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 It includes published and unpublished materials and is divided into mss, programs, alumni, faculty, photo, and letters files, as well as books and items such as faculty meeting minutes that have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The reorganization was looking like it would take the form of separating published from unpublished, and organizing unpublished into records groups.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.