Sunday, December 30, 2012


Arrangement (n) 1. The process of organizing materials with respect to their provenance and original order, to protect their context and to achieve physical or intellectual control over the materials.  2. The organization and sequence of items within a collection
                                                                                                                Society of American Archivists Glossary

If there is no discernible arrangement, then enter the word ―Unarranged.‖
                                                                                                                The Standards
One of the most important concepts in my line of work is that of arrangement.  One can preserve an arrangement.  Or impose an arrangement.  Or even perfect an arrangement – place the emphasis on the second syllable because if you have a perfect (emphasis on the first syllable) arrangement, there is really no need to perfect (back to emphasizing that second syllable) the arrangement. 

Arrangement is my favorite thing as an archivist.  It’s a lot more than just making sure the folders, err files, are in A-B-C order – although, admittedly there is a bit of that – no, arrangement is the physical and intellectual act of organizing materials so that they are accessible for use.  It helps the people who ultimately use the materials.    
There is an order, a sequence, a pattern.  Things make sense.

Then there are the materials that have no order, no sequence, no pattern.  It is all unarranged.  Some theorists call that original chaos.  It’s up to the archivist to impose an order or leave it in its original chaotic state – and just, you know, write a folder list. 
Arrangement is not my favorite thing as Denise.

I look at my purse, my home, my life and all I see is original chaos.  Everything is   

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