Touring an Archival Collection With the University Archivist

Courtesy of Manuscripts Archives & Special Collections @ WSU Libraries, http://www.wsulibs.wsu.edu/masc/

This past semester I took a tour of the archives where I work, Manuscripts Archives & Special Collections at Washington State University Libraries in Pullman, WA.  The actual date of the tour was February 2, 2012.

Touring the university archives was a fun and informative experience.  I cannot think of a better way to start to understand the archiving profession than to tour an archival collection with the actual archivist.  Our guide for our tour was Mark O’English, the University Archivist for Washington State University.

The take-aways from this visit are the following:

60,000 rare additions, some dating back to the 16th century

it takes approximately ten hours to process one linear foot of recently acquired materials

Archives audience: scholars nation-wide, scholars in the Pacific Northwest, and university constituents

It serves the “collective memory of the institution

Acquisition of materials is primarily through individual donations and private purchases

Materials collected include manuscripts, photographs, audio and video tapes, films, printed and published materials (books, maps, broadsides, etc.)

MASC’s total collection holds approximately 17,000 linear feet of primary source material and 38,000 printed items, or roughly 5,000 linear feet of printed material

If you’d like to read about my entire experience please read on.

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