Case Study – 20th Century Organizational Records (UCB)

Submitted by James Eason, with information provided by Teresa Mora, The Bancroft Library, University of California, Berkeley.

University of California, Berkeley. Bancroft Library.

Sierra Club Southwest Office records, 1900-2000 (bulk 1966-1996).

I. Overview

Collection type:

Organizational records. Late 20th century.

Extent and scope:

26 cartons (32.5 linear feet).

II. Approach

1.    Survey and Planning

  1. Initial survey revealed office files in good order, with straightforward arrangement.
  2. There were clear series present.
  3. A hierarchy of files needed to be identified within the series.
  4. Folders, although standard office folders, were determined to be serviceable.
  5. Some duplication of material was noted.

2.    Restrictions

No restrictions were necessary.

3.    Arrangement and preservation

  1. Original folders were not replaced with archival folders.
  2. Existing folder labels were stapled to folders to prevent loss.
  3. Some weeding of duplicate publications within the files was done.
  4. Newsclippings were left in place, without copying to acid-free stock (a former practice that is no longer the norm.)

4.    Description

  1. Existing folder headings were listed for the container list.
  2. A “sub-series” was identified in many cases, with a hierarchical level inserted between series and file.
  3. Frontmatter for the finding aid is minimal.
  4. A one-paragraph scope and content provides both an overview of the subject matter and a succinct summary of the arrangement.
  5. There are no scope and content notes at the series level, or lower in the hierarchy.
  6. Those audiovisual materials that were labeled (audio tape and several motion picture reels) were listed briefly in the MARC record and finding aid frontmatter, but merely boxed for future separate cataloging.

  III . The Results

1. The EAD finding aid:

2. Restrictions

Audiovisual material remains uncataloged and inaccessible.

No restricted content in files.

3. Use

No use statistics are available.

  III . Processing Rate

No rate was tracked. Retrospective estimates: less than 4.5 hours per linear foot.

Processing was a part-time activity over a period of three months, carried out by a processing assistant with a 40% time appointment.

 IV. Pros and Cons


Collection was made available.

Good existing arrangement and full list of folder headings permits retrieval with reasonable level of confidence.


Acidic folders and news clippings may be damaging.

More duplicates almost certainly remain in files, probably to the extent that they add linear feet.

Scope and content notes at the series level would better describe subject content of files.

There’s a good chance researchers will find mis-files or mis-identifications not caught during processing.

There is very likely material that falls outside stated date ranges for files but could not be caught during minimal processing.

Version 3.0. Last reviewed: August 20, 2012