Welcome back! It’s my first week on the job (you can learn more about me by visiting the updated About section of the blog), and things are getting off to a very good start. I’m really excited to be working with this collection – the ACLS is a fantastic organization. Caroline left an abundant amount of documentation, which has really helped me get myself oriented – I couldn’t be more grateful to her for being so organized! As of right now, there are four pallets consisting of 57 boxes (mostly transfiles) remaining to be processed in Part II. Caroline got a lot done before passing the torch on to me – she started with 185 boxes in November. The last Hollinger box that she processed was number 849, so I’m starting out with the well-rounded number of 850.
In preparation for this position, I’ve been doing some research about the ACLS and also delving back into the archival literature to brush up on minimal processing, organizational records, and electronic records management. I plan on continuing Caroline’s legacy of commenting on weekly readings, and will of course also be posting about the processing of the collection itself. It’s amazing how much there is to talk about in this field, and how passionate archivists and other public historians are about their work. For those of you who haven’t read a lot of archival literature, I highly encourage it – I’m always a little shocked at how witty and clever (and sometimes controversial) it is!
Part of what makes the ACLS records interesting to me is the way they are so perfectly situated for minimal processing (often referred to as MPLP, which you can read more about here). Many of the collections which are eventually housed at the Library of Congress (as this one will be) are personal papers, which means they often require a certain amount of effort just to get organized to a level that would make sense to researchers. In contrast, collections like this one are already at that level by the time they reach the processing archivist, which means that it is much simpler to make them accessible in a timely manner. Everybody wins! Although it is fun to work with collections that require item-level care (like the one I was working with earlier this summer as a Junior Fellow at the Library of Congress), minimal processing allows for a feeling of fulfillment because of the sheer amount of progress that can be completed in such a short amount of time. With the right collection, minimal processing is (in my opinion) absolutely the best way to go, especially considering how much information is being produced in modern collections. After all, aren’t we all in this business to make these items accessible? What better way to do that than to process them as quickly as is reasonable? Have no fear, though – I’ll still find plenty of great documents to post about while processing!