Lisa brings up a good point in her post, labeling materials is quite often a major challenge. Not only are we at the mercy of whatever labeling systems creators use to describe their items, but we sometimes don’t get much in the way of labels. These recordings, for example, which are part of our largest collections, came to us lacking both individual “clamshell” boxes and any sense of order whatsoever. (And yes, that’s a Christmas tape in there.)
Our first move was to untangle the tapes and put each reel in its own clamshell box. Because there are 260 reels in this collection, we separated them and organized them by date range (1997, 1998, 1999, etc.).
From there, making do with what little descriptive information we had (at least they all had dates), we created labels with the date of each recording. (Hint: Don’t buy cheap labels. Get foil-backed labels from an archival supplier. They employ a much stronger adhesive than your standard Avery/office labels, meaning that they’re less likely to end up on the floor of your stacks in a few years.)
Here’s a shot of the tapes as they appear now:
Want to hear them? Give me a holler!