May 25, 2018 – “Theorems, Time Sheets, and Object Life Cycles”

Hello, everyone!

This post will short as I only spent an hour at the archives today. Yet, I was able to finish listening to the last disc of the Howard Eves Audio Collection, complete my first time sheet, and learn about an object’s life cycle at the archive in such a short amount of time. Hopefully, this post will be not too short.

As previously noted in the last post, I had finished listening to most of the Howard Eves Audio Collection. Yet, there was approximately fourteen minutes left on Track Two of the last disc that were not reviewed. Based on the topics discussed in these last fourteen minutes, a presumption can be made that these fourteen minutes were actually the first part of the lecture. Somehow during the digitization process the recording was jumbled to where the beginning and the end of the lecture were placed together. Nonetheless, this was the least of its problems.

In the recording reviewed, Dr. Eves gave examples from his textbook that he felt he should impart on his students before the semester ended. As stated before, one of those theorems was finding the centroid of a semi-circular arc. Other equations and theorems included the surface of a sphere (A = 4πr2), how to find the volume of a Solid Revolution, solving equations with Stewart’s Theorem (named after Scottish mathematician Matthew Stewart), and Cramer’s rule (Dr. Eves called it “Cramer’s Method,” named after Genevan mathematician Gabriel Cramer) in geometry. Unfortunately, the audio quality suffered as it became choppy (anyone would find the experience intolerable as it hurt to listen due the choppiness). Thankfully, I made a copy of the notes after finishing and placed the copy  in my folder in the library system.

As I was finishing this process, Ms. Rubin came and helped me set up my time sheet. I can only comment that the time sheet reminded me of a custom Excel spreadsheet (much better, though). After filling in the necessary information, I printed two copies, signed them, and handed them in to Ms. Rubin (Mr. Ogreten was not present when I was working today). With these tasks taken care of,  there was some time for me interview Ms. Rubin regarding the life cycle of an object on display in an exhibit as part of my class assignment.

Before explaining the life cycle of an object that is acquired for the Archives, this process only applies to the University Archives portion. The Special Collections portion requires an extra step involving more paperwork to be cleared before the processing begins. Regardless if an object is donated or purchased, the first step is the accession process followed by any additional processes (depends on what the object is), then if the object will be displayed in an exhibit.

The accession processes can be complex, but thankfully Ms. Rubin provided a flow chart to help understand steps involved. First, an entry is made to the University Accession Transfer Records where a collection number is assigned, the date is recorded, the deed of gift is noted, the location of the collection is recorded (an additional note is made if the collection included a flat file), and the donor’s and creator’s names are listed. Next, information  is stored in the Records Transfer document.

The Records Transfer document would include an Open Records Transfer Agreement (stored under the collection number with the creator’s name) with the collection number indicated in the header. “College, Division, Department, or Office” data along with information of who or what sent the records is completed. Next, an inventory of the collection is taken and recorded on the second page of the document (dates are indicated whenever possible). At this point, materials in the collection are rehoused in archival boxes.

In this stage of the process, several decisions have to be made based on the object in question: if the collection includes publications, then they are to be catalogued. If preservation work needs to be conducted, then the type of preservation is noted (removal of rubber bands, metal paperclips, and staples, for example). If there are any photographs, slides, or negatives, then they need to be sleeved (if there are “magnetic pages” involved, those would have to be removed and rehoused in archival-grade material). If there are any scrapbooks, then the condition of the scrapbooks would need to be examined.

Additionally, if there are any copyrighted material or private information (social security numbers, for example), this has to be noted.  If anything is broken or in need of cleaning, this noted. If anything is framed, then the items will be removed from the frames. If there are any digital, audio, or video format, these could be in need of being copied or migrated. If there are any binders,  they have to be removed and materials would have to be stored in archival folders. If there are any large materials, then they may need to be stored in a flat file.

Once these decisions are made, then labels containing the collection number, creator’s name, and the box number are created for the boxes and flat files. A count of these boxes and flat files are then indicated on the first page of the Records Transfer document. Then, the University Accession Transfer Records is updated with the new location of the collection (should be Room 150 on the first floor of the library). After these steps, the Accession Progress is done.

The next step is a process that has been covered throughout this blog and that is the actual sorting and preservation of the collection. OPS employees (student or not), volunteers, and interns usually conduct this work. However, there may be some extra work involved.

If a media item needs digitization, a Digital Request Form is completed and sent beforehand to the the Digital Initiatives department (located on the third floor of the library). The item is then subjected to the adherence of the Shelving Policy: paging slips are completed and orange slips are placed on the shelves where the collection belongs until the digitization process is completed. Similarly, any books are examined by the Book Curator (the process is identical except the Digital Request Form). Eventually, a finding aid is created (with administrative and processed files) and the collection becomes open to the public.

As for items that will be on display in an exhibit, the items will be loaned once the shelving policy procedures are completed. The library usually displays an exhibit ranging from one to four months and conduct three exhibits per year. On a rare exception, an exhibit was on display for nine months due to the library being understaffed at the time. After the display period has ended, the items are returned to their box (or flat file), the paging slips are removed, and placed back on their shelf.

Ms. Rubin also told me to look up the Open Archival Information System (OAIS) for additional procedures. She mentioned the following terminologies: Archival Information Package (AIP),  which is the information stored by archives; Submission Information Package (SIP), which is the information sent from the producer to the archive (donors send this), Dissemination Information Package (DIP), which is the information sent to a user when requested (sent by archives). This may the step she referred to as the additional paper work Special Collections sifts through.

I hope this explanation did not confuse anybody, but this is what I learned. If this answers what my assignment asks, then I am relieved. I guess I will  find out on next Tuesday.

This concludes the first week as  an employee. Having to wake earlier than I have in the past has been an adjustment. Next week will be shorter as the library will closed due to Memorial Day, so there will be no post that day. On that note, enjoy the three day weekend! Bye!

Author: 57r3l574d

I am currently a Graduate Student at the University of Central Florida and simultaneously employed by the university library's Special Collections and University Archives as a Other Personnel Service (OPS) Student. Expected to graduate in 2019 with a History MA - Public History Track.

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