Two more pieces of Schellenberg’s appraisal theory that I think are important to consider in TAMI’s case are special selection and statistical sampling.

Special selection – persons are individually important, selection is made in relation to individuals rather than matters of social nature.

Statistical sampling – applied when records are being selected for studies of collective, not individual importance.

Both techniques are relevant to collections at TAMI, and how to employ each method and which consideration will receive priority (if any) should be determined.

In the case of home movies on VHS, it seems that special selection should be applied if the collection belongs to or relates to a noteworthy Texan or unique group of people, for instance, the Filipino community in El Paso that is not otherwise heavily represented in archives, broadly speaking. For that community, unless a large number of similar collections are acquired in the future, more of their ethnic celebrations, cultural events, and home lives should be represented. The same could be said of the collection of a political or historical figure, community leader, or other prominent citizen. Within this type of representation, discretion should be used to choose the best quality and intensive videos, as even within a collection, videos can be redundant and in very high quantities.

Statistical sampling can be applied when assessing the collections of a region in general. Within the collections from the El Paso Roundup, videos should be selected to represent different aspects of the culture and the era by selecting videos from  time periods or years, holidays, daily life, parades, festivals, school or community functions, etc. What I need to determine, if it is possible, is: 1. How many videos within a year, or perhaps decade, quantify a representation of the time period? 2. How many videos, or minutes of video, of a single holiday or event will we accept (how many videos from Christmas mornings from 1985-1990, for example), and should that number be assessed by family collection or by pulling back and looking at the collections from a Round Up as a whole?

Another question that keeps nagging at me as I research is if there is a way to get around watching every minute of every video that we receive in order to appraise collections. Human resources are perhaps as valuable as technological resources (server space), and the time it takes to view a collection of digitized VHS tapes is quite significant. Could employees’ time be better spent? Is there any way to truly appraise these videos without viewing each one?