Preservation Week at the LSU Law Library this year focused on looking back at all we have accomplished in a year’s time. In June of 2013 the library hired its first full time archivist to oversee the rare books and archives collections. The archivist’s first priority was gaining physical control of the collections. Many of the manuscript collections had been put in filing cabinets for long term storage and were located in various sections of the building. These collections were brought together in one climate-controlled location and rehoused in archival boxes. Additional preservation efforts included the removal of rusty staples and paper clips, interfiling with acid free paper as needed, and placing documents in consistently sized acid free folders.
The archives had accumulated a large, unsorted collection of alumni photographs (mostly from the 1990s) and similar preservation methods were taken. In addition, the entire collection was digitized and placed online via a Flickr account. This was done in the hopes of gaining a level of intellectual control since it created the opportunity for crowd-sourced identification of the photos’ contents. The Flickr account is active (https://www.flickr.com/photos/101257831@N05/sets/) and the project had a soft launch earlier this year which has yielded promising results.
As a pilot project, items within a particular collection of speech files from the LSU Law Center’s longest-serving dean that were deemed of significant research value and/or historical interest were digitized and placed online with the library’s institutional repository (http://digitalcommons.law.lsu.edu/hebert_speeches/). The project was a success and plans are underway to create more digital surrogates of items within the manuscript collections as an additional level of preservation.
Much of the work in the past year has been focused on bringing the library in line with the standard practices of the archival profession. In addition to the library’s considerable preservation work this year, policies were also put in place that allowed greater access to the materials. Finding aids are also being created for all of the archival collections. The Archival Collections have also increased their presence on the library’s website (http://www1.law.lsu.edu/library/general-information/collections/archives/). Moving forward, the library aims to identify preservation needs within its rare book collection and take preservation to the next level within the archives.
Travis H. Williams Metadata Librarian & Archivist LSU Law Library