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.

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Finding aid revamp

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.

I just got an email from Martha McTear, Metadata Librarian for special collections at College of Charleston.  Turns out she is an WS alum from the class of 1997.  That’s 6 years before I got here, but it’s still pretty cool.  Martha asked about my cataloging strategy. Seemed like an easy post to just cut and paste my answer in a post. [You say lazy, I say efficient]

I would have to say I go from EAD to MARC.  It took me a few years to get the hang of going from being a librarian to being an archivist. [collections, not items] I start by having student workers do inventory input into Archivist’s Toolkit.  Eventually I get around to doing bio/history, scope and content notes and name/subject entries. Then AT spits it out and I put it on the Finding Aids web page. I then do a MARC record in Voyager that links to the finding aid, with minimal information.  We also have the library website set up now so that in the home page you can put a keyword search in the find box and choose archives on the drop down menu and it will search the web pages and finding aids as well as Voyager.  I believe most of our researchers, other than HWS students, find us through Google searches.

My position was recently re-evaluated, because it was realized that I didn’t really fit under any current policies. I went from a 12 month appointment where I worked 940 hours per year, with full benefits except vacation, personal days and sick leave…to a 10 month appointment where I work 930 hours per year, with full benefits. Since I have two months off in the summer, no vacation or personal days. This is all at the same pay rate, so I don’t lose anything.

This happened two days before before I left for “vacation.” I had asked for a week and a half, it was actually comp time, but was told to take 2 and a half weeks, to use all of the comp time. The new contract will start July 1st, so I’ll work the month of June, then be off from July 1st until August 15th.

Now anyone in their right mind would say whoopee!! But not being in my right mind, I was thrown completely off balance. I haven’t had this much time off since around 1978, and I’m not that all that great at using time off well. I’ve been keeping busy and using my time fairly well, but still spend a lot of time thinking about work. Perhaps if I write down what I need to do when I get back, I’ll be able stop running it over in my mind constantly.

  • Get the Vail photos up on CONTENTdm.
  • Figure out how to set up a new finding aid style sheet in Archivist’s Toolkit.
  • Inventory the vault.
  • Work on a BI for Primary Resources using ideas I’ve been picking up from the book “Made to Stick”.
  • Get a list going of projects for student workers in the fall.
  • Set up staff training for care of rare books an archives in the event of water or other damage due to an emergency.

I’ll probably be adding to this when I wake up in the middle of the night and can’t sleep, because I’m thinking about work. That may be more than I can do in the month of June anyway. I’ll start working on my August list. 🙂

We just did the AT update.  I’m very happy with the search function now.  Before I didn’t see how to search for a word in a title.  Now it’s great. I love that it drills down into the components.

They say that one of the new features is improved stylesheets.  I don’t see any links to the stylesheets and the new features documentation doesn’t cover it so I’m in the dark.

I took a shot at tweaking the old stylesheet, a while back, without success.  Good project for the summer I guess.

Authority files

April 15, 2009

I don’t know if any of you have run into the same situation with authorities that I have…

The  archives was originally setup  with item cataloging.  All  folders  are items in the card catalog.   I estimate  at best  20% of the  card catalog has  be converted to  MARC  and in our Voyager catalog. Since I came I’ve been item cataloging the digitized photographs.

Once Archivist’s Toolkit showed up on the scene, I’ve been trying to do incoming materials as collections.  Also, pulling some of the existing “items” together into subject collections for ease of use.

Now the names and subjects headings that are in the Voyager catalog are not in the AT names and subjects and visa versa.  I want to be as precise with our local names and subjects as p0ssible.  Here is my plan:

  • I have Pauline, a super precise cataloger in our Tech Services, working with me.
  • Pauline is checking the names and subjects I have already put in AT for correctness. (I’m not a cataloger by training.)
  • She is then going through Voyager and checking that the headings conform to AT.
  • I’m using AT as THE authority file.  As I’m cataloging more photos or adding collections, I check the AT headings.  If a heading isn’t there, I add one.
  • I’m keeping track of my additions to send to Pauline, so she can check for correctness.  I’m hoping this way new things won’t slip through the cracks, as she moves alphabetically down the list.

I hope I’m not making both Pauline’s and my life too complicated. It just seems there are so many possibilities for forms of all those faculty and alum names that without an authority file we might loose someone.

OK, I know a lot of you are quicker on the uptake than I am, but I’ve fused over doing finding aids with the data from Archivist’s Toolkit for months. I would try, get the data with no formating, try something else, no joy, wait a few weeks than start all over again.

“It’s all happened before, and it will all happen again.” BSG

I was:

  • using the AT export EAD button
  • taking the file to Notebook with the EAD Cookbook
  • doing parse and validate
  • doing make HTML

Makes sense, that was how I had done finding aids by hand.

Guess what! Finding Aid is a report under Resources in AT! Talk about making things harder than they need to be.

I did need some help with one change. The title of the finding aid was showing up as the ID number. I posted my question on atug-L yesterday and found it answered this morning. Thank you, Winona Salesky of UVM!!

If this helps anyone see the light sooner than I did…HUZZAH.

[Points for me, I remembered to update my Procedures Wiki with the new information. :-)]

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