Dear Donor X: Developing Preservation Workflows and Access Strategies for Donor Correspondence and Documentation
Developed workflows, in diagram and document form, for the preservation and access of donor documentation created within the context of the born digital manuscript collection at the Harry Ransom Center. Documentation included electronic and paper correspondence, as well as the archivists’ own lab notes and research. Reviewed past and present donor correspondence, interviewed project stakeholders and researched the current landscape of email preservation and access within archives and other institutions, with an emphasis on donor or internal documentation. Evaluated several programs for email preservation and discovery, focusing on Gmail (the archivist’s preferred email program for correspondence and lab notes). Made recommendations regarding discovery and access to this unique material within a variety of settings (both internal and researcher-focused), keeping in mind considerations such as, privacy, confidentiality, user interest, and researcher value. Compiled a final report consisting of workflows, best practices, and future recommendations.