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Have you ever asked yourself, what was that archivist thinking?!? This question especially rings true for legacy collections processed long ago following now-outdated theories, but it may also apply to recently processed collections. If we want to avoid becoming that archivist whose decisions our successors question, we must create and uphold more transparent processing practices. This, in turn, supports the integrity of each collection’s arrangement and description. In this presentation, two processing archivists/graduate students who processed collections together shared the strategies they created to facilitate transparency during team processing. They documented decisions in Google Sheets as they arranged materials, created series, kept track of containers and processing progress, and managed terminological choices to ensure their arranging and describing was consistent. They argued this style of documentation was a good first step toward internal transparency between colleagues, but could also support public transparency down the line.


This presentation was given at the 2018 Society of American Archivists Annual Conference in Washington, DC held August 12-18, 2018. It was part of a panel session titled Documenting Decisions: Strategies and Workflows for Consistent and Transparent Processing.