Step Two: Process All the Data

Where was I? Oh yes, in my last processing-related post, I had just finished the physical processing of my collection. I’ve now finished all of the folder title data entry and am in the final stages of editing scope notes and other descriptive text. (Side note: I probably need a “Step One-Point-Five: Arrange All the Records” post, but frankly, it’s not that intriguing. “Put things in order.” Done! Back to step two.)

Excel and the joys of XML (which I hardly understand myself) saved me a bunch of time in this process. This collection has 534 boxes (plus some flat files and records not physically in my possession), with 4,631 folder titles. And I spent about 50 hours typing them all into the computer. So far, I’ve also spent about 35 hours editing that data and the scope notes for the collection.

The actual final (post-arrangement and error checking) numbers on the collection size are this:

  • Original collection size: 220 linear feet
  • Final collection size: 184.38 linear feet (or 180.48 cubic feet) (about a 16% reduction in physical size)
Wrangell-St. Elias National park and Preserve
awaiting labels

Processing speed depends on how you look at it. Based on the original size of the collection (which is how I’ve always done this), I’m at just over 3 hours per linear foot. Very speedy. Based on the final size, I’m at 3.50 hours per linear foot or 3.66 hours per cubic foot. Still pretty speedy. Data entry averaged out to a bit over 3.5 feet per hour. And now I’m left with writing and editing narrative text for the finding aid and putting labels on things (post-its are not exactly kosher in archives-land), which is great because . . .

I’m moving to Florida in 2 weeks. I’ve accepted the position of “Processing Archivist” at the University of Florida and I’m very happy to be moving back close to home and taking a job which sounds interesting and has no attached end-date. I’ll be processing across all of their collections, so stay tuned for further tales of processing and, hopefully, humorous finds via Instagram/Twitter (see buttons above). While Alaska has been a unique experience, I’m overjoyed for this new opportunity and happy to be ahead of schedule and finishing up this project before leaving.