Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Phase 2.......

While still plugging away at the Tzagournis collection, my practicum has entered a new phase. This week, I met with Archivists Tamar Chute and Kevlin Haire to discuss my role in creating a web presence for the department's Jesse Owens collection. The goal is to develop a digitized resource for students who are engaging in research for National History Day projects. Tamar and Kevlin would like me to take a look at what the archives department already has available online and compare it to offerings from other institutions. I am then to present my findings and begin browsing the Jesse Owens inventory for items that would be of interest to researchers. These items will then be digitized and made available online.

I am anxious to begin working on this phase of my practicum. It involves the identification of archived items with historical/social significance. Although it might sound silly to some, there is an inexplicable thrill in having access to items that have a connection to history's significant events. I feel fortunate to have this opportunity.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Still Plugging away......

My third week of archival work has been a struggle for various reasons. First of all, the weather in Columbus, Ohio has been nothing short of horrendous. There is approximately 1 to 2 feet of snow on the ground depending upon where you look. I'm not happy about this......I tell my wife we were supposed to be in Florida by now. She just smiles at me and tells me to be patient. In addition to the weather, I have been sick.....and my mentor has been sick. This does not make for an optimal learning environment. However, I continued sorting through the "Tzagournis" collection as best I could.

When Kevlin and I finally had a chance to assess my progress, she seemed pleased. I was concerned that I was creating too many files per container (and subsequently too many sub-categories). She assured me that I was doing just fine, and that in all likelihood, I wouldn't make it through the entire collection within the imposed time constraints of my practicum. I was relieved to hear this. Since this experience (weeding, organizing, storing, etc...) was to be only 1 part of my practicum, I was concerned I would not get to the "Jesse Owens" portion. Having grown up in Ohio, and knowing of Jesse Owens' Olympic exploits, I am particularly eager to engage in the OSU Archives "History Day" project. Kevlin instructed me to begin thinking of ways we could increase online accessibility to this special collection...particularly for teens working on reports and projects. This will include the digitization of items, research and web development.

Monday, February 8, 2010

And so it goes...

The second week of my archival practicum did not differ greatly from my first week. I continued to wade through boxes of memos, newspaper clippings, brochures, photographs and personnel directives. I did make my mentor happy at one point by combining the contents of several boxes into one. Space is at a premium in the depository, so whenever there is an opportunity to conserve it....that's a positive. I am currently working on box #7 of 40 in the Tzagournis (former Dean of Medicine) collection. Generally speaking, my mission is to weed, organize, inventory, box and shelve these items. I have a long way to go, but I'm starting to get a better feel for the process.