Reappraisal and Deaccessioning: Building for the Future by Removing Some of the Past
Library & Information Services
Appraisal and Acquisition: Innovative Practices for Archives and Special Collections
Before I became the head of the Archives and Special Collections Department of Dickinson College, I worked there as a graduate intern. During my internship, I ran across many items that seemed curious and out of place, such as salt and pepper shakers featuring John and Jackie Kennedy, scrapbooks containing letters and engravings of relatively obscure eighteenth-century English writers and nobles, business records for a gun shop in Philadelphia dating from the late 1800s, a brief letter from Bram Stoker to an unknown recipient, and the logbook of the voyages of a mid-nineteenth-century merchant ship, showing stops at Madrid, New York, and San Francisco. There were also shelves upon shelves of uncataloged books on all variety of subjects, with some being recently published and others hundreds of years old. I wondered, how did such materials end up on these shelves, and how likely was it that they would ever be used? What were the chances that a professor would incorporate this content into classes being taught or that a student would stumble across these items and use them to answer some research question?
Gerencser, James W., "Reappraisal and Deaccessioning: Building for the Future by Removing Some of the Past" (2015). Dickinson College Faculty Publications. Paper 167.