The University of Delaware Library celebrated the opening of a new research collection, the Senator Edward E. “Ted” Kaufman papers (http://www.lib.udel.edu/ud/spec/findaids/html/mss0660.html), on March 21, 2014. The Kaufman papers presented new challenges and opportunities for the Library that included managing its first significant acquisition of electronic records and developing its first online exhibition with Omeka.
Senator Kaufman’s collection largely reflects the work of his term as a United States Senator from Delaware, January 2009-November 2010. Kaufman, who served on the Senate staff of Joseph R. Biden Jr. from 1973-1995, was appointed to fill the Senate seat left vacant when Biden was elected Vice President of the United States. Senator Kaufman served on the Senate committees on Foreign Relations, the Judiciary, Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs, and Armed Services. He made several trips to the Middle East and advocated for financial system reform. He also promoted the expansion of education in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM). Additionally, he served as the Congressional Oversight Panel (COP) chairman from October 2010 until the panel ceased operation in March 2011.
When the Kaufman papers were acquired in 2010, they included approximately 90 gigabytes of electronic records. The processing archivists first established an electronic records management program for the Library. They created procedures for processing electronic records and worked with Library IT staff to set up a stand-alone electronic records processing workstation. The electronic records in the Kaufman papers were the first to be accessioned. Appraisal reduced the size of the records to 68 gigabytes. The records were then arranged and described in the collection finding aid. The processed records were copied to a read-only server accessible from a dedicated computer in the Special Collections reading room. The reading room computer allows researchers to browse directories and files and to open multiple file types, including text, video, and audio without making modifications to the records.
The Kaufman collection also propelled the creation of the Library’s first online exhibition using Omeka, the open-source web publishing platform. The “Edward E. ‘Ted’ Kaufman Papers” (http://exhibits.lib.udel.edu/exhibits/show/kaufman) website uses a theme specially designed for the project by Library staff. The site introduces visitors to Ted Kaufman, his career, and research materials related to Congress and Delaware government and politics available through the Library. It also features an exhibit, “22 Months: Ted Kaufman in the U.S. Senate,” (http://exhibits.lib.udel.edu/exhibits/show/kaufman/22-months) that explores highlights of Kaufman’s senatorial career and draws on both paper and electronic records in the collection.
The Edward E. “Ted” Kaufman papers were processed and curated by Danielle Emerling and Tammi Kim, Assistant Librarians, Manuscripts and Archives Department. A more detailed account of the processing of the electronic records is available in the Society of American Archivists Congressional Papers Roundtable Fall 2013 newsletter (http://www2.archivists.org/sites/all/files/2013_Fall_0.pdf).
By Danielle Emerling