Archives 101

Rowman & Littlefield. Mar. 2021. 288p. ISBN 9781538133002. $115; pap. ISBN 9781538133019. $48. PRO MEDIA
Hamill (head, special collections and univ. archives, Northern Kentucky Univ.) gets back to basics in this practical guide to archives. Beginning with foundational definitions and concepts, she focuses on the types of material that are often found in local historical collections and offers guidance on acquiring new materials, arranging a collection, and managing different kinds of archival resources, including paper-based records, photographs, audiovisual materials, books, artworks, and objects. Particularly useful is the chapter on finding aids, including examples of finding aids that use the descriptive standard known as “Describing Archives: A Content Standard.” Although she references other collection management software too, Hamill uses PastPerfect to illustrate her instructions for creating archival descriptions. There are appendixes for guidelines and policies, sample forms and workflows, representative examples, and vendors. The author relies on real examples throughout the book, and chapters include reading resources.
VERDICT This excellent and practical primer is a solid choice for staff of local collections, and educators and students of archiving. It dovetails well with the third edition of Gregory S. Hunter’s Developing and Maintaining Practical Archives: A How-To-Do-It Manual.
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