So, as I posted more than a few months ago, I took a position as the Project Archivist for Athletics and Recreation at the University of Denver in September 2007. I accepted the position because I could instinctively tell that I would be working with one of the most knowledgeable and enthusiastic archivists in the biz, Greg Colati, as well as a senior administrator in the Division of Athletics and Recreation who was passionately committed to the success of the project. I have to say, my experience with the job has been everything I hoped for and then some. The only real issue with the job was that it was a year-long position.

I’m happy to announce that, between my hiring as project archivist and now, I’ve been appointed Interim Archives Processing Librarian. The gist of this is that I have a chance, between now and when a national search is completed, to supervise all of special collections processing for the University of Denver. In addition to being a fantastic opportunity, I also get to participate in what I believe to be a pretty revolutionary re-structuring…archives processing will move underneath the administrative umbrella of the library’s Technical Services unit.

I’ve been “on the job” for about a week and a half now, so I don’t really have a lot to report on yet, but I hope to soon…and I hope to do so a lot more regularly than I have been for the past year!

It’s brand-new and needs some serious populating, so have at it!

Link to SAA wiki

First Snow of the Year, originally uploaded by librarykatja.

It snowed! And then melted. But it was really pretty while it lasted.

As per usual, most of the good ideas that I write about in here are not my own, so I’m giving full credit to David Lee King and his “What did David do today?” post. I was especially intrigued by the idea because I’m a huge fan of microhistory, and I always like to read about what other archivists actually do…so here’s my very own little slice of archival life.

  • Refined and sent out for approval the text of an outreach handout that will be included in the “Athletic Hall of Fame” inductee packets. (“Athletic Hall of Fame” is a University of Denver Athletics and Recreation ceremony that’s held once a year to honor individuals and teams who have made important contributions to DU Athletics history)
  • Discussed the progress of the baseline DU Athletics and Recreation chronology with my research assistant.
  • Received the “ok” on the image header I created for the blog that will contain all project updates.
  • Attended a lunchtime presentation on the use of Second Life for distance education in the physics department.
  • Reviewed the draft of the record group structure that I developed based on DU directory information, Athletics and Recreation org charts, and my interviews with unit directors and other project personnel.
  • Drafted preliminary processing plan for the Athletics and Recreation records that are currently in the University Archives.
  • Did some test data entry to see if the record group structure and processing plan would hold up under systematic processing with our collections management software.
  • Went home and watched “Valley Girl” and “Harold and Maude.”

Okay, so the last one isn’t explicitly job-related, but taking mental breaks is key to maintaining workplace focus…and I view Friday night movie-watching as a very important mental break. 🙂

I know I’m usually a grammar stickler, but I can’t resist the lolcat grammar. Also, the grammatical unorderliness is a mirror of my mind at the moment; my new job is fantastic and challenging and I’m learning a lot, but the result of all that learning is that when I do actually get home, I’m effectively brain-dead.

So, hopefully that will change soon, and my brain will adjust, and I’ll start rhapsodizing (coherently) in detail about various aspects of my job.

Until then, well, here’s a lolcat. Enjoy.

I is workin. Wat u want?

First and foremost, Studs Terkel is amazing and a legend and he really, really likes to talk.

Second, only Studs Terkel’s talk running late could have prevented me from attending the Blogger Get-Together that happened this Thursday. I did get to meet with Sally Jacobs, the lovely author of The Practical Archivist, that night, which was a treat and a half…I couldn’t have asked for a more ebullient fellow blogger. 🙂

Anyway, to the business at hand:

Workshops and sessions I attended and will be blogging about in further detail:

Describing Archives: A Content Standard

Managing the Digital University Desktop

Advanced Electronic Records Management

Digitization Matters Symposium

New Member/First Timer Breakfast and Orientation

Free Speech, Free Spirit: The Studs Terkel Center for Oral History (in addition to Studs, Michael Gorman spoke…which I thought was more than a little odd)

When Good Photo Collections Go Bad: Critical Concepts for Understanding and Managing Photo Collections

Reference Service and Minimal Processing: Challenges and Opportunities

MPLP Comes Home to Roost: Applying the Greene-Meissner Recommendations Broadly Across an Institution

Archival Education for the Digital Age

The Dynamics in the Aggregate: Shareable Metadata and Next-Generation Access Systems

If anyone has any specific questions about these, just leave me a comment and I’ll get back to you; I took copious notes, but given the ridiculous price of wireless internet at the Fairmont (don’t even get me started on that) and the fact that most of the discussion rooms were chairs-only (no tables on which to set my laptop), a lot of those notes are hand-written, so actually getting a handle on them might take awhile….not to mention that tomorrow I will be flying to Colorado and beginning to unpack all of my things, and so I’ll be pretty busy (to say the least). However, I do think it’s valuable to have some information on these sessions out there, so I will be blogging about it…it just might take awhile. 🙂

To everyone who is currently in Chicago, I hope to see you at the All-Attendee Reception at the Millenium Park Rooftop Terrace. I’m tall anyway and I’m wearing wedge heels, so if you see me (that is, if you recognize me from my pic on the SAA wiki profile), say hi!

Lots of things have happened in the past few weeks:

  • I got my first professional archivist job in Colorado (see below post)
  • I found a house in Colorado (see Flickr pics…and picture it without the rasta flag and other college paraphernalia)
  • I had my last day at the office where I have worked (in a non-archival capacity) since 2003

But, the most momentous of all….

I am finally the proud owner of both a 15″MacBook Pro and an iPod nano! I have to confess, there was a subsidy in the case of the MacBook, but my PC was starting to make me a little nervous (I got the blue screen of death a few times) and I was really sick of being yoked to my desk at home. The nano, well, I couldn’t resist, and I’m glad I didn’t. My trips to Colorado for both the job interview and the house-hunting were relatively stress-free, and I think it was largely due to the Ella at my fingertips.

I will be traveling to the Society of American Archivists conference tomorrow, where I’ll be attending the DACS (Describing Archives: A Content Standard), Managing the Digital University Desktop, Advanced Electronic Records Management, and Digitization Matters workshops, in addition to the annual meeting. I am pretty darn psyched.

Also, as far as I can tell, the “Blogger Get-Together” (which, incidentally, is not just for the bloggers, but for anyone involved in making the annual meeting more “2.0”…Flickr taggers, wiki creators, etc.) will be held on Thursday at lunch, exact times and locations TBA. This is probably one of the only chances I’ll get to meet some of the other archival bloggers/wiki-creators, etc. out there, so I hope everyone who’s there and who even sort of fits this description will come.

Be forewarned, I’ll probably take pictures. 🙂

I have been offered (and have accepted) a project archivist position in Colorado!

I’m guessing that the next month will be taken up with the general business of relocating, especially since I will be at the SAA conference essentially right before my start date.

Anyway, my point is that I’m not sure if I’ll be posting between now and the middle of September, but I just wanted to make sure that it was clear that I hadn’t abandoned my little blog, I’m just on a hiatus until the dust settles.

Diverging from the archival theme, I noticed a post on one of my regular technology-related feeds that really struck me, and is related to the information profession…but definitely not specifically to archives, so bear with me.

Web Worker Daily posted a “What is Your Third Place?” open thread, primarily discussing where telecommuters/web workers go in order to counterract the feelings of isolation that working from home can sometimes cause, and I was a little sad (but not incredibly surprised) that no one in the comments section mentioned the library as their “third place.” 

 I’m having a bit of trouble with the concept of “third place,” (a term coined by Ray Oldenberg in his books “Celebrating the Third Place” and “The Great, Good Place“) as it seems to be tied closely to the terms “public” or “civic space,” (a place that is paid for by all, for all people), but the term “third space” doesn’t differentiate (at least from what I can tell) between commercial and non-commercial space…it’s just the place where you go that is not-work and not-home (as well as meeting Oldenburg’s “eight criteria,” which you can find in “The Great, Good Place”).

Increasingly, corporations (Starbucks, Panera, Borders) have co-opted many of the aspects associated with “third place,” (heck, Howard Schultz, the head of Starbucks, even markets Starbucks as a “third place”). Don’t get me wrong, I love coffee shops, bookstores, and restaurants, I think they are vital parts of a creative, connected community. However, due to their commercial nature, I can’t agree with Ray Oldenburg when he calls them “neutral public spaces.” Staring at that sentence, I realize how ridiculous it is that I’m disagreeing with the person who coined the term in the first place, but I don’t see how a place that exists primarily to get the people who enter it to spend their money could be seen as neutral.

So, what happens when, as is mentioned in the Chronicle of Higher Ed. article I’ve linked to below, libraries add on a Starbucks? Does this diminish their status as a third place? Does the digital environment of MMOGs constitute another legitimate third place? (P.S., David Lee King and the good folks at It’s All Good (four OCLC bloggers) have some interesting things to say on this topic)

I’m not entirely sure what the answers to those or many of the other questions that are swirling around in my mind when it comes to this idea. But, much like everything else on this blog, I’m sure I’ll re-visit it at some point with at least a slightly clearer idea of what I do actually think. 🙂

More articles on this subject. I’m being rebellious and not using APA format.