Sunday, September 20, 2009

Reappraisal and Deaccessioning: A Literature Review Part 2 of 5

This post is part of a series on a literature review of reappraisal and deaccessioning in archival collections. Click on a link below to read further:

Part 1
Part 3
Part 4
Part 5

In “I’ve Deaccessioned and Lived to Tell about It: Confessions of an Unrepentant Reappraiser,” Mark A. Greene discusses how the American Heritage Center at the University of Wyoming regularly performs reappraisal and deaccessioning based on comprehensive analysis of major collecting areas. Greene reports that 60 percent of deaccessioned records were placed at other repositories, while 20 percent were returned to donors (p. 11).

Caryn Wojcik explores reappraising government record backlogs at the State Archives of Michigan in “Appraisal, Reappraisal, and Deaccessioning.” The archivists ranked government agencies by their potential to produce archival records, similar to the Minnesota Method of appraising modern business records. They constructed an appraisal mission statement, criteria, mechanics, and methodology, which they applied against the backlog.

In “Reappraising and Reaccessioning Wisconsin State Government Records: An Agency-wide Approach,” Helmut M. Knies discusses a four-year project to reduce Wisconsin Historical Society’s collection by 40 percent. The archivists approached the records by agency, rather than by series, assuring that the project “eliminated the records of no single agency in toto, and as a general practice deaccessioned entire series only rarely” (p. 36). Knies describes the “almost archaeological quality” of constructing a “genealogy” the agencies in the context of their antecedents, related agencies, and administrative and regulatory functions (p. 36, 39).

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