Managing Archival & Manuscript Repositories, Kurtz

1) Management theory and practice

  • Management:
  1. The effective function of planning coordinating, directing, controlling and supervising any industrial or business project or activity with responsibilities for results
  2. The collective body of those who manage or direct any enterprise or interest.
    • Management is the key organ of any institution, responsible for the performance and very survival of the organization.
    • Success depends on the successful execution of management tasks and remaining focused on serving the core mission of the institution.
    • Too much management can be a dead weight, stifling productivity and creativity.
    • Management theory began in the industrial revolution and the first theorist was Frederick W. Taylor.
    • Five basic management functions
  1. planning
  2. organizing
  3. budgeting
  4. directing
  5. controlling
    • Modern management is moving away from accounting being the primary focus to a deeper understanding of what constitutes value and sustainable organizational success.
    • In this information and science driven world effectively managing organizational knowledge is essential to achieving organizational success.
    • A manager’s primary roles
  1. Negotiator – seeking funds and support for the program
  2. Planner – short, mid and long term
  3. Train and develop/hire staff (nurturer – listen with an open mind)
  4. Coordination (vital) and communication – keep people working together and focused on #completing tasks
  5. Budgeting
  6. Reporting and feedback – how are you doing?
    • Administrative competence – you must manage yourself first, learn to delegate, have good time and information management. Perform duties promptly (ex destroy records on their destroy date and don’t wait), automate simple tasks (use form thank you letters for donations), do not take on more projects than you can handle – they will be done poorly if at all.

2) Leadership in management

    • The fundamental skill or ability that the manager must possess is leadership.
    • Innate or learned? – Most management theorists today believe that leadership is a skill that can be developed and that is a requirement for a successful and effective manager. Only education, training, practice and motivation foster leadership.
  • Vision leadership and goals
    • One of the most important components of leadership is vision, the ability to imagine the results of both individual and group efforts. Skilled archival administrators envision what their repositories will achieve in one, five and ten years, visions are not static.
    • People with vision have a broad perception of their role in the archives.
    • You must believe in yourself/department and set goals to achieve, be willing to fight for them.
    • The manager must believe in the cause and lead others to believe as well. The manager must exercise leadership to encourage teamwork, collaboration and a more flexible organization, building a “nimble” organization able to creatively respond to challenges and opportunities.
    • To be successful, the archival manager must identify the individuals critical to success and seek their support for the archive’s goals.
    • The manager should combine leadership skills, a strong will to achieve and the ability to clearly define goals.
    • Archival leadership skills:
  1. Leaders develop the team concept, choosing people with varying talents and allowing them to do what they do best, while simultaneously moving toward an assigned goal.
  2. Leaders think of renewal, developing strong values, new skills and new leaders with in the staff.
  3. Leaders have good motivational skills and encourage their subordinates.
  4. Leaders have good political skills and are able to resolve or reconcile conflicts and satisfy constituencies both inside and outside the repository.
  5. Leaders seek to influence people outside the archives. They communicate not only the archive’s intrinsic importance and purpose, but also its value to the larger organization.
  6. Leaders see difficult situations not as problems, but as opportunities for seeking solutions.
  7. Leaders are calm in the face of adversity. When faced with a challenge, they look for solutions rather than scapegoats.
  • Sharing the vision
    • An effective leader and manager is not just maintaining the status quo, but also is strengthening the archives for all those who need it.
    • Archival managers should always choose the means of communication that shares the vision with the least amount of effort.
    • Vision:
  1. Leaders develop a vision of what they want to achieve as individuals.
  2. Leaders develop a clear understanding of the parent institution, an appreciation of the role the repository plays with in the institution and a vision of what the archives should achieve.
  3. Leaders have a vision of the goals of the profession and can adjust their institutional vision to support and enhance these goals
  4. Leaders have a clear understanding of the parent institution’s history and culture and are able to assist their parent institution in developing a vision of the future based upon past achievements.
  5. Having a vision of the future, leaders have the ability to select courses of action that will lead to those goals, rejecting or delaying tasks that can be done at some future date.
  • Self knowledge
    • To be effective managers, archivists must understand themselves. By developing a knowledge of one’s strengths and weaknesses, the manager can better relate to others.
    • Archival administrators must continually evaluate their personal abilities and use such knowledge in the selection and promotion of other staff members.
    • Archivists must develop an understanding of their professional skills and career goals and be aware of their managerial style.
    • Archival managers will gain more personal satisfaction and achieve greater success if they develop an understanding of their personal and professional motivations. Such an understanding will allow decisions to be based on real needs and will assist their archival administrator in making choices based on reason rather than intuition.
    • Developing leadership skills – you must understand your preferences and aversions
    • Emotional intelligence “management styles”
  1. coercive – immediate compliance
  2. affiliative – forging emotional bonds and harmony
  3. authoritative – mobilizing others toward a vision
  4. democratic – building consensus through participation
  5. pace setting – excellence and self direction
  6. coaching – developing people for the future
    • Effective leaders focused on getting results must develop the ability to use the various styles as circumstances require.
    • Perform 360 degree evaluation and then work on developing your weaknesses.
    • Mentoring – One of the responsibilities of leadership is to serve as a mentor for others in the organization. Lead by example – an organized, competent and effective manager who focuses on the needs of the organization and of the staff becomes a model of professional leadership. Attention to big picture issues as well as to routine management chores, such as timely and accurate personnel performance appraisals, demonstrates how a concerned manager operates.
    • Every successful leader must be able to plan, organize and direct, and they must have the ability to communicate, motivate and inspire.

3) Organizational complexity: a new management paradigm

    • Change factors – a manager should anticipate major change factors and should work with colleagues in creating successful opportunities for navigating change.
    • Change factors:
  1. information technology
  2. social and demographics
  3. legal
    • Changing roles – the traditional management model has changed due to increased technology. Where the front line worker is seen as an important part of the force and can communicate directly with the top. The new customer emphasis is on speed, rapid turn around and quality.
    • Organizational complexity – the new paradigm

The ability to manage diverse relationships is the ultimate measure of a manager’s success.

  • Building internal relationships
    • Modern management theory emphasizes the critical importance of staff empowerment and investment in the institutions mission if long-term success is to be achieved.
    • The manager should share responsibility with the staff for continued success of the organization.
    • The archival manager should always present the archives as a value to its parent company or community and ensure that quality work is done in a timely manner.

4) Foundations of Organizational Success

    • Quality movement – the environment for the organization is set by the demands of the customers.
    • Resource dependence theory – focuses on the interdependence of the organization with other entities in its environment.
    • Organizational structures and relationships are deeply rooted in the culture of the group. The prudent manager realizes that it takes time to understand an organization’s culture. The manger must come to appreciate how leadership is exercised and by whom, how the organization handles routine and extraordinary demands and how the organization values staff and customers.
    • Authority and purpose – Whatever the type of archives, it is the responsibility of the archival manger to develop a formal statement that outlines it mission, responsibility and authority in relation to its parent institution.
    • Elements of a policy statement:
  1. mission of the archives
  2. what it collects, preserves and makes available
  3. the audience the archives serves
  4. the measurements for a successful program
  5. disposition of archives’ holdings if the institution closes
  6. system of accountability for specialized programs (record management)
  7. athorization by institutions highest authority
    • Organizational placement – one of the most important issues for any archives is its placement in the institution’s organizational structure and the archival manager must have a clear understanding of the lines of communication and authority and be able to develop strong and supportive working relationships with supervisors and managers in other parts of the parent institution.
    • Ideal placement:
  1. You want your archives located as close to the top as possible (report directly to the director)
  2. Archives should have a separate budget line, an annual report requirement and a prominent position on the web page.
  3. Archives should seek placement under a department with a strong interest in archives that can give it adequate support
  4. Archives should seek placement in a department that has a successful record of accomplishment.

5) Planning and reporting

    • Careful planning supports an effective strategy – making process that enables management to meet the requirements of the archive’s mission and to obtain the financial, personnel and other resources needed for success.
    • Planning focuses on what must be done, not on what was or was not achieved in the past.
    • Strategic planning
    • Three ways to create strategy
  1. learning
  2. vision
  3. planning
    • Models:
  1. top down – senior leaders form strategies and mid level management forms the plans
  2. mid level up – senior managers provide basic guidance and mid level managers make strategic plan
  3. mixed approach – every level of management forms plans with strategic developed with coordination
  4. team approach – staff and management form plans.
    • You should analyze the institutions strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats.
    • You need
  1. vision – define the highest level reason for the organizations being
  2. values – those that you want to incubate in employees and the institutional culture
  3. mission
    • Strategic goals should be overarching, responsive to the articulated mission and vision, reflective of the opportunities and challenges facing archives and indicative of what the organization must achieve to be successful.
    • Operational plan – a yearly plan covering all program activities and functions of the archives.
  • Policies and procedures
    • Written policies (ex access policy) and procedure manuals help staff deal with daily activities.
    • Standardized procedures are an important tool to ensure that staff members carry out their duties in a consistent manner and assist in training new staff.
  • Performance measurement
    • The report enables the manger to determine if goals and objectives are being met and if there are any trends, problematic or otherwise that are developing.
    • Due to limited staff and resources quality work must be preformed and measured. Quality standards should be incorporated into standardized procedures and incorporated into individual or team performance standards.
    • Keeping current - All plans need updating if they are to remain effective organizational and management tools.

6) Project Management

    • What is a project? – a temporary endeavor undertaking to create a unique product or service.
    • Projects are really building blocks in the design and execution of an organization’s strategic goals and objectives.
    • Project management – involves the overall context in which the project takes place, scope management and planning, human resources management and integrating the project into the product, services and work process of the organization.
    • The project manager must identify from various areas of the archives or from the parent institution team members with the needed skills and expertise required to achieve the goals of the project.
    • The project manager must:
  1. choose team members
  2. negotiate for support and resources needed to achieve project
  3. plan the project and integrate schedule, costs and tasks
    • The most critical task in project management is effective communication.
    • Project lifecycle:
  1. conception
  2. definition
  3. acquisition
  4. operation
    • Risk management – systematically identifying at the beginning of the project events that could occur to the detriment of the project and preparing a strategy to respond – then come up with responses to possible threats.
    • Factors of success in project management:
  1. mandate – clear charge from senior management to undertake the project
  2. support/resources – adequate time, materials and resources
  3. team leadership/facilitation – project manager and team members must be effective #leaders/members and must receive any training needed.
  4. Communication – include adequate time for communication and feedback between project management and users
  5. Clear goals – clear attainable goals with a clear project plan

7) Managing Information Technology

    • Archival managers can not expect to become experts in the information technology arena, but a clear perspective on the role and place of information technology in the archival enterprise will assist them in making prudent and appropriate decisions.
  • Management imperative
    • The fundamental imperative for the archival manager is to understand how customer needs, program requirements and information technology fit together.
    • The archival manager needs to bring together archival skills and knowledge about records and records system with information technology.
    • Planning, products and processes
  1. Long range plan – identifies customers, institutions goals etc
  2. Product planning and management
  3. Business process architecture
  4. Information technology strategy and tactics
  5. Hardware, software and communication choices
  6. Acquisition and development
    • A well crafted product plan identifies the customer’s requirements, all steps required to produce and maintain the product and the life cycle of the product.
  • Key elements of a product plan
  1. description of product, its features, lifecycle from inception, maintenance through retirement
  2. description of the product’s customers, including their need for the product
  3. the product’s relationship to other products and how it will all work together
  4. the product’s potential impact on the organization and other customers
  5. the budget and other resources needed
  6. the product justification and cost benefit analysis
  7. how the product or service will be marketed
  8. how to provide customer support
  9. description of security concerns
    • IT strategy and tactics – Be sure to create a system that you can maintain, i.e. the users can use it and you have the technology and ability to maintain it.
    • System development – the goals in creating hardware, software and communications systems are to have as few systems as possible to meet customer/product needs and for these systems to be integrated with any existing systems so that information transfer can be made easily and inexpensively as possible. Plus make sure the archivist is involved in all stages of development.
    • Implementation – effective training in newly implemented systems is critical.

8) Human Resources: the Critical Element

  • People the central resource
    • Dealing with people is key in management! However do not try to change your personality to fit some ideal from a management book (it wont happen), rather be aware of you inclinations, interests, strengths and weaknesses so you can work around it.
    • How management treats people can define the whole character of an organization. Human resources can mean the difference between success and failure of a manger.
  • Staff partners
    • Knowledge based organizations, perhaps more than other types, require collaborative, team-based operations to get the maximum input and benefit from all staff members.
    • The key to success is hiring staff with the requisite knowledge and skills and keep them motivated. Staff must not only be kept informed but should be brought into decision making as much as possible. Staff is the most expensive investment for any facility. Recruit competent staff that fit your organizational and team needs.
  • New paradigm
    • With new technology, family demands, telecommuting and other new work realities, managers have new challenges to face.
    • Meeting staff needs for greater control over their schedules and getting employees to buy in on organizing and performing work can reduce stress for managers and staff a like, improve morale and boost productivity.
  • Recruitment
    • Recruitment is the time to review what is really needed to meet the goals of the archives program and the parent institution.
    • Basic steps of recruitment
  1. recruitment planning – the manager reviews the mission and vision statements and long and short range plans and drafts a position description and job announcement with clearly spelled out duties and specific knowledge skills and abilities needed
  2. recruitment and selection – advertise the position widely both internally and externally. With candidates review resumes and rank them according to your KSA’s. Invite top candidates for an interview. Ask the same questions of everyone, include a facilities tour and time for the candidate to meet with human resources to discuss benefit/compensation. Always check references and former employers.
  3. Orientation: The effectiveness of employee orientation directly affects the employee’s long-term chances for success in the organization. Before starting work give the employee a copy of: position description, organization’s long range plan, information about employees work team and human resources documentation. Thoroughly explain all human resources rights, benefits, responsibilities and work requirements, and consider creating a mentor program.
    • Performance
    • Basic areas of performance evaluation
  1. workplace behavior (conduct)
  2. job performance
    • The manager needs to be informed and understand the organization’s standards for on-the-job conduct and all employees should receive training in what is expected and how to respond to various workplace situations and problems.
    • Performance evaluations – emphasize what is expected in the future and identify strategies and resources needed to strengthen performance.
  1. seek employee’s input on performance and their goals for the next evaluation period
  2. the manager makes the final determination and discussed the results with the employee
  3. written report discussed with the employee
  4. allow the employee to respond to evaluation
  5. recognition and reward for good performance – the reward system should be outlined in #the personnel policy
  • Helping employees succeed
    • Before assuming that an employee is failing because of their inadequacies, management needs to make sure that it is not assisting failure or making it inevitable and then seek to fix those problems.
    • If the employee is the problem:
  1. have a discussion with the employee
  2. focus on performance, not personality
  3. with in reason, recognize that doing things differently is not the same as doing things poorly
  4. reserve judgment until the employee has had a chance to explain their view of the situation
  5. invite the employee to suggest ways to rectify the situation
  6. in both word and behavior, emphasize a preference for encouraging success, not noting failure
    • Effective managers create a climate in which members of an organization share a sense of contribution and participation in the organizations mission.
  • Training and development
    • Have a written statement in policy covering the institution’s staff on professional development. Will the institution pay, give time off or not?

9) Communication: The Critical Ingredient

    • Elements of communication
  1. verbal
  2. nonverbal – tone of voice, expression, body language
  3. listening
  • Communication challenges
    • In discussing communication, we should realize that the prudent manager, in fact all involved in the communication process, should more often than not expect to be misunderstood.
    • Different cultural and social backgrounds can make understanding a person’s words difficult as works mean different things in different cultures.
    • Signs of communication problems:
  1. negative nonverbal messages
  2. deterioration in information sharing
  3. verbal communication that consistently misses its intended purpose
  • Listening
    • The effectiveness of the spoken word hinges not so much on how people talk but mostly on how they listen.
    • We are trained to read and write but not listen and we forget 30-50% of what we hear in lectures or conversation.
    • We need to actively listen to the idea, issue or problem being expressed.
    • Approach listening with an open mind, a willingness to weigh evidence and an awareness of our own biases and then the possibilities of good communication will dramatically improve.
  • Meetings and presentations
    • Because meetings are essential and inevitable it is critical how they are conceived, organized and managed.
    • Information gathering and information sharing meetings should be held on an as needed basis.
    • Decision making/management meetings should be held regularly.
    • Basic elements for a successful meeting:
  1. set the right tone
  2. have an open mind and encourage participation
  3. agenda
  4. set time limits for each item on the agenda
  5. no more than one to two hours
  6. have a good space for the meeting and distribute materials in advance
    • When all is said and done, the basic tasks at which the manager must succeed are creating and sustaining a communications network to use and disseminate information.

10) Managing Archival Facilities

    • It is the responsibility of the archival administrator to secure a facility that meets minimal archival standards and that is furnished with the equipment and supplies needed to carry out fundamental archival activities.
  • Space planning and design
    • Staff involved with a particular function should be engaged in the design and layout of that area.
    • Plan space accordingly, ex. Put processing room near storage, but separate it from the reading room so staff talking and noise do not disturb researchers.
  • Allocating space
    • Storage – 1.5 cubic feet of records per one square foot of storage. Mobile shelving is 4.5 cubic feet/ cubic foot
    • Office space – 100-125 square foot per staff member and if processing staff they get 50-75% more space.
    • 40-50 square foot per researcher
    • A standard shelf is 150-200 pounds per shelf and 15” deep 42” long and 32” high with 6 shelves.
    • Reviewing space needs – do not allow your archives to get overcrowded with the addition of new equipment or people. Periodically review your space and rearrange as necessary to make better use of the area.
    • Expanding the facility – when planning an expansion be sure to take into account future storage needs and increased volume of researchers and their space needs.
  • Working with architects
    • It is critical that the archival manager be a member of the building design team as well as key staff members and preservation expert.
    • Choose an architect with experience in museums and archives.
    • At an early stage the archivist should create a list of functional areas that must be included in the new building and the amount of space needed for each.
    • Make changes early in the planning, changes are hard and expensive after the plans have been finalized.

11) Financial Management

    • Managers within the archives need accurate financial information to document performance, to make the best use of limited resources and to reveal trends in operations that may require their attention.
    • You must understand your financial environment. How do you receive funds? How do you spend them? Do you have a plan in place for future growth?
  • Financial planning
    • Come up with forecasted expenses for projects you want to do and then compare them to the available funds. Keep a list of forecasted and budgeted projects even if there are no funds, it shows you are planning for the future and you have a plan if you receive extra funds.
  • Budgeting
    • Budgets are useful for both planning and controlling funds, as products of the planning process and as tools by which managers control the expenditure of resources.
    • Operating budged – a projection for a defined period of time, of the expenses needed to operate a program or operation and the revenues required to meet those expenses.
  • Types of budgets
    • Line item budget – broad categories of expenditures are itemized with out linking those expenses to the purpose or program for which they were spent. Good for showing general trends, easy to prepare, bad because they do not explain unusual expenses.
    • Program budgeting – expenses are broken down and charged to individual departments or program.
      • Setting priorities – program budgeting can reflect the institutions priorities. You must rank your program in order of importance and spend your funding accordingly.
  • Monitoring and accounting
    • Archival managers need to understand that they bear ultimate responsibility for funds placed under their control
    • Reporting generally consists of maintaining records of expenditures (receipts) and compiling data periodically in a manner that permits the manager, auditors or higher authorities to see that funds were distributed in accordance with applicable policies and regulations and in pursuit of projects and objectives approved in the planning and budgeting process.
    • Active financial management – prepare a head for changes in budged i.e. increase in cost, or loss of revenue. If you plan ahead and cut the budget in equipment or project costs, while painful, it will allow you to keep operating and pay salaries even with the loss of income.

12) Fund-Raising & Development

    • You must understand your (archives) role within the parent organization’s fundraising and development structure and coordinate your fundraising efforts with the parent institutions.
    • If you decide to gain funds by fundraising the archival manager should approach the development office with a detailed statement of need and options for beginning a campaign.
  • Planning
    • Before approaching the parent institution for funds or beginning a fund campaign you should review your project and define:
  1. goals
  2. activities – list specific steps needed to complete the program and personnel, equipment, space needs and supplies
  3. costs
    • Seeking internal funding – the parent institution may have the funds or endowments to pay for certain things like equipment. Always seek internal funding first.
    • External funding – coordinate with your development office. They can give you assistance in reviewing grant applications and let you know of any institutional restrictions on fund raising (like they will not accept federal funds).
    • Foundations and government agencies – research foundations and grants first to determine the type and amount of grants they typically fund.
    • Grant applications – after you research the agency thoroughly, ask for an application, directions and guidelines for their program and if possible copies of grant applications for funded projects from past years, or at least a list of past projects and amounts awarded. See if you can talk to a staff member at the agency to discuss your proposal.
    • Most grant applications will ask for:
  1. purpose – why the project is important and explain the benefits it will bring to the institution, its users and the archival community
  2. goals – indicate the goals and objectives you want to achieve
  3. plan of work and time table
  4. staff
  5. budget
    • Managing grants – receiving the grant is the beginning, not the end, of the grant process.

13) Public Relations

    • Archival image – archives are often seen as helpful but not vital to the parent institution and so often they are the first to get budget cuts.
    • Archives should strive to make clear that they provide a fast and dynamic service that they have sources that no one else can provide and that they are a department that the institution can not do without.
    • Developing constituencies – a group of loyal supporters
    • Make your department useful by:
  1. providing PR department with information and photos
  2. write articles for the newsletter
  3. provide information to human resources for new employees
  4. develop exhibits or other projects that emphasize the importance of the archives department
  5. highlight newly acquired collections
    • Why is public support for the archives valuable?
  1. good PR will assist the archives in developing financial support
  2. being a vital community resource or valued by members of the public as a respected cultural center will assist the archives in developing its collections and acquiring material
  3. public interest should increase the use of the archives collections.

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