You have the best job ever! A week in the life of a University Archivist

As a University Archivist, each day brings unique challenges, and every day is different. What most people don’t realize are the variety of duties, responsibilities, and actions that take place to keep everything moving forward to acquire, preserve, and provide access to Florida State’s historical collections. In the course of a week, a multitude of activities take place.

FSCW-ScrapbookExhibit-5x7_Page_1Outreach is one of my main duties, and at the top of the list this week is printing and mounting all of the visual components, and then staging everything for our upcoming exhibit on Florida State College for Women’s Scrapbooks. For this project I also get to supervise and mentor two great graduate assistants, work on a postcard, reception, and logistics for all of that. Giving presentations and instruction to support classes on campus is another outreach activity. I presented on using our finding aids database Archon, how to find materials in the FSU Digital Library, and the important aspects of creating oral histories to ensure their long-term preservation and access. Students will make appointments and come in to meet with me and to look at primary resources for their projects. Their topic is FSU students and their experiences, right up our alley! I also spend time on ideas and posts for Facebook, and writing blog posts like these to get the word out about what we do.

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First summer in new president’s house. Dr. Doak S. Campbell and Mrs. Edna Simmons Campbell, 1948

Every week I receive multiple requests for materials, most often images for use on the web, in print, and for events. The bulk of the requests I receive are from other departments on campus, especially administration. For example, University Communications contacted us to provide historic images for the President’s House that we will scan and provide for them to print. We have provided images for the scoreboard at Doak Campbell Stadium, for galas, for the newspaper, for student projects, and for local media outlets.

West Florida Seminary Seal
West Florida Seminary Seal

To administer Heritage Protocol & University Archives requires quite a few meetings with groups inside and outside of the libraries. Meetings this week include those to discuss how our Special Collections & Archives reading room operates, how the libraries support scholarly communications, and how the University Archives will preserve all of FSU’s historic seals and logos.I also meet with other departments on campus about transferring their records to the University Archives, which acts as the official repository for FSU.

 

OctoberArchivesMonthFlorida

Professional roles often cross over, and as President of the Society of Florida Archivists, my goal is  to support the profession by collaborating with other archivist across the state and providing support to new professionals. In addition to my duties as FSU, organizing and planning activities for Archives Month this October, and our annual meeting next May in Miami, I stay busy, but also connected to other archivists and institutions across the state which in turn enhances my abilities at FSU. I also participate in different committees and activities related to the Society of American Archivists.

This is one week, and certainly not all that I do as an archivist, but it certainly goes beyond sitting in a dusty room sifting through boxes of old papers (I like doing that too). The collections we have are rich and full of the evidence of the people who created them illustrating FSU over time, including faculty, staff, and students. When I explain to people what an archivist is and what I do here at Heritage Protocol & University Archives, they often exclaim, “You have the best job ever!”

Yes, yes I do.

 

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