Archiving Process

Here is a brief video to introduce the stages of our archival processes and how we involve volunteers in each stage. 

Thanks and videography credits go to Clorinda Galasso, Communication Designer at Politecnico di Milano, Design Department, and Stefano Scagliarini, Art Designer associate at Deloitte Digital Italy.

We handle all source material with utmost care and attention following a structured procedure. Once a collection has been received, we process the material with assistance from our team of volunteers. Everything gets sorted, catalogued, and described individually, respecting the original order and context of the source material. The documents are carefully scanned and saved. Every donor can ask for a digital copy of their collection. The original material is stored in special acid-free boxes in climate-monitored conditions. The main stages are:

1. Accession: After the initial inspection, we register the new arrivals in our archival software and move the material from their original containers into archival containers.

2. Examination: Archival volunteers examine the material to carefully eliminate any harmful elements. They make annotations about typical characteristics, such as original order, type of document, and relevant content information. After finishing the inspection, all important information is captured in a first collection summary.
3. Inventory: Any initial annotations from earlier stages will be elaborated in a spreadsheet. Material is organised in a hierarchical order.  We sort and arrange the documents only if they come to us in no particular order. We keep the original order of any material that is already organised. But no matter which physical order we detect, the final structure in the archival system will always be divided into the following phases: pre-expatriation, expatriation and repatriation.

4. ReferencingVolunteers continue with assigning reference numbers to the descriptions in the spreadsheet and the material itself. After that, we finalise in our archival software the cataloguing of important information, such as a final collection summary, relevant subject terms, collection history and biographical details of the donors.

5. Digitisation: Once the material is catalogued and the physical material appropriately stored in the repository, it is ready for research. Depending on the size, type and condition of a collection, we either scan the material ourselves or authorise a professional contractor with this task.
There are different shipping options that depend on the type, size, and location of your collection. You can deliver your collection in person. If circumstances don’t allow you to do so and you have something small to send, we can refund your postage. For larger collections, we use ULSI Logistic Services, a moving company that will pick up and transport your material to the EAC free of charge. We will make arrangements with ULSI on your behalf. Transfer of digital material will be discussed separately.
Please contact us if you have any questions about any part of our archival process.

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