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Building a Healthy Archives Program

In preparing for its merger with CVS Health, Aetna recognized the need to curate its archives.

The company’s archival collection was in a state of neglect. Key stakeholders felt that the collection had many assets with little reuse value, and access to important materials was impeded by a lack of order. Aetna needed a solution that would alleviate the financial and time burden of maintaining the records while ensuring that essential information was available for business use.

History Factory divided the collection into two parts: a core group of archival assets that would continue to be held and managed by the company, and a second group of materials that were not essential but potentially important to the study of business. We helped digitize both groups of materials and create an electronic record. We also helped determine which materials were nonessential and prepared them for relocation to a public institution.

Aetna’s deaccessioned assets were donated to the University of Connecticut and Connecticut State Library. This deaccessioning strategy helped Aetna responsibly address the collection’s physical and intellectual integrity, streamline access to the collection, and preserve its culture and brand through the stable and secure storage of essential archival materials. In addition, Aetna made its materials available for scholarly research while preserving financial and staffing resources.

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