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MARAC Friday Afternoon Report

The mid-Atlantic archivists are in a brief recess between now and the final session of the day, and it's been thoroughly interesting to say the least. I missed the caucus meetings this morning, unfortunately, but the plenary session was well worth it because it's got the gears turning about archival access systems even though it wasn't directly about them.

Paul Israel of the Edison Papers Project spoke at length about Edison's legacy and collaboration with others. The talk emphasized that Thomas Edison was much more than a great inventor and owed a great deal of his success to his entrepreneurial nature, which I didn't know much about.
While we didn't get to see him give us an interactive presentation of the site, I noticed how exhaustive the digital edition was. While the architecture of the site is a little confusing for me, there's so much content I didn't know where to begin or even what to search for! The series notes are a great way to browse through the collection, though. Even better is that the site is written in PHP.

The "Politicking for Archivists" session, chaired by Alison Oswald of the Archives Center of the National Museum of American History, gave the audience a lot of ideas in terms of keeping good relations with anyone who wants to be or needs to be involved in archives. I particularly liked the remarks made by Jim Gerencser, College Archivist for Dickinson College Archives and Special Collections.

"'More Product, Less Process' in the Real World" focused on application of the principles laid out in Dennis Meissner and Mark Greene's controversial article in American Archivist 68:2. What caught my attention most was the mention of a decision one repository made to not process materials under restriction since they would be unavailable for research anyhow. That seems like a possible area of application of the Meissner-Greene principles for us at AIP.