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University Archives: 2009 progress update

This year has seen a huge increase in activity within the University Archives, in part because we began the preparations for UMBC's 50th anniversary in 2016! We are trying to make our University Archives holdings more accessible to accommodate anticipated research requests in conjunction with the anniversary. Because of the size of the Archives (over 700 linear feet) we have undertaken a multi-pronged approach - in 2009 we have initiated projects working on departmental records, university photographs, UMBC produced publications, and increased access to digital content.

Departmental records collections:
In collaboration with a campus-wide 50th anniversary committee chaired by Dean John Jeffries, the Albin O. Kuhn Library was able to hire a part-time Project Archivist to begin the processing of our departmental records. Project Archivist Jeff Karr began in March and has since reviewed, analyzed, and arranged the 42 boxes that contain the records of our first and second Chancellors, Albin O. Kuhn and Calvin Lee. The finding aid for the President's Office records is now available on the Special Collections website. The remaining boxes of records covering the tenure of Chancellor John Dorsey and President Michael Hooker will be added to the finding aid this Spring. Graduate Assistant Homira Pashai has also begun processing work on the University Senates records, which will include the records of the UMBC Assembly, the UMBC Senate, the Faculty Senate, the Student Government Association, and the Graduate Student Association.

University Photographs:
One popular collection is the University Photographs. We have photographs documenting the construction of the campus, former (and current) faculty and staff, the vibrant student life community, and a wide selection of the academic and recreational activities that have always been a part of UMBC life. Unfortunately, due to their current arrangement the photographs have been difficult for researchers to use. In 2009 Special Collections took several steps to remedy this problem: a box level inventory of the photographs was conducted this Spring, box level descriptive records will soon be searchable in the Special Collections Search, and the Digital Collections website features over 80 selections from our holdings. More photographs will be added to the Digital Collections in the future. You can also browse - and comment on - our University Photographs available on the Library's Flickr page.

University Publications:
A strong emphasis has been placed this year on collecting publications produced on campus by departments, staff, and student groups. These publications are a great resource as a historical document because they are produced by most groups on campus and can provide information on the activities and functions of UMBC. Through targeted outreach we have seen an increase in publication donation from campus departments. Publications are also being transferred from the President’s Office records as they are processed; this will increase access to the publications and avoid duplication of holdings. All the publications, new and old, are being rehoused in acid free folders and more descriptive and uniform catalog records are being created in the Special Collections Search. Graduate Assistant Colleen Walter has been the project lead for our University Publications and has, as of December 2009, made the publications of roughly 30 campus departments more accessible!

Digital Collections:
In August 2009, the Albin O. Kuhn Library launched UMBC's Digital Collections. Several University Archives digital collections are available, including University Photographs, University Publications, the current digital archives of The Retriever Weekly, and the Theatre Department Production Materials Archive. The Digital Collections represent not only a new avenue for scholarly historical research on UMBC, but also the partnerships between Special Collections and all the departments on campus as we work to preserve our shared institutional history. A special thank you to Creative Services, the Theatre Department, The Retriever Weekly staff, UMBC Magazine, Chemistry and Biochemistry Department, the Joint Center for Earth Systems Technology (JCET), and the Goddard Earth Sciences & Technology Center (GEST).