Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Future archivists

I HAD THE PLEASURE OF HOSTING some of the student members of the Society of American Archivists last week during the Mount's spring break. (I'm in the front in red.) It's always gratifying to meet and greet other people who get excited by old books and yellowed folders full of mysterious documents.

It was even more fun for me because the group included a number of former students from my Preservation Management course, which I teach at the San Jose State University School of Library and Information Science. It's an online program and I'd never laid eyes on them, nor they on each other. There was a lot of pent-up socializing to do.

We archivists work to keep the stuff that other people don't want -- until they do. Then they want it in a form they can use, often digital, and they want it quickly. That means being able to find it on short notice. Shrinking budgets and unstructured digital media make it challenging work at times, so it's nice to see that a few bright, passionate people like my visitors are willing to devote their careers to keeping history.

The Chalon Campus held up its end of the bargain with warm blue skies and views to forever -- and interesting archives, I might add. We're not USC or UCLA but we have a pretty impressive history of our own, and I was reminded yet again of what a privilege it is to work among these venerable old books, yellowed folders and mysterious documents.

Photo by Pat Williams of MSMC.

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