The Bancroft Survey Project began in February 2008. Funded by grants from the Andrew W. Mellon and the Rosalinde and Arthur Gilbert Foundations, the survey project is intended to be a simultaneously broad and in-depth survey of all manuscript holdings of the Bancroft Library, which has been collecting for over a century. Four archivists were hired to scour the collections for a three year term, during which they will review the vast myriad of manuscript materials and use a survey instrument designed to gather data on collection scope, subject categories, and physical condition. The survey archivists are Marjorie Bryer, Amy Croft, Dana Miller, and Elia Van Lith, and they are also the authors of this blog.

Friday, September 12, 2008

Survey at 6 months: Entering a new "phase"

Phew! We have not had much time for blogging lately, and it's high time to catch up.

The Survey Team has been working diligently all summer to meet a deadline- surveying all of the collections that were formerly located in a section of the Northern Regional Library Facility (NRLF) before they were moved to the new and improved (and more earthquake-friendly) Bancroft Library building on campus. Finally, we have made our way through the materials that were housed in what was known as Phase 3; now, the process of moving these manuscript collections from Phase 3 to their future home in the "new" building, adjacent to the Doe Annex, has begun. However, this is only one part of the huge move that the entire Bancroft Library and all of its staff are undertaking over the next few months; see the Bancroft Library events page for more information.

So far, in its approximately 6 1/2 months of surveying-- as calculated by resident surveyors, data masters, and number crunchers extraordinaire, Amy and Elia-- the survey team has:

* Completely or partially surveyed almost 11,000 collections, including many single-item collections as well as large, multiple carton collections.

* Surveyed nearly 5,000 linear feet.

* Added nearly 7,000 new collection records to the existing collection management database.

That's cause for a little celebration! (And big thanks to our fearless project leader, Teresa Mora, who surveyed several large collections to help us meet our deadline.) But we are most certainly not finished; after all, the Bancroft has been collecting historic archival materials for over a century. The survey team will henceforth be working on a new "phase" of the project: surveying the bulk of the manuscript collections, which are permanently housed at the NRLF. And just in case that sounds like a piece of cake, that's an estimated footage count of over 45,000 linear feet still to survey! We may anticipate slightly less data entry to do from this point on, but we have much more ground to cover before we can say we are finished. (This archivist, for one, will be sure to fill her travel mug with strong coffee to be ready in the mornings and stock up on mittens for those frigid cold storage temps.)

So, look for a few more forthcoming highlights of the past 6 months' surveying, and keep watching to see what hidden gems we discover over the course of the next two years!

-- D. Miller.