March 2016 Archives

Week Nine

I came back from Spring Break (Week 8) greeted with boxes of all sorts! Small boxes, large boxes, flat boxes. And then we went looking for more boxes! It was then the issue of figuring out which boxes for which materials. This week I started into the process of figuring out how to store all of the audiovisual materials in the collection, based in the options of the new materials I had to work with. 
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In the first survey, I expanded my audiovisual knowledge by learning to distinguish super 8mm from 8mm from 16mm. This time around I learned the different ways to store audio versus video. The trick is Vertical equals Video (and audio) and Flat is Film. Next week I plan to box all of audio visual part of the collection according these rules. I want to make sure I do it right the first time because on Thursday I made the mistake of choosing the wrong folder size for the 35mm slides and I had to rewrite the titles. 
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Week Seven

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This week I spent quite a bit of time reading up on archives. I looked at Describing Archives: a Content Standard (DACS) first but then moved on the book pictured below, College and University Archives. It is a collection of essays on archives in colleges. It was published in 1979, which leads to some things to be a bit outdated, like the absence of the internet or the use of male pronouns to describe faculty and other positions, but it provided quite a bit of good information behind theory and practice. The essays were framed about the relationship of the archive to the institution of higher education in which it is located. One piece discussed how the university archive is a "window" into American society,  as the student records reveal who is applying, attending, and graduating from college. The topics cover the idea of universities collecting their own materials, less about accepting outside materials like our Special Collection does. But for my work, regarding a former Pitzer professor as well as my experience in the Pitzer Archive, I felt that these essays were relevant. There was a section on Oral history which directly connects to the Pitzer History Project in which I have participated in as an interviewer of students, staff, alumni and emeriti faculty. 

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I felt as though things had slowed down this week but then on Thursday a huge step was made as I started writing titles on folders. Some are in the works and other information has to still be added to them once confirmed, but pictured below is an example of the what I have done. I am excited to return from Spring Break with lots to do!
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Week Six

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 Advising seems to have changed in the past 40 years- just take a look at the above description for the Art major at Pitzer in the catalog 1972-1973. These days there is a distinct format for how all courses and major requirements are laid out on the Pitzer web catalog. This interesting approach to explaining the major reflects the experimental education I referenced in the blog post from last week. There was space for alternative methods allowing students and faculty to think about their experience in creative ways. This map above may not be as straightforward as the lists available online today, but the four years at Pitzer don't always need to be, as you are taught different techniques to tackle traditional ideas. Pieces like this in the collection give a glimpse of what Pitzer and similar places in higher education were doing before standardization in the 1980s and 90s, when we began to consider institutions like WASC. 
A lot of progress was made this week. We had a bit of a box hunt and explored options for what would be done with the Route 66 box (pictured a few weeks ago). With everything from stickers to food, there are precautions that must be taken to preserve the single item, or its representation, within the context of the preventing possible damage to its surrounding collection. I guess raisins are more dangerous than they first appear. This week, as I have begun to arrange and folder more material, it became more difficult to keep all the intellectual organization and notes in head. This was solved a the suggestion of Lisa to create a spreadsheet of folder titles and notes, that can also be used later for Archive Space. Next week I will continue to work on this, and with all the folder titles in one place, it will be easier to make sure the names and formats are in a standard style.