Saturday, March 12, 2016

Had I but known, I could have told my mother the clutter in my room was unsorted archival material.

At the wonderful site Longreads, Emily Perper prefaces a fascinating article on the preservation of books- and other things. Wellworth a few minutes of your time.
I’m thrilled to present this week’s Reading List in collaboration with Samantha Abrams, an archivist and great friend. I’d planned to curate something about the importance and changing role of archiving—an oft-misunderstood or overlooked science—but I didn’t have enough in my longform arsenal. Cue Sam. I reached out to her via Twitter, asking her if she’d be willing to pass along pertinent articles, essays and interviews she’d encountered as she studied for her master’s degree at the University of Wisconsin’s School of Library and Information Studies. Sam understood immediately what I was looking for: nothing overly technical, but not condescending or simplified, either. 
I spent over a year as an archivist’s assistant, working with the records collectors in a particular branch at the National Institutes of Health. My focus: digitizing records from the late 1980s and early ’90s. My favorite moments: reading someone’s journal from the 1970s and collecting documents for Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests. I felt like a detective. Archiving isn’t my calling, but I loved my mentors and their serious, inspired work. 
On the other hand: You know the look someone gets in their eye when someone really, really loves something? Sam gets that look in her eye, because she loves her work. She has interned at the Library of Congress. She’s the first and only archivist for Culver’s. She’s kind of a genius.
Sam sees outreach as a part of her role as an archivist. Archivists are no longer stuffed into cubicles, scanning and sorting—although that can be part of their job description!—but out saving the World Wide Web, using their best judgement to decide what’s important to preserve and what isn’t. And that requires engagement with the wider world. Here, Sam is genuinely excited to share her expertise with the Longreads community, and I couldn’t be more grateful. I hope (we hope!) that you learn something new and surprising.. 
The list is clickreachable here.

No comments:

Post a Comment

We enjoy hearing from visitors! Please leave your questions, thoughts, wish lists, or whatever else is on your mind.