Archive for August, 2010

Howled Migration

August 23, 2010

Alright, kids, time for DnD to go back to being a humor blog. I propose migrating the discussion sparked by last week’s Howl over to NewArchivist, and to start you off, I’ve got a guest post up over there.

Why I still love the archives (and you should too)

August 20, 2010

What a week, Derangers! And now, for some Friday Fun, the best thing I’ve seen on the internet all week. (And I had no idea it was coming!)

Thank you, Jewish Museum of Maryland, for your humor and creativity. Thank you for confirming why I use Creative Commons licenses for my comics. And thank you for reminding all of us why, despite the many challenges facing our profession, we still love the archives.

(OMG did you see the dancing silverfish?!?)

Archives Howl-Up

August 17, 2010

So how about that last post, huh?

There has been some discussion on Twitter about organizing a meeting to discuss all the issues raised. (I have been calling it a howl-up. Cute, huh?) Feel free to discuss in the comments. In person meeting, online, or both? Where’s a good city to host? Should it be recorded? Any archivist or student groups want in?

I will make a poll based on the responses. And if someone else wants to step up to organize this thing…that would be awesome.

Post-SAA Howl

August 16, 2010

(Edited August 16, 2020 to include a transcript at the end of this post.)

(If you want to share today’s comic, please link to this post instead of copying the image–the context is very important. Thank you!)

Those of you who know me as an archives tech, rather than as a webcomicker, know that I am passionate about supporting archives students and new archivists. I started the original Crash Space for Archivists and listed my house. I support my local SAA student chapter. I CC-license my comics so that students (and others) have a large collection of free, archives-themed images to use in their papers and presentations. You could say that my interest in these issues, as an aspiring archivist,  is somewhat self-serving, but as someone with a full-time, non-grant-funded archives job, I am unaffected by many of the issues facing new members of our profession (and pretty damn lucky).

When I attended SAA this year, I was fortunate to meet lots of experienced archivists–many of whom were excited to meet me because I post drawings on the Internet. But you’ve probably read their papers and seen their conference presentations and subscribed to their blogs already.

I also met some great students and recent grads. You probably wouldn’t recognize most of their names. And these are the people I want to talk about, because I worry about them, archivists. It is amazing the things that people will tell you when you have no power to hire anyone, and now I’m angry. Really angry. It almost makes me want to…howl?

Enter a caption

I worry about these kids. And I worry about you, archivists, and your profession,  because I worry that these archivists will take their skills and ideas and find jobs outside the field instead of putting up with all this bullshit. And how can you truly preserve your collections in the long term if there is no one to replace you if you change jobs or retire or get crushed in your own compact shelving?

I know there are influential archivists out there who read this blog, as well as plenty of people new to the field. I want to read all your ideas for how to fix this, here, elsewhere on the Internet, or privately. (You can post anonymous comments here, but WordPress will show me your IP address on the back end–if that makes you nervous, don’t leave a comment.) I want to get back to writing the humorous comics you’ve all come to expect from DnD, but I can’t work on the funny stuff unless other people step up to take care of the serious stuff.


(Photo credits, top to bottom: National Library of Wales, George Eastman House, the Library of Virginia, the U.S. National Archives, JWA Commons.)


I saw the new archivists of my generation

destroyed by burnout,

starving desperate unemployed,

dragging themselves to internships

where they worked for nothing but the promise of “good work experience,”

idealistic scholars accumulating debt

for a degree that guaranteed nothing,

who delayed plans for houses,

and marriages,

and children,

citing the uncertainty of their chosen vocation,

who relied on the income

of partners they otherwise regarded

as their equals,

who vented to me

outside the hotel

before leaving

the conference

she used

her vacation time

to attend,

as the illusion

of equality

among colleagues


with the last

plenary session.


Dangers and Derangers

August 12, 2010

Here’s an image Lance and I made for his SAA presentation on Friday. Be sure to check it out at the Preservation Section meeting!

Hooray for comics! I have heard rumors of comics appearing in various SAA presentations–thanks for the visual shout-out, y’all, and don’t forget to cite!

Some swag you can bring to SAA

August 5, 2010

A million points to anyone who prints and hangs one of these in the conference hotel.

If you are worried about meeting new people at SAA, why not add this badge to your nametag, and let the archivists with excellent taste in webcomics find you?

Hooray for SAA! I hope to see you at the SAA Tweetup and the session I’m presenting at.