The Purpose of Creation and Beyond

Authors: , ,


The 2005 article “More Product, Less Process” (MPLP) by Mark A. Greene and Dennis Meissner proposes streamlining processing to provide more access and reduce back logs. However, we question whether MPLP can provide more access if it has less information. Once the collections are minimally processed, finding aids are unlikely to be reviewed again. If an archives adopts MPLP minimalist processing, it is necessary to have at least one archivist who is dedicated to “digging deeper” into their collections. Archivists cannot anticipate all users’ needs; however, archivists should provide diverse views and descriptions of their collections. US archives may inadvertently limit access to marginalized community archives through minimal processing, limiting the dissemination researchers require to study political and social issues. By labeling some cultural material “ephemera” and limiting the collection and description of these items, archives discourage the study of “lowbrow” art and literature. While MPLP promised that there would be "more product" if we focused less time on processing collections, in-depth processing is vital when describing underrepresented communities and cultures and is necessary for their ultimate use. MPLP, therefore, does archival users disservice by limiting understanding of cultural heritage for the speed of access, rather than ensuring the information we share is accurate and comprehensive. We will share user requests from our collections that the processing did not anticipate and experiences from the Korea Comic Museum with views from future African American and Palestinian archivists. Also, we will explore methods to describe archival materials for creative research uses.


How to Cite: Sim, R. , Raneem, H. & Lauren, H. M. (2023) “The Purpose of Creation and Beyond”, MAC Annual Meeting Presentations. 2023(1).