclosures, support products, and other supplies which facilitate stabilization and long-term preservation.

Dispose of Used Boxes

Step 18 - Dispose of Used Boxes (Place in Operations Assistant office on Basement Level)

  • Disposing of used or damaged containers in an efficient and timely manner assists RAC with the institutional objectives of providing safe, secure, and clean spaces throughout all public and staff spaces including processing space, office space, hallways, staging areas, and vault spaces.

Label and Assign Instances

Step 19 – Label and Assign Instances (on Physical Files and in the Finding Aid, including Top Container/Container Profile)

  • For assistance with Top Container creation see Head of Processing.

  • Folders and boxes are commonly numbered consecutively from one box to the next. For example, if Box 1 contains Folders 1-10, then Box 2 would contain Folders 11-20.

  • With prior approval of the Head of Processing, projects may be processed with Folder 1-Folder X recurring in each box.

  • Required elements of description which must appear on all archival folders:

    • Collection (Abbreviation)

    • Box Number

    • Folder Number

    • Folder Title (may be abbreviated or truncated on physical folder)

    • Date

  • Elements of description which must appear on the folder(s) (when applicable to the material being described):

    • Restrictions
  • Additional description that will appear on the folder(s) (only if pertinent to the material being described):

    • Record Group (Abbreviation or Number)

    • Subgroup (Abbreviation or Number)

    • Series (Abbreviation or Number)

    • Subseries (Abbreviation or Number)

    • Index Number

    • Grant Number

  • RAC archival description will appear on processed folders as:

folder description

Preservation Issues

Step 20 - Submit Collection Concern form and discuss any Significant or Unexpected Preservation Issues with Collections Management.

Step 21 - Address Collection Concerns and Preservation Issues based on the Recommendations of Collections Management.

The Collection Concern form is currently located: S:\Inter-Office\Archival\Forms.

Please consult with Collections Management to request a stabilization consult, or if:

  • Material is damaged, torn or shedding.

  • Material has a particular odor or stickiness.

  • An unusual pattern exists on paper or film.

  • Edges of materials appear irregular or ragged and appear to have been ‘chewed’.

  • Material shows signs of active or dormant mold, mildew or water damage.

Mold and mildew are types of fungi which may appear as brown, blue-black, or green irregularly-shaped spots. Mold will predominate when environmental conditions exhibit fluctuations in temperature, high humidity, moisture, and limited circulation. Mold often develops after water damage has occurred. When mold is discovered, it is crucial to isolate any affected items to prevent further contamination. Please take immediate action by referring any mold or mildew issues to Collections Management.

Mold spores can easily spread. Do not attempt to remove mold with cloth. Although mold is likely to be in its dormant stage when discovered, it can be reactivated by compromising conditions.

Conservation Treatment

Conservation treatment of items often requires invasive procedures to restore damaged and brittle paper including de-acidification, fumigation, solvent treatments, polyester film encapsulation, and paper strengthening. Such procedures require the expertise of an approved conservator or an off-site conservation technician. If materials are discovered that may benefit from or require conservation treatment, please consult Collections Management.

Preservation During Processing

A. Metal Fasteners, Paperclips, and More

The physical condition, the nature and complexity of the records, their associated research value, and the level of scholarly use the records will receive following archival processing differ from collection to collection or project to project. Therefore, issues regarding the handling and/or removal of fasteners are addressed in the project vitals.

A. Fasteners serve a useful function in maintaining and preserving the physical and intellectual connections between the attached materials.

B. All fasteners have the potential to damage records, particularly metal (non-stainless steel) fasteners which are subject to rust.

C. It is neither necessary nor feasible to remove all fasteners from all archival materials during processing.

D. To ensure the long-term preservation of the archival materials, all rusty fasteners should be removed and replaced with plastic or stainless steel fasteners, regardless of the processing level of the project.

E. Often spiral bindings and ring binders are removed during archival processing, if removal of the bindings can be accomplished without damaging the archival materials. Any valuable information from the cover of a binder should be retained by inserting a preservation photocopy of the cover in the appropriate location within the file. Once any applicable information is retained, original binders should be thrown away.

B. Unfolding / Flattening

A. Folded items should be unfolded and flattened during processing, unless doing so will damage the materials.

B. Consult with Collections Management if the act of unfolding or flattening presents a high risk of damage to the archival material.

C. In many cases, legal-size folders and/or boxes will accommodate the unfolded item(s). Material larger than a legal-size folder should be addressed in accordance with the practices for oversized material. Extremely large flat item(s) may be relocated to a map/flat file. See Step 17.

D. If the present form of an original oversize item(s) holds no intrinsic value, a reduced-size photocopy of the item(s) can be made and retained in the file as replacement for the original(s).

E. When unfolding an item, do NOT force its flattening or fold it against the crease, which can tear the fibers and weaken the paper. If an item will not lay open, lay it against a flat surface and carefully weigh it down with beanbags or other flat weights to encourage the folds to relax and straighten.

F. Unfolded fragile material may be enclosed in Mylar to provide additional support to the records and/or exert a gentle flattening pressure on curling documents.

C. Multiples

A. If multiple exact copies of reports or other records are found within a collection or folder, retain two copies. (Retention of more than two copies of any individual item is reserved only for items with great intrinsic or monetary value such as photographs or films). Shred excess copies.

B. Copies of items with added research value, such as handwritten notations, comments, or revisions, are NOT considered exact copies, and should always be retained in the archival collection.

C. Some collection agreements contain stipulations regarding permanent removal, destruction or final disposition of materials removed from the archival collection during processing. Please consult with the Head of Processing to determine the stipulations relevant to the assigned project.

D. Preservation Photocopying (See Step 25)

Image Eligible Digital Media

Step 22 – Image Eligible Digital Media and document in Finding Aid/Digital Media Log

Disk images are single files containing the complete content and structure representing a data storage medium or device. There are two primary types of images, forensic images and logical images. Forensic images perfectly replicate the structure and contents of a storage device, and allow the viewing of deleted files and slackspace (i.e. the unused space on a disk). Logical images do not include slackspace. In general, all physical media is imaged forensically, and all digital materials received via electronic transfer are imaged logically. Variations are considered on a case-by case basis.

Images for most removable media are created in-house, and the hardware used to create the images varies depending on the digital media type.

The processing archivist will:

  • Receive training to develop the necessary proficiencies for each of the common removable media types and sizes (floppy disks, optical discs, drives, etc.).

  • Appraise and assess the eligibility of the item(s) for preservation in our digital repository in accordance with RAC collecting policy, copyrights, privacy rights, or any legal, or statutory requirements.

  • Inventory the item in the Digital Media Log.

  • Use the RAC standard workflows to virus check and image the eligible removable media.

    • Note the presence of the item and document the imaging process in the digital media log & finding aid.

      • In the Digital Media Log, the Processing Archivist should document:

        • the transfer method (disk image, rip tracks, copy files)

        • the item’s original carrier type.

        • the year of transfer

      • Using this data, the Digital Media Log will automatically generate the following formatted statement:

      “This item was imaged from a CDROM in 2017

      The bold text shown in the above example is interchangeable based upon the metadata collected.

      • Insert the resulting formatted statement into a Processing Information Note
        in the finding aid.
  • Describe the resulting file(s), within originating context, in aggregate in the finding aid.

  • After imaging, submit the original digital media for disposal in accordance with RAC Collections Management procedure.

Rights and Restrictions

Transparency in the dissemination of information is a critical element of the archival profession. For RAC Processing, the creation of this guide serves to document our policies, practices, and procedures. In the eyes of our users, transparency of the archival collections most often manifests itself through our Access and Use policies and the professional manner in which we systematically carry out our practices. RAC strives to inform users of all access and use conditions pertinent to our collections; identify and describe all restricted materials; and inform all users of what they can see and use, what they can’t see and use, and why. Entire archival collections or components of collections (record group, subgroup, series, subseries, box, folder, and item) may be restricted from public access or use.

During RACcess registration, all users agree to the terms of access/use of all RAC holdings.

If questions regarding restricted or potentially restricted materials arise during processing, please consult with the Head of Processing.

Step 23 - Label Physical Folders Containing Restricted Material in Accordance with RAC Guidelines

  • If all items in a folder are restricted, the folder is labeled “Closed” or “Restricted”.

  • If all items in a folder or box are temporarily restricted, such as by a time embargo, clearly state on the folder or box when the material will be open.

Restricted – Open in 20XX

  • If a portion of the contents of a box or folder is restricted, the container is labeled “Closed Material Within”.

  • Physically relocating restricted material to the end of a collection or series/component is preferable (when viable), rather than having restricted and open materials stored in the same box. This provides RAC the opportunity to store the restricted material at an RAC facility other than Hillcrest. Regardless of physical location, the restricted material should always be described intellectually in the appropriate place within the finding aid.

Step 24 - Add File-Level Conditions of Access Notes for Restricted Material

(For collection-level access statements please see Step 7 of establishing DACS-Single Level Minimum Compliance at the Collection Level)

A. Common Types of Restricted Materials in RAC Collections

1. Access Restrictions (DACS 4.1)

This note is used to document archival materials whose access is physically and/or intellectually restricted due to the nature of the information documented.

A. Material restricted due to privacy rights, legal, or statutory requirements.

Common types of records that fall into this category are:

1. Personnel files (and/or personnel-like records) are restricted to ensure personal privacy and restrict access to materials generally considered confidential between an individual and his or her employer. Personnel records include: employment applications, resumes/CVs, letters of appointment, personal references, salary or withholding statements, performance evaluations, and other correspondence discussing general or particular circumstances of an individual’s employment or job performance. Personnel records also often include personal injury and/or workers compensation insurance records or claims and pension documents. Records gathered in the course of conducting an executive search, or in filling a professional position, may also be restricted. Please consult the Head of Processing with any questions regarding the restriction of personnel materials.

  • Example of standard RAC file-level access note -

Restricted - personnel material.

2. Financial records – Access to a variety of financial records is restricted in order to protect personal privacy and insure RAC compliance with all applicable laws and regulations. Commonly restricted financial materials include, but are not limited to: state/federal income tax, property tax, payroll records, bank and brokerage statements, and account information, etc. Access is granted to some financial records, particularly those that are in the public domain such as copies of IRS Form 990 titled “Return of Organization Exempt From Income Tax.” This form provides the public with financial information about a given non-profit organization and is often the only public source of such information. Some collection agreements also contain specific restriction stipulations regarding financial materials. Please consult the Head of Processing with any questions regarding the restriction of financial materials.

  • Example of standard RAC file-level access note -

Restricted - financial material.

3. Medical records/records that document the medical history of individuals - The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) was enacted by the U.S. Congress in 1996. In accordance with the stipulations of HIPAA and other personal privacy regulations, access to the following types of records are restricted: formal medical examination forms, patient files or doctor’s notes on the condition of a patient and/or his/her treatment, autopsy records, medical histories, and correspondence regarding a specific individual’s medical state. Additional restricted materials include but are not limited to: medical insurance records or claims, personal injury, workers compensation records or claims, any documentation from an individual describing a medical situation (physical or mental illness, surgery), or similar information about others (spouse’s or child’s illnesses or sensitive circumstances surrounding their death). The HIPAA regulations are broad and far reaching. When processing or handling medical records please consult the Head of Processing and act cautiously to restrict sensitive materials.

  • Example of standard RAC file-level access note -

Restricted - confidential material.

4. Student records - FERPA (the Family Education Right and Privacy Act) restricts access to student records (e.g., health, grades, disciplinary action, etc.) for the lifetime of the student. FERPA protects student and parent rights to access their own student records, stored and maintained by the school, and restricts access to those records by others without the permission of the student or parents.

The Buckley Amendment to FERPA allows directory information to be made public without permission, including the student name, address, telephone listing, date and place of birth, major field of study, participation in officially recognized activities and sports, weight and height of members of athletic teams, dates of attendance, degrees and awards received, and the most recent previous educational agency or institution attended by the student. Please consult the Head of Processing with any questions regarding the restriction of student records.

  • Example of standard RAC file-level access note -

Restricted - confidential material.

5. Peer Review – Privacy and confidentiality of individuals involved in a peer review process may necessitate a restriction on access to records. Often found in faculty papers, peer review is a common practice for grant applications and scholarly publications to evaluate the worthiness of grant recipients and submissions to academic journals. These reviews are often submitted with an expectation of confidentiality. Peer reviews are usually submitted on forms provided by the academic journal/grant-giving institution, or submitted on regular letterhead. (Depending on the collection, this may be stated as a donor-imposed access restriction, or access may be granted with a restriction placed on the use of the records.) Please consult the Head of Processing with any questions pertaining to peer review records.

  • Example of standard RAC file-level access note -

Restricted - confidential material.

B. Classified materials – Sensitive materials that are restricted due to content pertaining to national security. (Further details are provided later in this section regarding the identification and handling protocol for classified materials.)

C. Donation/Deposit Agreement-based access restrictions (terms of the collection agreement with which the RAC has agreed to abide and/or subsequent relevant correspondence establishing such restrictions).

Each individual collection may have its own stipulations, so it is essential to become familiar with all the terms of the agreement for the specific collection pertinent to a given processing project. Consult with the Head of Processing for copies of appropriate documents from the collection files. The most common restrictions are:

1. Date-based access – materials within a collection are often accessible to research following an agreed-upon embargo period (10 years; 20 years). An entire file is restricted until the most recent date within that file has reached the end of the embargo.

  • With a 10-year embargo, a file dated 1992-2007 would be open in 2018.

  • With a 20-year embargo, a file dated 1992-2007 would be open in 2028.

  • Example of standard RAC file-level access note -

Restricted - "Open in 20XX”

2. Access to archival material providing the names, correspondence, and/or activities of living Rockefeller family members, and the net worth of any Rockefeller family members, is restricted in all Rockefeller family collections.

Notable exceptions include documentation of a Rockefeller family member acting in an official governmental capacity, and in situations in which the information in question is accessible through public sources such as newspapers.

Example: References to Jay Rockefeller when he served in an official capacity as governor and then as a senator for West Virginia. References to Nelson A. Rockefeller when he served as governor of New York or as Vice President of the United States.

For a list of relevant Rockefeller family names, see Head of Processing.

  • Example of standard RAC file-level access note -

    Material in the Rockefeller family collections which provides the names, correspondence, or activities of living members of the Rockefeller family, and/or documents the net worth of any Rockefeller family members, is restricted.

  • An additional unpublished note should be added at the file-level indicating the name of the family member(s) described.

    Restricted - David Rockefeller Jr.

3. Some collection agreements require the researcher to sign a RAC access and/or use permission form prior to conducting research. (Example: Population Council Accession 2).

4. Some collection agreements require the researcher to acquire written or oral permission directly from the donor or depositor institution, or the RAC, prior to conducting their research.

5. Some collection agreements indicate that the archival material is closed pending processing. In this case, access/use is restricted until the collection is processed. The Head of Processing will designate the material “open” once the necessary work is completed.

D. Condition/Security-based access restrictions (DACS 4.2) - A fundamental objective of RAC is to facilitate the long-term preservation, conservation, and security of our archival holdings. At times the long-term care of individual items will take precedence over their availability for immediate access. Access to extremely valuable, fragile, brittle, unstable, or damaged items is restricted by RAC in order to protect these high-risk items from theft, damage, or further deterioration. (Example: JDR Sr’s Ledger A).

  • Examples of standard file-level access notes -

    Brittle or damaged items are available at the discretion of RAC.

    Closed due to preservation concerns.

E. Technical access restrictions (DACS 4.3) – Some archival material is restricted due to its format or other special needs.

1. Format – Access to certain formats may be completely or partially restricted. Examples:

Access to photographic negatives is restricted unless special permission is granted by RAC.

Access to Paul Ehrlich copy books is restricted, and researchers are directed to typescript copies.

2. Re-formatted collections – Access to original archival materials is restricted after a collection has been reformatted (microfilm, microfiche, digital files). Researchers are only provided access to the user copies of the reformatted media or digital files. Example:

JDR Sr.’s Letterbooks, RF Officer’s Diaries

3. Special technical access issues may also necessitate restrictions on access. Example of standard access note for technical access restrictions:

Researchers interested in accessing digital media (floppy disks, CDs, DVDs, etc.) in this collection must use an access surrogate. The original items may not be accessed because of preservation concerns. To request an access surrogate be made, or if you are unsure if there is an access surrogate, please contact an archivist.

2. Use Restrictions

This note documents those materials whose use is completely restricted, or limited in some manner, due to legal requirements, stipulations of a donor/depositor agreement with RAC, or other factors imposed directly by RAC after physical or intellectual access has been provided.

If the material being processed has use restrictions or stipulations, such conditions will be identified, and a course of action will be established through discussions with the Head of Processing during the planning phase of the project.

Classified Material

The RAC maintains U.S. government classified material that originated from a number of its collections, including the Nelson A. Rockefeller papers, the Rockefeller University archives, and the Warren Weaver papers. The RAC does not currently maintain any classified digital or born-digital records.

1. Identifying Classified Materials

Be particularly sensitive to discovering classified materials in a collection that includes government documents and/or scientific research which may contain sensitive materials pertaining to the national security of the United States or other countries.

A. Material stamped Confidential, Secret, Top Secret, Restricted, Restricted Data, or FRD (Formally Restricted Data).

B. Be particularly sensitive to government documents from: Atomic Energy Commission, Central Intelligence Agency, Federal Bureau of Investigation, President’s Foreign Intelligence Advisory Board (PFIAB), U.S. Department of the Army, U.S. Department of Defense, U.S. Department of Energy, U.S. Department of the Navy, and U.S. Department of State.

2. Protocol for Handling Classified Materials

A. The RAC follows CIA-approved procedures for handling and storage of classified records by qualified RAC archivists with security clearance at the SECRET level.

B. Upon discovery of classified material, or potentially classified material, in a collection, the processing archivist should immediately alert the Head of Processing. The qualified archivist will then remove the pertinent material from the body of the collection and secure it in the RAC Classified safes, along with a brief inventory.

C. The qualified archivist then follows the established practice of periodically requesting review for declassification of these records by the relevant federal agencies. Recent reviews have been conducted by the CIA, the U.S. Army, the NSA, the Department of Defense, and the Department of Energy.

D. No RAC staff members are authorized to handle material designated as TOP SECRET or higher. However, the secret-level qualified archivist should immediately secure the materials in the RAC classified safe. An applicable government official must be contacted to address this material further.

E. Sometimes material in a collection has been declassified. In such instances, please be aware that even if all of the documents in a given section have been declassified, every individual page may not have been specifically marked as such. Depending on the situation, the declassified material can either be integrated back into the main body of the collection, or it may be placed as a separate group of files at or near the end of a collection.

Preservation Photocopying

Step 25 - Preservation Photocopying (Optional)

Documents that are fragile, damaged, or at risk for further deterioration may be photocopied in order to preserve their intellectual content and prevent potential damage to neighboring documents. A preservation photocopy is a facsimile of a document copied to acid-free, lignin-free paper. It is neither necessary nor feasible to photocopy all fragile or potentially at risk materials during processing and preservation photocopying is an optional task. Utilize processing time effectively in accordance with assigned priorities and project deadlines.

Acid-free, lignin-free paper consists of 25% cotton rag content; this paper is distinguished from 20lb. bond paper used for routine photocopying by its composition and the placement of a ‘watermark’. This mark is visible most clearly when the paper is held up to a light source. A preservation photocopy must bear a stamp applied by the archivist noting ‘Archival Copy’ in order to distinguish the copy as a facsimile.

If the item bears no intrinsic value, the facsimile serves to replace the original in the collection, and the original item is discarded/shredded. All materials proposed for shredding must follow the RAC destruction protocol, see Step 39. If the item is of value in its original format, consult with the Head of Processing regarding its retention. When an original is retained with restricted access, a condition of access note should be added at the appropriate level of description to indicate that the material is “restricted due to preservation concerns”. Note: A preservation photocopy is a ‘gray tone’ image; a color copy of a document may accurately duplicate tonal qualities however color is not a preservation-standard representation. It is essential to retain established order when removing documents from a collection or folder for photocopying. Carefully mark the item location(s), and after copying, replace the item(s) in the original order.

Most archival material may be accurately duplicated using in-house photocopy machines. It is important to generate as accurate a facsimile as possible in order to replicate the original item. Correspondence, manuscripts, photographs and line drawings may be duplicated by adjusting the settings on the photocopy machine. Check that the copy toner adheres to the paper with no smudge or other excess markings.

Additional examples of materials that are routinely replaced by preservation photocopies include: deteriorated newspaper clippings, thermo fax and other glossy copy paper, telegrams, and items that are glued or otherwise damaged by adhesives. For recommendations on how best to photocopy non-standard or damaged materials, see the Head of Processing.

Box Labeling and Barcoding

Step 26 – Box Labeling

  • Box labels for all processed archival holdings can be generated by a labeling template which works in tandem with ArchivesSpace to automatically generate box labels based on the finding aid description.

  • Following completion and approval of finding aid description, generate labels for all applicable containers.

Step 27 – Barcoding

  • All containers are barcoded at the box-level.

  • Affix barcodes to the front center of the box lid below the box label, or in the front center of the box just above the pull tab. (See Collections Management for details).

  • If barcoding flat files or temporary containers housing audiovisual containers, please consult the Head of Processing.

Shelve Processed Records

Step 28 - Shelve Processed Records in Assigned Vault/Unit/Shelf Location

  • All materials stored in RAC’s archival vaults are officially assigned locations by the Collections Management team.

  • Material should NOT be shelved until authorization is received from Collections Management.

Container Management

Step 29 – Container Management

Record the following Container Management data in the finding aid:

  • Locations

  • Barcodes

  • Container profiles

  • For further assistance, see the Head of Processing.

Finishing the Project

Step 30 - Submit Audiovisual Materials to Assigned Location

  • Place any containers exclusively housing audiovisual material (“T” boxes), on the assigned audiovisual shelves

  • Notify the Audiovisual Archivist via Project Management (Asana) task completion.

Step 31 - Audiovisual Archivist Begins Preservation/Digitization Procedures

  • The Audiovisual Archivist will assess the condition of the material, record a variety of preservation and technical metadata, and enhance description (as feasible).

  • Materials will be evaluated for potential reformatting and eligible items will be considered for digitization (either through in house procedures or outsourced to an appropriate vendor).

  • Once an access copy has been created, the Processing Archivist will be contacted to potentially view/listen to the material and further enhance the available description.

Step 32 – Transfer eligible Published Materials to the RAC Library

  • Drop off eligible published materials in the designated location. (See Collections Management for details.)

  • Eligible materials include but are not necessarily limited to:

    • Collections or accessions whose entire contents is published materials within the scope of the RAC Library collecting policy.

    • Published studies, reports and scientific or technical publications sponsored by, or otherwise produced through, direct grants or funding from RAC or a donor/depositor.

  • No more than two copies of any publication will be acquired, cataloged and added to the Library collection. (Any additional copies should be submitted for disposal or return to the donor/depositor in accordance with RAC Collections Management procedure.)

  • Bibliographic records will be created in the Collection Management system by RAC Collections Management/Library staff as applicable.

  • The processing archivist should provide Collections Management/Library staff:

    • The Resource ID Number (FA#)

    • Accession/Collection Title

    • If no applicable Finding Aid is created, provide the accession number.

  • No separation number(s) is assigned, and the separation sheet is not used.

  • No archival description should be added to the finding aid.

Step 33 – Inform Collections Management of the Original Boxes/Box Numbers That Have Been Eliminated During Processing

  • As collections/accessions are processed and documented in the collections management system, the Collections Management team removes the corresponding notations from the RAC Master Shelf List.

  • Ultimately, all archival materials will be documented in the RAC collections management system, and the Master Shelf List will be phased out.

Step 34 – Add Local RAC-Required Single-Level Notes

  • Arrangement (DACS 3.2)

    • Describe the current organization of the collection.

    • At the collection level provide the names and numbers for the major components of the collection/accession such as the Series.

  • Preferred Citation – Standard RAC note

    Information regarding the Rockefeller Archive Center's preferred elements and forms of citation can be found at <http://www.rockarch.org/research/citations.php>

Step 35 – Add Single-Level/Multi-Level Notes to Finding Aid in Accordance with Assigned Processing Level

Commonly used notes may include:

  • Biographical/Historical sketch (DACS 2.7)

    • Provide information about the corporate body, person, or family that created, assembled, accumulated, and/or maintained and used the materials being described. This element also describes the relationship of creators to archival materials by providing information about the context in which those materials were created.
  • Conditions Governing Use (DACS 4.4)

    • Identify any restrictions on reproduction due to copyright or other reasons, as well as restrictions on further use of the materials being described, such as publication, after access has been provided.
  • Immediate Source of Acquisition (DACS 5.2)

    • Document the source from which the repository directly acquired the materials being described, as well as the date of acquisition, the method of acquisition, and other relevant information.

    This material was transferred to RAC in 1992 by the Rockefeller Foundation and ingested by RAC as Accession 1992:100.

  • Related materials note (DACS 6.3)

    • Indicate the existence and location of archival materials that are closely related to the materials being described by provenance, sphere of activity, or subject matter, either in the same repository, in other repositories, or elsewhere.

    • If there are materials that have a direct and significant connection to those being described by reason of closely shared responsibility or sphere of activity, provide the title, location, and, optionally, the reference number(s) of the related materials and their relationship with the materials being described.

    • If the materials are available at RAC, a link to the applicable finding aid can be provided.

    • If the materials are available at another repository, a general reference to the repository will suffice.

  • Series-Level or Component-Level notes

    • Always focus all multi-level notes specifically on the level and the material being described.

    • For example, a scope and content note at the Series level should focus only on documenting the content of that given series.

  • Other notes as recommended in Project Vitals.

Step 36 – Revise Accession Record(s)

  • Link Related Accession record(s) to Resource.

  • Delete Box Instances from Accession record(s).

  • See Head of Processing for assistance.

Step 37 - Finalize Front Matter Notes

  • Update or confirm final calculations for the Date and Extent elements, and compose final Scope and Content note. (See Additional Required Collection Level Elements).

  • The final Extent calculations should include a natural language Container Summary statement describing the number and type of archival containers used.

    24 document boxes.

Step 38 - Publish Finding Aid

  • Submit the draft finding aid to the Head of Processing for final review.

  • Once approval has been received from the Head of Processing, “check” the publish box at the highest level of the finding aid to publish the guide.

  • If any individual components are NOT to be shown online, uncheck the publish box for the applicable component(s).

  • RAC DIMES automatically updates once a day. Newly published guide(s) will be available in DIMES the following day.

Step 39 - Submit Any Materials Proposed for Shredding to Head of Processing

Step 40 - DONE!!!

Rejoice