Student Snippets A Window Into The Daily Life & Thoughts of SLIS Students

Archives

Archives and Popular Media

My friend was watching an episode of White Collar the other night. I don’t follow the show so I was only half listening until I heard, “We are going to have to go check out the archives.” A meme/blog post has been going around recently about movies with library scenes in them and it set me to thinking about how archives are portrayed in popular media. For a lot of people, that’s how they see us, that’s their only interaction with an archives. If that is the case, we don’t look too good. This particular scene in White Collar had the archivist come out, show them into a room full of card catalogs drawers and filing cabinets, and leave them there. When one of the characters asked, “Wait, which cabinet is 1940?” the archivist called over her shoulder as she walked out, “All of them.” Now of course this is not true to life (hopefully!) especially since scenes in the archives are usually framed as a race against time, a scene that creates dramatic tension…


A Blend of History and Archives

As a dual degree student in Archives and History, I have one foot in the LIS (Library and Information Science) world and one in the CAS (College of Arts and Sciences) at Simmons. At times it can be a little frustrating since I’m dealing with two different departments but a lot of the time there is more overlap then I would have imagined. Currently, I am taking a Public History course. I have never taken one before and I love it. I almost wonder why I never thought of Public History as a career choice before. I have a Bachelor’s in both English and History and saw Archives as the wonderful combination of the two, but as I continue through this dual degree program, Public History seems the perfect combination of Library Science and History to me. We are currently reading Museums, Monuments and National Parks by Denise D. Meringolo about the evolution of Public History in America. One of the key points of the book, pointed out from the very beginning in the prologue,…


Boston Book Collector Weekend

Yesterday was Boston’s Book Collector’s weekend. There were two shows, the bigger one being the 36th Annual International Antiquarian Book Fair and the other was the Boston Book, Print and Ephemera Show. I spent a little time at both. The Antiquarian Book Fair is more for serious collectors; way out of my price range but it was quite fun to look around and ogle at the beautiful things money can buy. Dealers were there from Europe as well as all over the US.  Out of curiosity I sought out the English dealers. I am a HUGE fan of Baroness Orczy’s The Scarlet Pimpernel. Many people know of the book and have had to read it at some point in their school career but few realize it is actually the first in a 20-some book series. Only the first one ever made it into print in the U.S. For years I have been scouring used book sales for copies (Yes I could buy them offline but it’s not as fun). Sure enough, the third English dealer I found had two of the…


Archivists in Library School

Last week, I briefly mentioned that I decided I no longer wanted to pursue my Masters in History (at this time!), and I will be focusing solely on my Archives Management concentration. I made this decision due to a number of factors, including cost and time constraints, but also a desire to just get out there and work. The reason that the decision wasn’t easy for me to make is because I truly believe that history as a discipline has a lot to contribute to the way that archivists think about archives. There are a number of articles out there that talk about the intersection of history and LIS departments and the subsequent evolution of archival education in the US. (Joseph M. Turrini published an article titled “From History to Library and Information Science: A Case Study of Archival Education at Wayne State University” in Information & Culture: A Journal of History this summer, which is available through ProjectMUSE.  For our archivists in training, you can find an abbreviated version of his discussion here). Due to…


Begin Year Two

I’ve been making a lot of trips back and forth between Boston, D.C., and my hometown in Pennsylvania since the end of my internship at the Smithsonian’s NMAI, and I feel like classes crept up on me out of nowhere. I decided to take three classes this semester (instead of two last year) in the hopes that I can finish my degree a little faster. I’m scheduled to take Access and Use; Records Management, and Establishing Archives and Manuscript Programs, and I’m really looking forward to them. I decided not to continue working towards my Masters in History, so I’m down to just the Archives Management concentration. I had a really great talk with my advisor, who was able to address all of my concerns and fears. I’m a much different person than I was when I first enrolled at Simmons, and a lot of my goals have changed. I may pursue a Masters in History somewhere further down the line, and I actually have a ton of ideas for my thesis, but I’ll probably…


Adventures in the Social Law Library Archives

My unplanned foray into the world of law librarianship has taken yet another unexpected turn: I’m working in an archives at a law library! A few weeks ago, my supervisor at the Social Law Library told me that, if I wanted to, I could spend a couple of hours each workweek in the Archives. Of course, I said “yes” with no hesitation. As I’ve articulated in a previous post, I’ve found a great deal of professional value in my circulation job at Social Law, even as an archivist-to-be. But I would be a fool if I didn’t jump at this opportunity to squeeze some more relevance out of my pre-professional job. I have quite a task ahead of me when it comes to the Social Law Archives. Due to budget/staff shortages, there is no professional librarian or archivist tasked with managing the Archives. To make matters even more interesting, the Library moved in the early 2000s, and whatever order that had been established in the previous Archives got jumbled up when it moved to the…


Archiving Hate

Just a word of warning – this post is not going to be very cheery. As I wrote a few weeks ago, my current History class is on Race & Media. We’ve talked a lot about the subject of lynching and there is some important information that I’d like to pass on. First of all, I learned that lynching was not just an activity that occurred to slaves before the Civil War. Actually, it proliferated after the Emancipation Proclamation. When African Americans were slaves, sadly enough, because they were someone’s property, they were protected more than after they received their so-called freedom. When they belonged to a white farmer, other whites could not harm them without suffering penalties.  But, of course, once they were considered freedmen under the law, white mobs could accuse a black male of any number of crimes and subsequently lynch them. Thus, lynching was most frequent in the early 1900s, especially during Jim Crow laws. If that isn’t disturbing enough for you, here’s the kicker: people sent postcards of lynchings. It…


So…why library school?

If you are currently contemplating the decision to attend library school, chances are at some point in your search process, you have heard some helpful individual say something along the lines of “Libraries are dying/e-books are rendering books irrelevant/why do you need a degree for that/fill in your own silly reason here.” This issue irked me so much, it actually wound up being the introduction to my admissions essay for Simmons. Are e-books and the internet changing the way in which libraries operate? Of course.  But the library as an institution is far from becoming irrelevant, and in fact, I think this is a fascinating time to choose to enter our noble profession.   For a start, there’s so much potential that technology and the internet opens up for us, and a simple Google search is just the tip of the iceberg.  When your friends and family learn that you actually know how to extract useful information out of Google in a method more refined than random keyword searches, their estimation of you will rise.  If…


DIY Archives: NEA Spring 2012 Meeting

As Danielle kindly mentioned in her last post, she and I recently shared a blog-worthy experience; this past Saturday, we attended the New England Archivists (NEA) Spring 2012 Meeting. Running the risk of blog redundancy, I’m going to spend a bit of time writing about my experience at NEA. Luckily, Danielle and I attended some different sessions and got different take-aways from the meeting, so I’m thinking this post will be unique after all! The NEA Spring 2012 Meeting was held at Wesleyan University, which makes its home in the quaint city of Middletown, Connecticut. It was really nice to have the opportunity to get out of Boston for a day; I love the city, but getting out to smaller-scale America is something I really appreciate doing from time to time. As a bonus, Wesleyan University is a beautiful campus, and since the weather was somewhere in the realm of “This can’t be March!” we were able to get some time outdoors between sessions. This was my first ever professional conference. It was very exciting…


StoryCorps animated shorts, or “are you taking oral history?”

Had not checked in on StoryCorps for a while… but since 2011 they have started animating some of the oral histories. Great idea. The circle is completed by featuring Studs Terkel, a godfather of the academic oral history tradition (at least in the US) who was one of the inspirations for StoryCorps in the first place. I am not an offcianado on Studs Terkel by any means, but this bio from his site sums up part of his life work; On “The Studs Terkel Program,” which was heard on Chicago’s fine arts radio station WFMT from 1952 to 1997, Terkel interviewed Chicagoans and national and international figures who helped shape the past century. The program included guests who were politicians, writers, activists, labor organizers, performing artists, and architects among others.