n.an archival resource that is inaccessible and undiscoverable due to the unavailability or insufficiency of descriptionNewsome 1939b, 222Realizing that most researchers have little time or aptitude for hunting hidden collections, the archivist will apprise them of the location, extent, and nature of the archives in his custody.Blouin et al. 1977, 301The real challenge to surveys is in reaching the valuable but hidden collections in small institutions and in private hands.Jones 2003, 6Addressing these backlogs of “hidden collections” is essential if we are to provide the services that a larger and increasingly diverse user population expect.Jones and Panitch 2004, 85The problem of hidden collections is one of the oldest and most vexing in modern archives and libraries. Unprocessed and underprocessed backlogs of special collections are, for all intents and purposes, unavailable and often unknown to scholars. They are demoralizing and frustrating to librarians and archivists. They prevent us from realizing to the fullest possible extent our professional commitments to public service, to teaching, and to outreach.Riley and Shepherd 2009, 102The push to decrease backlogs and reveal hidden collections by adopting less intensive processing procedures competes with pressure to digitize and create item-level descriptive metadata for more archival materials.OCLC 2011“Hidden collections” are those special collections and archives that are undescribed or under-described, and therefore undiscoverable.Altermatt and Hilton 2012, 171The printed ephemera holdings consisted of two parts: a processed on-site “vertical file,” comprising 252 linear feet and two file cabinets, and a backlog portion consisting of 371 boxes of unsorted materials stored at an off-site facility. The vertical file had grown and contained sometimes several boxes of published materials from single organizations or trade unions. Additionally, the files were only partially accessible with a few finding aids and outdated catalog records. The backlog was broad in scope, unorganized, duplicative, and dirty. Ultimately, the Tamiment Library had a substantially voluminous and valuable resource, but one whose materials were wildly uncontrolled, largely inaccessible, and dauntingly repetitive. In short, the staff had a prototypical unprocessed hidden collection.Thayer 2012, 420But with a hidden collection such as the SCI archives—or at least a collection that has been hidden for many, many years—promotion becomes a necessary aspect of providing access. If a researcher does not know the collection exists, is it not still a hidden collection?Anderberg 2015, 554While parts of the archives were organized by subject, there were no finding aids. I considered the entire archives to be a “hidden collection.” In an effort to promote awareness and use of the archives, I decided not only to focus on processing collections and creating finding aids, but also to actively engage students in the archives and special collections.Jaillant 2022, 548–549The reliance on item-level cataloging was already problematic in the paper era, since it led to cataloging backlogs and hidden collections. It is even more problematic in the digital era. Reviewing each archival email before making it available to researchers is not sustainable.Allison-Bunnell 2022, 582, fn. 41While there has been much discussion of “hidden collections” over the last twenty years, there has been arguably less attention on the collections that are “hidden” because they are held by small liberal arts colleges, tribal colleges, community colleges, and municipal archives—all generally less well-resourced than large academic institutions. There is also a natural relationship between access to “hidden” collections at these institutions and current initiatives focused on diversity and inclusion.