New in the Archives: December 2018

December was a fairly eventful month for us. November went out with a bang (a real one, a 7.0 earthquake with an epicenter very near Anchorage) and so our regular workload for early December was rewritten by needing to deal with the aftermath of the effects of shaking on a building and shelving units. Gwen and Veronica managed to clean up the over 130 boxes that landed on the floor of our archives vault (or on each other, really) in just about 8 hours of work. Arlene picked up the oversize books in Rare and Susan Klein, a local librarian, came in and helped us out by picking up the APU theses that had fallen and getting all of them in call number order and boxed for storage in the vault. Thanks Susan! We also did a few days of book and journal pickup in the other sections of the library too. We did a recap of our experiences with the quake in our December podcast and took a look at how compact shelving might have helped us have a different outcome in our blog. Thankfully none of the many aftershocks have caused any additional damage to collections or the facility, though we all seem to be a bit jumpy about some of the larger ones.

Processing:

Here’s the collections and additions to collections that we described and prepared for access this month:

EPH-0416: Order of the Walrus certificate and pin; circa 1960-1969. 0.01 cubic feet.

HMC-1300: Craig Mishler papers; 1943-2015, bulk 1988-1998. 3 cubic feet. Papers from a folklorist and anthropologist.

HMC-1309: Chickaloon Coal Company records; 1910-1922, bulk 1917-1919. Documents regarding company operations.

HMC-1180: Walter Parker papers; circa 1940-2014. 6.1 GB Digital versions of documents that due to fire damage could not be saved.

HMC-0059: Clarence Leroy Andrews papers; 1892-1946, addition of 0.75 cubic feet, glass lantern slides.

Events:

We  hosted the poster session for Dr. Jennifer Stone’s History of the English Language course final. It’s always such a treat to see the use students are making of archival sources! Here’s a few photos of some of the projects and if you’re interested in learning more about how this topic can connect with archival sources, Gwen interviewed Dr. Stone for our podcast in November.

Alaska’s Digital Archives

Technically it was in November that the Alaska’s Digital Archives was moved to a new hosting platform, but it was December when we finally got the access to the administration of the site and could start updating items and adding more. It’s not the prettiest looking thing at the moment and there’s a few bits of customization that we’d gotten used to that are no longer available, but overall there are a lot of benefits to this change, especially once we get some work done on how the site looks. For starters, the site is now a responsive design which means that for folks working on mobile devices like smart phones and tablets, they’ll have an easier time viewing the site because it will be resized to fit their screens. One behind the scenes benefit, which you might not be aware of, is the substantial costs savings and access to software upgrades. Due to how we’d been running the site, we no longer had access to software support which meant that a lot of software upgrades and bug fixes–like that responsive design–were not available to us. On the cost side, while each partner still absorbs the cost of digitizing, cataloging, uploading, and updating each individual item in the Digital Archives, our joint costs for software and server support and administration have been cut by well over half: from about $65,000 per year to just under $30,000 for the next year and we expect it to decrease even more in following years. That’s a huge cost savings to the three partners that pay for site maintenance (Alaska State Library, UAA/APU Consortium Library, and UAF Rasmuson Library) and will hopefully mean that sustaining partnerships will become more financially viable for some of our current partners who have been participating on a smaller level with limited term project partnerships. If you’ve been using the site in past and can’t find some functionality that you used to have, will you let us know? We’ll see if we can figure out if it can be re-established or if not, if there’s a different way of doing the same thing.

In the meantime, we’ve started working again to upload more items to the Digital Archives. For December, that was 14 additional images from the Clarence Leroy Andrews papers.

That’s it for December and 2018 too. We’re looking forward to another productive year but hope that won’t include any new substantial earthquake responses! We wish you all the best for 2019.

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Archives month event: free book enclosure class: RSVP required!

Thanks to Northwest Archivists, the professional association for our region, we received some funding for an Archives Month event.

Do you have some books, journals, or diaries that need a little added protection on your shelves? Want to learn how to make some inexpensive covers for them?

A few enclosed books in our Rare Books collection.

Saturday, October 20, at 3:00 pm, we’re hosting a DIY book enclosure workshop. We’ll supply the card stock, scissors, pencils, rulers, and instructions, you bring along a book that you want to enclose. Because not all books are easy to build enclosures for, we ask that for this training you bring something that isn’t tiny, isn’t skinny, isn’t huge. A relatively standard size book or journal should work well. We’ll be sending you home with supplies to make more.

Since we have limited funding for the workshop supplies and this is a hands-on workshop, you will need to RSVP to us to reserve a place. The Contact Us link up at the top of this page will take you to a webform that you can use to submit an email to us to reserve your spot. Our phone number is there, too, if you prefer to call. If you’re working on a mobile device, the Contact Us link can be found under the menu icon (three horizontal bars) toward the top of the page. If you haven’t received a confirmation from us within one business day, please call!

Want to bring the kids? The project requires the use of fairly sharp scissors (says the archivist who nearly failed the scissors section of kindergarten) and the ability to use a ruler to take measurements. We’ll let you judge if  your kids are up for that. However due to various UAA campus safety regulations, we ask that children and minors under 18 be accompanied by a parent or guardian.

Oh, and if you don’t want to bring a book with you–please don’t bring any very fragile or highly valuable books that could be damaged in transit!–we’ll have a few around that you can use to practice with.

Oh, also important: parking is free on campus on Saturdays!

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New in the Archives: September 2018

September is always a season of change in the Archives with the start of the semester! It feels like this has been an intensive outreach month for us with several events that happened and even more that we’re preparing for. More details on that in a moment.

But first up, we hired a student worker: welcome Leticia! Leticia has been doing a lot of scanning for us so far this month, including getting high resolution scans done of nitrate still photo negatives since we’re not sure how much longer it will be before those degrade: nitrate media is one of the few hard copy archival media where the digital may have a longer lifespan than the original (and significantly less flammable, too.)

“The Alaska Flivver” from the Gregory slides

Did you know? The Alaska’s Digital Archives has reached a milestone!

This summer was the 15th birthday of the Alaska’s Digital Archives website! We can’t find the exact day that the site went live, but we know it was between July and September of 2003. Related to that, in September we added some more photographs to the Digital Archives:

29 photographs from the Marion and Thomas Gregory papers.

60 photographs from the Francis J. Huber slides.

Our additions to the Alaska’s Digital Archives will be going on hiatus for a month, possibly a little bit more. The website is moving to being hosted by another service provider and there’s some great things about that. First up, our annual budgets for licensing the software the supports the Digital Archives and for server administration will significantly decrease. That’s always good news! Secondly, we’ll be able to see some great functionality that we haven’t had before: like a mobile view of the site if you’re searching using your cell phone or a tablet. Fingers crossed that the move will go quickly and well.

Classes taught:

ANTH A620: Research Design. 4 students.

ENGL A476: History of the English Language. 27 students.

Outreach:

Live radio interview with KNBA on Morning Line about upcoming outreach events (Arlene)

UAA Bookstore presentation: Alaska Archives, Yesterday, Today, Tomorrow (Gwen, Veronica, Arlene)

PARK(ing) Day

Archiving AK podcast episode 6: STEM in archives

Notable uses of materials:

Well, we’re not quite sure how “notable” this is, but it charmed us no end. A photo of Spenard from the Mounteer papers is now wall-size and in the men’s bathroom at the Bear Tooth theatre. The original photo probably dates from between 1949 and 1952. The photo of the bathroom wall was courtesy of one of the Bear Tooth employees, no, we didn’t sneak in there to see it. Though we have an invitation to visit some morning before they open so we can go see it.  If you’d like to take a closer look at the photo and like us, aren’t allowed to go in the men’s room at the Bear Tooth without getting in a whole lot of trouble, we have it up on the Alaska’s Digital Archives, which is where they found it. Or you can come in and we’ll gladly pull the Mounteer collection for you to look through.

Collections described:

Christine M. McClain papers; 1907-1992. 0.01 cubic foot and 79 MB addition, includes writings and photographs.

Katharine Crittenden papers; 1978-2005. Research files and correspondence relating to Crittenden’s book, Get Mears!

Wanda A. Wheeler slides; 1964. 0.01 cubic feet. Images that depict damage caused by the 1964 earthquake.

Joanne Vivian Sedlock photographs; 1949. Aerial photographs of Anchorage.

Walter Johnson papers; 1902-2008, bulk 1961-1978. 0.5 cubic foot addition.

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New in the Archives: March 2018

March has been a busy month for us! Must be all that extra light we’re getting right now that’s letting us get all this work done!

Collections described:

Ruth Hart papers; 1964-2003. HMC-1279. The collection contains the papers of Ruth …

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