For the Michigan State University Archives & Historical Collections (UAHC), 2014 has been a busy and rewarding year. The following are a few of the highlights of the past 12 months.
UAHC started taking small steps in preserving its audio-visual assets this past year. Interns indexed magnetic media, created a manual for handling and processing, indexed the film collection, replaced rusty canisters, and checked acetate degradation. UAHC also began setting up a video and audio digitization lab and identifying player equipment. In April 2014, a special fund was created to raise money for the AV collections, with advertising targeted to alumni (https://givingto.msu.edu/gift/?sid=1484). The “baby steps” approach to AV preservation was highlighted by the poster “One Reel at a Time: Facing the Reality of AV Collections,” presented by Cynthia Ghering and Portia Vescio at the October AMIA conference in Savannah, Georgia.
This past February, the MSU Office of the President unveiled the Morrill Plaza Kiosk, which honors the memory of the late, venerable Morrill Hall and highlights 100 past distinguished professors. Built in 1899, Morrill Hall was MSU’s first residential college for women; in later years and until its demolition in 2013, it provided offices and classroom space for the History and English Departments. UAHC contributed 490 historical photos for use in the kiosk.
The first phase of the Spartan Archive digital repository went live in June 2014. UAHC had received funding from NHPRC to develop a preservation environment for four series of database records from MSU’s Office of the Registrar—Academic Programs, Course Descriptions, Course Schedules, and the Student Directory—as a prototype for a trusted digital repository for born-digital institutional records. Spartan Archive is available at http://spartanarchive.msu.edu.
In September 2014, the third Mid-Michigan Digital Practitioners (MMDP) meeting was held at Central Michigan University. UAHC and the MSU Libraries formed MMDP in summer 2013 to bring together professionals engaged in creating and curating digital collections in Mid-Michigan and the surrounding region, including librarians, archivists, museum curators, historians, and more. Each of the biannual meetings held thus far has averaged 50 attendees. The next scheduled meeting is in Ann Arbor in Spring 2015. Information about past meetings may be found at http://archives.msu.edu/about/conferences.php?about_conferences
UAHC underwent much-need renovation and expansion in 2014. Over the summer, new moveable shelving and an air handler specifically designated for collection storage areas were installed. The next phase of the facilities upgrade, scheduled for completion in January 2015, includes expansion into the space next door to UAHC’s current office for a larger reading room, new workspace for students and interns, and the addition of another secure, climate controlled collections area.
MSU’s records management program, administered by UAHC, expanded its reach on campus with the addition of two new employees: Hillary Gatlin, University Records Manager, and Jennie Russell, Assistant Records Archivist. With this support, the records management program began a long-term project to complete a full revision of the existing university records retention schedules. This revision will ensure that the university’s records policies accurately reflect current record keeping practices, including the maintenance and disposal of electronic records.