Principles of original order and provenance aim to achieve the objectives of archival arrangement and description, which preserve the context of the archives and safeguard their evidential value and historical authenticity. Most archivists agree that descriptions of collections are often inadequate to capture the complexity of the records. Both an expanded understanding of the provenance and function of records and an acknowledgment that archivists are co-creators of the records could greatly enhance current description practices.
While libraries have developed structured rules for cataloging print materials, these rules have not fully addressed the needs of image collections. Museums, on the other hand, have acquired great expertise in describing their unique holdings, but these practices vary because of the diverse nature of individual museums and their collections. Even with the emergence of online catalogs, web accessible collections, and improved information searching and navigation, access to visual collections has remained limited due to a lack of standardized description and integrated modes of access.
Tracking is the process by which archival project progress is measured to ensure that changes to the schedule are tackled promptly. The starting point for tracking progress in archival projects is the project baseline schedule and other plan documents devised and accepted when key stages are fixed before implementation. The project baseline should remain unchanged throughout the project, and it’s the guide against which variances are identified.
Projects enable archivists to undertake roles that differ from their usual positions and are training grounds for leadership. Team members likely have other responsibilities in addition to their work on the archival project. Identify gaps in skills or resources, and then begin to locate people to resolve staffing issues. Determining basic team member roles up front allows projects to move forward with vision and vigor.
This literature review examines reappraisal and deaccessioning as discussed in three Archival Issues articles about multi-year projects conducted at large institutions. After describing the projects, I offer a critical assessment, exploring reappraisal and deaccessioning experiences that can better inform archivists considering such undertakings.
People are fundamental to every aspect of an archival project. They commission projects, provide resources, support (or challenge) projects, and produce results. People deliver projects as managers and team members, and others influence projects as sponsors and archival project stakeholders. How people behave and feel about the project influences its success.
Project managers are expected to be both good managers and leaders. Leadership is one of the most critical competencies a project manager must have. Leadership in archival projects is demonstrated through setting the vision for the project and supporting strategy, and creating a shared vision with the team. Archival leaders create an environment that encourages the best in team members, allowing them to develop and learn.