Thursday, October 1, 2009

Week 6 & 7 (Sep. 23, Sep. 24, Sep. 30, Oct. 1)

I decided to combine these two weeks because the experiences in each were similar and I didn’t think I could write enough in separate blog entries without sounding repetitive.

The biggest problem I encountered during weeks 6 and 7 were the shredding negative pages. Usually negatives are the easiest to process because all I need to record is the title, the date, and whether they’re color or plain. These, however, are a gift from the archives devil. Not only do they bog you down (and I can’t remember the manufacturer – it’s on the tip of my tongue), but the shredding negative pages literally disintegrate in your hands. The pages remind me of packing peanuts because they have that same static electricity connection that means once a little piece is on your hand, it is a pain in the butt to remove. I probably replaced more than 50-75 negative pages with new pages, taking the slides out from one and into the other, all the while trying not to make a mess. A fair number of pages also appear to be secreting something that makes slides stick to the page, but I decided that this was not an issue I would concern myself with right now.

The other big development during this time frame was that I switched back to direct computer imputation of the information for Week 7. There are a couple of reasons for this.

1. The longhand information records during Weeks 3-5 is still not in my draft finding aid on the computer. As Week 7 began, the weight of this backlog and being a couple of weeks behind in the blog started to hit me. I decided that I needed to use the computer again otherwise I might continue to put the work off until the hole was too big to recover from. Three weeks of information is manageable and I can input all that over this weekend.

2. The computer is faster. I am an immeasurably slow writer. Once I knew there was a plug near my processing station, it was just a matter of bringing my laptop to school. Microsoft Word is legible and I can save my work with the program. Also, just the act of typing up folder records helped me visualize how I want the finding aid to look.

Sept. 23 – 3 new boxes, 108 file folders
Sept. 34 – 2 new boxes, 58 file folders*
Sept. 30 – 3 new boxes, 54 file folders*
Oct. 1 – 3 new boxes, 96 file folders
*The influence on processing of the disintegrating folders

One final note is that none of the box assignments for the folders is permanent. There is a lot of folded up newspaper articles in the archival boxes. The next processer will replace all these with either photocopies or inserts directing the researcher to the newspaper’s location in an oversize box. I think this process will reduce the volume in the legal-size archival boxes by at least a box, if not two.

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