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.
WKU Soap Box Derby
October is Archives Month and in Kentucky the theme is Athletics in Archives in honor of the 2012 Olympics. This year’s poster features images of sports being played and enjoyed by Kentuckians of all ages. The WKU photo shows children participating in a soap box derby race down College Heights Hill.
The WKU Archives website is featuring links to Hilltopper related items housed here in the Kentucky Building. The collections are open to researchers most Mondays – Saturdays 9 to 4. The online inventories and digital objects are available 24/7 through TopScholar.
Archives throughout the Commonwealth capture and preserve records of all types of athletic activities. Check out collections near you in person and those available online year round.
The Spirit Masters have been around for awhile and will be celebrating their 30th anniversary this weekend.
WKU Archives holds several composite photographs of the group such as this one. The 1991-92 photos are special as the Spirit Masters signed them with well wishes for Elizabeth Esters and WKU President Thomas Meredith. This image and and notes are now available for viewing on TopScholar.
WKU Archives also hold UA12/2/16 Spirit Masters records. Mentions of the group are also found in UA4/2 Academic Budgets & Administration and UA12/2/20 Phi Delta Theta records. These records are available for researchers to use in the Harrison-Baird Research Room Monday – Saturday 9 – 4.
Students Attending Chapel
Archives are not a digital Mecca where every text of every document is online and searchable by keyword ~ archivist Luncinda Glenn, Graduate Theological Union Archives.
That being said, more and more individual images and documents are going online every day, along with descriptions of collections. These are put up to conserve fragile documents, to provide easier and greater access to records that are in high demand among researchers and to draw attention to an archives collections in order to bring people in for more indepth research.
Hilltopper Heritage is the University Archives “digital Mecca” for WKU sources including historic events, biographies of faculty, staff and alumni, photographs and departmental histories. You will find digitized yearbooks, College Heights Herald articles and building histories. While we will never digitize the entire collection, it is a good place to begin your research. Hilltopper Heritage also allows for users to share their memories of WKU experiences with us through Share a Tradition.
Before there was a WKU, Bowling Green was home to a number of private colleges. One of these was Ogden College. Located between State and Chestnut Streets, Ogden opened in 1877 as a boy’s school offering a 2 year prepatory course and 4 year college work. In 1927 the Ogden trustees and Western regents came to an understanding whereby the property was leased to Western. The campus is now home to the Ogden College of Science & Engineering. The records of the school were transferred to University Archives and are now available for researchers. These include images, student records, student newspapers and yearbooks. Check out the following websites for more information regarding Ogden College:
Archives are not the place to run in to check a quick fact and then again, sometimes they are. Archives generally are about indepth research. It takes time to read through original sources and find the information that will prove or disprove your hypothesis about a person or event. Often reference staff will slow you down and go over the question(s) that you are looking to answer. We are attempting to narrow the field of the many resources we hold to get you to the ones that have information that you are requesting. Sometimes the answer you want is not the one you get.
Then again, sometimes researchers ask a question that has been asked many times and the reference staff does have the answer immediately. It can happen. Either way, archives are a great place to find answers.
Cherry Hall Elevation
Construction on a college campus is an ongoing occurrence and that certainly seems to be true of WKU. Current renovation and construction projects include the Chapel, Van Meter Hall, Snell Hall and the College of Education. University Archives holds records of construction projects dating back to 1906. These are found in a variety of collections such as the president’s papers, photograph collection and the Building File created by the Planning, Design & Construction Office.
University Archives staff are processing the building file as it is being used by patrons. During processing, folder level descriptions are added to the finding aid. Updates are posted on TopScholar. There you will see the type of records in each folder: correspondence, construction meeting minutes and inspection reports. Correspondents are listed by name or company. Researchers can see the process of how a building has gone from the drawing board to final inspection and opening.
Student volunteers and workers have been researching building histories. These are posted online as a part of Hilltopper Heritage.
Check out these and other records in University Archives via KenCat.
Holy Cross archivist Sarah Campbell stated that “archives aren’t lending libraries.” Special collections serve a different mission than lending libraries. They hold unique, one of a kind items that need special care and handling in order to preserve them for as long as possible.
Think about the different conditions that you subject a library book to while you have it checked out. How many other items are in your back pack with it jostling around? Is it raining outside as you cross campus without an umbrella? Do you read at the dining table while eating? Do you take notes with a sheet of paper laid over the pages?
These are things that would destroy most archival materials in a relatively short time. Special collection books and documents don’t circulate and we have rules about how they can be handled in order to ensure that you can use them as well as the person who comes in after you.
Check out the Kentucky Library & Museum collections on KenCat.
Debate Team at Harvard, 1959
The debate team, now known as the WKU Forensics Team, has been around nearly as long as WKU. And they’ve been winning awards all through the years. The WKU Archives holds some documents regarding the team. These include programs for oratorical contests dating back to 1910, group photos and photos of individuals in debates. These records are part of record group UA68/6/2 English Department Student Organizations. This picture includes Mary Grise and Lerond Curry, but the remaining team members have not been identified. Please contact the University Archivies at firstname.lastname@example.org if you recognize it. Members of the team from any era are invited to share memories of great debates for inclusion on Shared Memories.
The University Archives is a great resource for research on student organizations. Check out Hilltopper Heritage and KenCat for more information.
Black Carpet Beetle, Louis Sorkin
Shari Theroux contributed “Archives are not a good place to eat,” to the list of what an archives is not.
Archivists, like conservators generally follow the rule of “do no harm” to the collections in their care. One easy way to do this is to prohibit food and drink in rooms where records are stored, processed and used by patrons.
The obvious damage comes from spillage onto documents that at worst would make them completely unreadable and at least deface them irreversibly. Mold can set up in wet documents rather quickly and spread to other documents. It is difficult and expensive to erradicate once it takes hold.
Food is prohibited because it can attract rodents and insects. Once insects have found their way into books, they can be removed through fumigation or freezing. Insects can eat their way through a collection rather quickly leaving only fragments behind.
Removing human food and drink from the archives prevents them from becoming the insects’ and rodents’ favorite snack bar.