n.a concerted effort by a team over a short period of time to make collections accessible as fast as possible using MPLP principlesTrammell 2014Shortly after I began working at the Student Life and Culture Archives, I was notified that I had been selected, along with four other graduate students from across the country, to work on an archiving project at Yellowstone National Park called “Archives Blitz.” This project was conceived by archivists at Yellowstone who wanted to experiment with the rapid processing of archival materials in order to develop a framework that archivists at other cultural heritage institutions could adapt to fit their own needs.Rothbart 2015, 5We went through several stages of archival processing during the Archives Blitz: arrangement, appraisal, preservation, and description. Bawden and Foster helped us gain a better understanding of the collection to make processing decisions. While all of us had processing experience, this was our first experience processing archival collections in such a short amount of time. Throughout the program, I had to remind myself of the tight timeframe and not to process at the item level. Our motto for the week became the well-known archival strategy “More product, less process.”UMSI SAA 2015In the fall of 2014 SAA at U of M decided to celebrate archives month a little differently. We reached out to the Kelsey Museum of Archaeology and organized an Archives Blitz. Similar to an event the Yellowstone National Park Archives began hosting this year, the idea is to bring in a group of people to an archive that traditionally does not have access to a large staff or consistent volunteer base. This group will work on important projects for a proscribed period of time (i.e. a week) and make a huge impact in a relatively short amount of time.Carrel and Mayfield 2021, 5Derived from the activities of the SAA student chapter at the University of Michigan School of Information, an archives blitz provides hands-on archival experience and skill sharing in addition to a collaborative environment to foster and build relationships. Typically an in-person, half- or full-day event, an archives blitz can address any aspect of the archival enterprise, and it’s particularly well suited for projects such as team processing of small to medium collections, inventorying large audiovisual collections, or rehousing physical material. A successful blitz has meaningful, tangible outcomes for both the host institution and volunteers.
Modeled on the National Park Service’s BioBlitz program, Yellowstone National Park first implemented this concept in 2014 and 2015. In the initial archives blitz, the Yellowstone’s archives deployed small groups to arrange and describe collections in a short time and to address the challenges of processing collections efficiently and cost-effectively at a small, rural repository without ready access to professionals or students.