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Musings of a librarian, former archivist, musician, bibliophile, and tech-obsessed.

Entries in Archives (13)


Major Update!

I have worked as an archivist for the past four years at Catholic University. I have enjoyed my time there and the numerous opportunities I had to develop policies, procedures, and infrastructure for photographic, audio, and moving image collections, and most recently digital collections, in addition to other archival duties such as processing, reference, and preservation. Because of the evolution of my work from the physical to the digital and the technological achievements I accomplished, I decided it was time for new challenges and opportunities.

On February 10, I will leave CUA, and on February 13, I will be starting at the University of Maryland as their Digital Collections Librarian. This is a new position, under the Library IT department, and will focus on creating digital collections and policies for digital collections across all of the library departments. While I will always have a strong passion for archival audiovisual materials, I have decided that this position will best help me with my career goals while allowing me to advance with my career out of an entry-level position. While I am no longer an "archivist" by title, I will still identify with this profession as I will be working with the content-managers of these and other collections to digitize and make accessible archival, special, and other less common collections and materials.

On this site and my Twitter feed, I will still discuss audiovisual media and technologies, but since I will be focusing on other digital technologies and processes, I will also be discussing these in more detail, hopefully bringing useful information to a new audience.

I thank my colleagues at Catholic and throughout WRLC--without your guidance and opportunities to prove myself, I would not have been ready to take this position. I also thank my future colleagues Maryland, who have already made me feel welcome--I look forward to the new challenges we will start together!


Archives Fair Videos from the Smithsonian

The Smithsonian has posted the videos for all of the presentations given at last October's Archives Fair. While I was not able to attend, these lectures are very applicable to what is currently happening in archives, and many highlight current digital issues and audiovisual issues. The complete schedule and announcement is available on the Smithsonian's site.


Family Archivist

Over the extended Thanksgiving weekend, I did a little preservation for my grandparents on family heirlooms. Most were from Peter Pike, a Civil War veteran and my great great great grandfather. The items included clippings documenting his regiment's movement, his marriage certificate, a promotional certificate (to sergeant), an army-issued death certificate (long after the war), three tintypes, and regiment pins. The best piece was his Great Army of the Republic hat. Also included in the items were a photo of my grandmother's father before he was shipped out to fight in World War I, and my grandfather's father's dog tags from World War I.

I de-framed one photo and certificate, bought Bookkeeper spray and de-acidified all of the paper documents, re-housed the tintypes and photos in four-flap, non-buffered envelopes, and then in a box, and placed the pins and dog tags in archival boxes with clear lids for viewing. I also stuffed the hat with acid-free tissue, separating the leather band that had fallen out of the hat from the wool of the hat.

It was fun to watch my family members gathered around me, watching me work with my white gloves on, engrossed and impressed in my work.



The State of Archives

Fueled by a quite lengthy post on the A&A listserv this weekend, I would also like to reflect on the state of archives in the US.

As an audiovisual archivist and musician, I am most impacted by the future of audio preservation, covered by an interview in WNYC this weekend. Guests for the interview included Sam Brylawski, an author of the study and leading member of ARSC, and Jody Rosen, a music critic for and senior critic for Rolling Stone. They reflect upon many aspects of audio preservation--degradation, problems finding resources for preservation, and copyright, to name a few.

Referenced in the A&A post, a blog post from the Derangement and Description author. I agree that young archivists are being slighted by some older archivists. I agree that we're doing a lot for little compensation.

But that's happening everywhere right now as older employees in every field stay longer to put off retirement and budgets of most institutions are being cut. Two former graduate student employees in our archives fought to get the part-time work they currently have, though they are expected to do work that requires more than a part-time commitment.

Newcomers into the field can turn this into a positive by going beyond what is asked of us, learning as much as possible and challenging ourselves to learn new ways of doing things. I learned basic audio engineering skills because we couldn't hire a consultant to set up our in-house digitization station. I also learned basic web design skills to create our archive's a/v webpages, and then my own website. Also, as this blog entry featured in OCLC "Above the Fold" states, spend time with people who challenge your thinking. Right now, I'm learning more about the entire digitization process as I serve on a consortial task force, set with writing a business plan for a new cooperative digitization service. I also network like it's my job, giving out nearly all of the business cards I received almost three years ago (I think I have enough for one more conference). Through networking, I've been able to get onto committees in two organizations, and have gotten free equipment for the archives. 

There is a gap between long-time archivists and the new archivists, felt more in some associations than others. I feel at home in ARSC, encouraged on projects by freely given advice, and I'm asked for advice on other issues. The people I've met at ARSC who have been in the field longer recognize that us new archivists aren't trying to get rid of the old ways of the archives, but that we're together in this fight to preserve our collections, and the younger archivists' skill sets can be used to try new ways of doing the old methods.


In the News, Around the Web

Digitizing your personal library? Does this prof not know what elements need to be involved in such an undertaking? Metadata!!! Migration!!! Backup!!! It would be easier to buy the e-book version.

Letting library users help develop library tools? Could be helpful!

Digital curation!

Come on CUA! This would be great!

Personal Librarian? Maybe more students would use an archives if they had a Personal Archivist?

The hot new thing in archival processing--Crowdsourcing!

I love my nook, but can e-books be better?

Directors reporting on the NEH Digital Humanities grant--more crowdsourcing.