Guidelines for Processing Collections with Audiovisual Material

General Introduction

The following chapters were written and refined during a 3-year grant project undertaken by the Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution, from 2012–2015 with funding from the Council on Library and Information Resources “Hidden Collections” grant program. More information about that project is available on AAA’s website at Uncovering Hidden Audiovisual Media Documenting Postmodern Art, including all of the finding aids for the 12 project collections processed during the project.

The guidelines were written to help archivists plan and undertake arrangement and description of manuscript collections containing archival sound recordings and moving image materials. They include AV-specific processing guidelines and tools for assessment of collections prior to processing (Chapter 1), expectations of the archivist for different levels of processing (Chapter 2), re-housing media and seating it in collection containers (Chapter 3), archival arrangement (Chapter 4), describing media in finding aids according to EAD 2002 and DACS (Chapter 5), and identifying and dating archival audiovisual formats (Chapter 6).

Each of these chapters was written for local use at the Archives of American Art, but it is hoped that they will be useful to other repositories. Users of these guidelines will want to make changes to synchronize them with local processing policies, storage practices, descriptive practices, and capacities for playback, digitization, and access. Note that a significant revision of Chapter 5 is anticipated with the release of EAD3 once it is adopted at the Smithsonian Institution.