Tuesday, August 31, 2010

day 46: finish line

I continued my search in the archives to find photographs that might be of use to Ashley. I went down to the archives and searched through the remaining boxes that held photographs from the Cherry Tree yearbooks. I quickly browsed through the remaining 12 boxes and discovered that they only held pictures of GW from the 1990s.

Since the Cherry Tree collection didn't hold materials for the years I needed I decided to start with the University Relations collection. Some of the images were scanned and uploaded digitally from this collection. They are searchable by year, which we happily discovered. The rest of the collection is unprocessed and kept on numerous shelves and boxes like the Cherry Tree collection. In order to avoid wasting time, I decided to do an initial browsing of this collection in the archives and select 5-10 boxes to bring back upstairs for a more thorough search. Of the first 12 boxes in this collection I pulled 7 boxes that might be beneficial. I filled out the proper slips and left them in the place of the boxes I had taken. The remainder of my time I spent searching through as many of the boxes as I could. Unfortunately I only made it through 3 boxes, but I found a lot of materials for Ashley to use! I flagged numerous photographs for her review and selection. I felt that even despite it being my last day I was able to help Ashley and direct her toward 4 more boxes that contain more materials she can use.

I realized today that Jen and Jenny had left me to work entirely on my own on projects, research, and collections for the SCRC for the past month. Every day I would check in with them, which would promptly be followed by a "you know what to do!" and I would get to work. Occasionally I had questions but mostly I was left to accomplish the work that was requested of me. Initially, when I needed to get more supplies or boxes from the archives Jen would walk downstairs with me and fill out the proper forms. The past month I've gone without her assistance or even without informing her first. I had an incredible experience at the SCRC and completed numerous projects that I'm very proud of. The Riggs family papers are a unique collection that I am very excited to say I completed in its entirety on my own. Jen told me it's not often they get a collection like the Riggs family papers donated and available for processing for interns. I feel incredibly lucky and I enjoyed every minute!

I was happy and sad to leave today. Happy because I had finished over 160 hours of hard work; where I learned an immense amount from everyone at the SCRC that helped me toward my goal of becoming an archivist. Sad because I was done working with them and doing what I love with materials from history and it is back to classes and homework! I am excited to use everything I have learned during the past few months toward my archivist future.

Monday, August 30, 2010

day 45: boxes, boxes, everywhere

Today Ashley requested I search through the archives for images to use during the alumni event. She suggested the Cherry Tree year book pictures, which is an unprocessed, unorganized, multiple shelved box filled collection. I now understand why she feels a little overwhelmed about this project. It's going to take a while to search through each box to find pictures pertaining to 1956-1960.

It took me a while to find the boxes that contained the Cherry Tree year book pictures in the archives and I grabbed 5 boxes to start searching through. I was able to find a few basketball related items from 1956-1960 in one of the boxes. I flagged them for Ashley to review and potentially scan to use for the alumni event. I went through all 5 boxes today and was disappointed in the few pictures, programs that I found. Tomorrow is my last day at the SCRC and I hope to be able to find more materials that will be useful for Ashley.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

day 44: old school technology

I spent today searching through microfilm for the Hatchet from 1957-58. The microfilm reader they have at the SCRC is old but really neat. It's attached to a scanner and a printer. So when I found an article of interest all I had to do was make sure the image was aligned within the box and in focus on the viewer and push 'print'. Instantly I had a printed copy. I highlighted the article of interest per each page and placed them in chronological order. Once I finished I had a pretty thick pile of articles. Ashley will then go through what I found and select specific pages that she will want to use at the alumni event and scan the original copy for use.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

day 43: class of 1960

I found a few more items before arranging everything in chronological order to hand in to Jenny. She was pleased and stated it was a great starting point they would use and reference until they figure out how and what exactly they had intended for the list.

Jenny had a new project for me to work on for the remaining time of my internship. Ashley is working on a project for alumni from the graduating class of 1960. In October, GW alumni will be attending the campus for their 50th reunion. She is responsible for gathering materials and information from 1956-1960 (the years they attended the university) for various presentations, booths, and slide shows. Ashley requested my help finding anything relevant in the archives.

She directed me first to a campus newspaper the Hatchet. I was given the option to search through the physical copies of the Hatchet from 1956-57 or use microfilm to find relevant and interesting articles. Normally I prefer working with actual documents, but I had never worked with microfilm before and decided today was the time to learn! It was really simple and significantly more efficient. After finding the box containing microfilm of the Hatchet, I easily loaded up the film and began my search through the newspaper. One article I found Ashley was thrilled with. There was a piece about the increase in the price of coffee from 5 cents to 8 cents per cup. Oh the ridiculousness of the cost of coffee in 1957!

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

day 42: marco polo

I researched more materials related to GW and added it to my list. I had about 2 pages of data before I brought it to Jenny to review and get her opinion. Since the project was a new idea, she wasn't looking for anything specific. She was thrilled with what I had thus far and encouraged me to continue and add more items to the list. She suggested I add a column in order to provide more details to the listings of collection titles containing numerous items that I felt would be beneficial for the SCRC to use for future events.

I went back through what I had thus far and added more details from AT. Afterward, I continued to search through AT for more items to add.

Monday, August 23, 2010

day 41: where's waldo?

Jen had another research request for me this afternoon. Unfortunately, I wasn't able to find any information for the student. But I did use the alumni directory for GW, researched in AT, and utilized the Foggy Bottom Historical Encyclopedia, which is a new resource I learned about. It's a compilation of various institutions finding aids that researchers can use to receive more potential search results from one location.

Once I finished the research request, I did more research on GW through AT for my project. I added what I found today to my excel spreadsheet and reorganized the data chronologically. I have over a page of neat artifacts listed so far, but I'm still trying to figure out the best approach or method for finding more useful information from the archives for the SCRC.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

day 40: what a mess

Using the list of key words of events, people, etc. of GW that I made yesterday, I searched through various collections, folders, and notes within AT. If I found something that I thought might be interesting or useful I pasted the information into an excel spreadsheet in a chaotic mess of information.

Items such as old uniforms, trophy's, buttons, fliers, and photographs I put on my list. It's taking a lot of patience to find relevant information. I'm having a hard time figuring out what certain listings are, like if it's a piece of paper or papers or photos or?, in order to determine if it should be added to my list. I mostly added memorabilia to my list today because they were easier to search for in AT.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

day 39: searching

Jenny and Jen gave me a new project to work on for the next few days. In an attempt to prepare for future events on GW campus for students and alumni, they requested I search through AT and look for memorabilia, documents, and photographs that would be of interest or relevance to these events. It's incredibly vague and broad. Search through our vast collections and make a list of dates, the item/object/document, and its location for some future event based on any topic that doesn't exist yet.

I decided I should probably learn more about the history of GW before searching through the depths of AT. Through the Gelman library website at GW there is an online encyclopedia that details various events and people in GWs history. I spent the day reading through the various topics and taking notes on key words and events that I should use and search for in AT.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

day 38: and now for something completely different

Jen reviewed the last two collections I entered and found only one tiny aspect that needed to be changed. There were two Betacam's in one of the collections and I had listed them as such in AT and not as a folder, which was correct. However, I continued the numbers in the box for the tapes. So I had folders 1,2,3, and then I wrote Betacam 3, and 4. I learned that this implies there should be 2 other tapes if I numbered them 3 and 4. You can have numerous instances of 1 in a box, they just have to be different types, like a folder, object, tape, etc. So I renumbered them 1 and 2.

Today I received my first research request. It required me to search through alumni records of George Washington University (previously known as Columbian College) from the late 1800s and to search through old handwritten, giant ledgers that listed student registration from 1873-1898, student records from 1881-1892, student registration: dental dept 1887-1903, and student registration: law school 1888-1898. I only selected the ones that were within the date range requested by the researcher. Despite all my searching I only found some of the information that was requested.

Once I had finished researching I used the SPEC staff WIKI to export one of the two collections I completed of Mount Vernon College from AT to EAD. I completed one XML file and was able to view it successfully in Firefox. I don't have the permissions to upload the completed file to the website, but will meet with Jen tomorrow to review the EAD process and discuss my research.

Monday, August 16, 2010

day 37: another one bites the dust

I finished entering my third complete collection in AT today. It was the same process I had been doing for the previous collections. I labeled and completed each box and informed Jen that I was finished and ready for her to review my work.

Jen and Jenny decided that it was time for me to do something different, so tomorrow I will have new projects!

Thursday, August 12, 2010

day 36: looking good

I finished processing the collection today. There were a lot of pictures from the 1996 winter formal that were interesting to look through. I could definitely tell that the girls were products of the 1990s. I remember wearing the dresses and hairstyles the girls had selected. It was really fun to process. I ended the collection with 2 Betacam tapes that perfectly fit into a slim document box.

This collection contains records from the Office of Student Activities at Mount Vernon College. A lot of it was pretty neat; there were packets from orientations, commencement information, events, student groups, and school newspapers. I used this in the scope notes that I typed up for the AT entry. I used a lot of the same information from the last collection but modified specifics like dates, contents, and historical background. I like seeing everything I've processed into neat and orderly folders and boxes. The best part is knowing that hopefully someday a researcher will be able to use the collection that I took great care organizing and processing.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

day 35: finding ways to make it interesting

I finished one box and got started on the second. There wasn't anything too exciting until I found an old lotus notes training floppy disc. It was old school. Luckily, Jen and I decided that we didn't need to keep this floppy because it didn't hold any information about Mount Vernon College. I had forgotten about that consideration when it comes to processing collections. I also discovered a CD-ROM that was just a slide show of information about why all girls schools are beneficial, also not needed to be kept in the collection.

I almost finished processing the second box that was overflowing with folders. I should be able to finish processing this collection this week and start entering the data in AT next week. I'm just moving along!

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

day 34: folder-ing, folder-ing

Today I worked on processing the two boxes from this second collection. I prearranged everything so it was a simple process, just a little tedious. I check each existing folder for a label or title, review the documents and come up with a relevant title for the new folder to be placed in the collection. I almost finished one of the boxes; I'm getting pretty good at this!

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

day 33: organized paper chaos

This morning Jen exported and uploaded the updated finding aid for the Riggs family papers. It's exciting to see all the work that I completed and realize the amount that I've accomplished and learned since March. It was even more exciting to know that I can continue to apply this knowledge to more collections. Jen reviewed my work from yesterday and only had three changes. She first suggested I move around the order of my topics in the historical note; to list the most pertinent information about the Student Government Association first. Second, I hadn't filled in the information for the finding aid tab in AT and she directed me to that section in the Wiki, which was very simple. Third, she directed me to the section in the Wiki about adding names and subjects to the entry that are related to the collection. This section holds words that researchers may search for and help provide accurate search results. She had added Mount Vernon College and the Student Government Association for me, but showed me where and how I can add them myself for the next collection I work on. But otherwise she was impressed and pleased with my work.

I started organizing the second collection Jenny had pulled from Mount Vernon College. I made an organized mess in the office before I started processing the records. Since it's only 2 boxes, I can easily move around all the folders and arrange the order before processing. There is significantly more within these two boxes than in the last two. It still shouldn't take a long time to process, but it will be longer than the last set I completed. This picture is what one of the boxes looked like after I organized its contents. Afterward, I started transferring and labeling the records into new folders and boxes.

I was also inadvertently complimented today. We have folders that aren't marked with guides for folding, which makes creasing more interesting. Since we can't get new folders until we use all of these I decided to use as many as possible to get rid of them! I've developed a pretty simple system for creating creases, just by using the edge of the folder as a guide and forcing the crease. I vary sizes depending on how many documents I have per folder but it's always straight since I'm using the folder as a guide. Jen told Chris that I had a really good system and that he should ask me how I manage with these unmarked folders. I felt pretty talented, even for something as simple as creasing a folder. A long time archivist needed my help :)

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

day 32: all by myself

Today I wrote scope notes for the first set of the Mount Vernon collection I finished processing yesterday. Once I finished writing all the details that pertained to the collection I created a new entry in AT and entered in what I wrote. There were only 5 boxes of folders so I was able to enter the entire collection into AT and label all the folders in one day. I completed the entire process without any assistance from Jen and only had to refer to the online Wiki twice. When I entered information into AT for the Riggs family papers, the collection already existed. All I had to do was add information to be included in existing the finding aid. The Mount Vernon records was my first original collection that I completed in its entirety.

Monday, August 2, 2010

day 31: marching on

Jenny told me today that she used one of my blog entries at a meeting. Her and Jen were both excited about it and proud to show off my work, which is great!

I finished processing the Mount Vernon Student Government Association collection. The 5 boxes are ready to be labeled and entered into AT.

There wasn't a computer available today as the SCRC was bustling with its full staff, so I decided to begin a box survey for the second collection Jenny pulled from the Mount Vernon collection. There are a lot more files in one box than there were in the combined two boxes for the collection I just finished. It's going to take some time and patience to process. There are also 2 betacamSP tapes and a CD that I have to figure out how to process.