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Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Finding Hidden Treasure

In addition to our wonderful Rosenbach summer interns, we've also been hosting some other very special guests this summer: processors from the PACSCL/CLIR Hidden Collections Processing Project. For anyone who doesn't speak acronym, PACSCL is the Philadelphia Area Consortium of Special Collections Libraries and and CLIR is the Council on Library and Information Resources (now you know why we use acronyms). For the Hidden Collections Project, PACSCL has trained crack teams of graduate students to visit 24 local institutions and process unprocessed and under-processed collections.

This summer, we've been hosting a team composed of Devin Manzullo-Thomas and Dan Cavanaugh. They've been working on a number of archival and manuscript collections here, including the McCarty & Davis, John Thurloe, and Rosenbach Family Papers; and unprocessed portions of the Marianne Moore Papers and the Rosenbach Company Archives. Devin recently wrote a great blog post about his work with the Thurloe papers, a collection which included references to tracking down "wild negroes" on Jamaica, among other interesting tidbits.

The Hidden Collections project provides for what is called minimal processing, which focuses on providing basic arrangement and description of the collections, along with the creation of electronic finding aids, which will be available not only to us, but will also be available through a centralized repository housed at the University of Pennsylvania. Having a centralized place to find information about multiple institutions' collections will be a great resource for researchers, and will help scholars who may not be familiar with the Rosenbach to connect with our collections.

If you want to find out more about Hidden Collections, you can check out the project website, which includes descriptions, as well as a list of participants and a blog; or you can follow the project on Twitter, or like PACSCL on Facebook. Thank you Dan, Devin, and everyone else involved with this project for helping us make our collections more usable and accessible!

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