Weeding the Backlog

Not everything that the University Archives accessions meets the criteria for permanent retention, especially when handling materials that are part of our backlog, which may have been accessioned years ago under different policy. The process of separating permanent from non-permanent records is known by the archival technical term “weeding.”

One category of non-permanent records are those documents and publications that are not created or distributed by the university. Now and again, rummaging through thirty boxes of unprocessed Legal Affairs records,  I would come across interesting items you wouldn’t expect to find among the administrative records of a university office.


Unfortunately, stuff like this most often doesn’t aid our mission of documenting the university–and these sorts of publications exist in many places around the world, unlike the institutional records of the university, which are one of a kind. As non-records, stuff like this gets recycled. (It’s a poor use of our resources to keep an entire run of Back to Godhead when you can download all the PDFs for free at www.back2godhead.com.) After looking through only four boxes, I ended up with a foot-and-a-half-high recycling pile.



It more than doubled the next day.