Jackie Dooley and Bill Landis

L-60: Introduction to Archives for Rare Book Librarians

22-26 June 2009


1) How useful were the pre-course readings?

1: The pre-readings were helpful in establishing archival perspectives. Would have liked something that offered more "archival"-specific vocabulary definition/building. 2: Essential. The course readings provide the necessary context and philosophical underpinnings for the class sessions and field trips. 3: Pre-course readings were excellent. I think more should be noted as "required". The readings informed discussion, although not mentioned directly. 4: Very. Helpful to have DACS more or less under my belt. MPLP very useful to have read. 5: The pre-course readings were excellent and well thought out. The supplementary bibliography will be wonderful. 6: Only one pre-course reading, the MPLP article, was actively used and referred to throughout the course. 7: They were useful in gathering some of the overarching concepts of what we would be discussing. Some we didn't discuss at all but were still interesting. 8: The readings were very useful, were relevant and topical, and provided context for the course. Excellent set of material. 9: Very important. 10: Very good overall—would have appreciated more nuts and bolts layout for at least 1 article. 11: Some hints about order to read would have been helpful.


2) Were the course syllabus and other materials distributed in class appropriate and useful (or will they be so in the future, after you return home)?


1: Absolutely. 2: The syllabus, bibliography, processing manuals and information resources were very useful in class and will be invaluable as I begin archival processing in my institution. 3: Yes. Very good resources. (I'd like some financial/donor forms, too—like sample acknowledgment letter or typical IRS 8283 form.) Packet very useful. 4: Yes—I will be referring frequently as I implement what I have learned. 5: Yes, very much so. They will be extremely useful if I pursue archives in the future. 6: The materials given, especially the CD-rom, were very helpful. 7: Yes. 8: Yes—very appropriate and useful. 9: Yes/yes. 10: Yes - would also have found flow chart/timeline of handling archives with different options at each step very useful. 11: Very appropriate. Ring binder for handouts was good and will continue to be useful.


3) What aspects of the course content were of the greatest interest or relevance for your purposes? Was the intellectual level of the course appropriate?


1: As an introductory course, my information needs were met and exceeded. The material covered was appropriate, and helped build a good foundation. 2: The personal experience, professional background and expertise of the instructors made the course exceptional, as they presented and interpreted the philosophy and practice of archives management. The processing exercise, DACS, and the Archivists Toolkit were high spots. The intellectual level was very appropriate, and the course content is perfectly suited to the task of introducing archives to book folk. 3: The overall growth of the course was highly important. Intellectual level was appropriate. 4: The level was spot-on, all week. (Friday dragged a bit, but I appreciated that time was left for our questions.) As a rare book librarian now managing archivists and MSS librarians, this course gave me all the tools and knowledge I need. 5: Yes—the course raised issues that are thought-provoking, challenging and essential, yet as a survey, it touched on many topics, introducing issues to pursue further. 6: The digitization focus was very interesting as a future library student. 7: For this course (RB archives) the digital archives were of the greatest interest to me. 8: Blending theory and application across a range of topics. I will use a great deal of this information immediately. The intellectual content was perfect for this class. 9: New theory on processing. Updating my toolbox of skills. DACS/EAD/LPMP. 10: Processing was of greatest interest to me, with description a close second. Class time was good, but I think Archivist Toolkit session merits in-class time too. 11: Needed an introduction, course was a stretch. Course level was demanding.


4) If your course left its classroom to visit Special Collections (SC) or to make other field trips away from your classroom, was the time devoted to this purpose well spent?


1: This course visited the Library of Virginia and SC—both agencies provided the opportunity to observe the tools, resources, materials, and environment of functional operations. 2: Yes! The three trips: SC at UVa, the Library of Virginia, and the UVa digitization lab were all very informative. I especially appreciated the question and answer sessions during and after each visit. Our hosts were generous in sharing their expertise. 3: Excellent field trip choices. Good comparison of UVa and Library of VA. And seeing the professional/administration environments was so helpful—converged the diversity of styles. 4: The tours of UVa SC, the UVa digitization lab, and the Library of VA were all very worthwhile. Next time, I would hope Library of VA could give us 45 minutes with someone in the MSS department, and let us see the MSS reading room. 5: Yes, the SC tour, the digitization lab, scholars lab and the Library of VA were all amazing. It was useful to see theories in practice. 6: The touring of the SC "behind the scenes" was very useful, particularly the various space management techniques. 7-9: Yes. 10: Yes, enjoyed all our field trips. Perhaps a more modest archives/digital endeavor would help more practically. 11: Field trips were excellent. Best part was bringing the "Boss" back for classroom q&a session.


5) What did you like best about the course?


1: The instructors maintain a nice balance of instruction and discussion. 2: The instructors, the advance readings, the processing exercise, and the materials for further study. 3: Taking a course under and gaining access to two prominent people in the field. I feel that I have access to people outside of my institution who can advise me on difficult aspects of my work. 4: JD and BL were terrific instructors - very knowledgeable, good humored, played well of each other. The session on use of archival materials in instructional settings was especially helpful. 5: BL and JD! They are an exceptional, energetic, and extraordinarily knowledgeable team, whose professional experiences are perfectly tailored for this course. The processing exposure and DACS intro were invaluable. 6: The field trips and guests speakers from those trips. 7: The chance to listen to people at the top of their field. 8: Classroom dynamic and instructors' professional, yet easygoing, personalities provided a great environment for discussion and exploring topics. Highly recommended. 9: New skills to better utilize my time in making resources available for my users. 10: All the hands-on exercises and field trips. 11: Readings and intellectual challenge.


6) How could the course have been improved?


1: More time for activities to reinforce the concepts presented. 2: More time! We could benefit from several days' processing experience—perhaps a new RBS course devoted to Archives Processing could be offered. 3: A simple but thorough baby explanation of EAD and DACS relationships. The plethora of package/software names was boggling to a newbie. Perhaps a chart or list with descriptions? 5: Not positive, as long as they continue to co-teach. 6: More focus on the actual intellectual construction of finding aids. 7: I enjoy visuals, so more PowerPoint or things of that nature. 8: Visit to Library of VA should include manuscripts and documents. 9: So much to cover. It could be broken up into several I week classes. 1. Processing as a class. 2. Description as a class. 3. Electronic/digital resources as a class. 10: Less lecture - valuable info, but hard to take it all in.


7) We are always concerned about the physical well-being both of the RBS teaching collections and of materials owned by UVa's Special Collections. If relevant, what suggestions do you have for the improved classroom handling of such materials used in your course this week?


1: We worked very little with actual materials—as expected. 2: N/A 3: No concerns. 4: N/A Using photocopies for the processing exercise worked well. 5: Yes, though rare materials weren't really handled. 6-8: N/A 9: N/A - as the archives class we touched very little fragile material. 11: Limited application to this class.


8) If you attended the Sunday and/or other evening lectures, were they worth attending?


1: Absolutely. Added value to the week. 2-3: Yes. 4: Very good. 5: Yes, absolutely. 6: Not enough context given in the Monday night [Stoddard] lecture. 7: Yes. 8: N/A 9-10: Yes. 11: Major part of the RBS experience, wouldn't miss evening events for the world.


9) Did you get your money's worth? Any final or summary thoughts, or advice for other persons considering taking this course in a future year?


1: More than my money's worth. This truly was an introductory course with an excellent overview and exploration of the archival side of the house. I look forward to continuing with several of the recommended readings. 2: Yes, absolutely. Thank you for a stimulating and comprehensive overview of archival philosophy, principles and practice. Advice to future students: do the advance readings and be prepared for a wonderful educational experience. 3: Yes. This course works best for people who have some experience (perhaps those frustrated in the field!) and basis of comparison. (But it's also a useful introduction to archives.) 4: Absolutely. 5: Yes, yes, yes! 6: Great class for a library student looking for a specialty-focused class. 7: I didn't pay so of course! 8: Yes, I will come to RBS again. This is my second year, and this is the best professional development opportunity I know of. 9: Yes. Get some sleep before. 10: Yes—I appreciate BL and JD's efforts to make this class as useful and tailored to us as possible. 11: Take the course.


Number of respondents: 11





Institution gave me leave: 54%

I took vacation time: 18%

N/A: self-employed, retired, or had summers off: 27%



Institution paid tuition: 45%

I paid tuition myself: 0%

N/A: self-employed, retired, or scholarship: 54%



Instution paid housing: 54%

I paid for my own housing: 27%

N/A: stayed with friends or lived at home: 18%



Institution paid travel: 45%

I paid my own travel: 27%

N/A: lived nearby: 0%


There were 1 rare book librarian (9%), 1 museum employee (9%), 2 general librarians with some rare book duties (18%), 1 new graduate headed towards special collections career (9%), 1 full-time student (9%), 1 institutional administrator in academic research center with library/archives (9%), 1 archivist and Special Collections librarian (9%), and two recent undergraduate graduates (18%).