Notes from MPLP Discussion, Notetaker: Gregory Kocken
During the Summer of 2008 the MPLP Task Force, created by the RAO section of SAA, queried members of the RAO section about their concerns regarding the impact on public services by MPLP processing techniques. Many of the respondents to this survey suggested they would appreciate more guidance from the RAO section concerning MPLP. Based upon the survey’s findings, the RAO empowered the MPLP task force to devise an MPLP Best Practices Guide. The proposal for such a guide was presented at this meeting, and the ensuing discussion focused on how such a guide should be prepared and what content RAO section members would appreciate finding in the guide.
- Several group attendees suggested they would need the guide to be endorsed by SAA in order to legitimize these practices and approaches with their directors/managers.
- Other sections and voices from within SAA need to be represented in the guide.
- In order to make the guide available to the largest number of people, the guide should be made available in a free, online format.
- The guide should recommend transparency in our processing techniques with the public. In other words, when MPLP techniques are used the public should be notified in the finding aid.
- The guide should be compliant with what has already been written in DACS (Describing Archives: A Content Standard).
- The guide should recommend a procedure (or procedures) for public services staff to communicate processing issues with technical services/processing staff.
- The guide should recommend a way for technical services/processing staff to note private/sensitive materials in the creation of finding aids.
- The guide should recommend ways in which public services staff can communicate collection information with technical services/processing staff so this can be incorporated into finding aids.
- The guide should establish how public services staff (or another archivist) can identify what collections require further processing
Several group members also expressed concern about the theory behind MPLP. If MPLP is designed to facilitate access by making more collections available to researchers, but public services staff ultimately spends more time working with researchers, are we then depriving other researchers access to collections?
Finally, it was recommended that any guide be honest about identifying perceived problems with MPLP.