Grant Project Complete



Archives and Special Collections at Mount Holyoke College is pleased to announce the completion of its National Historical Publications and Records Commission (NHPRC) Electronic Records Start-Up Project. This project was undertaken with the support of a NHPRC electronic records start-up grant (NAR10-10026-10).

Archives and Special Collections has now established workflows and procedures to ingest, accession, process, store, and access electronic records. In place at the end of the grant period are:

1.    An ingest process and methodology.
2.    An electronic records processing manual and an administrative, technical, and descriptive metadata guide for staff and student assistants with responsibilities in this area.
3.    An established technology infrastructure for processing, storing, and making electronic records accessible, building on an existing digital repository infrastructure.
4.    Online directions for records creators to submit electronic records to Archives and Special Collections.

Below is a listing of the documentation created or adapted as part of this project:

  • MHC Archives' Electronic Records Workflow Guide
  • Using the DataAccessioner at MHC document
  • MHC Archivists' Toolkit Accessions Module manual (based on standard AT manual with local implementations noted)
  • MHC File Naming Procedures (updated for born digital records)
  • MHC Archivists' Toolkit Digital Object Module manual (based on standard AT manual with local implementations noted)

In addition to new workflows and procedures, Archives and Special Collections has implemented a digital records transfer system for campus offices to move electronic files to the Archives. Creation of this system was necessary because Mount Holyoke College does not currently have a campus-wide document management system. This transfer system web application was created by Sven Aas, Web Team Lead in LITS at MHC. The system documentation is available at and will be expanded upon in 2012. We hope that this deliverable will be of use to other small archives working without a document management system who need to receive files electronically.

Meeting the grant performance objectives, Archives and Special Collections has accessioned, processed, and stored electronic records from the following campus offices: Board of Trustees' Office, Dean of Faculty's Office, Registrar's Office, and Communications Office.

Archives and Special Collections is grateful to the NHPRC for supporting work that ensures the continued documentation and preservation of Mount Holyoke College history.

'Moving from Theory to Practice' Presentation at MARAC

Leslie Fields participated in a panel on digital preservation at this fall's Mid-Atlantic Regional Archivists Conference (MARAC) in Bethlehem, PA. Her presentation entitled "Born-Digital Records: Moving from Theory to Practice" outlined the history of the NHPRC electronic records grant project at Mount Holyoke and the progress that has been made over the past ten months to develop workflows and to process records. View her presentation slides here through MARAC's slideshare site.

NHPRC Project Presentation at SAA Annual Meeting in Chicago

Jennifer Gunter King, Head of Archives and Special Collections, will present  "Laying the Tracks for Electronic Records at an Undergraduate Liberal Arts College," at the College and University Archivists section meeting on Thursday, August 25. King will describe the basic workflows and procedures in place for archiving electronic records from four campus offices at Mount Holyoke College utilizing tools that include Duke University’s Data Accessioner, the Archivists' Toolkit, a digital preservation system, and DSpace.

Save the Date for #AskArchivists Day on twitter

Every day is a good day to ask an electronic records archivist a question! But June 9th will be especially good since we'll be participating in #AskArchivists Day on twitter. Join us that day and ask your questions about our grant project, Mount Holyoke College's archival collections, and about our profession.

NHPRC Grant Project Poster at LITS Open House

Archives and Special Collection's poster entitled "Saving MHC's History for the 22nd Century, and Beyond!" was one of the posters and presentations at the LITS Open House on Thursday, March 17. Our poster outlined the NHPRC electronic records grant project and its importance to the college community. Leslie Fields, the NHPRC Electronic Records Archivist, spoke with staff, faculty, students, and guests about the project and showed off 5 and 1/4 inch floppy disks and other magnetic media from the archives. Couldn't be there with us? Watch the LITS Open House time lapse video!

NHPRC Grant Project Surveys Completed

An important first quarter goal of our 12 month NHPRC electronic records project has been completed! We conducted records surveys of all of the targeted records to identify file types, sizes, and issues regarding ingest and processing.

The target records for this grant are four series of campus publications and records that are created and published electronically and that we already have been collecting in paper form. These are: Mount Holyoke College course catalogs produced by the Registrar's Office; the Office of Communication's News and Events stories; the monthly Faculty meeting minutes; and the Board of Trustees' meeting minutes.

NHPRC Grant Project Staff Visit Project Advisor at Tufts

On March 1 we made a trip to the Tufts University Digital Collections and Archives. Eliot Wilczek, University Records Manager at Tufts, is the Project Advisor for our NHPRC grant project. He and his colleagues Anne Sauer and Veronica Martzahl kindly met with us and walked us through their electronic records management program. Tufts is home to the TAPER (Tufts Accessioning Program for Electronic Records) project, which is also supported by the NHPRC.

NHPRC Electronic Records Project Tweets

Join the conversation about archives and our NHPRC electronic records project with Leslie Fields on twitter!

LITS Blog Post about MHC and the NHPRC

Leslie Fields, NHPRC Electronic Records Archivist, has a LITS blog post up about the mission of the NHPRC.

MHC News & Events Story about NHPRC Grant Project Work

The Mount Holyoke College Office of Communications has a News & Events story up about our NHPRC electronic records grant project. And, by the way, archiving News & Events stories is part of our work this year!

Sharing NHPRC Project Updates with the Five College Archivists

Beginning in February Leslie Fields will be sharing updates from the NHPRC electronic records project at the Five College Archivists monthly meeting. As the project progresses the Five College Archivists will have access to the research, workflows, and policies for archiving electronic records produced by Mount Holyoke.

Archives Staff Attend SAA Electronic Records Workshop

College Archivist Jennifer Gunter King and NHPRC Electronic Records Archivist Leslie Fields just returned from the Society of American Archivists' "Managing Electronic Records in Archives and Special Collections" workshop in San Antonio, TX. Taught by Duke University's Tim Pyatt and Seth Shaw, the program was an opportunity to review and discuss electronic records issues facing colleges and universities. Attendees also had hands-on experience with open source tools for ingest and management of electronic records.

Mount Holyoke Awarded NHPRC Grant for Electronic Records Start-up Project

The National Historical Publications and Records Commission (NHPRC) has awarded Mount Holyoke College a grant in support of a start-up electronic records project in the Archives and Special Collections department of LITS. MHC was one of three institutions across the nation to garner an award in this category.

The outcome of the grant will be established procedures for ingest, processing, preservation, and providing access to campus electronic records of enduring value. While it won't solve all of the problems inherent in our world's transition from paper-based records to born-digital records, the project will allow the Mount Holyoke College Archives and Special Collections to begin to collect some critical recent records, including the Board of Trustees meeting minutes, course catalogs, and MHC news and events articles published online. In addition to providing a model for other small institutions grappling with similar challenges, this project will help ensure the continued documentation and preservation of MHC history, a history that has been actively preserved for more than one hundred seventy years.

This 18-month grant will commence on July 1, 2010. Part of developing best practices will be to survey identified offices and work with records creators to ingest electronic records into Archives and Special Collections using existing digital repository infrastructure. Updates on project findings will be posted on a quarterly basis to the Archives and Special Collections web site.

The NHPRC is the grant-making arm of the National Archives. To learn more about the grants, please see the NHPRC press release.