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Another MI institution wins grant money

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The Michigan Technological University Archives and Copper Country Historical Collections has received a federal grant to support a two-year project to improve the description of its historical collections and share more of this information across the web. The grant has been awarded by the National Historical Records and Publications Commission (NHPRC), the grantmaking arm of the National Archives. The outright grant of $116,500 is for 47 percent of the budgeted project cost of $250,342.

“This is a huge step forward for our program,” said Erik Nordberg, University Archivist at Michigan Tech. “Monies from this federal grant program are intended to “reveal hidden collections” at mid-sized institutions, particularly those which are geographically remote like ours here in Houghton. Because we’re a bit farther off the beaten path, we need to find ways to reach potential researchers.”

The project, entitled “Coming to the Surface: Revealing Hidden Collections in Michigan’s Copper Country,” will include a shelf survey of the collections, assessment of basic conservation needs, review of donor case files, the migration of existing collection-level data, and the output of MARC catalog records to the university’s online public access catalog and also to Worldcat, the international bibliographic catalog of the Online Computer Library Center (OCLC).

Grant-funded activities will help to reveal these otherwise hidden collections to potential researchers worldwide. Although the project will not undertake any significant arrangement or processing of collections, the grant-funded creation of collection-level entries in a new collection management system will be a critical step in allowing Michigan Tech to improve its future capacities for the arrangement and description of its manuscript resources.

As part of the project, the Archives will be hiring two fixed-term positions. A full-time, two year project cataloging archivist will create collection-level catalog records for over 900 manuscript collections, following minimal processing practice and applying professional descriptive standards. This person will work with the MTU catalog librarian to output data in standard MARC format, insert these records into MTU’s existing OPAC, and share these records to Worldcat. In addition, the project cataloging archivist will document production output, workflows and production rates; assist with the development of a brief preservation planning report; prepare project reports and final cataloging report; and assist with promotion of project, including project updates on department website, postings to professional lists, and presentations.

A six month, full-time, graduate student intern will participate in the initial physical collection survey in preparation for the cataloging project. Survey goals include shelf reading, assessing preservation needs at the box level, reviewing case files and finding aids, and completing survey forms to be used as sources of metadata for the project.

Grant dollars will allow Michigan Tech to purchase and implement Proficio, a specialized collection management software program created for archives and museums by Re:discovery Software, Inc. Proficio is the commercial version of software used by the National Park Service and other federal agencies under the name ANCS+. Proficio’s archives module provides a framework to catalog and manage archival materials, and will allow the Michigan Tech Archives to create and export standard MARC records as part of the project’s goals.

“Not only will this push information out about our collections to researchers around the world,” Nordberg said, “but it will also lay a foundation to gather and organize even more detail about our collections after the grant project is completed. Proficio supports a wide range of collection management activities, including export of EAD finding aids in XML format.”

A regional history manuscript collection, the Michigan Tech Archives collects information on the history of the Keweenaw Peninsula in Michigan’s Western Upper Peninsula, including its historic copper mining industry. The collections to be described include a wide variety of format and content, including personal papers and diaries, business and industrial records, photographs, maps, and wide format items.

As part of the project, updates and progress reports will be posted to the Michigan Tech Archives blog at http://blogs.mtu.edu/library/category/archives-blog/

For further information contact the MTU Archives at (906) 487-2505 or via e-mail at copper@mtu.edu The Archives reading room is located on the ground floor of the Van Pelt and Opie Library, in the heart of the Michigan Tech Campus.

Additional links:
Michigan Tech Archives
NHPRC Grant Announcement
Proficio by Re:discovery

Posted by kkowatch at July 9, 2009 10:22 AM


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