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Special Collections & Archives Student Assistant Guide: Inventorying & Re-foldering

A helpful guide for student assistants working in Special Collections.

Inventorying and Re-foldering

Inventorying and Re-foldering.  Student assistants will re-folder manuscript materials, and create an inventory of an assigned collection, while always maintaining the ‘Original Order’. Original Order in archiving is a key term which means, to keep the folders, pages in the order you found them. Even the pages in a given folder reflects the intent of its creator. We also emphasize this to researchers using our collections in the Reading Room, “Please turn the pages as though you are turning the pages in a book!” For example, how would you like to be given a book with all the pages in total disorder, the book would not make sense. Also, keeping records in their original order provides evidence of the function and organizational system of the unit that created them, which can provide important insight to a researcher.

In nearly all cases unless otherwise directed,  the acidic folder will be replaced with a archival, acid free folder. The title on the original will be replicated onto the new acid-free folder in clear, easy to read hand-writing. The documents will be transferred into this new folder also in the order in which it was found. As you re-folder, keep your eyes out for any post it notes, newspaper clippings, social security number and other personal or sensitive information and flag these things with a strip of paper with a not at the top saying 'post it note' or S.S. # so that we can go back later and photocopy the post it in place on the document and then discard the post it note and/or later go back and redact the social security number(s).