Personal Papers and MPLP: Strategies and Techniques

  • Cheryl Oestreicher


In 2005, Mark A. Greene and Dennis Meissner published an article urging archivists to reassess processing strategies to focus less on detailed arrangement and description and more on minimal efforts to provide access to researchers. In 2008, the Auburn Avenue Research Library on African American Culture and History in Atlanta, Georgia, was awarded a grant from the Council of Library and Information Resources to process the personal papers of Andrew J. Young. The grant stipulated the implementation of Greene and Meissner’s “more product, less process” (MPLP) techniques. This article describes the analysis and strategies behind the decisions made to utilize a variety of processing levels applied to the papers of Andrew J. Young, which cover more than fifty years of his public and private life. The project allowed archives staff to experiment with a range of methods to arrange and describe the collection, from minimal to item-level. Upon the completion of the project, the main lesson learned was that the best way to process a collection is not to adhere strictly to item-level or MPLP approaches but to bring together appropriate techniques from multiple approaches to create a suitable and long-term strategy.


En 2005, Mark A. Greene et Dennis Meissner publièrent un article exhortant les archivistes à réévaluer leurs stratégies de traitement des documents d’archives afin de placer moins d’importance sur les classements et descriptions détaillées et plus sur les efforts minimaux pour rendre les documents accessibles aux chercheurs. En 2008, l’Auburn Avenue Research Library on African American Culture and History, à Atlanta, en Georgie, a octroyé une bourse du Council of Library and Information Resources afin de traiter les documents personnels d’Andrew J. Young. Les conditions attachées à la bourse exigeaient l’adoption des techniques « plus de produit, moins de processus » de Greene et Meissner. Cet article décrit l’analyse et les stratégies qui ont mené vers la décision de se servir d’une variété de niveaux de traitement pour classer les documents d’Andrew J. Young, qui couvrent plus de cinquante ans de sa vie publique et privée. Ce projet a permis au personnel des archives de mener des expériences sur une étendue de méthodes pour classer et décrire la collection, allant d’une description minimale à une description à la pièce. Une fois le projet complété, il fut découvert que la meilleure façon de traiter une collection est de ne pas se limiter uniquement à la méthode de la description à la pièce ou à celle du « plus de produit, moins de processus », mais d’employer les techniques appropriées de diverses méthodes afin de créer une stratégie adéquate et de longue durée. 

Author Biography

Cheryl Oestreicher

Cheryl Oestreicher is the head of special collections and archives and an assistant professor at Boise State University in Idaho. She has a PhD in modern history and literature from Drew University in New Jersey, and an MLIS from Dominican University in Illinois. She processed civil rights collections at Auburn Avenue Research Library on African American Culture and History/Emory University, as well as the Chicago Jazz Archives and contemporary poetry collections at the University of Chicago. Oestreicher also worked at Dew University and Princeton University. She has taught archives management, reference, and research methods at Georgia State University and Clayton State University, Georgia. She is the editor of Provenance, the journal of the Society of Georgia Archivists, serves on the Society of American Archivists Publications Board, and is a member of the Council on Library and Information Resources Hidden Collections Review Panel.

How to Cite
Oestreicher, Cheryl. 2013. “Personal Papers and MPLP: Strategies and Techniques”. Archivaria 76 (November), 93-110.