Archive for 2011

It Gets Better (in the archives) (a reprise)

December 30, 2011

Maybe you’ve been wondering where I’ve been the past few months. I’ve been here.


Photo credits:

Panel 1: Nationaal Archief

Panel 2: U.S. National Archives

Panel 3: Anne G

Panel 4: Taber Andrew Bain

Panel 5: State Library of New South Wales

Panel 7: U.S. National Archives

(Click through for the transcription)


October 19, 2011

So, my camera is being fussy, but I have new ribbons, and I’m bringing them to MARAC! Grab yourself a newly-redesigned DERANGER ribbon, or a NEW ARCHIVIST ribbon, or…a surprise limited edition ribbon! These super-special ribbons are my way of saying thanks to all of you who dug deep to help out archivists and archives this year, like through the Spontaneous Scholarship fund or the Shaved Beaver fund or disaster relief funds or just because you felt like helping. (And if you haven’t given yet, it’s not too late to donate!) I might run out of ribbons after MARAC, but I’ll have a new ribbon for whenever the next archives conference is.

Come find me at Session 19 (I’ll be the one ranting about internships) or the MARAC tweetup or anywhere the free food is…well, free.

(And if you’re still waiting for an SAA ribbon in the mail…I promise I didn’t forget about you!)

The Archivist’s Serenity Prayer

September 29, 2011

Archivists, sometimes you need to surrender to a power greater than yourselves, whether that’s your boss, the board of trustees, or a very pushy donor.

The Archivist's Serenity Prayer

The Archivist's Serenity Prayer: Grant me the serenity to accept the collections I cannot decline, Courage to decline the collections I can, And the funding to process the backlog. And what a serene scene! That's "Looking south from Chapman Point, Cannon Beach, Oregon,"

(I have a feeling many of you will want to print this out, so I gave you a very large file to work with!)

“An edgy Easter bunny crossed with a Great White that does standup”

September 19, 2011

Some of you may be aware that my employer is currently hiring for an archivist. Long story short, my employer moved all my professional responsibilities to a new position, and then decided to hold a search. I could apply, but I’d be facing a demotion if I didn’t get it. To say I was disappointed in their decision would be an understatement.

A few weeks ago, not long after landing in Chicago for SAA, I checked my email and found a job offer…for a librarian position. The job responsibilities included a lot of things I’d wanted to work on at my archives, like digital preservation, managing digital collections, and faculty outreach. But as I spent the week in the company of thousands of archivists, I wasn’t sure if I was ready to leave the field just yet.

I let my employer know that I had a job offer, and they decided to continue with the search. I reframed my options as joining a library that really wanted me to come and staying at an archives that didn’t seem to care if I left. Suddenly, the decision became much simpler.

What sealed it was an email response I received from the library director regarding my concerns about the position. I said that even though the position was a librarian gig, I thought many of the job responsibilities were things that archivists work on, and I wanted to stay involved with SAA and other archivist groups. Oh, and by the way, I write this little webcomic; how do you feel about that?

It turned out that not only was he very aware of this blog, it was one of the things that convinced him I was the right lady for the job. He agrees with me that divisions between librarians and archivists are often unhelpful, and that this job was a wonderful librarian/archivist hybrid. In fact–and I hope he doesn’t mind me quoting here–“you might be inspired to create an entire cartoon narrative around how to name such a new creature!  A ‘Libedigitivist’ or something.  Perhaps an edgy Easter bunny crossed with a Great White  that does standup.”

Oh. Em. Gee. As soon as I got back to Philly, I sent in my acceptance letter. And I’m thrilled to announce that on October 10th, I’ll be joining La Salle University‘s Connelly Library as the Media and Digital Services Librarian. (or archivist, whatevs)

I don’t think things around here will change that much just because I won’t be working in an archives anymore. (You probably wouldn’t know it from reading this comic, but I’ve never actually processed a collection before.) I suspect I’ll be branching out beyond EAD comics to derange other metadata standards, and I may shift the focus a bit more towards digital collections and digital preservation. Of course, that’s a direction the field as a whole is taking, too.

There are a few lessons here for those of you who are thinking about your future job search or are already in the middle of it. You should probably assume that employers have done a very good job of Googling you before they invite you over to hang out for a day. Don’t be afraid to put your future employer on trial, and find out if their library/archives/shark tank is an environment you’d want to work in. And when you find a place that really wants you, just the way you are–well, it’s just about the best feeling in the world.

An edgy Easter bunny crossed with a Great White that does standup

An edgy Easter bunny crossed with a Great White that does standup! So this archivist walks into a bar. The bartender says, "What can I get you?" And the archivist says, "Get me a beer--No, wait, a screwdriver. Or maybe a martini?" The bartender says, "Come on, decide already!" And the archivist says, "Okay, fine. I'll have the original order." I don't think the audience gets it. I can see a guy saying "Um, what the fonds?" There's no pleasing some people.

Photo credits:

Easter Bunny from the Library of Virginia

Group assembled around great white shark: Key West, Florida from the State Library and Archives of Florida

James Simpson Theatre from the Field Museum Library

An audience in the New Theatre, 1964 from LSE Library

Missed opportunities: Deranger ribbons!

September 2, 2011

I still have some Deranger ribbons left over from SAA. If you want one, send a letter or postcard and I’ll mail one to whatever return address you put on it. I’m happy to mail ribbons overseas, but please tell me exactly how to address the envelope to you so it goes to the right place!

Send mail to:

[address temporarily removed]

(And if you’re thinking, hey, wouldn’t it be easier if I just emailed you my address? Yeah, maybe. But I like getting mail. Send something good. :) )

Missed Opportunities: a haiku

August 31, 2011

So, maybe you heard that I was one of the winners of this archives haiku contest? Some people asked for an illustrated version, so here you go. I made this one extra big so you can print it out at any size and stick it on your wall.

Title: Missed Opportunities. Haiku: Hey, handsome stranger/ Saw your pic in the archives/ Too bad you're dead now. And who's that daguerreotype hottie? "Portrait of a Young Man," from the Museum of Photographic Arts Collections

Title: Missed Opportunities. Haiku: Hey, handsome stranger/ Saw your pic in the archives/ Too bad you're dead now. And who's that daguerreotype hottie? "Portrait of a Young Man," from the Museum of Photographic Arts Collections

Deranging SAA

August 17, 2011

Derangers, come find me at SAA and I will give you one of these for your badge:

Deranger ribbon

Deranger ribbon

Unless you are the archivist who so generously indulged my desire to hear the phrase “XSLin’ like a felon” in an SAA webinar, in which case your ribbon is already in the mail to you. (If you aren’t coming to SAA but still want a ribbon, let me know after the conference and we’ll work something out.)

Likely places to find me are:

  • The Social Media Forum, where you’ll get to see what happens when SAA lets me work on a presentation
  • The Tweetup and Beer Roundtable
  • The Drexel reception
  • The SAA Career Center, from 11 AM-1 PM on Saturday. I will be offering career advice and hugs.
  • Anywhere with free food (students and new archivists represent!)

Announcing the Planning a new SAA roundtable for new archivists blog

July 25, 2011

Blogs are like kittens: there’s always room for one more! I’m so excited to announce the launch of the Planning a new SAA roundtable for new archivists blog. The title pretty much says it all. If you’re interested in issues facing new archivists, get over there and start commenting!

(To encourage discussion about this topic over there and not over here, I’ve turned off comments on this post.)