Archives Teaching

To paper or to not paper

This week in class we were having a discussion about reproduction work, and the cost of reproduction. I make it no secret that I hate, HATE, HATE the process many of us have to go through for reproductions. This extreme dislike is fueled by the complex systems most academic archives have to deal with due to cash handling procedures, copy contracts, and pay-for-print systems. These systems create a drain on staff time and resources especially when we are talking about 10 to 25 cents per page. Not to mention that charging for copies, namely paper copies, creates an undue barrier for some that can’t afford to pay or spend the extra time in archives.

Now I’m a big believer in easier reproduction access, but let the user reproduce items. Cell phones are good enough, so there’s no need for copiers to be in any reading room. Plus a good copyright and research use statement will release the archives from risks associated with the user’s use cases.

So ditch paper copies and embrace cell phones if you haven’t already. That way no archivists, student workers or professional staff will have to stand at a copier again.