12 · Survey Results: Executive Summary
of student assistants skews the average, though. The
maximum number of permanent staff ranges from
5 (other professional) to 15 (support staff) while the
student assistant maximum is an incredible 63 at one
institution! The median number of professional and
support staff per unit ranges from one to three, while
the median for student assistants is six.
Staffing for Manuscript Collection Activities
Without arrangement and description there would
be very little information to put on the Web for re-
searchers to use, so the survey next asked how many
of the total staff reported above actually perform
arrangement and description tasks, how much time
they spend on these activities, and how much time
they spend adding manuscript information to the
Web. The 68 respondents reported that 762 individu-
als perform these activities, 59% of the total staff in
the department.
Fifty-six respondents reported a total of 147 archi-
vists who spend even a small percentage of time on
arrangement and description. The number per in-
stitution ranges from 1 to 13, with an average of 2.63
individuals. The archivists spend anywhere from 1%
to 100% of their time on these activities, averaging
41.17%. The two archivists who spend 100% of their
time on arrangement and description were listed as a
Project Archivist and Contract Processing Archivist,
positions created specifically to focus on such activi-
On average, archivists spend 11% of their time
adding information about collections to the Web.
Therefore, the average archivist spends about 16
hours of a 40-hour work week on arrangement and
description activities, plus another 4 hours getting
information about these collections on the Web. In
addition, they spend time on a variety of other areas
including reference, instruction, preservation, acqui-
sitions, records management, exhibits, management,
professional service, digital projects, donor relations,
collection development, and outreach. As one respon-
dent succinctly put it, “The usual.”
Department Head
Thirty-five respondents reported that the unit or de-
partment head spends some time on arrangement
and description or on adding collection information
to the Web. The maximum time for either activity is
50%. On average, slightly more time is spent on ar-
rangement and description (12.32%) than on adding
information to the Web (8.95%).
Librarians and Other Professionals
Thirty-five respondents reported a total of 69 librar-
ians who spend time on manuscript collection ar-
rangement and description or adding information to
the Web. The range is 1 to 5 per institution, with an
average of 1.87 librarians. They spend up to 100% of
their time on arrangement and description, averaging
25%. As with department heads, librarians spend less
time putting information on the Web, up to 65% of
their time but only averaging 12%.
There are fewer other professionals involved in
manuscript collection processing activities (20 in-
stitutions reported a total of 29 individuals), but the
range per institution (1 to 5, average 1.45) and time
commitment (arrangement and description average
27%, Web average 12%) mirror librarians.
Support Staff
Almost as many support staff as archivists spend
time on arrangement and description and Web activi-
ties; 47 respondents reported a total of 139 individu-
als. The number of support staff per institution ranges
from 1 to 15, with an average of 2.96. They spend up
to 95% of their time on arrangement and description,
averaging 44%, the highest for permanent staff. They
also spend up to 75% of their time on putting infor-
mation on the Web, averaging 11%.
Students and Other Staff
All but ten respondents report employing student
assistants for manuscript collection arrangement and
description work. Students account for the largest
number of staff (317) and highest percentage of time
devoted to these activities (64%). Although libraries
depend heavily on students for arrangement and
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