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Inaugural Access to Collections Project a Success

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Rare Books Technical Services Project Librarian Abigail Connick. Photo credit: Jim Gipe.

The first ever Access to Collections Project (A2C) in Smith College Special Collections is a wrap! 

From 2018 to 2021, A2C project staff dramatically improved collection access. Researchers can now find and potentially access all of the unique archival collections stewarded by Special Collections. According to Beth Myers, Director of Special Collections, “The Access to Collections Project started with the goal of making every archival collection discoverable to the public. We met and exceeded that goal by leaps and bounds!” 

The A2C project had some exceptional achievements, including:

  • A 57% percent increase in the number of published finding aids, a growth of 570 new guides

  • 40 archival collections processed totaling 2,340 linear feet

  • 5,000 catalog records created or corrected

  • 816 rare books cataloged 

  • 1,600 + rare book volumes stabilized through conservation efforts  

  • Identified and documented restrictions for oral histories and college records

  • Modernized systems and created a Wiki, which is used as a model by others in the Five Colleges and beyond

  • Harmonized archival practices across three repositories - College Archives, Mortimer Rare Book Collection, and Sophia Smith Collection

  • Barcoded 35,000 archival boxes for container control 

  • Relocated all archival and rare book collections as part of the Neilson Library renovation project 

Project staff included Dan Michelson, Project Manager Archivist; Ellice Amanna, Archives Technical Services Specialist; Scott Biddle, Archives Technical Services Specialist; Abigail Connick, Rare Books Technical Services Project Librarian; Sylvia Hickman, Mellon Post Baccalaureate Fellow; Claire Marshall, Metadata Migration Project Archivist; Madison White, Processing Archivist; and 14 student workers.

The Access to Collections project was funded by the Office of the President, Office of the Provost, Office of the Dean of Libraries, and individual donors. Building on the success of the project, Director of Special Collections Beth Myers is planning for a second Access to Collections Project (A2C2). A2C2 will focus on rare book and material cataloging. More details will be released later this year. Anyone wishing to support the new project may do so through the online giving form.

Please learn more about the 40 archival collections processed as part of the first A2C project through the finding aid links below: