Processing Levels

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Processing levels are assigned to all collections determined at the time of accessioning to require further description or rehousing. The initial accessioning by a staff member is a form of minimal processing, which represents level 1 on the scale from 1-6, with 6 being the most detailed treatment a collection can receive both in physical as well as in intellectual handling. While surveying material for the minimal accession description, the archivist will decide which processing level to assign each accession. Levels 5 and 6 should be reviewed by the APC. Accessioning and processing procedures and best practices are outlined in more detail in the Accessioning and Processing Manual.

All permanent collections are classified at level 1 or above and all are initially accessioned and processed on level 1 and then wait-listed according to priority for further processing. Level 0 is strictly for temporary accessions and select special cases to be determined by the APC. Staff will perform weeding generally only for the most voluminous material noticeable during the accessioning process, for instance obvious quantities of books and duplicate publications, etc. Level 5-6 (to some degree 4) will be weeded further during processing.

Number Level Level Description Accession[1] Detailed Description Series Description Box Level Description Folder List Rehouse Boxes Rehouse Folders Significant Conservation Treatment
0 Tin The database record for collections at this level will normally not be visible to the public. X X [2]
1 Aluminum This level of accessioning will be done for ALL collections except 0. All required fields completed and less than 1 paragraph abstract/description in database. X X [2]
2 Copper Same as level 1, plus brief series description. X X X [2]
3 Bronze Same as level 1, plus box-level inventory. X X X X [2]
4 Silver Same as level 1, arrangement and description of series above level 2 at the discretion of an archivist. X X X X [3] X
5 Gold Same as level 1 with appropriately expanded biography and abstract, arrangement into series and sub-series where appropriate, process at folder level (most often when collection was in poor/no order upon accessioning). X X X X X X
6 Platinum Same as level 5 with all boxes and folders rehoused; perform major and routine conservation treatments; accessioning same as #5 with description at the item level. X X X X X X X X [4]


1. Level 0 required fields:

  • Call number,
  • Title,
  • Creator,
  • Acquisition data (donor, date, method including accession number),
  • Location, and
  • Extent

Levels 1-6 required fields:

  • Title,
  • Collection Classification,
  • Call Number,
  • Sort Title,
  • Dates,
  • Extent,
  • Finding Aid Author,
  • Location,
  • Creator,
  • Collection Description (abstract),
  • Subjects,
  • Languages,
  • Access Restrictions,
  • Use/Rights Restrictions,
  • Acquisition data (date, source, method including accession number),
  • Preferred Citation,
  • Rules Used,
  • Processing Information,
  • Publication Date,
  • Publication Note, and
  • Language written in.

2. Minimal re-housing of collections, usually at the box level, will be done in the case of dirty or broken containers.

3. Folder lists provided by donor added to Archon or transcribe original order of folders when collection is in good order.

4. Significant conservation treatments including photocopying, interleaving acid-free paper, and re-housing all photographs will only be done in special cases as determined by APC.