Some days it seems like the most efficient people around here are our student workers. And maybe that’s because we give them tasks with beginnings, middles, and ends, unlike the stuff we reserve for ourselves which seems pretty much permanently on-going. In the last week, we’ve had 2 students polish off projects that have been hanging around for a while. In our terms, backlog.
The first project is the papers of Kay Brown. Kay Brown has served in Alaska state government in a variety of roles and is now a communications consultant. This 64 cubic foot collection has been here since 1996. The folders were all labeled and the collection just needed some reboxing and the creation of a box/folder list as well as some overarching description. And then Frank Grubbs walked in the door looking for something to do. You’ve seen Frank mentioned a lot in this blog. He likes hanging out with us, we’re not always sure why, but we like having him around too. And since Frank has been with us for a while, he’s gotten used to some of the ways archivists do things. And so we said: what do you think about this project? He said: okay. And a few short weeks later, we have a fleshed-out finding aid to the collection, allowing us to make it accessible to researchers. Click on the link in the last sentence to see Frank’s great work.
A couple of weeks ago, Stacy Jeffrey walked in the door looking for something to do, too. Stacy has worked for us before, but she’d not been working at the library the last few months so it had been a while since we’d seen her. She also likes working with us, for reasons unknown. Just about the time she walked in, we were messing with the UAA Athletics records trying to figure out organization so we could get some of the photos into the picturingUAA database. And in these records we found about a cubic foot’s worth of 35 mm color slides from 1979-1985 that were in desperate need of new slide enclosures and some description. So Stacy’s timing got her saddled with that project. Thing is, she liked it. So we made her write up some description for it (who better than the person who has been playing in the records?) and we now have a finding aid to those materials, too. And since she was having so much fun, we asked if she’d like to do the selection from those images for the picturingUAA database. With some few guidelines (50-200 images, don’t get too repetitive, clarity is good, get a variety) she’s off and selecting like crazy. When she finishes that, she’ll move on to scanning the slides so we can get them loaded into the database.
It’s occasionally annoying, as we look at the piles on our desks and what seems like neverending projects, to have students keep running in our offices and announcing “I’m done.” But we have to admit, there’s a solid thrill in it too. And we suspect at times that it may not be so much that they really like what they’re doing for us so much as they’d rather do that then shelve books or tattle-tag journals. But we’re not going to ask what the motivation is as long as they’re cruising on and decimating our backlog. It’s a very good thing. Thanks guys. We appreciate it. You make us look good.
[Note: Due to a cost increase for PicturingUAA, all images that were once available on PicturingUAA have been moved to Alaska’s Digital Archives. We also have many more images within our physical holdings. Please contact us if you have any questions.]