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In Memoriam: Lynn Holdzkom

LynnHoldzkomHeadshotThe Library is saddened to share news of the death of our recently retired colleague Lynn Holdzkom. She passed away July 12, 2013, in Chapel Hill.

Lynn retired in April after 25 years of service at UNC. She began her career here as a student employee while earning her MSLS in 1989 from the UNC School of Information and Library Science. She then moved into archival and technical services positions at UNC, and also spent one year as University Archivist at the University of Washington. Between 1987 and 1996, Lynn processed 468 manuscripts collections, the most of any UNC employee to date. In 2008, she became Head of Technical Services for the Wilson Special Collections Library.

In a retirement interview, Lynn told Library staff that the highlight of her career was being one of the authors of Describing Archives: A Content Standard (DACS).

It is in part for this achievement, as well as her many other contributions to the field, that the Society of American Archivists (SAA) named Lynn as one of four new Fellows in 2013. There are currently 175 Fellows of SAA.

In announcing the award, SAA wrote:

Holdzkom played a critical role in the Canadian-U.S. Task Force on Archival Description (CUSTARD) that attempted to develop an archival descriptive standard. When CUSTARD disintegrated, Holdzkom refused to accept defeat, pulling together American colleagues to create Describing Archives: A Content Standard (DACS), a set of rules for describing archives, personal papers, and manuscript collections. Holdzkom worked tirelessly to champion DACS, collaborating on a 2006 SAA Annual Meeting session and a highly important article published in The American Archivist, SAA’s journal, in 2008.

One recommender wrote: “While DACS was definitely a group effort produced by like-minded individuals, Lynn . . . was the heart and soul of the rules. . . . DACS has had an enormous impact on archival description—not just in the U.S.—and much of that impact is due to Lynn’s promulgation and ongoing support of the standard.”

Among her colleagues, Lynn was known as a gifted teacher and mentor, who provided support, guidance, and friendship to many throughout her career.

She leaves her husband David, her son and daughter-in-law Nicholas and Elizabeth Holdzkom, members of her extended family, and a large circle of friends, colleagues, and students.

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