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Hogan Archive Collections LibGuide

A guide to processed and unprocessed collections within the Hogan Archive of New Orleans Music and New Orleans Jazz

About this Guide

This is a guide to processed and unprocessed collections of the Hogan Archive of New Orleans Music and New Orleans Jazz, a unit of Tulane University Special Collections (TUSC). TUSC is a division of Tulane University Libraries.

Sections of TUSC

  • Hogan Archive of New Orleans Music and New Orleans Jazz (formerly known as the "Hogan Jazz Archive")
  • Louisiana Research Collection
  • Rare Books
  • Southeastern Architectural Archive
  • University Archives.

Sources of TUSC
Hogan Archive holdings include primary sources and archival collections that contain business and personal papers, photographs, audio/visual materials, correspondence, oral histories, ephemera, rare books, vertical files, memorabilia, ephemera, and more. Due to the rare and/or fragile nature of special collections, which are held in closed stacks, materials cannot leave the premises or be checked out.

Accessing TUSC materials
Users may request to access physical materials in the TUSC reading room and in advance, utilizing TUSC’s appointment system. Access is open to all, and users do not have to be affiliated with Tulane University. All analog audiovisual materials must be reformatted before they can be accessed. Please see our procedures for requesting AV digitization here.

Why this topic?
The purpose of this guide is to empower both public researchers and Tulane Libraries staff with finding subjects within Hogan Archive collections, both processed and unprocessed. It will also explain the differences between processed and unprocessed collections, and how (and if) researchers can access both. This will fulfill a goal towards making Hogan Archive collections more discoverable, even if access to unprocessed collections is limited.

What are Processsed Collections

Processed collections are archival collections that have been organized, described, and preserved/stabilized to facilitate user access. The work of processing collections allows for public research, making materials discoverable and easy to search for and through. Additionally, processing makes materials safe for researchers to use.

Once a collection is processed, a finding aid is created. The finding aid is a guide to the collection, and may include an inventory of materials within the collection.

What are Unprocessed Collections

Unprocessed collections refer to materials that are part of an archival repository’s holdings, but have not yet been examined or organized for researchers to use. Because they have not been processed, they have not yet been organized, described, or preserved/stabilized. Therefore, unprocessed collections are generally not made available for public research, and remain undiscoverable until they are processed.

The issue of processing backlogs affects many archives and special collections repositories. Unprocessed collections are common.

Resources and Keywords

archival processing, backlog, archives, special collections, reference services, researcher access, processing backlog, collection processing, tulane university special collections, tusc, hogan archive, hogan jazz archive, new orleans music archive, collections care


Baker, Sarah, and Alison Huber. "Saving ‘rubbish’: Preserving popular music’s material culture in amateur archives and museums." Sites of popular music heritage: Memories, histories, places (2015): 112-124.
This article assesses popular music collecting practices of community-based archives, which are generally maintained by volunteers or a minimally paid staff of workers who are not trained as archivists, archives professionals, or librarians.

Bucciferro, Ashley. "NARA Archivists Mobilize to Make Unprocessed Records Available to the Public." Prologue Magazine 40, no. 2 (2008):
This article summarizes the efforts of the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) to make its unprocessed backlog of materials accessible to users.

Crowe, Stephanie H, and Karen Spilman. “MPLP @ 5: More Access, Less Backlog?” Journal of archival organization 8.2 (2010): 110–133.
This article revisits the groundbreaking 2005 article by Mark Greene and Dennis Meissner, "More Product, Less Process: Revamping Traditional Archival Processing," five years after its original publication date. While that article apparently inspired lots of conversation in the archival profession, Crowe's and Spilman's piece gives an overview of which archives began utilizing Greene and Meissner's "MPLP" ("more product, less process") tenets and how they benefited or otherwise.

Dundon, Kate. "What is this and how did it get here? a retroactive accessioning project" UC Santa Cruz: University Library, 2020. Accessed April 11, 2022:
This poster details a 2018 effort by UC Santa Cruz Special Collections & Archives to accession 360 feet of unaccessioned archival materials, which had scant paperwork and lack of details regarding provenance. As a result, the materials could not be processed and remained unaccessible to users. The processes that the staff, led by supervisory archivist Kate Dundon, took are listed on the poster in the following categories: Workflow; Outcome; Lessons Learned; and Practical Tips.

Ericksen, Paul, and Robert Shuster. "Beneficial shocks: the place of processing-cost analysis in archival administration." The American Archivist 58, no. 1 (1995): 32-52.
This article highlights the cost-related challenges of processing archival collections through analysis of work at the Billy Graham Center Archives. The authors cited several case studies, which informed their statistics, and included the first published U.S. case study on the benefits of cost studies ("The Use of Cost Studies in Managing Archival Programs," an unpublished paper by William Maher from 1988).

Fox, Michael J., and Peter L. Wilkerson. Introduction to archival organization and description. Getty Publications, 1999.
This short book serves as a helpful basic overview or introduction to caring for and/or working in archives and special collections. Concepts and conversations around archival documentation and description, processing, and the future of the archives profession are discussed.


Greene, Mark, and Dennis Meissner. "More product, less process: Revamping traditional archival processing." The American Archivist 68, no. 2 (2005): 208-263.
This article not only acknowledges the ongoing problem of collection processing backlogs in archives, but challenges approaches to solving the problem.

“Guide to Processing Collections,” Rockefeller Archive Center Documentation, accessed March 22, 2022,
This guide discusses the Rockefeller Archive Center’s procedures for processing archival collections, as well as establishes what processed collections entail and why collections are processed. This discussion includes a mission for processing collections, method, levels of processing, and other detailed planning and processing steps that are in line with Describing Archives: A Content Standard (DACS), the official content standard of the U.S. archival community as authored by the Society of American Archivists (SAA).


Istvandity, Lauren. "How does music heritage get lost? Examining cultural heritage loss in community and authorised music archives." International Journal of Heritage Studies 27, no. 4, (2021): 331-343.
This article deals with addressing gaps in cultural heritage archival collections, while identifying how stories and materials get lost in the process, whether in private/individual archives, community archives, or institutional repositories. The case study for this paper is the Queensland Jazz Archive in Australia, which uniquely shares resources between ". . . a community, volunteer-run archive and an institutional repository . . .."

Leonard, Marion. "Constructing histories through material culture: popular music, museums and collecting." Popular music history 2, no. 2 (2007): 147-167.
This article addresses another way that material collections related to popular music material culture are made accessible to the general public: museum exhibits and displays. It also cites the precarity of collecting for museums, which is similar to archives, in that collectors generally view their material as disposable and not significant or collectors-worthy. In his review and assessments, the author focuses on large institutions and well-funded repositories such as the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum in Cleveland, the Experience Music Project in Seattle, and museums that exhibit popular music material such as the Hamburg Museum in Germany.

Maher, William J. "Measurement and analysis of processing costs in academic archives." College & Research Libraries 43, no. 1 (1982): 59-67.
This article demonstrates how the challenge of collection processing backlogs in archives, stating, “Because most academic archives face limitations on personnel resources, the ability to evaluate the efficiency with which they can process each new acquisition is in their interest. A clear understanding of staff resources required for processing will become even more important as increasing numbers of academic archivists face static or declining budgets.” Complete with detailed charts and graphs, the article proves that more studies are needed around archival processing cost studies.


“Notes on Copyright, Restrictions, and Unprocessed Collections,” Society of American Archivists, accessed March 22, 2022,
This entry is part of a website section titled “Using Archives: A Guide to Effective Research,” published by the Society of American Archivists (SAA), the oldest and largest national professional association of archivists and archives professionals in North America. It discusses why patrons may not be able to access some archival collections in a special collections repository. Full access to such collections is generally due to copyright, various restrictions, and/or an unprocessed state. Specifically, unprocessed collections refer to materials that are part of an archival repository’s holdings, but have not yet been examined or organized for researchers to use. As the SAA sets the standards upheld by the professional archival community in the U.S., these guidelines are sound and considered best practice.

Taboroff, June. "Cultural heritage and natural disasters: incentives for risk management and mitigation." Managing disaster risk in emerging economies 2 (2000): 71-79.
An important consideration to be made when processing archival collections is dealing with natural disasters and weather events. While these harmful events threaten all forms of archives, there is particular harm when it comes to cultural heritage collections. This article addresses "the loss of irreplaceable artistic and cultural assets" caused by floods, earthquakes, fires, and storms, coastal change, and other events, and why "awareness of the need to reduce risk is low."


Trace, Ciaran B. “Archival Infrastructure and the Information Backlog.” Archival science 22.1 (2021): 75–93.
This peer-reviewed, open access resource describes the "backlog" of archives as a disruption of information and access between the archive and the user. As the backlog refers to the "considerable interval between the time archival material(s) are accessioned, processed, and made accessible for research, this article's discussion focuses on the "conflict" of backlog, as well as solutions to the issues. Like other research on the problem of archives backlogs, there is an acknowledgement that it is common - or, as the article describes, "as ubiquitous as it is extensive." Additionally, it cites how archival professionals often respond to backlog, that "the notion of deferring maintenance on archival materials has long been normalized, if only internally."

Wiener, Judith A. “The Element of Surprise: Preparing for the Possibility of Hazardous Materials Within Archival Collections.” Journal of archival organization 5.4 (2008): 33–49. Web.
One of the essential reasons for processing archival collections is to not only gain intellectual control of materials, but also make certain that materials are safe for users to access. Unprocessed archival materials can pose harm to users, and potential hazards include things such as mold and mildew, insects and pests, and chemicals. Lack of control of hazardous materials can not only harm users and damage the collection, but also spread to other collections causing damage to them as well. This article gives sound advice for archives professionals to prepare a disaster plan in advance of receiving a potentially harmful collection that has not been processed yet. As stated, "Precautions should start before a collection is even accepted into an institution."

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