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Archival Science | History of Science, Technology, and Medicine | Library and Information Science


Objectives: Establishing an archival program and creating a digital exhibit highlighting the history of an institution provides invaluable outreach and support. There are opportunities for significant collaboration between affiliated organizations by building relationships and sharing expertise. This paper provides a project description and product evaluation of the collaboration between a large academic medical library and archives and an affiliated vaccine manufacturer. The planning, implementation, and outcomes are discussed, with generally applicable components of this project detailed. Finally, recommendations for similar project implementations are given.

Methods and Results: In collaboration with a medical library and archives, an affiliated, historic vaccine manufacturer developed a project to preserve and publicize its long, rich history. While initially there were many goals for the project, an archivist was hired for only 900 hours. Priorities, a timeline, and deliverables had to be negotiated. The result was the development of an institutional archival program and an online history and image exhibit, both serving as powerful outreach and marketing tools. The project had 2 notable components: the establishment of traditional archival procedures and activities, including supporting documentation for future work; and the research, selection, and implementation of an appropriate web platform supporting an image exhibit, comprehensive timeline, and narrative history. By developing a web exhibit, the vaccine manufacturer now has a visible product used for outreach and promotion. The creative manipulation of an open source, simple web service served the needs of the archivist, the institution, and the budget. Collaboration between the manufacturer and the medical school has increased general communication and connection between the two. Finally, by providing very clear guidelines, education, and documentation for the project and all aspects of archival work, invested parties could make more appropriate planning decisions and be better prepared to continue the project in the future. Collaboration, communication, and creativity by all parties grounded and guided this project and are crucial to any success in projects of this type.

Conclusions: The creative use of resources and the creation of clear foundational policies and procedures--while also providing education about the nature, importance, and work expectations of archives--led to valued deliverables and a successful project. While not all initial goals were able to be addressed, by creating realistic expectations and timelines, and producing an appreciated, visible product, the project was ultimately extended with additional funding and labor.

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2014 Medical Library Association Annual Meeting


Presented at the Medical Library Association Annual Meeting, Chicago, IL, May, 2014.

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Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 4.0 License.