Archival Basics for Historic Record Collections is an introduction to the concepts, policies, infrastructure and tasks needed to collect, preserve and make archival collections available to researchers. The book is based on content presented in workshops by the Council of State Archivists and presented in an on-line course by the American Association of State and Local History since 2003. Arp focuses on the discreet tasks necessary to manage archival collections. This is a practical, how-to book on managing archival collections designed for those who have responsibility for such collections but lack formal archival training.
The book begins by defining historic records, archival collections and the differences between archives, libraries and museums while identifying the steps needed to manage archival collections. It then looks at collecting archival items including creating a collections policy, documenting the acquisition of archival items and the steps needed to bring those items into an archives. It discusses arranging, preserving and describing archival collections so researchers can find the information they seek. Next, it goes over what is needed to store, protect, and make archival collections available to researchers. The last chapters contemplates the policies, skills and infrastructure needed to successfully manage digital records and looks at creating digital copies of analog records to promote their use.
The book provides templates, questionnaires and examples to enable the reader to create customized archival policies and procedures that accommodate the particular circumstances they find themselves in. The book also contains exercises and quizzes designed to reinforce the retention and understanding of critical concepts. In addition to examples it has lists of additional resources so those who want more detailed information on particular topics can find it. This book is not the only reference book needed by those doing archival work, but it should be the first book they need.