~Daily Journal~ Week 15

December 10, 2012: Final finding aid SCC, DAM and blog post. 4 hours

Today is my last day at the Burke.  I am going to miss it.  I loved organizing and labeling, the research and even the dust.  My finding aid for SCC was reviewed by Brigette and Ruth and I was able to do all the final DAM before leaving.  My last (hopefully not forever) collection is officially up on the website.  Twitter and Facebook feeds were updated and I will re-tweet and re-post to my own personal accounts when I get home.  I completed a wrap up blog post and then had my final evaluation and review with Brigette.  I did have one major mistake to correct today… I typed up the wrong date on my labels for the boxes and got to use typewriter correction fluid from 1994 to fix it.  Yay! for archives and the things they save!

State Council of Churches Records, 1943-1974

CLIO record

Final blog post

Total hours: 4

Final total: 138

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~Daily Journal~ Week 14

December 3, 2012: Sorting and first draft of finding aid SCC submitted. 5 1/2 hours

State Council of Churches re-labeled and ready to be placed on their permanent shelves.

State Council of Churches re-labeled and ready to be placed on their permanent shelves.

Brigette was gone today, but I had plenty to do!  I was able to get through the final sorting of the last 5 boxes of the SCC collection.  It is now all re-housed and beautifully organized and has been rounded out to 10 boxes and 5 linear feet.  The largest collection I have been able to process, regardless, I finished the history note, scope and contents and the contents list and submitted the finding aid to Brigette for review.  I took some pictures of the more interesting state council of churches logo’s that I found.

December 4, 2012: FCC DAM and cataloging, FCC blog post, SCC folder labeling. 4 1/2 hours

I uploaded the Federal Council of the Churches of Christ in America Records, 1905-1971 finding aid to the Burke Library website so I have done DAM for three items now.  I also cataloged the  collection in Voyager, which means the CLIO record is now visible (as you well know).  The collection was tweeted from the Burke Library twitter account and a status update was posted on the Burke Facebook page.  Thankfully Brigette is willing to sit down and walk me through all the steps.  It is complicated and I’m sure I would have to do this a dozen more times before I actually would be able to do it without the help of a cheat sheet.  I also wrote out my blog post on the Bethlehem steel strike and did the final touches on the labeling of the folders for SCC.  I am just waiting to hear back from Brigette on my SCC finding aid so it can be sent to Ruth for final submission and hopefully I will be able to do the DAM on that next week, it would be nice to end everything on time for my final presentation.

Total hours: 10

Running total: 134

~Daily Journal~ Week 9

October 29, 2012 & October 30, 2012: Hurricane Sandy

Due to Hurricane Sandy my week at the Burke has been cancelled.  Public transportation and schools are closed Monday and Tuesday.  I’m close to evacuation zones but at a high enough elevation that flooding shouldn’t be an issue, so I’m staying home and snuggling up with a blanket and working on grading papers for the Knowledge Organization class at Pratt.

Evacuation zones for the North shore of Staten Island

Link to a New York Times article on the Hurricane.

Hurricane Sandy

November 2, 2012: Final blog post Baba.  2 1/2 hours

After finally getting power back in our apartment, I was able to work on and finish the blog post regarding the Baba collection.  I’m not sure when I’ll be able to submit it to Brigette as transportation is still spotty in the wake of Hurricane Sandy.  After being in the dark for a few days it was nice to get reconnected to the world and work on something.
Total hours: 2 1/2

Running total: 87

~Daily Journal~ Week 8

October 22, 2012: DAM ABC and Baba, Facebook and Twitter announcements.  Label ABC collection. Blog post Baba. Work plan FCC.  5 hours

I learned how to do Digital Asset Management (DAM) today it consists of  uploading my finding aid PDF to the web for ABC and Baba.  I had to use a variety of programs and steps to make sure that the finding aid is now available on the website.  This is the link to the ABC collection on the website (under the William Adams Brown section).  This is the link to the Baba collection on the website (under the Missionary Research Library Section 3 for South Asia).

The cataloging was done in Voyager, which is quite simple to use, but requires a double save for it to become actually available for viewing.  The cataloging info for ABC is now in CLIO and Baba is also in CLIO.

I also had to add the information to the Burke Library Archives Twitter page and Facebook page so that outside world knows that it is done.  Brigette showed me the admin side for an organization FB page which shows you who and where people are visiting the page from.  It records the viewing stats which is something that can be used to prove that you have readership for your collections and where those readers are from.  So I added a link to each of the collections finding aids and for the FB page I copied the abstract.

I can use the link to both the ABC PDF and the Baba PDF as  publications for my resume here and on my LinkedIn webpage.

I labeled and finished the ABC collection by printing labels and attaching them to the boxes.  I will do the same for Baba the next time I am in.

WAB: American Bilateral Conversations Records labeled and ready to be shelved in the Archive.

Worked on blog post for Baba, by taking more pictures of the Autobiography pages for quotes, but I haven’t written much for it.  I need to try to work on it at home.   After taking the pictures we took the book is ready to be wrapped and placed in a new folder.  We are going to use the same box and relabel it next time I’m in the library.

I began the work plan for WAB: Federal Council of Churches of Christ in America

October 23, 2012: Baba final prep and label. FCC research and submitted work plan.  5 hours

I spent the morning grabbing the extra FCC information from other unprocessed collections.  I continued to work on my work plan.  I added numerous sources that I need to use for research, I placed them on the work plan in the exact way they should show up on the finding aid, so it shouldn’t take so long to add them this time.  I submitted the work plan to Brigette.

I wrapped Baba in acid free unbuffered tissue paper and then tied it with cotton tape.  I then labeled a new folder and placed it into the old box and replaced the label on the side.  I then took ABC and Baba collections, the pamphlet I had used in my Baba research, placed them on wheeled shelves and with Brigette took them in the Archive to place them on the shelves.  We took photographs so that we know exactly what shelves they are on so we can update the excel file that contains the locations of the collections.  NOTE: I need to remember to ask Brigette if that was updated this week, so she can show me exactly what it looks like.  We also pulled the FCC folders that I found in other unprocessed collections or areas of the Archives.  NOTE:  I need to ask Brigette how to change the locations on the Excel file for those as well next week.  I spent some time going through those folders and box trying to get an idea of what was included in them and if they were really pertinent to the collection.

Total hours: 10

Running total: 84 1/2

~Daily Journal~ Week 1

September 4, 2012:  Orientation, blog writing and reading. 4  1/4 hours

Today was my first official day at the Burke.  I made sure that all of my passwords worked for the computer and then I was set to work writing a blog entry for the Burke Archives Blog (the link is down at the bottom of the page in the Blogroll).  If you want to take a look at what I wrote here it is: “Internship for the Uninitiated Archivist.”  Some of it will seem familiar from previous journal entries here, but there is some new stuff.  That took up most of my time AND Brigette assigned a bunch of reading for me to go over before I’m allowed to touch a collection to process.  So I have some homework.

I started out reading “The Power of Archives: Archivist Values and Value in the Post-Modern Age” [pdf] by Mark Greene, which was his Society of American Archivist (SAA) August 2008 presidential address.  This is an incredible speech that is applicable not only to archivists, but librarians in general.  I think all of us need to advocate more for our positions so that the public, managers, principals, government officials, etc… don’t forget how valuable we are to them and the communities we serve. He outlined 10 values that all archivist should adapt if they want to disabuse the notion that archivist are just “quiet professionals carrying out an admired but practically frivolous activity…”

The 10 Values every Archivist (or Librarian) must possess according to Mark Greene

  1. Professionalism–we participate in a job that is based on “specialized knowledge.”
  2. Collectivity–we need to collect in order to build collections that inter-relate and learn to work in collaboration with other institutions that have similar missions.
  3. Activism–we are active in shaping the historical record and we must advocate on archival issues.
  4. Selection–we are not just custodians of material, but active agents in creating historical record.
  5. Preservation–use should almost always trump preservation for some use is better than no use at all.
  6. Democracy–we are the public watchdog in support of access and government accountability.
  7. Service–it is the lynchpin between access and use.
  8. Diversity–we need to reflect it in our collections, as well as in the people we hire.
  9. Use & Access–use is the end of all archival effort to facilitate that we need to make our collections useful without requiring perfect answers to long term preservation.
  10. History–we are the repositories of primary source documents.  “Our collections are first, most important, chief, key, principal, major, crucial – all synonyms for primary.”

In the end our “elevator speech” as archivists should go something like this: “Archivists are professionals who shoulder the power of defining and providing access to the primary sources of history, primary sources that protect rights, educate students, inform the public and support a primal human desire to understand our past.”

Good stuff!  I want to use this speech as part of my research paper.  I have 10 more articles to read (I’ll do that next time).  Those articles include the processing guides by both Columbia University Libraries (CUL) and the Burke.  I have not read any of the articles she has given me before, so I’m looking forward to finding out what is in them.

September 7, 2012:  Reading, reading and more reading. 3  3/4 hours

I just wanted to begin by saying Happy 40th Birthday to me! I guess I’m an adult now.

I got to spend my time today reading the remainder of the articles.  Amazingly enough I was able to finish, but I feel like I need to spend a little more time on the Processing Guides developed by the Burke and CUL. I will spend a bit more time next week on that, but I am anxious to begin the collection.

I read the preface and the statement of principles to Describing Archives: A Content Standard better known as DACS, which was developed as a replacement for the “skeletal” rules in AACR2.  The biggest thing I got out of this reading was “respect des fonds“…in English it means provenance and original order.  These two things are the backbone of archival arrangement.  Basically materials must be kept together and not mixed or combined with records of another individual (respecting the provenance) and in their original order if it existed or has been maintained.  Additionally the collection must be organized in hierarchical groupings like collection, record group, series, file and item.   Description of the materials reflects the arrangement and the rules of description apply to all archival materials regardless of form or medium.  The descriptive system must be able to represent and maintain the relationships among the various parts of the hierarchy, with the user being able to navigate between higher and lower levels of description.

I was also assigned Chapter 4 “The Practice of Arrangement and Description” from the book Arranging and Describing Archives and Manuscripts by Kathleen Roe.  This is a great resource to have handy when in the process of going through a collection, especially for someone like me who doesn’t have much experience.  There were plenty of tables with examples and concise instructions.  I took notes and made additional notations on the handout Brigette gave me, hopefully I’ll be able to apply what was in this reading.  Respect des fonds and context were two of the overarching themes of the chapter. When forming context we should rely on information gathered from the collection that are REGULAR, PREDOMINANT, PROMINENT, COMMON, or MAJOR EVENTS.  To underline the necessity of respect des fonds the chapter comes with many examples of forms and suggestions for arrangement.

In Chapter 5 “Arrangement and Description” in Keeping Archives by Ann Pederson again the two things that stood out to me were CONTEXT and respect des fonds.  The book was full of case studies which were extremely helpful in illustrating the process.  I liked her suggestion that the archivist learn about all the various types of photo-mechanical reproductions…pictures show up a lot in archives, they all have different issues so it would be nice to know a little bit about them.  Also she posed some questions that archivist should ask themselves as they are going through a collection to get them thinking about arrangement and context. Who created the records? Who maintained them? What type of records are here?  What do they record? What are the range of dates? What are the actual dates of the records themselves? What is the arrangement and is there is basis for that arrangement? If the records are kept in volumes are they used for all the same things? Diaries or account ledgers? I thought these were great things to keep in mind.

I also reviewed “Conservation Guidelines: Transfer of Library Materials to the Harvard Depository” [pdf] which gave ideas on how to take care of a number of items you’d find in an archive.  As well as a couple of “Processing Cheat Sheets” and an archiving assignment that Brigette was given while she was in school to illustrate the arrangement and description process.

Whew! That was a lot of reading! But good for the uninitiated archivist!  I wish more of these had been included in the Management of Archives and Special Collections class at Pratt that I attended.

Bibliography

  • Archivists, Society of American. Describing Archives: A Content Standard. Society of American Archivists, 2007. Print.
  • Greene, Mark. “The Power of Archives: Archivists’ Values and Value in the Postmodern Age (with an Introduction by Dennis Meissner).” American Archivist 72.1 (2009): 13–41. Print.
  • Pederson, Ann, ed. Keeping Archives. First ed. Australian Society of Archivist Incorporated, 1987. Print.
  • Roe, Kathleen. Arranging and Describing Archives and Manuscripts. Society of American Archivists, 2005. Print.
NOTE: 
I’ve been at the Burke for a week and I must say the work environment is quite different after working on the 6th floor of the Frick Art Reference Library, which has a magnificent view of Central Park and at Poets House, which was beautiful in a very minimalist way.  It is quite the change.  Check out this slide show to see the difference.

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Total hours: 8
Running total: 12  1/2