Wednesday, September 21, 2005

How will the archive arrange material? How do other university archives provide access to their maps and drawings?

The end goal of arranging, describing, and re-housing the collections in the SPSU archives and special collections is to provide better access to students and faculty that want to use the materials. Libraries, and archives have used a variety of ways to make collections of maps and drawings available.

The University of Georgia's Hargrett Library has a numbering system attached to their map collection. This is common in archives, and makes the materials easy to find in the flat files. The Library of Congress maps are also arranged by a numbering system, but employ a version of library cataloging in identification as well, using the same cataloging schema used in the rest of their collection.

When we organize the collections in the SPSU archive, each item will get a number (making it easy to find physically), and will be described using Electronic Archival Description, or EAD. You can see how the data entry for EAD compares with data entry for a library catalog record at this test page from Columbia University, where architectural drawings were already described in the library catalog before they were given Electronic Archival Description.

A good example of using EAD in collections similar to ours can be seen at the International Archive of Women in Architecture from Virginia Polytechnic. Another good example of EAD used in a collection of architectural drawings can be seen at this page from Cornell. EAD was chosen as the descriptive standard for the SPSU archive because it is the standard endorsed by the Society of American Archivists, and because using this schema will facilitate sharing our records with the Digital Library of Georgia.