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Text art of the words "From the Vault" in 18th century manuscript font.
The Blog of the Indiana State Archives

  IARA Divisions State Archives Collections From the Vault Blog


If you’ve been following the State Archives for a while, you know that we’ve been working on preparing our records to be moved into a new building in 2026. One of the largest and most time-consuming projects has been barcoding our holdings. We started barcoding in 2021 and are happy to announce that we have finished barcoding our main stacks! Next, our barcoding teams will tackle the paper vault and the oversized shelving.

As we barcode, we track records that need conservation help or backlog projects that need to be processed. Every archival institution has some amount of backlog records that were brought into the archives years prior but were left either unaccessioned or unprocessed due to a lack of staff time or resources. We keep a spreadsheet of records that might be a good project for staff, volunteers, or interns. Some projects require a massive amount of time and effort and will likely remain a future backlog project, but many of the backlog records we come across will make a great processing project.

As we work through these backlog projects, we try to identify record series that we can fully accession, arrange, and write detailed descriptions for. Descriptive notes like scope and content notes and historical notes make it easier for researchers to determine if we have the records or date range they need. Check out this completed series for the Indiana Junior Historical Society.

Since 2021, our processing team and interns have fully processed and written descriptive notes for over 280 record series and counting!

As we process more backlog records, we’ve started noticing a visual sign of our progress. Our conservator Elizabeth’s lab is now full of unneeded box spacers. Each spacer is custom made to keep files in the upright position when the records don’t completely fill the box. This prevents the records from slumping or becoming bent. They are often used as a temporary measure to keep unprocessed records safe. Because we’ve completed so many backlog projects, we’ve been able to remove many of these! Luckily, the spacers can be reused and resized to new boxes.

Curious about our records? You can search record series here:

This link will show you all record series, finished and unfinished. We are frequently updating record series, so check back often!