Like Nate mentioned last week, we work as a team up here, each doing our own specific projects that contribute to the whole. Other than random little projects such as helping patrons, I personally have done three main things. Firstly, I’ve become a pro at preprocessing donations we get to the Archives. This is when, for example, an academic department sends up its more recent syllabi, meeting minutes etc. to be added to its existing files. Preprocessing is the initial phase of adding new items to the Archives and is pretty important. For example, it’s good to keep all of the materials in order so we know their original context for future users. Also, this consists of taking staples out of the various documents and replacing them with plastic clips. In the long-run, plastic clips do not harm the documents like staples do when they get old and gross. I’m exceptionally talented at this task. Let me tell you, I’ve perfected the art of staple removal.
Secondly, I’ve entered Oral Histories from CSTA 315 into our system. After each semester, the new bunch of interviews are added to our collection. For this job, I basically enter in transcripts from the interviews as well as adding the interview participants into our systems. So for example, if I had conducted an interview with someone, I could go onto the Archives website and search my name All of you who have taken CSTA 315 have your interviews archived away up here, so if you’re ever nostalgic, you can come and watch your interview DVD whenever.
My main project however, is the super duper cool Isaac Mark Abbott Civil War letter collection. It’s not everyday you can look at 150 year old letters. This is the type of thing where you’d probably have to go to a museum to see. But you guys could mosey on up to the fourth floor of Carl B. and see them anytime! What I’ve been doing with is helping to digitize all of them so they are accessible online as well as creating a website specifically about the letters. I also have read all of the letters and am in the process of writing a separate blog interpreting the contents of the letters, including looking up the various events and battles mentioned by Abbott.
Like I said before, the Archives hold quite a variety of materials. If you’ve never checked it out before, definitely swing by!