01 October 2016

October is American Archives (and Family History) Month!!

Wait...What?! She's writing a blog post? Yes, I'm writing posts this month. Life has kept me so very busy that I haven't done any genealogical research for the last six months or so. I DID help a prospective DAR member with her application, which was quite the endeavor, but in the end we got her application approved and she's now a member.

I thought I would take this opportunity to share my work with those who aren't familiar with it. I'm a professional, consulting, Archivist. I've been an Archivist for about 13 years, and it has been the longest running 'career' that I've had. My work is varied, fascinating and has enriched my life in ways I would have never dreamed possible. An Archivist's job is to protect the information held in the material over which we are the stewards.

Slides received for processing
 An Archivist is the steward of unique materials of enduring value. In layman's terms, we take care of old stuff. Old stuff that can't be found elsewhere. Material that is unique and irreplaceable. That material can be anything from photographs to letters: things on paper. However, an Archives can hold other things as well; for instance when I was working at Shure, Inc. there were at least two copies of each microphone they'd ever produced. There are microphones used by famous people and not so famous people. Depends on your perspective. <grin>

As stewards of this material, an Archivist needs to understand about the composition of the materials to ensure the environment in which they are housed is conducive to its longevity. So, making sure that things like newspaper, which is very acidic, aren't housed with other paper is a key aspect of our work. We need to have a great grasp of basic chemistry: the composition of paper, ink, glues, etc. so that the materials can be stabilized to prevent deterioration. Ensuring that photographic materials are housed properly to avoid fading, warping and loss of image is equally important. 

Slides being processed: organized & described
The Society of American Archivists are having a number of events this month to highlight the importance of Archives. I hope you'll check them out or follow along here as I share some of what I use in my work.

Have a great day and a fabulous Family History Month!!

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