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Annette Johnson

Appraisal and Acquisitions Archivist

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Annette is a mid-career appraisal and acquisitions archivist for a small college archive in Virginia. She lives in a 19th century farmhouse that she has renovated along with her partner. She loves the outdoors, is an avid reader and participates in a local literary society.

Goals and Motivations

Annette’s primary motivation is to identify and appraise material that may fit within her institution’s collecting policy. If she thinks a collection is a match, she works with potential donors to acquire it and negotiates with them regarding funding to process and preserve the materials. Annette also manages a part-time accessioning archivist who creates basic accession records from inventories, correspondence and other background information provided by donors. She believes that her institution does a really good job of preserving and making archival material available to researchers.


Annette needs to keep track of many parallel and complex processes that impact people both within and outside of her institution. She needs to know when material has been accessioned and processed so she can communicate that to donors, and she needs to let her accessioning archivist know when new material will be coming in, so notifications are very important to her. She also needs tools to help her make macro appraisal decisions for digital records, such as visualizations and Natural Language Processing tools. She wants to provide easy and secure ways for donors with varying levels of technical expertise to transfer digital records at a variety of scales, and she needs to validate packages of transferred digital records to ensure file fixity. Once materials are onsite, she needs to help her institution gain legal, physical and intellectual control over those records by recording key information about them, including rights and restrictions.

Pain Points

Annette has a hard time keeping track of all the various communications with donors and potential donors. In addition, many of the donors she works with have a difficult time with technology, and so transferring digital records is often a very difficult and complex process. Annette finds that she is stretched thin between all her job responsibilities, so doesn’t have time to experiment with new technologies.

Current Devices, Apps & IT Use

Annette is fluent with technology, but she has little time to learn new applications or systems and so she tends to use what she already knows. She is an advanced spreadsheet user, since she often uses them to help track and manage her work. Although she has used the command line in the past when given step-by-step instructions, she is a little intimidated by it and finds it slightly magical. She is primarily familiar with the Windows operating system but has used Macs a few times in the past. Annette deals with a repetitive strain injury from her frequent work at a computer which makes use of a mouse painful. She navigates using the keyboard and uses keyboard shortcuts when possible.

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