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. Search online to find current version.
  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. 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.” Search online.
  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). See also, which lists free online publications.
  5. Northeast Document Conservation Center (NEDCC) – has free online resources. Provides digitization and other preservation services.

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
    Ed: Charlton, et al.
    Publisher: Alta Mira
    Year/Publication Date: 2008