Friday, February 27, 2015

Reference Requests to Knowledge Base?

I've come across dozens of binders, which contain reference requests and responses from the last 15 years or so.  On one hand, this is great information to have to help me learn more about my new institution and also to prevent duplicate research if the answer has already been found.  On the other hand, being in binders makes it unsearchable, unwieldy, and it takes up a lot of room.

At first, I thought, "There is no way that I will be able to use these efficiently and quickly" and I started to go through to ditch them.  But, the more I saw the painstaking effort of my predecessor to organize these, I realize that maybe it's not a terrible idea to keep them somehow as a knowledge base.  Alas, I turned to the Twitterverse:

Friday, February 20, 2015

What kind of Collection Development Policy are you?

Okay, so this isn't that kind of quiz (though that would be a fun one to take).

In an effort to help patrons who are considering donating materials to the archives while also supporting offices/departments who may be the first line of contact to accept donations, I've put together a little quiz called "Will the Archives take it?" and is based on our collection development policy, which is pretty standard for small, liberal arts, lone-arranger type repositories.

Monday, January 26, 2015

"Why are you an archivist?"

As part of the ongoing "Year of Living Dangerously for Archives," a call from SAA has come out for archivists to answer the question: "Why are you an archivist?"  Actually, it came out a few weeks ago, but it has taken me awhile to fully get my thoughts together.  I've found that the reasons why I am an archivist now are different than the reasons why I became an archivist.

Today was a day full of dialogue and campus-wide lecture at my institution.  The Day of Learning in honor of Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. had the theme "Education for Justice: The role of education in the quest for justice."  It featured a keynote lecture by James Loewen, author of Lies My Teacher Told Me and many other books relating education with social justice.  Much of his lecture focused on a societal epidemic where history has become re-interpreted at the expense of cultural groups, which could be righted if people would look closer at factual and archival material.  As a follow up workshop, I attended a workshop hosted by a student organization that is dedicated to actively "fostering discussions and relationships that focus on issues of identity."  The students screened a documentary that recorded the historic events in 2007 that surrounded the campus of community members struggling to express themselves, understand each other, and make positive change for the future.  The documentary pulled on my institution's own history, alluding to the campus' ongoing struggles over 50+ years.

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Easy email archiving for Gmail/Google Apps

I've always seen the value of email archiving, but have never really known how to start.  At my institution, we use Google Apps for Education, which means we essentially use Gmail for our email.  In the past, this has been problematic for email archiving.  But, then this morning, I came across a great Google script to download emails as .pdf files right in to Drive.

The website says:
All you to do is apply the label “PDF” to any email thread in Gmail and the message, along with all the included file attachments, will get saved to your Drive. Unlike the previous options that can only work against individual message, this one can save a batch of messages automatically. Just apply the label “PDF” and a copy of those message would show up in your Drive in few minutes. [link]

After a morning of tinkering, I'm happy to say that it works!  I made an "Archived Emails" folder and within a few hours, all 140 emails were in .pdf form that showed the to/from/date headers and included attachments.

Friday, October 31, 2014

2014 DLF Forum: Atlanta, GA

This past week, I found oodles of inspiration and imagination at the 2014 Digital Library Federation Forum in Atlanta, GA.

Per their website, "The DLF program serves its parent organization, the Council on Library and Information Resources (CLIR) as the place where strategy informs practice. ... The Digital Library Federation is a robust and diverse community of practitioners who advance research, teaching and learning through the application of digital library research, technology and services. DLF serves as a resource and catalyst for collaboration among digital library developers, project managers, and all who are invested in digital library issues."

As an archivist who hasn't made many rounds in the library conference junket, this was a new experience for me.  I was encouraged at the number of friendly faces that I saw, yet still challenged to meet new people, expand my network of colleagues, and think outside of the (Hollinger Metal Edge) box.