ATG Book of the Week: Organizing Archival Records – 4th Edition

by | Apr 19, 2019 | 0 comments

Title: Organizing Archival Records, 4th Edition
Author: David W. Carmichael
Hardcover: ISBN: 978-1538110010, $75; Paperback: ISBN: 978-1538110027, $37
Imprint: Rowman & Littlefield , 2018


Much of our nation’s documentary heritage resides in small historical societies, libraries, cultural organizations, houses of worship, and museums. The preservation of this heritage often depends on the dedicated efforts of people who, in their workaday world, practice some profession other than archivist. For twenty five years, Organizing Archival Records has equipped non-professional archivists to tackle the challenging task of arranging and describing archival materials.

The latest edition preserves the practical, easy-to-follow, step-by-step approach of earlier editions while updating its content to reflect current archival practices:

  • practical ways to arrange and describe digital records;
  • simple tools you can use to manage and store your descriptions, whatever the level of your computer skills;
  • how to share your descriptions with others;
  • why provenance and original order are foundational to arrangement and description;
  • how the principles codified in SAA’s Describing Archives: A Content Standard can guide your arrangement and description process;
  • an expanded discussion of related topics, including appraisal, security, safe handling of records, storage conditions, and what to do with all the records that were in your archives before you read Organizing Archival Records.




David Carmicheal once again combines his years of professional experience with the most current archival practice. He has a knack for translating difficult concepts into clear action plans, often using practical examples to make his points. The Fourth Edition of Organizing Archival Records belongs on the bookshelf of every beginning archivist.
(Gregory S. Hunter, professor, Palmer School of Library and Information Science)


Organizing Archival Records provides nuts and bolts of caring for historical records. The 4th edition of this useful volume includes a chapter on arranging digital records and creating Encoded Archival Description files. The book is filled with step-by-step instructions for caring for collections, multiple illustrations, and simple quizzes testing one’s knowledge, and it is a must for people working with both small and large collections.
(Kaye Lanning Minchew, co-author of Managing Local Government Archives)

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