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Have you ever asked yourself, what was that archivist thinking?!? As archivists process collections, they often find they must make difficult decisions that change the arrangement or description of a collection. If we want to avoid becoming that archivist whose actions our successors question, we should create and document more transparent processing practices. Documenting our decisions can improve communication, consistency, and clarity. It promotes transparency and, in turn, supports the integrity and authenticity of the collection. This holds especially true when tackling large collections as a team over time as more moving parts are involved. This presentation introduced how one team of processors at North Carolina State University documented their decisions using Google Sheets. Their technique supported collaborative decision-making, consistency in workflows and actions, and transparency among the team. This style of documentation was a good step toward internal transparency between colleagues, and it has the potential to expand into the institution’s finding aids. The ultimate goal is to become more transparent with researchers and the public to improve their knowledge of the collections and archival processes.


This presentation was given at the 2018 South Carolina Archival Association Annual Meeting at University of South Carolina-Aiken’s Gregg-Graniteville Library held October 19, 2018.