Friday, November 2, 2012

Tucking in the kids

Catalogs stacked by decade, 1970s, 1980s, 1990s and 2000s.
PARDON US IF WE INDULGE in some motherly behavior, but we're very glad that all the children are safely back in their beds. Or more literally, back on their shelves and tucked back in for the long sleep of archives.

The thousands of yearbooks, catalogs, literary journals, newspapers, newsletters and other publications of the Mount's 87 years were shipped out in June to scanning centers in Indiana and North Carolina. They've been coming back in, first in a trickle and then in a rush of boxes and bubble wrap.

With the final batch -- catalogs -- back in order, all the collections are back home. With most of the collections easily readable and searchable on line (http://archive.org/details/mountstmaryscollege) we need no longer disturb the aging originals.

Yearbooks back
on the shelves, 1947-2012.
We can hear you thinking, "Oh, so you're not throwing them away?" It's a common misconception (among non-archivists) that scanning something means that originals can be safely discarded. That's true only in the event that you know how to preserve digital objects forever -- and very, very few people understand how to do that, let alone say with confidence that it can be done.

If we may offer another dumb metaphor, with the return of the collections the chickens have come home to roost. If you think that implies something a little ominous, you're correct -- and I invite you to the College Archives for a chat about (cue the violins) metadata. 


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