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FROM VILLAGE SMITHY TO SUPERIOR VACUUM TECHNOLOGY: MODERN SMALL-BUSINESS RECORDS AND THE COLLECTING REPOSITORY

MARK A. GREENE
Archival Issues
Vol. 23, No. 1 (1998), pp. 41-57
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/41101987
Page Count: 17
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Since scans are not currently available to screen readers, please contact JSTOR User Support for access. We'll provide a PDF copy for your screen reader.
FROM VILLAGE SMITHY TO SUPERIOR VACUUM TECHNOLOGY: MODERN SMALL-BUSINESS RECORDS AND THE COLLECTING REPOSITORY
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Abstract

Documenting modern business in the United States is a complicated matter for archivists, and has been the subject of much recent attention in the professional literature. The Minnesota Historical Society (MHS) has undertaken a major initiative to redefine its collecting approach to modern business records, based both on new conceptual approaches such as macroappraisal and on studies of actual records usage. Documenting modern small business adds to these complications three problems: 1) there is no agreed-upon definition of what a small business is; 2) small business has become invested, like "the family farm," with as much myth as reality; 3) small businesses do not operate like large businesses and therefore do not generate the same archival records. In this essay, an appraisal archivist uses the experience of MHS to argue for a nontraditional approach to documenting modern small business.

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