What is Accessioning?

Accessioning Archivists Meaghan O’Riordan (Rose Library) and Rosemary Davis (Beinecke Library) talk about what happens first when a collection arrives at an archive.

Due to COVID-19 travel restrictions, Meaghan and Rosemary had to cancel their site visits in the Chicago area and the Northeast region of the United States. Both trips were scheduled in March and were supposed to be the last ones for the first round of trips. Although they were scheduled to present on their research for the first and second times at the New England Archivists annual meeting and Rare Books & Manuscripts Section of the joint Association of College and Research Libraries and the American Library Association meeting, both were cancelled for 2020. 

Once travel restrictions are lifted, additional site visits will be possible through a strategic growth grant, received from the Society of American Archivists (SAA) Foundation. Until then, they have also turned their attention to working on a writing project to share findings from the survey they conducted, and the data collected from pre-pandemic site visits. In addition to the writing project, they are formalizing the accessioning community through a Slack channel and petition for a Section to be created in the Society of American Archivist, as well as applying for additional funding via IMLS.

Meaghan O'Riordan is the Accessioning Archivist for the Stuart A. Rose Manuscript, Archives & Rare Book Library at Emory University. Her start in special collections was at the Special Collection Research Center at North Carolina State University as a Library Associate while she earned her MLS at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. She also holds a Masters in Theological Studies from the Candler School of Theology at Emory University and a BA in English (Creative Writing) and a BA in Religious Studies from North Carolina State University.

Rosemary K. J. Davis is the Accessioning Archivist for the Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library at Yale University. Prior to joining the Beinecke, she worked at institutions including Amherst College and Duke University. Davis received her MSLIS + Archives certificate from Pratt Institute and her BA with concentrations in Art History + Writing from the New School. Currently, Davis serves on the Steering Committee for SAA’s Women Archivists Section, as Chair of SAA’s Committee on Ethics and Professional Conduct, as Co-chair of the New England Archivists’ Inclusion and Diversity Committee, and as Managing Editor for the Journal of Contemporary Archival Studies.