Workbook on Digital Private Papers > Arranging and cataloguing digital and hybrid archives > Introduction


Cataloguing marks an important stage in the lifecycle of a digital object: it is the point at which final appraisal decisions are made (see Chapter 04 Appraisal and disposal); records which are to be subject to continued closures and access restrictions are identified; the digital and paper elements of a hybrid archive are intellectually united; and rich contextual information is provided by the archivist, enabling the researcher to make sense of the collection and assess its relevance to their field of research. Descriptive cataloguing is likely to take place a considerable amount of time after ingest to the repository because of the lengthy closures necessitated by copyright and other legislation (see Chapter 09 Legal issues). However, where archives contain only a small proportion of digital material which is subject to closure, cataloguing may take place at an earlier point, and it is important to record at least some descriptive metadata soon after an archive has been accessioned.

Paradigm worked with exemplar collections of politicians’ hybrid personal archives in an effort to discover what arrangement and description challenges these new materials might raise. This chapter provides an introduction to the cataloguing standards employed by the project team - principally Encoded Archival Description (EAD) and the General International Standard Archival Description, 2nd edition (ISAD(G) 2) - and explores how these standards might be applied to digital and hybrid personal archives. Some basic models and templates for arrangement and cataloguing are proposed, but Paradigm did not attempt to catalogue any exemplar collection in its entirety and it is therefore likely that there are more practical issues that will only be uncovered in light of more detailed experience.