5.3.2 Description

February 10, 2021 - 1:49pm by Anonymous (not verified)

The level and form of description for objects in archival collections depends on their format and arrangement within a separate series. Oftentimes objects benefit from specific descriptions because they usually do not have corresponding texts that identify them. Archivists should consider the following attributes when thinking about objects in a collection:

  • Description (what is its purpose, condition/age, and aesthetics?)
  • Identification (how does the object relate to other materials of its type?)Construction (how was the object made?)
  • History (what is the provenance of the object?)
  • Location (how does this object relate to other objects and materials in the collection?)
  • Distribution (where is this kind of object found, and is it common?)
  • Significance (what meaning did users assign the object?)
  • Interpretation (what does the object document in relation to the larger collection or archival context?

Describe most objects sparingly in a finding aid unless security or curatorial concerns suggest otherwise.