Tag Archives: Archives Month

Archives Month – Pecha Kucha

Kentucky Archives Month

Kentucky Archives Month

October is Archives Month and in Kentucky the theme was Civil Rights. This year members of Library Special Collections celebrated by co-hosting a Pecha Kucha about Civil Rights with the Kentucky Museum.

A pecha kucha is a powerpoint presentation consisting of 20 slides shown for 20 seconds each so the talk lasts six minutes and forty seconds. Speakers have to hone in on the point and talk fast!

Pecha Kucha Participants

Pecha Kucha Participants

Our lineup:
Suellyn Lathrop – Civil Rights @ WKU – gave an overview of the WKU response to several civil rights issues through the years and resources for research housed in WKU Archives.

April McCauley – October is American Archives Month – discussion of archives that hold civil rights materials around the nation.

Karen Hogg – Kentucky Marriage Equality Oral History Project – presentation regarding Kentucky attorneys and plaintiffs involved in the recent marriage equality court cases.

Nancy Richey – Introducing the Kentucky African American Encyclopedia – an interesting overview of local people included in this hot off the press volume.

Jonathan Jeffrey – Juliette H. Morgan: A Librarian Civil Rights Hero – a brief biography of Montgomery, Alabama librarian turned activist.

We hope you enjoy our presentations and learn something new.  Library Special Collections is housed in the Kentucky Building and our collections are open to everyone Monday – Friday 9 to 4 and most Saturdays 10 – 3.

 

 

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#AskAnArchivist Day

SAA LogoOctober 30th has been declared Ask An Archivist Day.  Archivists from around the country will be monitoring Twitter to respond to your questions.  The day long event is sponsored by the Society of American Archivists as the send off for Archives Month.

No question is too silly . . .

  • What is the craziest thing you’ve come across in your collections?
  • If your archives has a soundtrack, what songs would be on it?
  • What do archivists talk about around the water cooler?

. . . and no question is too practical!

  • As a teacher, how can I get my students more interested in using archives for projects?
  • What should I do to be sure my emails won’t get lost?
  • I’ve got scads of digital images on my phone.  How should I store them so I can access them later?
  • How do you decide which items to keep and which to weed out from a collection?

Just tweet your question and include the hashtag #AskAnArchivist in your tweet.

Follow along through the day to see questions and answers.

And even after Archives Month is over you can ask us questions at WKU Archives – archives@wku.edu

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Squirrel!

Kentucky Archives MonthThere are days in the archives that I feel like Dug the talking Dog from the movie Up.  I’m sitting at my desk working and all of a sudden . . . SQUIRREL!

It’s not that I’m easily distracted.  It is the nature of archival work that processing a collection of departmental papers may lead to the identification of a photograph.  Once I open that file cabinet to get the folder of photographs, I see there are 4 or 5 folders for that particular department and I am all of a sudden processing photographs.  Which in turn may lead to the prep work to have the unidentified images digitized.   Continue reading

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What Is an Archives?

Part of our continuing recognition of Kentucky Archives Month.

Whether you are researching your family tree, searching for inspiration for your latest historical fiction novel,1 verifying the royal succession,2 or looking for information about the One Ring,3 the place to look is an archives.

An archives is a collection of historical documents or records providing information about a place, institution, or group of people.  These records include photographs, maps, letters, diaries, government records, and many more things. Many of the types of records in archives are rare and most are one-of-a-kind.  The collections in an archives are often donated by organizations or individuals over time, and often these records are valued family artifacts.  So, archivists have a responsibility to the historical record- and to past donors- to protect and preserve the records in their care.  For more information about what an archives is and about our archival collections, follow the links below:

Continue reading

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Electronic Records Day

emediaSmack in the middle of Archives Month is Electronic Records Day.  Coincidence?  I think not.

We generally think of electronic records as new, now, of the moment and not particularly permanent.

  • email
  • reports
  • blog posts
  • photos on your cellphone

The permanency of records is determined not by format (paper or electronic) but by content.  So while most email is not considered permanent there are emails that should be saved and printed out in total and sent to the archives.

WKU Records Management program provides guidelines for the care and preservation of all university records regardless of format. Contact us at 5-4793 if you have questions regarding the maintenance of electronic records or any other questions.

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The Path to Archives

A month or so ago a student asked me how to go about becoming an archivist.  In constructing my response to him I mentally reviewed my 25+ years in the profession and the changes that have impacted the profession.

Kentucky Archives Month

Time was most archivists were historians by training.  Specialists might also have a degree in another discipline, but by and large we were historians.  These days most have a degree in information science with coursework in public history.

What does that mean?  Information Science is the new library science and is defined as an interdisciplinary field concerned with the analysis, collection, classification, manipulation, storage, retrieval, movement, dissemination and protection of information. While Public History is usually defined as history beyond the walls of the traditional classroom or applied history.  It is most often found in the preservation of historic buildings, creation of museum exhibits and care of public and private records housed in archives. Continue reading

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Archives Month

AKentucky Archives Monthrchives Month is an annual celebration of all things archival and the work of institutions that preserve historical records while making them available to researchers.  This year’s theme for Kentucky is Agriculture in the Commonwealth.

This month WKU Archives will be highlighting the WKU Department of Agriculture in our website feature “Out of the Box.”  We’ll also be blogging about some behind the scenes stuff.  Stay tuned and get out and visit an archives near you.  Check out Kentucky Archives Month events.

 

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A Day in the Archives – Reference

Every day is something a bit different than the day before in WKU Archives.  I may find myself processing photographs, blueprints or president’s papers.  October 2nd was definitely a reference day.

Request 1 – WKU maternity leave policies, when were they first instituted and how have they changed over time.  After a couple false starts in the Board of Regents and University Senate records, information was found in the faculty/staff handbooks created by Human Resources.

Request 2 – Topographic maps of WKU campus. Unfortunately we do not have any in WKU Archives.  It may be that none have been created.

Request 3 – WKU vs Russian football team, all information available.  Film footage was pulled and transferred from tape to dvd.  The poster above was digitized for the researcher as well.

Request 4 – Information and photos of the Rock House for an upcoming exhibit.  A search of KenCat revealed that there is a single photograph, 3 floor plans and Rock House Reunion records created by alumni who once used the building as a dormitory.  Records were pulled for the researcher to use.  The photograph and floor plans were digitized for inclusion in the exhibit.

Request 5 – Photographs to be used in celebration of Gary Ransdell’s 15th anniversary as WKU president.  Luckily the request included a list of events the researcher wanted images of.  A search of KenCat found most of them quickly.  These were forwarded to the researcher to make selections.  Then I went through unprocessed photographs and pulled relevant images for digitization.  Records for these images were created in  KenCat and thumbnails attached.  Now they are available to all researchers.

Request 6 – A request was made for a copy of a SITE committee report.  The researcher had already checked the Board of Regents and University Senate records online.  A search was made of the President’s Office papers and some University Senate records that have not been digitized.  The report was not found and in talking with the researcher, it was decided that it probably never existed.

Research can be quite time consuming.  WKU Library Special Collections & Kentucky Museum Research Strategies is available to help researchers use the online resources before making a trip to the Kentucky Building.  Processing and digitization of WKU Archives collections is user driven.  All requests are answered in the order received.  We are working daily to process additional records, add entries to the database and make more records available more quickly to our patrons.

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Photograph Collection

WKU vs Youngstown, 2002

If anyone had told me when I was in school that one day I would get paid  to identify college logos on football helmets I would have laughed.   Some days that’s exactly what I do.

Processing photographs involves evaluation of quality in relation to other similar images in the collection.

WKU vs WIU, 2002, long focus

Identification of people, places and events and even athletic teams. Rehousing in mylar sleeves and acid free folders. And occasionally discarding images due to blurriness or poor composition.

WKU Archives holds approximately 50,000 photographs, slides, negatives and drawings. Photographs are described in bulk by topic in KenCat, our online catalog.  Broad topics include campus buildings, portraits, organizations, athletics and events.  As researchers request images for projects, they are digitized.  At that time a thumbnail image and corresponding description are entered into KenCat.  To date, a little over 9,000 have been digitized. Check out WKU Archives – Photograph Collection for more detailed information regarding the collection.

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Electronic Records Day

The Kentucky Library & Archives in coordination with the Council of State Archivists have declared today the first Electronic Records Day.  At WKU faculty, staff and students are creating records on computers every day.

Electronic records are wonderful.  They can be shared through email, thumb drives, or on computer servers.  They can enable greater collaboration in research at increased speed.  Some contain confidential information that need special protection.

The WKU Records Management program identifies permanent and non-permanent records created by faculty and staff.  We also assist departments in the maintenance and preservation of those records in all formats.  In addition, we provide guidelines for the proper destruction of non-permanent records.

WKU Archives is working to capture and store permanent electronic records that have historic and administrative value in order to make them available to researchers for generations to come.  One avenue is through TopScholar, WKU’s institutional repository.  Here you will find departmental and administrative electronic records that document decisions of administrators and campus activities.

 

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