June 7, 2011
You haven’t heard from me all spring because I’m retiring on June 15th and I have been spending most of my time winding down. I’m trying hard to document the procedures I have put together over the years. I have to accept that there are still items hiding in the dark back there that I haven’t found or haven’t figured out. Oh well, it won’t be fair to the next person if they didn’t have some mysteries, right?
It’s been fun sharing with you all and thanks again for all the great input you gave me when I was stuck on various problems.
I was lucky enough to attended this workshop on archives security, sponsored by the New York State Archives. The presenter was Mimi Bowling and it was an excellent program. The handout is also great and includes samples of suggested forms and a selected bibliography. “True stories” of thefts added a lot to the day.
Topics covered included hiring practices, security systems, researcher room layout, researcher registration and paperwork in general. It is going to take a while to determine which of the solutions offered might be workable for our small archives. I don’t envision getting the funding necessary to install laser beam motion detectors and round the clock video cameras.
It’s not my personal style to make people jump through too many hoops to get to the materials they need. Too many years as a public librarian, I guess. But I think finding ways to have a tighter control are needed.
I’ll try to keep you up to date on the procedures we put in place, but in the mean time, if you get an opportunity to attend this workshop, I can recommend it highly.
September 7, 2010
We’ve been talking about reorganizing the archives for close to a year now. We had what we thought of as the Colleges’ archives is what has been called the “Geneva Collection”. This collection has anything and everything we have that pertains to the Colleges and/or the local area. It includes published and unpublished materials and is divided into mss, programs, alumni, faculty, photo, and letters files, as well as books and items such as faculty meeting minutes that have been put in binders.
The reorganization was looking like it would take the form of separating published from unpublished, and organizing unpublished into records groups. We had quite a lengthy discussion last Friday that led me to pose the question on Twitter, “When is an archives not an archives?”
To my knowledge (I’ve only been here 7 years) nothing has been deposited in the archives from any official office. eg: trustee minutes have been gathered when someone retired or left and sent all their files to us; faculty meeting minutes are those sent out before meeting to the archivist, as faculty member (no additions or corrections); commencement and convocation programs are here because the librarians have sent them down after attending an event. Is this really an archives?
August 24, 2010
We are in the process of evaluating the space we have left for archives and special collections. At this point we have shelves full of acidic newsprint in the form of old bound newspapers. They have all been microfilmed and we don’t let anyone touch them because they are falling apart.
If you are in the same situation, are you committed to keeping them? Why, or why not? I know you’re out there. As always, any help or ideas you can give.
May 27, 2010
Sometimes it’s difficult to wake up and look at a new way to complete a task. My great thanks to Sara Greenleaf for the wake up call.
We have a faculty member who is a John Ruskin scholar. He often travels to Europe to “walk in Ruskin’s footsteps.” To prepare he has had a student worker come to special collections to use the 39 vol. of the works of John Ruskin.
- The student goes through the index and finds references to all the places the faculty member will visit.
- Next to get out the books, usually all 39 vol. and mark the pages that require copying.
- In the past, they were photocopied.
- Now, I photo them on the camera stand to protect the bindings.
Along comes Sara who searches out digitized volumes on the internet. She found all but two volumes at http://www.archive.org. Now the student gives the list of pages searched in the index to the professor and he can take it from there. I can’t believe the number of hours of work that were just saved.
You would think that, since I do digitization projects and refer students to digital books online, that I would have thought of it. I’m sure glad that Sara did.
April 21, 2010
I decided to handle the findings aids that are in PDF format by putting all the Notes in AT and doing the finding aid report. Under “other finding aids” I’m adding a link to the PDF version for the inventory. “The full container list can be found in the PDF finding aid available.” I have to go into Dreamweaver to add the link.
My thought is, this will standardize the look, give the basic information, and if someone needs the container inventory, they can still get to it easily.
April 21, 2010
Thanks to my buddy Brian McDonald (Electronic Services Librarian), most of our finding aids now look like the rest of the library webpages. [good library branding] Check it out, Valerie Saiving Papers. It took his genius to figure out how to edit the AT style sheet and make it easy for me to add an image, if I have one. I messed with it for a while, but no joy. I used to do a lot of html, but never got into stylesheets and CSS, etc.
I still have 7 that are in PDF format. Some are between 16 and 86 pages, so I don’t envision revamping those any time soon. If I need to add anything to one of those collections it might inspire me. Nothing has been added to them since I’ve been here, so I think I’m safe.
There are also three that are in the old format that I may try to update. One is the Holiday Cards. It was the 1st one I did using the EAD Cookbook and I was able to add all the images. It looks like AT doesn’t let you add images easily, so I may just leave that one alone.
March 25, 2010
If you’ve followed this blog for a while, you know what a strange organization we have in our archives. We are now trying to address the problem, first by determining what we have that are actually college records.
Right now all of “archives” is labeled as the Geneva Collection. It has been defined as a whole as things having to do with the Colleges’ history, or the history of the local area. Parts of the collection are
- cataloged and barcoded and on book shelves [some published, some in notebooks]
- G mss file: items in folders arranged by “call no.” in document boxes
- G phot file: two filing cabinets of photographs that are in the process of being digitized and added to Voyager, the library online catalog
- G pro file: programs
- G al file: alumni information and publications
- G fac file: faculty publications
- G let file: letters
- G inv file: invitations
- G #ed collections: which are larger manuscript collections keep in file boxes
The problem is that what would be considered college records are just mixed in with everything else.
We are in the process of redefining the Geneva Collection to be published materials. Having just finished an inventory, I am trying to identify and pull unpublished materials [i.e. committee minutes in binders] out of that collection.
I see much moving of stuff in the future for my student workers.