George Washington University Medical Center is an internationally recognized interdisciplinary academic health center that has consistently provided high-quality medical care in the Washington, D.C. metropolitan area since 1824. The Medical Center compris...
On site review of the Minnesota Historical and Cultural Grants funded project with Elisabeth Kaplan, Head, University Archives & Co-Director, University Digital Conservancy, University of Minnesota Libraries.
June 17, 2011.
University Archives Director Elisabeth Kaplan said the University Archives are different from other collections since it isn't necessarily the materials themselves that are valuable like a rare book is, but rather the information the materials hold.Kaplan said material that could be saved for the archives is often overlooked.
In fact, it wasn't until the University's 100-year anniversary in 1951 that the University started to save its materials seriously.
Researchers began gathering materials for the centennial in 1947 but quickly saw there wasn't much to show without better archival efforts.
Now with the breadth of materials the University has, Kaplan said the archives often are resources for administrators when making decisions such as whether to close a college or program.
"If you work here long enough, you realize that things come around again and again," Kaplan said.
"When the General College closed [in 2006], that was like the fourth time it had been suggested … [there were] all kinds of task forces and committees to study."
Roaming the caverns, Kaplan reached for a box of documents dated back to 1874, during William Watts Folwell's tenure as the University's first president.
Sifting through handwritten notes on pieces of scratch paper, Kaplan said she guessed they were from the president picking which courses the University would teach.
"It's amazing when you look at some of these things," Kaplan said.
The first group of NHPRC Archival Research Fellows selected to receive fellowship awards are Nancy Deromedi (Bentley Historical Library, Ann Arbor, Michigan), Richard Hollinger (University of Maine Special Collections, Orono, Maine), Elisabeth Kaplan (Charles Babbage Institute, University of Minnesota), and Richard Pearce-Moses (Arizona State Library, Archives and Public Records).
The topics of the first group of fellows are: Nancy Deromedi, Wired Faculty: Research to Assess the Archival Value of Faculty Websites to Document their Functions and Activities at the University of Michigan; Richard Hollinger, The Impact of Electronic Communications on Record Keeping Practices; Elisabeth Kaplan, Electronic Brains and Archival Minds: Archivists and Technology in the Postwar Era; and Richard Pearce-Moses, An Annotated Glossary for Archivists, Manuscript Curators, and Records Managers.