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Library and Archive Policies


This section provides an overview of how physical and digital collections are organized, described, and made accessible.  

Physical Processing

Unless restricted by the donor or by Archives and Special Collection policy, all collections are accessible to researchers, even if they are unprocessed. All collections will be processed at least to the collection level. The order in which collections are processed at the box, folder, and item level by archives staff depending on preservation needs, research demand, and funding.


Digitization projects are primarily donor and grant funded. Working with our Special Collections, we seek donors and grants to fund the digitization of collections that best document the richness and diversity of Unitarian Universalism. All digitized items whose digitization is funded by grants or major donations note the funding source in the metadata of the item.  Digital collections are described using a combination of standard and locally derived controlled vocabularies in order to do the best job possible at describing Unitarian, Universalist, and Unitarian Universalist collection materials. The goal is to describe the material as the community itself describes things, in particular sermon topics, genre/form terms, and denominational terminology. 

Digital collections are comprised of high resolution images, scanned at 600 dpi, that can be downloaded by users as jpeg files. Optical Character Recognition (OCR) is employed to allow for full text searching within collection material. Searches of a collection will include results found either in the OCR transcript or the item's metadata. 

Meadville Lombard Wiggin Library
180 N. Wabash Ave.
Suite 625 
Chicago, IL 60601

Library and Archives Phone: 312-546-6488        Library Email:        Archives Email: