This post is part of an annotated bibliography about archival description. Please click below to read further:
Duff, W. M., & Harris, V. (2002). Stories and names: Archival description as narrating records and constructing meanings. Archival Science 2(3), 263-285.
Duff, Professor, Information Studies, University of Toronto, and Harris, Archivist, South African History Archive, advocate descriptive standards that allow for a plurality of representation. Archivists must relinquish their control of access to and interpretation of records through description. Although the authority of archivists remains an obstacle for implementing descriptive architectures that allow user annotation, the authors believe that the benefits of presenting a more complete historical record outweigh the costs. User-created annotations in archival description provide opportunities for the marginalized to be heard in addition to authoritative, standardized archival-provided description. Duff and Harris demonstrate the importance of balancing the integrity and authority of archivists, while allowing for alternative voices in description.
Hadley, N. (2001). Access and description of visual ephemera. Collection Management 25, 39-50.
Hadley, Senior Archivist, College of William & Mary, states that description of ephemera varies between institutions, depending on the types of access points and the levels of description required. Using examples from the Houston Metropolitan Research Center of the Houston Public Library (HMRC), she notes that description is determined by the aesthetic and artifactual aspects of the materials, as well as if the ephemera collections are provenance based, artificially created, or within larger collections. Descriptive systems should explicitly reflect the presence of ephemera, be firmly linked to other description systems in the repository, be consistent across holdings, provide the type and level of description appropriate to the nature of the materials, and anticipate their likely use.