Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Reference/Processing Collaboration Group Reports

You may have read about the work of the Reference/Processing Collaboration Group in recent section newsletters and discussion list posts. As co-chair of the group, I thought I would provide some context for why we exist and what we want to accomplish. The group was formed in 2007 as the MPLP Task Force and charged itself with exploring the impacts of basic/lite/customized/minimal processing, or MPLP, on public services in archives and special collections. We wanted to know if archivists whose repositories who were engaged in these practices had seen their reference traffic change in volume or character. We began by searching for online resources and by conducting a small survey of RAO members in 2008. The results were quite enlightening and encouraged us to continue to explore the topic. One of the main action items that emerged from the survey was the creation of a best practices guide for MPLP.

After much administrative wrangling and the exploration of a variety of publication options, the group emerged last winter in the form in which it currently exists. Our final goal is to produce an interactive, web-based resource that will help archivists understand not just the "nuts and bolts" of how to apply MPLP, but its theoretical principles and implications as well. We want to provide a forum for discussion as well as a source for a range of ideas about the application of MPLP to a variety of archival functions, its utility in various repository types, and the contributions that MPLP has made to archivists and archivy.

To hear more detailed reports about what we've been up to, attend the section meetings for Manuscript Repositories, College and University Archives, Description, or RAO at SAA's annual meeting in Washington, DC. A representative from our group, Jill Severn, will also be presenting a report during the Congressional Papers Roundtable meeting. If you aren't able to make it to Washington, check the RAO web site here for online version of the report. We look forward to hearing your perspectives and feedback about the direction of the project.

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