Forgive me, readers, it's been over a month since my last rant about minimally processed archival collections, and I feel the need to unburden my mind again. Here's yet another reason I don't like the Greene-Meissner method of archival "processing":
A patron came in to use one of our more recent archival accessions, the OHSU Hospital Infection Control Records (Accession 2006-003). After looking through the materials, he submitted his copy order. Here in the History of Medicine Room (as in most archives and special collections), we do copying for patrons, and so he had to wait while I went to copy. Before I could even begin copying, however, I had to process the materials! Take out staples, remove paper clips, and then retrieve some archival clips to keep groups of papers together--greatly lengthening the amount of time the patron had to wait for his order.
Is this good service? I tend to think not. One oft-cited advantage of the "more product, less process" mode is the service to users rendered by the reduction of backlogs. I think smaller repositories really need to analyze this claim, however, and decide for themselves what constitutes good service in their particular case. Our case is definitely being made for full processing.