Archive for the ‘photocomics’ Category

Love in the time of digital preservation

February 14, 2012

Love in the time of digital preservation

Photo credits:

Panel 1: George Eastman House

Panel 2: Duke Data Accessioner

Panel 3: San Diego Air and Space Museum Archives

Panel 4: Library of Congress

Panel 5: LSE Library

Panel 6: US National Archives

Panel 7: National Archives UK

Panel 8: State Library of New South Wales

Transcript after the jump.


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)

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: 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

Gone fishing on A&A

May 26, 2011
Ice fisherman sez: "this is no way for the MONEY-CENTERED US archival community FOR WHICH MAKING CASH IS THE MAIN ARCHIVAL AIM." Down below, fishie sez: "It's not that the US ARCHIVAL community is money-centered..."

Ice fisherman sez: "this is no way for the MONEY-CENTERED US archival community FOR WHICH MAKING CASH IS THE MAIN ARCHIVAL AIM." Down below, fishie sez: "It's not that the US ARCHIVAL community is money-centered..."

Underwater flame? A scientific miracle! Oh A&A, don’t ever change.

(Photo credit: Fishing thru ice from the Library of Congress. Overstuffed folders of thanks to @elizabethskene for the tip!)

Terrible romance novels are better with kittehs

March 18, 2011

So I hope all of you have heard about this contest ArchivesNext is hosting. And I hope all of you are entering. And to spare you the experience of actually reading the book, I have summarized it below.

Inspired by this lolcat version of Twilight.

Photo credits:

Mouser (black kitteh): @RepoRat

Frida: Kevin Schlottmann

Historical kitteh: RHSJ St. Joseph Region Archives (Acc.# 2005.059), via @rgscarter

Bedroom: Bedroom in Gripsholm Castle, Mariefred, Sweden from the Swedish National Heritage Board

Clock: Bryan “16-1” Metal Portrait Clock, ca. 1896 from Cornell University Library


February 14, 2011

Photo credits:

Panel 2: National Library of Scotland

Panel 3: State Library of New South Wales

Panel 5: Llyfrgell Genedlaethol Cymru / The National Library of Wales

Panel 6: State Library of New South Wales

It Gets Better (in the archives)

October 27, 2010

Oh, Derangers. Have you heard about these kids who are killing themselves because they can’t take being bullied anymore?

I am less far-removed from high school than most of you. And I get it.


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.