Question: It has fallen upon me to start the archives at my church, civic organization, etc. I have little knowledge of how to do this and was wondering if you could aid me in the task of preserving historic material (i.e. old tapes, literature and documents of great importance). What is some literature I could sift through?

Answer: There are some great resources on “archiving for non-archivists.” See below:
 

I. Online

  1. A Manual of Basic Archival Practices resource published by the NC SHRAB (State Historical Records Advisory Board), 2006. See http://www.history.ncdcr.gov/shrab/documents/Manual_of_Basic_Archival_Practices.pdf and http://www.history.ncdcr.gov/shrab/publications.htm. This is a great manual! You have to download the chapters as individual PDFs.
     
  2. INSURING THE FUTURE OF OUR PAST: A Brief Guide to Selecting or Starting an Archival Program by Boyd D. Cathey. Raleigh, NC: The State Historical Records Advisory Board of North Carolina, 2003, 3rd. edition. Available at http://www.history.ncdcr.gov/shrab/documents/InsuringOur.pdf. Note: This is an NC-focused publication, published by the State Historical Records Advisory Board of North Carolina (SHRAB of NC). Find your SHRAB by doing an internet search on your state and “SHRAB.”
     
  3. Find a local or regional archival organization, e.g. The Society of North Carolina Archivists (SNCA), New England Archivists, etc. They offer professional education, annual conferences, workshops, etc.
     
  4. Information about preservation is available at the nation's largest regional membership organization for libraries and information professionals (LYRASIS). http://www.lyrasis.org/LYRASIS%20Digital/Pages/Preservation-Services.aspx. See also http://www.lyrasis.org/LYRASIS%20Digital/Pages/Preservation%20Services/Resources-and-Publications.aspx, which lists free online publications.
  5. Northeast Document Conservation Center (NEDCC) – has free online resources. Provides digitization and other preservation services. http://www.nedcc.org/home.php
     

II. Here are some analog resources on the topic

  1. Archival Fundamental Series published by the Society of American Archivists.
     
  2. Search the online catalog at your library for other books on archival topics of interest to you. Some possibilities:
  • Title: Archives: Principles and Practices
    Author(s): Millar, Laura
    Publisher: Neal-Schuman Publishers, Inc
    Year/Publication Date: 2010
     
  • Title: Electronic Records in the Manuscript Repository
    Author(s): Dow, Elizabeth H.
    Publisher: Scarecrow Press
    Year/Publication Date: 2009
     
  • Title: A Guide to Preventive Conservation of Photographic Collections
    Author(s): Lavedrine, B.
    Publisher: J. Paul Getty Museum
    Year/Publication Date: 2003
     
  • Title: Handbook of Oral History (on order at Randall Library)
    Ed: Charlton, et al.
    Publisher: Alta Mira
    Year/Publication Date: 2008