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Archival Preservation 101: Series Recap

Jade Kastel, Music Librarian, Western Illinois University

The Preservation Committee’s 2023 article series “Archival Preservation 101: An Introduction to the Preservation of Archival Material” covered a gamut of topics in preservation and archival practice. This wrap up provides a list of the article titles and a short description of each article to allow CARLI members to easily browse this series and return to articles of interest.

Preservation Through Archival Practice 
Heidi Marshall discusses the institutional value of archival collections and provides guiding principles for institutions who do not employ an archivist. Marshall introduces the importance of original order and provenance in collections and how employees can use these principles to preserve their institution’s history and allow records to be available for future generations of researchers.

Funding for Preservation Activities 
Ellen Keith consulted Colleen McGaughey and Liz Sorokin to discuss when to pursue grant funding and where institutions need to build in operating costs. This article covers big-ticket items like HVAC systems and compact shelving, as well as ongoing expenses of qualified personnel and materials/tools.

Preservation Through Simple Archival Processing
Heidi Marshall addresses the cataloging differences in library collections and archival collections. In archival collections, simple cataloging takes place at the collection level, then folder level, rather than individually cataloging each piece of paper or digital file in a collection. Marshall covers basic terminology in archives and how collections, and their finding aids, are arranged and described.

Email Archiving
Shelby Strommer consulted the expertise of Chris Prom and Ruby Martinez to answer questions including how information professionals can advocate for email preservation in their institutions, how to mitigate challenges in email preservation, and Strommer also provides additional resources for further research on this topic. 

Digitization and Digital Archiving
Rob DeLand addresses the sheer volume of digital content produced and how making digital content available is becoming easier, which can also benefit the accessibility and the time of researchers. DeLand covers how to plan for a robust digitization project, what digital formats are considered archival, and how to organize the objects in a digital collection. 

Cloud vs. Physical (Local) Storage
Bridget Lerette defines cloud and physical (local) storage and provides readers with lists that highlight the advantages and disadvantages to cloud storage and physical (local) storage. Lerette gives insights into hybrid options for institutions to consider if neither cloud nor physical (local) storage meet an institution’s needs and budget. This article also includes links to additional resources for further research on digital storage options. 

Preservation of Digital Materials
Tonia Grafakos interviewed Kelsey O’Connell who discussed the role of a Digital Archivist and how institutions can preserve their digital collections. Topics covered include: how to extract data from obsolete technology, what people can do to ensure that their digital material is properly preserved, and preservation standards for formats such as preservation standards for different digital media types  like PDFs, Word documents, MP3, and MOV files. Grafakos also includes several links to additional resources, definitions of preservation and archival terms, and links to software and technology. 

Preservation of Video Games in Libraries
Melina Avery spoke with Media Arts, Data and Design (MADD) Center staff members Ashlyn Sparrow and Kent Lambert to discuss how institutions approach video game preservation and how the history of game play can be preserved and taught. This article covers the preservation of aging technology and what contextual materials may be required to teach students about video game history. Avery provides links to an online game and resources on museums and game labs that provide access to historical games. 

If there is an area of preservation that piques your interest or a subject you feel would be beneficial for the Preservation Committee to share with CARLI members next year, please  We’re interested in your feedback and selecting preservation topics based on the needs, desires, and curiosities of our members and institutions.