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Section Newsletter

The Acquisition and Appraisal Section Newsletter is published periodically. If you have content for the next issue of the newsletter, please e-mail it to section vice-chair, Brad Bauer .

Spring 2010 Newsletter

Download the entire spring newsletter as a PDF!

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Section Business

Annual Report for 2008-2009
Submitted November 10, 2009

Officers for 2008-2009:

Tara Laver, Chair
Carl Van Ness, Vice-Chair/Chair Elect
Brad Bauer, Steering Committee
Debbie Richards, Steering Committee
Karen Adler Abramson, Steering Committee
Julie Herrada, Immediate Past Chair
Michelle Sweetser, Web Liaison

Report from Annual Meeting:

Number of attendees: 22

Election results:

Vice-Chair/Chair Elect: Brad Bauer, Hoover Institution, Stanford University
Steering Committee: Linda Whitaker, Arizona Historical Foundation

Section Meeting Program: New Perspectives on Documentation Strategy

Betsy Snowden Johnson, Curator of Collections, Pendleton District Commission, "Documentation Strategy, Ideals, and Professional Identity"

Doris Malkmus, Archivist and Processing Coordinator, The Pennsylvania State University
"Documentation Strategy Reappraised for Practical Application"

Adopted new bylaws (see below in II)

Completed Projects/Activities:

In October 2008, we submitted three session proposals, all of which were selected by the Program Committee: “From Colonialism to Collaboration: Perspectives on Collecting Internationally,” “The Potential of Web 2.0 for Collection Development,” and “How We Appraise: When Theory Meets Reality.” In addition, we endorsed one session, which was also selected by the Program Committee.

The section published a newsletter this year, Winter 2009.

The Steering Committee proposed a significant revision to the section’s bylaws, which were adopted at the 2006 annual meeting. The bylaws were purposely flexible, but over time, the need to have more robust procedures, codify existing practice, bring them into line with other sections’ bylaws, and formally distribute some of the work of the committee among its members became apparent. In addition, the ability to conduct online elections and votes to amend the bylaws necessitated a revision of relevant sections. The revised bylaws were accepted at the section meeting in Austin.

Ongoing Projects/Activities:

Deaccessioning and Reapprasial Guidelines

Last fall the section floated the idea of developing deaccessioning and reappraisal guidelines to Council and received positive feedback and encouragement. At Council’s suggestion, we submitted a proposal to the Standards Committee in February 2008. With that committee undergoing some self-study of its process and charge, this project raised some questions about how it would fit in their purview. Section chair Tara Laver met with the Standards Committee at the annual meeting, where they were drafting changes to their mission that would include oversight of projects such as ours. The committee suggested that we proceed with the plan of work outlined in our proposal and “slide into” their process once they had it finalized in September 2009.

Through an article in Archival Outlook and posts to relevant list-servs, interested parties were invited to a meeting in Austin on August 13 to organize a group to work on the deaccessioning and reappraisal guidelines. Twenty-five people attended; they made suggestions and expressed concerns about various aspects of the committee and guidelines. (Minutes are available.) Laura Uglean Jackson, University of Wyoming, agreed to chair the group, which the Standards Committee has labeled a “Review and Development Team.” Because more people indicated a desire to work on the project than could reasonably and effectively do so, the chair chose committee members based on their credentials and experience. They are:

Peter Blodgett, Huntington Library
Jeremy Brett, University of Iowa
Cathi Carmack, Tennessee State Library and Archives
Lisa Grimm, Drexel University College of Medicine
Anne Foster, University of Alaska- Fairbanks
Laura Uglean Jackson, University of Wyoming (Chair)
Chela Scott Weber, Brooklyn Historical Society
Linda Whitaker, Arizona Historical Foundation, Arizona State University
Marcella Wiget, Kansas State Historical Society

The team’s website is available online.

New Projects/Activities:

Diversity Initiatives:


Questions/Concerns for Council Attention: [None submitted.]

Officers 2009-2010:

Carl Van Ness, Chair
Brad Bauer, Vice-Chair/Chair Elect
Debbie Richards, Steering Committee
Karen Abramson, Steering Committee
Linda Whitaker, Steering Committee
Tara Laver, Immediate Past Chair
Michelle Sweetser, Web Liaison


Agenda, Acquisitions and Appraisal Section Meeting, SAA Annual Conference, Austin, TX
Friday, Aug 14, 2009

1. Call to order and introduction of current leadership: Tara Laver

2. Remarks from member of 2010 Program Committee: Tara Laver

3. Remarks by Council liaison: Diane Vogt-O’Connor

4. Survey solicitation, Hea Lim Rhee University of Pittsburgh Ph.D candidate

5. Introduction of candidates for leadership positions, discussion of by-laws revision, and balloting: Carl Van Ness and Tara Laver

6. Report on reappraisal and deaccessioning project: Tara Laver

7. Section sponsored and endorsed sections at the 2009 meeting: Tara Laver


SESSION 108 - From Colonialism to Collaboration: Perspectives on Collecting Internationally

Thu, Aug 13, 2009
8:30-10:00 AM Room 410

Brad Bauer (Chair)
Matthew K. Heiss
Christian D. Kelleher
SESSION 401 - The Potential of Web 2.0 for Collection Development Fri, Aug 14, 2009
10:00-11:30 AM Salon H
Jessica Lacher-Feldman, MA, MLS , CA (Chair)
Laura Uglean Jackson
Lynne M. Thomas
Amy C Schindler

SESSION 510 - How We Appraise: When Theory Meets Reality
Sat, Aug 15, 2009
8:00-9:00 AM
Room 412
Carl Van Ness (Chair)
Kimberly Anderson
Dr. Patricia Galloway
Nanci A. Young


SESSION 103 - Statewide Sustainability: Arizona's Experiment in Collaborative Collection Management
Thu, Aug 13, 2009
8:30 AM - 10:00 AM
Salon F
Linda A Whitaker, CA , MA (Chair)
Melanie Sturgeon
Dr. Gregory C. Thompson
Peter Runge
Daniel A Stokes

8. New business (announcements from the floor, motions, etc.)

9. Section meeting program: New Perspectives on Documentation Strategy

  • Betsy Snowden Johnson, Curator of Collections, Pendleton District Commission, "Documentation Strategy, Ideals, and Professional Identity"
  • Doris Malkmus, Archivist and Processing Coordinator, The Pennsylvania State University, "Documentation Strategy Reappraised for Practical Application"

10. Brainstorming session – What can your section leadership do for you? New projects? Session ideas?

11. Report on elections: Carl Van Ness

12. Adjourn

Respectfully submitted by Tara Laver, Immediate Past Chair

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News from Our Members

Coming soon! New Tool for building automated submission agreements
Submitted by Krista Ferrante, TAPER Project Archivist, Tufts University

The Digital Collections and Archives (DCA) at Tufts University is undertaking the TAPER Project (Tufts Accessioning Program for Electronic Records), a National Historical Publications and Records Commission (NHPRC) Program Expansion Grant to design, develop, and implement machine-readable submission agreements and records creator records.

One half of the TAPER Project will focus on creating and implementing a submission agreement XML schema and the other on developing a submission agreement builder tool. In order to sustain and expand its electronic records preservation program, the DCA required a semi-automated and scalable accessioning process that could systematically capture and identify records in a manner that facilitates the arrangement and description of such records. A machine-readable submission agreement serves as the linchpin of this process.

The submission agreement builder tool will consist of a user-interface that can guide records producers through the process of transferring materials to the archives. When a records producer enters into the builder tool the information about the records that are being transferred to the archives, the tool will then send a notice to the archives and generate an XML-encoded submission agreement. The result is a machine-readable agreement that documents the transfer of the records, informs the records creator of preservation measures that the archival staff will take to protect the records, and alerts the archival staff to the nature, volume and timing of the records transfer.

The TAPER project was a result of an earlier grant-funded collaboration with Yale University, which developed an “Ingest Guide” that outlined the steps needed for a trustworthy process of accessioning digital records. This Guide suggested that submission agreements be machine-readable, so that archivists could use such agreements to validate the records they accession and identify needed preservation activities.

The schema for submission agreements and the builder tool will be available in the summer of 2010, and will be described in further detail in a session at the SAA conference titled “Tools and Processes for Trustworthy and Scalable Electronic Accessioning.” The tool and schema will be made freely available in early 2011. For updates, please check the project website.

Acquisitions and Collecting Initiatives

Letters of Judah P. Benjamin acquired by American Jewish Historical Society
Submitted by Susan Malbin, American Jewish Historical Society, New York

Early this past fall, the American Jewish Historical Society (New York, NY) received a donation of 106 letters written by U.S. Senator Judah P. Benjamin to his banker Peter A. Hargous of New York City, dated from 1857-61. Benjamin represented Louisiana in the U.S. Senate, and after the outbreak of the Civil War, served the Confederate government of Jefferson Davis as Attorney General, Secretary of War, and finally as Secretary of State. The correspondence from Benjamin was donated by William H. Leys, a direct descendant of Hargous, and these letters had been in his family for the past century and a half. The Leys Donation of material comprises 106 items (letters, notes, telegrams and miscellaneous documents) about the formation of the Louisiana Tehuantepec Company in 1857 until Benjamin resigned from the Senate in February 1861 upon Louisiana's secession from the Union. The business venture aimed to provide a cheap and fast alternative to sailing around South America. They hoped to provide mail service and railroad transportation across the Isthmus of Tehuantepec in Mexico. The bulk of the correspondence is from Judah P. Benjamin to Peter Hargous (1800?- 1884), a businessman and banker in New York City, who founded Hargous Brothers, a banking and shipping concern, with his brother Eugene. The correspondence focuses on the efforts to secure financing, negotiate with the U.S. and Mexican governments, and the logistical difficulties encountered. Benjamin's letters to Hargous underscore the difficulties with shipping and local conditions.

Connie Willis Papers at the University of Northern Colorado
Submitted by Jay Trask, James A. Michener Library, University of Northern Colorado, Greeley, CO

The papers of Connie Willis, the internationally renowned science-fiction novelist and short story writer, have been acquired by the University of Northern Colorado Libraries. Her works have dealt with a wide variety of subjects ranging from the transformation of gynecological sciences to the analysis of near-death experiences to the impact of censorship on scholarship. Willis is the author of over ten novels, including the Doomsday Book and To Say Nothing of the Dog, both of which follow the journeys of time-traveling historians from the University of Oxford. Her numerous short stories have been collected in several anthologies, such as Fire Watch, Impossible Things and The Winds of Marble Arch and Other Stories: A Connie Willis Compendium. Willis has received numerous awards throughout her career, including an astonishing ten Hugo Awards, six Nebula Awards and three Locus Awards, and she was recently inducted into the Science Fiction Hall of Fame. She is an alumna of the University of Northern Colorado, where she earned her B.A. in 1967. As part of the book tour for her latest novel, Blackout, Willis officially announced the donation of her papers at an event held in the James A. Michener Library on February 9, 2010.

The faculty and staff of the Archival Services Department have begun the process of arranging and describing the collection, which currently consists of 65 cubic feet (with additional material to be added in the future.) The papers include research materials, drafts of manuscripts, publications, speeches and additional items related to Willis’ career.

University of Iowa Establishes “Zine” Collection
Submitted by Jeremy Brett, University of Iowa Libraries, Iowa City, IA

The Department of Special Collections & University Archives at the University of Iowa is pleased to publicize a major collecting endeavor. Over the past several years, the department has been working to increase its holdings of zines in general and fanzines in particular. As a result, the University of Iowa is rapidly becoming a leading repository for these types of materials.

The term "zine" refers generally to a small, informal, non-professionally produced publication. By their very nature zines are hard to define exactly, but distinguishing common characteristics include a small circulation (sometimes via subscription but often distributed informally among interested parties) and a raison d'etre that stresses free social and creative expression over profit. Zines are dynamic media with a virtually limitless range of subject matter and art form. Fanzines, on the other hand, represent a more specific type of zine – they are generally associated with the science fiction fan community, which began taking up with enthusiasm the zine as a means of communication starting in the late 1920s. Although science fiction fans are probably the mainstay audience for fanzines, other fan audiences have also been very active in zine publication – most notably, perhaps, fans of underground and/or independent music.

The staff of the Special Collections Department believes that these materials, significant collections of which have been amassed in only a few libraries and archives, are important social and cultural artifacts. Zines are windows providing glimpses into fascinating, vibrant, and often-under documented social communities, communities whose voices, beliefs and passions we believe deserve rescue from obscurity. They are often art objects in their own right, worth preserving for the artistic creativity they display.

We have acquired and processed a number of zine-related collections. Among the jewels of our collections at the University of Iowa are the Elliott M. Ruben Amateur Press Association Collection, a large assemblage of zines and other printed materials that showcase the productions of the American amateur press journalism (“apa”) movement over the 20th century; the Sarah and Jen Wolfe Collection of Riot Grrrl and Underground Music Zines; and the Bergus Zine Collection, which contains numbers of important examples of zines inspired by independent music. Other smaller collections of zines explore the wide variety of creative possibility available to zinesters. We are striving to connect to active and retired zinesters, in an effort to acquire examples of their work for preservation and research.

In the fanzine arena, our larger collections include the M. Horvat Collections of Science Fiction Fanzines and Genre Apazines. The former holds a enormous number of fanzines (c. 20,000 individual pieces) published from the 1930s-1970s; the latter contains 91 individual “apa” titles that collectively document how the SF fan community in the 20th century used the traditional amateur journalist “apa” format for its own purposes. We also hold the Mariellen (Ming) Wathne Fanzine Archives Collection as well; this contains the contents of a vast lending library of SF fanzines and pieces of fan fiction, including important examples of zines devoted to Star Trek and Star Wars, as well as other media productions. We continue to actively build our fanzine collections, notably through a partnership with the fan-run advocacy group Organization for Transformative Works. This relationship has resulted in the ongoing acquisition of a number of smaller fanzine collections.

More information on the University of Iowa’s holdings of zine and fanzine collections can be found on the Zine Resources page at the Special Collections website.

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Recently Published

New Acquisitions

Robb, Jenny E. “Bill Blackbeard: The Collector Who Rescued the Comics.” Journal of American Culture; Sept. 2009, Vol. 32, Issue 3, p. 244-256. Abstract: Description of activities of popular culture collector Bill Blackbeard, whose large collection of prints, drawings and comic books was recently acquired by the Ohio State University Cartoon Library and Museum.

Itzkoff, Dave. “Grant Could Help Acquire Poet’s Papers.” New York Times, Nov. 5, 2009, p.2. Topic: The article detailed the efforts of Cambridge University to acquire the papers of World War I era poet Siegfried Sassoon, and the assistance they have received through a $900,000 grant from the National Heritage Memorial Fund which may enable them to purchase the collection.

Browman, Michael, et. al. “How the Dark Horse Came In.” College and Research Libraries News, Nov. 2009, p. 570-572. Abstract: The article details the acquisition of the archives of Dark Horse Comics, Inc., by Portland State University. The collection consists of several copies of each issue of Dark Horse Comics, and have been donated by the founder of this publication, who is also an alumnus of Portland State.

“Major Accessions to Repositories in 2008 Relating to Legal History.” Journal of Legal History, December 2009, Vol. 30, Issue 3, p. 299-307. Abstract: The article discusses various archives throughout Great Britain that focus on legal history, and their new acquisitions for the year 2008.

Galloway, Ann-Christe. “The Laurence Urdang Archive has been…” College & Research Libraries News; Dec2009, Vol. 70 Issue 11, p715-715. Abstract: Announces the acquisition of the papers of the late lexicographer Laurence Urdang by the Cunningham Memorial Library at Indiana State University.

Acquisition of digital records and collections

Crook, Edgar, “Web archiving in a Web 2.0 world.” Electronic Library, 2009, Vol. 27, Issue 5, p. 831-836. Abstract: This article provides an overview of developments in archiving websites at various repositories in Australia, with special attention given to PANDORA, the project sponsored by the National Library of Australia that has sought to capture websites with Australian domain names.

“New study - Web archives: now and in the future.” Records Management Society Bulletin; Sep2009, Issue 151, p19-19. Abstract: This article describes a study in the United Kingdom whose aim is to examine research needs and access to Web-based archival collections, as well as the current state of capturing and preserving web-based materials in that country.

“White House preserves social media content.” Information Management, Jan/Feb2010, Vol. 44 Issue 1, p7-7. Abstract: Discusses the plans of the administration of President Barack Obama to archive the various social media sites currently used by the Executive Office of the President, and of plans to work with the National Archives and Records Administration to see to this.

Williams, Peter, “The personal curation of digital objects: A lifecycle approach.” ASLIB Proceedings; 2009, Vol. 61 Issue 4, p340-363. Abstract: This article focuses on an understudied aspect of digital preservation, namely, that of personal digital collections, and it seeks to develop a model—using the lifecycle records approach—that could help individuals capture, preserve, arrange, use, and dispose of their own personal digital archives.

Acquisitions, general issues

McKinzie, Steve. “590: Local Notes -- Underfunded Archives and Frayed External Relations: May be the Signs of a Rare and Serious Budgetary Side Effect.” Against the Grain; Dec2009/Jan2010, Vol. 21 Issue 6, p64-66. Abstract: Discusses the impact that the condition of an academic library’s archival program can have on future donations, noting several cases where the poor state of archival arrangement led individuals to cancel or reconsider future donations to the library.

Hotz, Robert Lee. “A Data Deluge Swamps Science Historians.” Wall Street Journal - Eastern Edition; 8/28/2009, Vol. 254 Issue 50, pA6. Abstract: The challenges of storing and preserving for future generations the computer data produced by today’s scientists is detailed in this article. The article provides a case study of the project to archive the working papers of evolutionary biologist William Hamilton, which is being performed by Jeremy L. John of eManuscripts.

Shepherd, Elizabeth. “Culture and evidence: or what good are the archives? Archives and archivists in twentieth century England.” Archival Science, Dec2009, Vol. 9 Issue 3/4, p173-185. Abstract: As an overview of the development of the archival and records management professions in England, this paper further examines the varying views of archives as culture and as evidence, and examines the role that certain key individuals played in addressing such questions and shaping the course of the archival profession in Britain.

Kuffler, Jason. “David Lemieux and the Grateful Dead Archives.” ARSC Journal; Fall2009, Vol. 40 Issue 2, p189-194. Abstract: An examination of the archives of the rock group The Grateful Dead, issues involved in archiving the history of rock-and-roll music, and a profile of the archivist who has been working with this collection.

Chenier, Elise. “Hidden from Historians: Preserving Lesbian Oral History in Canada.”
Archivaria; Fall2009, Issue 68, p247-269. Abstract: Although there have been numerous researchers of lesbian history in Canada who have conducted oral history interviews as part of their work, comparatively few of them have chosen to place these interviews in archives for preservation and future access. This paper addresses this issue and discusses the work of the author, who started her own initiative to preserve such interviews in a digital archive.

Ajamu, X., “Love and Lubrication in the Archives, or rukus!: A Black Queer Archive for the United Kingdom.” Archivaria; Fall2009, Issue 68, p271-294
Abstract: An examination of one of the first archives to focus of the experience of Black lesbian, gay, and transgendered communities in Britain, as told through an interview with its two co-founders.

Bayaz, Renate. “Springer collection returns to its roots.” Research Information; Aug/Sep2009, Issue 43, p11-12. Abstract: An article describing the transfer of the Springer Historical Archive to the Central and Regional Library (ZLB) in Berlin, Germany, as well as efforts to restore and preserve the collection prior to its transfer.

Page last updated March 28, 2010.