In this paper, I will describe two major organisational structures
that emerged in the postwar period. The first is the government
contract laboratory; that is, a lab funded by the Federal Government,
but administered by a private corporation or academic institution.
My focus will be the national laboratories of the Department
of Energy. There are about eight of these national labs. The
first - the Brookhaven National Laboratory - was set up in 1946.
It sits on 6,000 acres of land and has some 3,000 employees,
about one-fourth of whom are scientific researchers. The second
structure is the multi-institutional collaboration; here we have
teams from several - and often many - institutions joining forces
to carry out an experiment or research project.
Organisational and technological change present enormous challenges
to archivists and others who must learn how to document the new
phenomena. To meet the challenge, JCAST (the American Joint Committee
on Archives of Science and Technology), in its 1983 report, recommended
documentation research, that is, research to resolve archival
problems. I will illustrate its first use in a project aimed
at learning how to document the postwar government contract laboratories.
The main subject of my paper will be the dramatic rise of the
multi-institutional collaboration and the archival implications
of changes in organisational structures, communications patterns,
and records of research.
It is the responsibility of the Center for History of Physics
of the American Institute of Physics (AIP) to provide guidance
where needed to archivists and others who must select the documentation
for future historians. In order to do this, the AIP Center must
stay informed about the activities of the physics community.
In particular, we must understand patterns of scientific research,
characteristics of the institutions that provide the support,
and, of course, the value of the records created.
Until the mid-twentieth century the site for research in physics
and allied sciences was overwhelmingly academia. The Center's
initial documentation strategy focused on this setting; its appraisal
guidelines emphasised the value of correspondence files, research
notebooks, and other records that characterised the prewar period.
In its efforts to document prewar - and,
therefore, largely academic - physics, the AIP worked in a cooperative
environment of archivists. In fact, during the 1950s and 60s,
there was a boom in archival programs in academia; many were initiated,
others were strengthened. There is no doubt that the AIP Center's
early efforts were successful because of the strengths of academic
As the AIP's cooperative ties with academic archivists grew,
the feeling of comfort that we were doing a good job of documenting
postwar physics dimmed. More and more often we were reminded
- by the press, meetings of the American Physical Society, and
other reports - that some of the most distinguished work was taking
place at nonacademic settings. The shifts were partly to corporate
research laboratories, but most spectacularly, to the postwar
phenomenon - government contract laboratories. There was little
knowledge of what went on in nonacademic settings. Site visits
to laboratories of all sorts made it clear that this postwar,
nonacademic community was so dramatically different that it was
impossible to state with any confidence how it ought to be documented.
We found the following:
- There were NO ARCHIVISTS at any of the labs.
- There were NO HISTORIANS using postwar records. Actually,
there were two or three - not enough to have an impact on saving
the records. We felt certain the historians would be coming -
looking for records - before too long, simply because these were
major institutions in their own right and because a good deal
of the research was of high significance.
- RECORDS MANAGERS, on the other hand, were everywhere.
- Those in the CORPORATE labs were likely to be PROFESSIONALLY
trained. Their time was DEDICATED to records management.
Those in GO-COs (government contract labs) were typically not
trained as PROFESSIONALS. Their responsibilities were NOT CONFINED
to records management; they might, for example, also be responsible
for running the lab's cafeteria.
- Every lab seemed to have RECORDS disposition SCHEDULES that
determined how long records of a particular type could be retained.
We wondered if these schedules were ANY GOOD.
- There were MOUNTAINS OF UNSCHEDULED RECORDS and many reports
of DESTROYED RECORDS.
- NARA (the National Archives and Records Administration) took
the position that an institution could be adequately documented
merely by saving records at the top of the hierarchy. This so-called
PYRAMID VIEW OF APPRAISAL had been based on the National Archives'
experience with nonscientific agencies such as the State Department.
We were confident it should not be applied to scientific labs,
where much of the history is made by scientists farther down in
- We found TRADITIONAL NOTEBOOKS, BUT we ALSO found ELECTRONIC
RESEARCH DATA. We had a lot of worries about the electronic data,
especially about our ability to appraise its long-term usefulness
and how it should be stored.
What could be done? What approach would be appropriate under
the circumstances? We felt quite certain that traditional archival
practices - for example, saving the papers of eminent individuals
- would be inadequate. Because of the bulk of postwar records
and new forms of evidence, continuing the practice of appraisal
on a collection-by-collection basis would be ineffectual and costly.
There was a realistic sense of urgency: historians would be
fortunate if they arrived to use the records before records managers
had scheduled them for destruction. What was called for was a
new kind of research. JCAST would later call it documentation
What is meant by the term is research aimed at resolving archival
problems. Documentation research involves two important stages.
The first stage consists of systematic planning and research,
and close interaction with records creators - physicists and science
administrators in our case. The goals are several: first, to
identify the most important organisational structures, functions,
records creators, and events; next, to understand how and why
records are created and used; and, finally, to identify the likely
locations of valuable records. This research replaces the practice
of appraisal on a collection-by-collection basis. There are a
number of terms that could be applied to this stage. It has been
called 'functional analysis', 'historical-sociological research',
and - in some cases - the 'study of organisational sociology in
real time'. Some Europeans and Canadians are calling it 'macroappraisal'.
I use these terms interchangeably, but as an archivist my favourite
term is 'macroappraisal'. The term clearly suggests that what
we are talking about is the research and systematic analysis that
must be carried out before doing the traditional, microappraisal
of records. When we do that appraisal, it will not be the whole
universe, but a carefully identified and potentially valuable
subset of the records.
Phase Two of documentation research is devoted to policy and
programmatic issues. This is the time to ask: What documentation
is at risk under current procedures? This is the time for action
to initiate new policies and procedures to secure valuable documentation.
In documentation research projects of the AIP, this stage is
critical. The AIP conducts the first stage to learn how to document
an area. With that knowledge in hand, it issues formal policy
recommendations to institutions that have control over the records.
The first documentation research project, completed a decade
ago by the AIP Center, was a study of four Department of Energy
(DOE) National Laboratories: Argonne, Brookhaven, Lawrence Berkeley,
and Oak Ridge. The program was known as the "DOE Study."
Rather than go into details, I will describe briefly how we picked
our targets and designed the macroappraisal stage of our project
and make a few observations on the effectiveness of these tactics
and our project recommendations. To return to the problems I
- NO ARCHIVISTS
- NO HISTORIANS
- RECORDS MANAGERS EVERYWHERE
- GO-COs: NOT PROFESSIONALS, NOT DEDICATED
- RECORDS SCHEDULES - ANY GOOD?
- MOUNTAINS OF UNSCHEDULED RECORDS AND DESTRUCTION STORIES
- NARA'S 'PYRAMID' VIEW OF APPRAISAL
- TRADITIONAL NOTEBOOKS, BUT ALSO ELECTRONIC RESEARCH DATA
First, as you see, the corporate laboratories are off the list.
Since each corporation is a separate entity with its own problems
and practices, our research and recommendations would have to
be individualised; that was a task beyond our resources. We could
use these resources far more effectively with documentation research
aimed at resolving problems surrounding Federal scientific records;
this could improve the programs and policies of the National Archives.
The most significant government contract laboratories creating
Federal records were, and still are, the national laboratories
of the DOE. Thus, by focusing on four DOE national labs and the
National Archives, the ripple effect of our findings could improve
records-keeping practices at other government scientific agencies.
The project historian and project archivist spent over eight
staff-years working on site at the four laboratories. We did
not solve the problems on our list by reviewing mountains of records
. During our first, macroappraisal stage, we employed extensive
historical research and involvement with laboratory scientists.
We prepared chronologies of the main events and programs (scientific
and otherwise). We talked to the key players -scientists and
administrators - about these events and programs and about the
records created in the process. With their help, we located the
best documentation. Through these and other tasks, project staff
achieved an understanding of the ways government contract laboratories
operate and of the information content of the records they generate.
Through its field work, the AIP study proved that valuable records
had, indeed, been created, but could no longer be located and
were, presumably, destroyed. (The destruction stories were true
). We also proved for the first time that valuable documentation
of science and technology would not be captured by only saving
the records at the top of the institutional hierarchy. (The National
Archives' pyramid view of appraisal did not apply here ).
In addition, we developed solid appraisal guidelines - one for
policy and administrative files and a second for scientific files;
by comparing the records that should be saved against the records
schedule authorised by the National Archives, we showed that those
schedules needed important revisions . These and other findings
gave credence to the project's policy recommendations addressed
to the DOE labs, the DOE headquarters, and the National Archives.
Our single, most important recommendation was that professional
archivists were needed at each national laboratory. Each of the
four DOE laboratories was unique in some way. Although guidelines
for records appraisal and reports on general patterns of administration
and research are helpful, archivists were needed at each laboratory.
The archivist's knowledge of the organisational structure and
functions of his or her own institution must be the basis for
decisions as to what documentation should be saved. I'm happy
to say that a number of important DOE labs now have professional
archivists  who typically supervise improved records management
programs . It is also true that the National Archives has
become far more concerned about science and technology. They
are currently upgrading their guidelines, prompted in large part
by the DOE study. Best of all, there are now dozens of historians
writing about postwar science .
Problems remain. Many important labs still lack archival programs
and the National Archives is stretched thin in its ability to
provide budget, staff, and space to secure valuable records.
You'll note, too, that the item on electronic research data still
remains on the problem list; we only scratched the surface in
this area . Nevertheless, there is reason for optimism: we
learned how to document postwar government contract laboratories.
In addition, we found that the methodology applied to other postwar
laboratories, including corporate laboratories.
Organisational Change: the Rise of the Multi-institutional
The second major change in organisational structures in science
is the emergence and dramatic growth of the multi-institutional
collaboration. While the AIP project staff were at the DOE laboratories,
we encountered what was to us a new, awesome, and bewildering
sight: groups of researchers from several universities coming
to use the laboratory's accelerators to carry out a joint experiment
and then returning to their home campuses. What happened to the
records for such a collaboration? Was this kind of workgroup
Spencer Weart (the AIP Center's director) and I decided to explore
the extent to which institutions were joining forces to carry
out significant research. To obtain an overview of the impact
of large team multi-institutional research and the likelihood
of the documentation being saved, I analysed 68 major events in
physics and astronomy reported in the magazine Physics Today
over the period from 1968 to 1973. The results of this preliminary
study were dramatic. (1) Only one-sixth of the events were the
work of a single physicist while over one-half involved four or
more; (2) close to one-fourth of the events involved off-site
research, primarily at accelerator facilities or astronomical
observatories; (3) about one-third of the events involved two
or more employers, and nearly half of these involved four or more
employers; and (4) while academic employers were involved in over
half of the events, the traditional setting of a single academic
employer only accounted for one-fifth of all the events. It was
clear that postwar science poses a far more complex web of institutional
efforts to document than ever before. And, I need to point out
that if - instead of 1968 to 1973 - I had examined the period
ten years later or 20 years later, the findings would have been
still more dramatic.
Since World War II, the multi-institutional collaboration has
increasingly been the organisational framework for scientific
research. Its impact has been most visible in the field of high-energy
physics. In this discipline, members of a single collaboration
may currently number in the hundreds, come from a score of institutions
based in several countries, and take a decade to prepare and conduct
an experiment at a unique accelerator facility. The experimental
results may be of sufficient interest to excite the popular press
and inspire the award of a Nobel Prize, so it is quite clear that
future historians and other scholars will want to study the work.
Equally significant multi-institutional research is conducted
by teams in other fields of physics, in other fields of science,
in major engineering projects, and in a growing number of other
areas of modern society. There can be no doubt of the high importance
of understanding how such work is, in fact, carried out.
Yet the process of large-scale collaborative research has been
little studied by historians, sociologists, and other scholars.
Nor have scientists, research administrators, and the public
made any systematic analysis of this centrally important activity.
Despite the significance of these transitory 'mini-institutions,'
we were not able to find adequate records of any collaboration
in a repository.
A documentation research project was clearly called for. In
order to address the problems of documenting these transient institutions,
we knew we had to first understand the process of collaborative
research and how the records are generated and used. We decided
to make a broad survey, the first of its kind, of the functioning
of research collaborations involving three or more institutions.
Because of the complexities, we thought the study should cover
a number of fields where collaborative research played an important
role. The choice of high-energy physics for Phase I was easy:
it is the field in which multi-institutional collaborations have
grown most dramatically and, in addition, the DOE study had given
us familiarity with the functions of accelerator laboratories.
We decided that, for Phase II, the field disciplines of space
science, geophysics, and oceanography would provide a useful contrast
to the laboratory discipline of high-energy physics.
In order to design the research and pick our targets, further
investigation was needed. The main problem, of course, was how
to obtain solid knowledge of the functions of these collaborations
without spending months on-site. There were too many institutions
involved in any one experiment and hundreds of experiments per
year at accelerator laboratories! We clearly needed sophisticated
sociological expertise to help design the macroappraisal stage
of our research.
With the help of that advice, we decided to focus on key sites:
for high-energy physics these would be accelerator laboratories,
for space science and geophysics the sites would include space
vehicles and oceanographic ships. For each site, we would select
specific experiments representing main areas of the fields under
study. Our period of study for all disciplines would be from
the mid-1970s to the late-1980s. To guide and critique our work,
we would assemble a working group of archivists, historians, and
sociologists and, most important of all, distinguished scientists
and science administrators from the discipline under study. Because
the period under study is almost current, and collaborations have
changed rapidly during the past two decades, I characterise this
macroappraisal work as a historical-sociological study of organisational
trends and their archival implications. It comes close to being
a study of organisational sociology in real time.
The two-year study of high-energy physics research examined experiments
carried out at five of the world's major accelerator laboratories.
A broad picture of changes in the structure of collaborations
- such as size and length of experiments - was obtained by using
databases on high-energy physics experiments and publications.
At a more detailed level, the project conducted interviews on
23 selected experimental collaborations. In selecting experiments,
our aim was to cover a range of historical, sociological, and
scientific parameters and a variety of archival situations. For
each collaboration, we interviewed individuals at various levels
to give us a full perspective on the project. We used a structured
interview question set designed for high-energy physics. Nearly
300 interviews were systematically analysed for historical, sociological,
and archival content.
The long-term study began in 1989. My observations will focus
on organisational trends in high-energy physics, the subject of
the first phase of our study - now completed. In high-energy physics,
collaborations form around an experiment. Members build a detector
for use at an accelerator, gather and analyse data, and publish
findings. The collaborations consist of groups from universities
and, often, from the accelerator laboratory itself. The individual
groups are assigned specific responsibilities for building components
of the detector and other tasks. The size and complexity of collaborations
and the research facilities have grown dramatically. In 1992 the
Superconducting Super Collider Laboratory received a proposal
signed by 991 researchers for an experiment to build and use a
detector; if approved, more institutions may join and more people
will be added - especially postdoctoral and graduate students.
Many large experiments take a decade or more from start to finish.
Collaborative research of this kind is Big - sometimes called
Very Big - Science. More than anything else, it is the increased
complexity and rising costs of apparatus for experiments that
have contributed to the size of collaborations in high-energy
physics. Any group with the ambition to build an expensive detector
has had to convince physicists from other institutions or countries
to join in the experiment.
The AIP study covered organisational structures and operational
functions through all stages of an experiment. I would like now
to focus on those structures and functions of collaborations in
high-energy physics that are of particular interest because of
their serious archival implications. These are data-gathering,
communication, and the roles of the administrative leader known
as spokesperson, and of the accelerator laboratory.
During our period of study, virtually all of the experimental
research data were gathered in electronic format on magnetic tape.
We found that these data are not needed for scientific purposes
after a brief period of analysis; in addition, they are not useful
for historical or other scholarly purposes. Archivists and records
managers have reason to be concerned about retaining electronic
data for some other disciplines, but they can confidently destroy
them for high-energy physics. A small sample from each decade,
preserved for exhibit purposes in a national laboratory or museum,
would meet future needs.
In terms of organisational strategies and communication, we found
that high-energy physics experiments require that all collaborations
combine three organisational strategies. Each collaboration blends
these strategies in ways that offer the best chance of handling
its toughest difficulties. First, the laboratory is treated as
an organisational headquarters to which the outlying institutions
pass and receive information. This strategy becomes more dominant
when the integration of detector components is so complex that
the collaborating institutions send postdocs to the laboratory.
Second, the collaboration determines the extent to which labour
should be divided - with collaborators working independently -
or duplicated. The need to duplicate efforts takes precedence
when puzzling or controversial findings are claimed; here reproducibility
of results from data analysis is essential. Third, collaborations
take into account that individual researchers will likely make
use of equipment they did not build and software they did not
write; collaborations, therefore, set up an information pool that
enables collaborators to take full advantage of what others have
In any one of these strategies, the individuals or groups that
need to communicate are likely to be different. Viewed over time,
our study brings out one major trend: the intra-collaboration
information network (for example, collaboration-wide mailings
and technical memoranda) - this network has become increasingly
formal and increasingly electronic. High-energy physicists now
generally communicate through electronic media. The Japanese
physicists I interviewed took credit for introducing the fax,
and we found evidence of e-mail as early as 1982. The availability
of electronic media certainly has enabled these large, far-flung
mini-institutions to carry out their organisational strategies
effectively and rapidly.
Another structural feature of high-energy physics experiments
is the spokesperson; this person has been both an intellectual
leader and an administrative convenience - an individual designated
to speak for the collaboration to the laboratory and to inform
collaborators of laboratory requirements. More recent collaborations
tend to create administrative substructures to handle collaboration
business, and they may change spokespersons over the course of
their experimental runs. Managerial burdens of spokespersons
have come to outweigh the opportunity for exercising scientific
leadership and judgement.
Collaborations have traditionally designed and built components
of their detectors largely at their home institutions and without
oversight from the laboratories. More recently, however, a number
of factors have contributed to shifting power and accountability
from the university groups to the national laboratories. A decline
in sophisticated laboratory and shop facilities at many American
colleges and universities has led to the fabrication of more detector
components at the accelerator sites. Beginning in the late 1970s,
the laboratories have had tighter control over experiments - at
least the larger, more expensive ones. In the United States,
funding for building these experiments is more and more likely
to come directly to the laboratories for distribution to the collaboration
groups. Finally, most laboratories now require detailed contracts
covering the responsibilities - of both the laboratory, and each
of the institutional members of collaborations - for the performance
of experiments. These findings provide strong indications of
shifts of power and accountability within the organisational structure
We found that some particular circumstances affected (in a positive
way) the creation or retention of valuable documentation. These
include the size and geographical dispersal of institutions, the
emergence of fax and electronic mail, the need to communicate
with engineers, and the importance or controversial nature of
experimental results. We are particularly delighted with the
rise of e-mail; before e-mail, physicists tended to use the telephone,
a practice that normally leaves no paper trail. E-mail is easily
stored and thus often saved by physicists. Of course, it is also
easily destroyed; early archival or records management intervention
The historical-sociological analysis of organisational trends
is extremely useful for archival purposes, when combined with
patterns of records creation, retention and destruction, and likely
locations of records. In addition, our findings - coupled with
records appraisal - show the main locations of valuable records.
The most important are at the laboratories and in the hands of
spokespersons; other records, which may be needed to document
significant experiments, are with leaders of the individual institutional
groups that are members of a collaboration. We established that
a core set of records could provide adequate documentation of
most collaborations. Among these are files of funding proposals;
contractual agreements; and progress and other reports. Many
of these have been traditionally kept by the labs, but have yet
to be scheduled for permanent retention.
Our main concern is to secure the additional documentation needed
for especially significant experiments. Take, for example, the
importance of saving one full set of those collaboration-wide
mailings I mentioned. Where should this documentation be located?
The issue rests on the understanding of ownership and primary
responsibility. Ownership is particularly rigorous when the records
are Federal. But academic archives may question why they should
save collaboration-wide records when their faculty was only one
of a number of institutional groups on an experiment. If we are
to document significant multi-institutional collaborations without
undue duplication of effort, the community will need to develop
a broader sense of responsibility and cooperation. This is a
In our appraisal guidelines, we point out that valuable records
are increasingly created in electronic format. In addition to
collaboration-wide mailings and e-mail, these include notebooks
and correspondence of individual members, and logbooks of detector
operations. Other archivists are dealing with the problems associated
with preserving and 'migrating' records in electronic format.
Their success would provide a major breakthrough in documenting
Whether valuable evidence is on paper or in electronic format,
our findings show that archival action should be swift. Like
other groups, most physicists keep documents only if they think
they will be useful to themselves. Good records-keeping may be
acknowledged by all as necessary while the experimental process
is alive, but when the experiment is over, records can easily
be neglected, forgotten, or destroyed. A decade from now, many
of the records located by the AIP project may well be gone. To
be most effective in documenting multi-institutional collaborations,
future archival efforts should take place during the brief period
of years when the records-keeping needs of the scientific collaboration
coincide with the goals of archivists.
The product of the second, policy stage of the AIP study of high-energy
physics is recommendations for action needed to secure valuable
documentation. These are addressed to the laboratories, universities,
and Federal agencies. Our single, most important recommendation
is addressed to the laboratories. During our study we identified
an opportune point of leverage that could have a major impact
on documenting future experiments; this is the laboratory's contractual
agreement with the collaboration. We ask that, once an experiment
has been approved, the laboratory should have the spokesperson
identify one of the collaboration members who would be responsible
for its collaboration-wide records. In addition, where historical
significance warrants, individuals should be named to be responsible
for group-level documentation of innovative components or techniques.
This information should be incorporated into the contractual
agreement. Use of this simple mechanism would assist archivists
everywhere by assuring that records would be available for appraisal
and by providing information on their location.
I have discussed patterns of collaborations in the experimental,
laboratory-based field of high-energy physics. The final reports
are available from the AIP upon request.
For our current work in the disciplines of space science, geophysics,
and oceanography, the methodology used in high-energy physics
is being followed, with only a few changes. We are again conducting
interviews on selected projects, preparing historical, sociological,
and archival reports that will profile these fields, and investigating
the possibility of preparing summary statistics. We have again
formed a working group of distinguished scientists, science administrators,
archivists, historians, and sociologists to help us to plan, and
then to criticise our work.
I'd like to mention just one geophysics project we are studying
- Leg 133 of the Ocean Drilling Program that drilled in the Great
Barrier Reef. The leg was proposed by Australian scientists at
the Bureau of Mineral Resources. This preliminary report, issued
in 1990, shows that there were 29 scientists onboard the JOIDES
Resolution, from 20 institutions in 10 countries. This number
does not include the land-based scientists who participated, or
any of the engineers, technicians, or other support staff.
Although we still have over a year of work to complete Phase
II, we have already found a variety of patterns different from
those in high-energy physics. One striking contrast is that the
formation of collaborations in space science, geophysics, and
oceanography is a longer, more political process; in addition
to the Federal agencies themselves, National Academy of Sciences
committees, Congress, and offices in the White House are likely
to participate in the formative, pre-funding period; they are
often joined by equivalent government agencies abroad. Another
contrast is that in high-energy physics, scientists observe events
they themselves created in the laboratory; in the field sciences
of space science and geophysics, on the other hand, scientists
observe the events or phenomena of nature. Again, in sharp contrast
to high-energy physics, these disciplines do need data collected
at different times and places for long-term scientific work.
This means that the data are often of permanent scientific value
and must be retained. Finally, a wider range of institutions
appears necessary for a successful collaboration in space science
and geophysics. Institutional collaborators run the gamut from
government, government contract, and corporate to academic settings.
In particular, there is far more use of contracts to industry.
All of these differences have archival implications. However,
we hope to find points of leverage - similar to those we found
in high-energy physics - where our findings could have a major
impact to improve documentation.
During the third and final phase of the study, we are proposing
a comparative approach to extend and generalise our findings to
other areas of science and technology - areas such as nuclear
fusion, medical physics, microchip consortia, and clinical medicine.
Building on the understanding gained from the earlier, tightly
focused studies, we will examine and compare collaboration patterns
- and the archival implications of those patterns - in each area
studied. With the help of a specialist in organisational structures,
we will develop, for each area, a 'typology', that is, a classification
scheme for the functions and operations of collaborations. We
will use these typologies as the basis for an overall typological
study of collaborative research in science and technology. We
will then draw general conclusions.
With this knowledge in hand, we will begin the most important
policy stage of the entire documentation research project. We
will develop policies and procedures that should help to secure
important documentation of multi-institutional collaborations
in any field of science and technology. Our recommendations will
be addressed to a broad range of institutions and to policy-makers
in the scientific and archival communities.
I have discussed two major types of organisational structures
of the post-World War II period and detailed the documentation
research projects designed by the AIP Center to address the archival
problems these organisations present. In closing, I bring to
your attention projects conducted elsewhere that employ macroappraisal
to improve the documentation of postwar science and technology.
Those completed include the appraisal study carried out by MIT
archivists that gave us Appraising the Records of Modern Science
and Technology: A Guide back in 1985; the study by the Charles
Babbage Institute that addressed difficulties associated with
documenting large, high-technology companies; and Helen Samuels'
1992 functional study of colleges and universities, entitled Varsity
Letters. This is available from the Society of American Archivists.
Examples of research projects still underway are: (1) a study
of how to document medical research and practice in the academic
setting, under the direction of Nancy McCall at the Johns Hopkins
University, (2) an analysis of the health care system in the United
States, under the direction of Joan Krizack of the Children's
Hospital in Boston, and (3) a study of the Human Genome Project
by the Beckman Center for History of Chemistry.
I hope that I have given some idea of how valuable systematic
surveys of organisational structures and operational functions
can be, for finding ways to resolve archival problems. As I have
illustrated, documentation research can be usefully applied to
a study of just one institution or to a structure involving many
institutions. This kind of research is exciting and effective
in terms of costs and improved documentation for future scholars.