Federal libraries

What a week


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The History of Information Technology

Additional readings on the development and history of Information Technology:

“The Printing Revolution in Early Modern Europe,” by Elizabeth Eisenstein

“A History of Reading,”  by Alberto Manguel

“Gutenberg:  How One Man Remade the World with Words, by John Man

“The Social Life of Information,” by JS Brown and P. Duguid


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Geography and Map Reading Room Visit

Field trip!  Today Archives Management took a tour of the Geography and Map reading room at the Library of Congess.  The librarian took us back in the stacks and shared many of his favorite treasures.  I specfically enjoyed seeing the vault where the manuscripts and unique treasures are stored.  Obviously the library’s collection put my meager collection to shame but it was awe inspiring.  During the tour RFI’s as a means to detour theft, and the arrangement of the maps were discussed.  The kind librarian also explained how the library currently arranges the maps geographically and not thematically.  Although he did show us a few examples of individual’s papers that went against this general practice.  I can understand and see merits for both practices.  However, when it comes down to access…I think geographical arrangement makes the most sense because I see it as the more natural way patrons will be searching.

Overall, I really enjoyed our visit and look forward to future returns.  My personal interest is in the Conservation and Environment Collection with also has the “Mapping the National Parks Collection

By no means did this tour help me narrow my field of interest.  From personal visits to different libraries, I have noticed that often the Map division and the Government Documents often get pushed off to a corner of the library.  The more I learn, I think the this is my favorite corner! 

Do Maps and SUDOCS have a common theme that I can specialize in?  The US government sure does produce lots of maps.

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Filed under Archives Management, Career Development, Field Trip

ASIST Career Day Panel

Attended CUA-ASIST Career day panel.  Very informative and yummy snacks.  The Feds offered valuable advice on filling out KSAs…apparently being precise, restating the KSA vocabulary, answering KSA exactly and PERSISTENCE = Federal Job!  Kate Martin specifically offered entertaining and comforting advice about  getting in at the bottom and never saying no to a job in order to move on up the librarian ladder.

Speakers included:

Todd Harvey
Folklife Specialist
American Folklife Center
The Library of Congress

Marisa Bourgoin
Reference Services
Archives of American Art
Smithsonian Institution

R. James King
Chief Librarian
U.S. Navy Research Laboratory

Eileen Deegan
Program Analyst
Office of Information Resources
International Information Programs
U.S. Department of State

Kate Martin
Director of Library and Research Services
McKenna Long & Aldridge LLP

Heather K. Calloway
Commissariat of the Holy Land USA
Franciscan Monastery
Washington, DC

Megan Sheils
Reference Librarian
U.S. Department of State

Ned Kraft
Acquisitions Librarian
U.S. Department of State

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CUA Archives

CUA Archives      cuaarchivesshelves1.jpg 

Where I spend Tuesday mornings:  The CUA Archives

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A Typical day in the Archives -Follow Up

So Yesterday I questioned injury stats for Archivist and wanted to follow up with some findings. 

Thankfully, generally it is not considered a particularly dangerous  profession.  The Bureau of Labor Statistics does not do a separate count for Archivists, but rather groups Librarians, Archivists and Curators together.  According to the BLS from 1994 to 2001 there were 0 (zero) fatal  injuries attributed to librairans, archivists and curators.  In 2002 there  were 5.   Fatal Occupational Injuries, By Detailed Occupation, 1994-2002 [Part  01: Total; Managerial And Professional Specialty]

Report Title: Fatal Workplace Injuries in 2003: (Full Document…) Issued By: Bureau of Labor Statistics
Publication Date: September, 2004 Table on Page(s): 107

The BLS reports the following for Days away from work related to  occupational injuries or illnesses:
2002 Librarians 50      Archivists/curators 86
2001 Librarians 98      Archivists/curators 65
 Librarians, archivists and curators had 50 days away from work  cases related to occupational injuries or illnesses. 

After I didn’t find anything on the Society of American Archivist’s website, I also sent an email to the LOC’s Ask a Librarian for additional sources.  Here is their reply:

“Dear Colleen:

I of course immediately shot this question over to an Archivist friend
who writes

“… my guess the injuries would include carpal tunnel, back injuries (or other related injuries) from lifting heavy materials (most job descriptions require people to be able to lift at least 25-30 lbs), problems from mold (I got allergies and respiratory problems from handling moldy items without proper protection. One colleague also got a rash from handling moldy stuff so I guess skin problems should be included as well), and falls from ladders (a colleague was killed by head injuries from
a fall from a ladder trying to get a box off a high shelf).

I was talking to … (archivist at national archives) when I got this question and she mentioned a person at NARA who got crushed in the compact shelving when he tried to override the shelving control.”

You may also wish to correspond with the Society of American Archivists.”

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Filed under Archives Management, Practicum

A Typical Day at the CUA Archives

My third week at the CUA Archives was very productive.  I’ve jumped right into the boxes.  After dropping my bags and personal gear in the office, I head downstairs to begin my shift.   Due to privacy issues and current restrictions on different aspects of the collection, I’m not allowed to go into great details about the specific information that I’m working with, but I can describe my process.  I’ve made a excel workseet for each accession number that I find on the boxes,  then I try to find the same accession number in the accession report database (they don’t always match)  then I list the date accessioned, the box numbers, the shelf numbers, the information listed in the original accession file database, my suggested series and a listing of the basic files in each box.  Once I go through all 99 boxes, my plan is to then analyze the series and files to see if their are better subseries that were not easily identifiable when looking at an individual box. 

Since the little dolly I’ve been using to move the boxes from the Blue Room (where the collection is housed)  to the red room (where my computer is located) only holds 6 boxes, the time I spend at the computer is broken up perfectly with the physical labor of moving the boxes back and forth; and I mean physical.   Every time I find myself on the ladder I wonder about the statistics of archivists falling off. 

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