What I’m reading this week

Happy Valentine’s Day! I thought it appropriate to let you know what’s close to my heart. Yes, it relates to the archival profession, of course!

I really love being an archivist. So much so that I usually find myself reading articles on various archival subjects on a weekly basis. And because this is a blog devoted to my perspectives on the archival endeavor with a bit of ACLS history sprinkled in, I thought I’d give you a sneak peek behind the curtain and let you know what’s keeping my brain busy!

I hope this can develop into a recurring weekly post. I say hope because the content of this post necessitates my diligence in identifying a topic of interest, securing the best writing on the topic, and, well, finding the time to read articles and blog posts that illuminates the current thinking on that topic. If you’re willing to read it, I’m willing to write it!

Articles I read this week

Disrespecting Original Order: I’ve probably mentioned that Original Order is an archival commandment (here). We read about it in library school, we think about it constantly in practice, and these days, more and more archivists are toying with the notion that it’s time for this veteran guideline to be retired.  Essentially, this commandment was etched in stone long before (in 1898, to be more exact) the proliferation of paper documents or the centralization of electronic media, which transformed how we create, share, modify and save materials. The author interrogates the need to move away, or disrespect original order as a way to effectively arrange and describe collections much like ACLS- voluminous organizational records with a wide date span.

Saving-Over, Over-Saving, and the Future Mess of Writers’ Digital Archives: A Survey Report on the Personal Digital Archiving Practices of Emerging Writers: Phew! As a result of self-publishing, and the shift in the preferred medium for writers to compose their illustrious works of their craft (hint: in a born-digital environment), there’s an increased focus on personal digital archives. We all have them. Home computer desktop screen peppered with folders and icons are personal digital environments wherein files are stored, which make up an archive. Simple as that! This article reports the findings of a survey of 110 writers and the attention paid to archiving their digital materials. Turns out, the results are dismal and, more than that, each writer has an idiosyncratic method of archiving when they do. For an archivist, this screams “loss of material!” Which is a real struggle. Thankfully the authors propose ways for archivists and writers producing digital content to work together. In perfect harmony!

A First Look at the Acquisition and Appraisal of the 2010 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games Fonds: or, SELECT * FROM VANOC_Records AS Archives WHERE Value= “true”; Speaking of the pitfalls of digital records, this article chronicles the task of City of Vancouver to…save the declining moose population. Just kidding. I don’t know much about moose at all. Really, this article examines Vancouver’s obligation to preserve the records of VANOC, the records of the 2010 Winter Games in the city. First, the city archives had to acquire the records, then they had to assess the analogue and digital records. After that, the archivists had to figure out how to handle the hybrid character of this collection against the workflows already put in place by the digital archivists. And, to add fuel to the fire, there was a sense of urgency to preserve the records quickly. This article is an honest and helpful case study in thinking about the potential content that needs preserving and evaluating the structure and workflows that could aid or hinder that important custodial goal.

Digital content I read this week

The Signal: It doesn’t get better than the homegrown blog! This week, like most weeks, I read the Library of Congress’digital preservation blog. While the content found on this blog doesn’t specifically relate to the manuscript work I’m doing with the ACLS collection, it is certainly helpful in keeping up with trends in the event that the more recent materials, most of which are in electronic format, arrive at the Library.

The Chronicle of Higher Education: The online version of this popular magazine is great for finding articles, blog posts and consolidated data on the field of humanities, academic and the current state of scholarship.  This background information is helpful when processing aspects of the ACLS collection especially related to Scholarly Communication.

In the Library with the Lead Pipe: Yes, it’s a reference to the board game Clue. And yes, there’s a dash of humor in many of the posts on this blog. Mostly, this blog allows me to keep up with library micro-trends that may impact my daily work including management styles, methods of communicating with users, engaging the public (hint: like I’m doing right now!), open-source publishing and details on projects others are working on in their cultural institutions.

Thanks to Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division for use of “The ENIAC Computer” photograph used in this post.

2 thoughts on “What I’m reading this week

  1. Pingback: What I’m reading this week | Documenting the Humanities

  2. Pingback: What I’m reading this week | Documenting the Humanities

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