Friday, June 18, 2010

And people think archives are dull

The fun of being a Lone Arranger is the daily choice of which among 40 different miniature projects to work on. Try to reconcile the contents of 33 four-drawer filing cabinets with their folder lists? Try to get the lists into a searchable database? Tackle the Public Relations, American Studies, or ESL backlogs? Add some metadata to the art inventory?

Or how about the rare books? Take another linear foot of crumbling volumes and see what they are? Each one takes an hour or two and my clothes get dirty. Should I try to stabilize another scrapbook, or put the flat files in some kind of rational order?

Here's a good one... how about the thousands of digital photos that we've accumulated in the last several years that are on a server here, an external drive there, or maybe on a few unmarked CD-ROMs?

You can make a nice career out of any one of these, but what's the fun of that? Lone Arrangers: the utility infielders of the archives profession. I think I'll go straighten up the shelves of yearbooks, and follow them up with some pamphlet-file origami. A fine conclusion to a satisfying week.

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