Vol. VIII, No. 1

May, 1995

Workshops Held by CPAR

The Council for the Preservation of Anthropological Records (CPAR) is dedicated, as its name makes clear, to the preservation of records from anthropological scholarship, taking the broadest possible definition of anthropology. Those records include paper notes and field books, recordings, photographs, sketches, film, video, and, in some cases, collections of artifacts. These materials must be preserved and made available for access by scholars. Otherwise, irreplaceable information will have been lost permanently - information that was often extremely difficult to gather and may now be even more important than it was when it was first collected.

CPAR has not set for itself the goal of preserving all this information in a new archive. Rather, its dual aims are to remind scholars of the importance of caring properly for these materials and to assist the efforts of those who are working to preserve, conserve, and archive.

CPAR is sponsored by the major anthropological organizations in the United States, and it has, in cooperation with other relevant professional organizations, such as the Society for American Archivists and the American Library Association, and government agencies, such as the National Park Service, conducted two workshops centering on problems of preservation of and access to all forms of anthropological records. The workshops have been funded by the Wenner-Gren Foundation for Anthropological Research.

The first workshop was held in Tempe, Arizona, in March, 1995; it focussed on the development of a national guide that will centralize the description and documentation of anthropological records. The workshop was attended by archivists, librarians, electronic data specialists, museum curators, and anthropologists (including CSA/ADAP Director Harrison Eiteljorg, II). A discipline-wide set of minimum standards, including library-standard MARC format compatibility, and a set of information categories broadly useful across the discipline were developed. A proposal was developed at the workshop for submission to the National Center for Preservation Training and Technology, a National Park Service facility based at Northwestern State University of Louisiana. The proposal is for development of a pilot program to test the usefulness and clarity of the standards and categories selected. Arizona State University (Michael Barton and Peter McCartney) will act as the lead organization on behalf of CPAR, in cooperation with the Center for Advanced Spatial Technology, University of Arkansas, and the National Park Service's National Archeological Data Base. Mary Elizabeth Ruwell, former Director of the National Anthropological Archives, will act as consultant, together with a panel of other consultants from universities, museums, archives, and relevant federal agencies.

The information categories selected are intended to provide a minimum level of information about collections so that scholars and others may understand better what each collection contains. The categories include: title of collection/name of project; accession or group record number; funding source and grant or contract number; physical medium; quantity of material; location of material (institution); access information; collector/researcher /principal investigator; geographic source or research location; inclusive dates of material or subject matter; inclusive dates of data collection; culture/ethnicity; language (of material/treated in material); description of material; topic key words; preservation needs; electronic pointers to relevant information (telnet/gopher address; URL); and misc. For further information on the Tempe workshop contact: michael.barton@asu.edu or Peter.Mc- Cartney@asu.edu.

A second workshop was held April 19-23 in Reno, NV. The focus was on education and outreach - on the ways to help individuals and organizations who hold records to assess what they have. After the holdings have been assessed, there must also be help to develop procedures to get records into appropriate repositories and to insure both their preservation and access to them. Attention was also given to developing ways for the archival community to understand better the special problems relating to anthropological records and how to work effectively with those records, as well as their creators and holders. Special attention was given to how anthropologists can more effectively work with Native American and other ethnic groups so that all archives can move toward mutually adopted goals. Several educational and outreach initiatives were developed, and ongoing assignments made to implement them. In addition, grant proposals to various agencies were outlined for further development and submission.

For general information on the Council for the Preservation of Anthropological Records, contact Don Fowler, Dept. of Anthropology, University of Nevada, Reno, NV 89557; tel: (702) 853-3471; e-mail: hp@scs.unr.edu, or Nancy Parezo, Arizona State Museum, University of Arizona, Tucson, AZ 85721. tel: (520) 621-6277; e-mail: parezo@ccit.arizona.edu.

Turn to related article: American Anthropological Association Endorses Archaeological Data Archive Project

Next Article: Photo Archive Work Continues at BSA

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