Something New for Something Old: Innovative Approaches to Managing Archives and Special Collections

December 4-5, 2008 at the Union League of Philadelphia



Overview and Updates

Schedule and Speakers


Information for Attendees


Mark Greene
American Heritage Center

Biographical Statement

Mark Greene, Director of the American Heritage Center, University of Wyoming, since August 2002. The AHC is the University's manuscript repository, rare book library, and university archives, with holdings of approximately 70,000 feet and serving 5-6,000 researchers each year. He has an MA in US History with a cognate in Archives Administration from the University of Michigan. He began his career as archivist of Carleton College, followed by 11 years as the curator of manuscripts at the Minnesota Historical Society. Immediately prior to joining the American Heritage Center, he was head of research center programs for the Henry Ford Museum & Greenfield Village in Dearborn, Mich.

Mark has published articles in the field of history, and over fifteen articles in archival journals, not only in the US, but also in Canada, the United Kingdom, Spain, and Switzerland, on such topics as collection development and appraisal, congressional papers, business records, privacy and confidentiality, working with underdocumented communities, collecting web sites, using university archives in the undergraduate classroom, leadership, archives and postmodernism, and perhaps most prominently, changing processing procedures to reduce backlogs. He has taught workshops across the nation on appraisal (and currently is the instructor for SAA's Advanced Appraisal workshop), and occasional workshops, with Dennis Meissner of the Minnesota Historical Society, on their processing approach known as "More Product, Less Process" (MPLP).

Mark has been a program committee chair, council member, and president of the Midwest Archives Conference. He chaired the editorial board for the journal Archival Issues for four years. Mark has served as chair of SAA's Congressional Papers Roundtable, Manuscripts Repository Section, Committee on Education and Professional Development, and 2004 program committee. He serves on SAA’s Task Force on Intellectual Property. He served a term as a member of SAA council. In 2002 he was named a Fellow of SAA. He served as President of SAA for the year 2007-08.

member of Collection Management panel

Project Description


The American Heritage Center (AHC) is the University of Wyoming’s (UW) manuscripts repository, rare book library, and university archive. Possessed of a difficult history, when a new director was appointed in 2002, it seemed clear that the AHC was on the cusp of becoming a great institution. To realize this potential, the director set to work with the AHC faculty and staff to identify areas where change and improvement were needed. One result was a renewed commitment to make its collections more accessible and to refine its collections. Overall, the r/evolution of overall collection management at the AHC relied on one concept and five "easy" pieces:

1. Collection Management Policy
2. Cataloging Project
3. Collection Analysis/Development Policy
4. Reappraisal/Deaccessioning
5. Active Collecting

The five pieces the AHC put together for collection management between 2002 and 2008 have changed the repository from one with awkward and difficult prospects to one fully capable of expressing its talents and its place in the archival world. Specifically, the Center's comprehensive r/evolution of collection management has placed it in a leadership position within the profession, particularly in the realms of policy, intellectual access, collection development, and reappraisal.

Full Description

"Five 'Easy' Pieces of a Five Year Plan"

Background Readings and Links

American Heritage Center Collection Development Policy, 2008

American Heritage Center Final Report to NHPRC: Final Report, 1 February 2007-31 January 2008 -- NHPRC Grant #2005-057

AHC Interim Report to NHPRC: NAR06GRANT-074—Interim narrative 1 June 2007-31 December 2007

Syllabus of Readings on Collection Development and Appraisal, for Advanced Appraisal course Society of California Archivists, April 2003

"I've Deaccessioned and Lived to Tell About It: Confessions of an Unrepentant Reappraiser," Archival Issues, 30:1 (2006), 7-22.

"'The Surest Proof': The Use of Business Records and Implications for Appraisal," Archivaria 45 (Spring 1998), 127-69. Republished in Rand Jimerson, ed., American Archival Studies: Readings in Theory and Practice (Chicago, 2000), 301-44.



Last updated October 24, 2008 Questions may be directed to Laura Blanchard,