hidden collections, library collections, cataloging


Unprocessed collections are a barrier to access that many manuscript repositories face. Our goal is to provide at least basic access to collections that have been hidden for decades. Acknowledging that our current workflow might take as long as ten years to catch up on our backlog of unprocessed collections, BYU's Harold B. Lee Library is rethinking workflows to re-emphasize user needs as a top priority. In an effort to better share resources across the library to solve this problem, catalogers are taking the first stab at archival description for backlog collections. We have developed procedures to provide a collection-level MARC record for unprocessed collections prior to processing. This project exposes these collections to potential users, simultaneously helping to prioritize processing efforts toward those collections which our patrons request to use. With this presentation, we will share our workflow, procedures, and collection-level record cataloging specifications. We also hope to learn from others who have undertaken similar projects as we seek to improve procedures and increase efficiency throughout this ongoing project.

Original Publication Citation

Wiederhold, Rebecca A., Matthew Leavitt. “Who Knew We Had This Stuff?: Collaborating to Expose Hidden Collections Through Cataloging Before Processing.” Presented at the annual meeting of the Conference of Inter-Mountain Archivists, virtual, April 29-30, 2021.

Document Type


Publication Date


Permanent URL


Conference of Inter-Mountain Archivists




Harold B. Lee Library

University Standing at Time of Publication

Assistant Professor