FSU Special Collections & Archives will be participating in #AskAnArchivist Day again this year! We’ll be taking over the FSU Libraries Twitter account (@FSULibrary) from 10am to 2pm on Wednesday, October 4, 2017, to answer all your questions about our materials, what we do and why we do it.
Not sure what #AskAnArchivist day is? —On October 4, archivists around the country will take to Twitter to answer your questions about any and all things archives. This day-long event, sponsored by the Society of American Archivists, will give you the opportunity to
connect directly with archivists in your community—and around the country—to ask questions, get information, or just satisfy your curiosity. You can take a look at how FSU participated for last year’s event on Storify.
So, if you have a question for us, tweet at the @FSULIbrary handle and make sure to use the hashtag #AskAnArchivist with your question. Or, if you have more general questions about archives around the country, ask your question with that hashtag and you’ll get answers from lots of archives and museums that will be participating around the country.
Happy Labor Day, or the unofficial end of summer in the US. Here in the South, students have been back to school since mid-August in some cases but we have had a few pleasant mornings so maybe a north Florida fall is coming earlier than usual? We can only hope!
In celebration of Labor Day, Special Collections & Archives is closed Monday, September 4th. We will resume our normal operating hours on Tuesday, September 5th. We wish everyone a safe and happy Labor Day weekend!
In looking for an appropriate image to accompany this post, we found the below image. It made us wonder, is there a union for circus workers? While we couldn’t find a dedicated one, the American Guild of Variety Artists does include circus performers as part of their family. You learn something new every day! No word on whether those poor souls unloading a lion are covered though.
If you missed out on #AskAnArchivist Day, be sure to check out all the questions we answered! While #AskAnArchivist happens only one day a year, you can always contact our archivists and librarians by emailing email@example.com or calling the Research Center at 850-644-3271.
On October 5, 2016, archivists around the country will take to Twitter to answer your questions about any and all things archives and FSU Special Collections & Archives will be there! This day-long event, sponsored by the Society of American Archivists, will give you the opportunity to connect directly with archivists here at FSU to ask about our work, our collections or really anything archival.
As professional experts who do the exciting work of protecting and sharing important historical materials here at FSU, we have many stories to share about the work we do every day in preserving fascinating documents, photographs, audio and visual materials, and artifacts. Increasingly, our work extends beyond the physical and includes digital materials such as the work done with the FSU Digital Library. #AskAnArchivist Day will give you a chance to connect with those of us in FSU Libraries who are tackling the challenges of preserving our digital heritage for the future.So, ask us anything and everything.
No question is too silly . . .
What’s the craziest thing you’ve come across in your collections?
If your archives had a soundtrack, what songs would be on it?
What do archivists talk about around the water cooler?
. . . and no question is too practical!
What should I do to be sure that my emails won’t get lost?
I’ve got loads of digital images on my phone. How should I store them so I can access them later on?
How do you decide which items to keep and which to weed out from a collection?
As a teacher, how can I get my students more interested in using archives for projects?
So, how does it work?
#AskAnArchivist Day is open to everyone—all you need is a Twitter account. To participate, just tweet a question to @FSULibrary between 10am and 3pm on October 5th and include the hashtag #AskAnArchivist in your tweet. Your question will be seen instantly by archivists here at FSU and around the country who will be standing by to respond directly to you. So if we’re not sure at FSU how to answer, we bet we can find someone who can! We also may not know every answer right away, but we’ll do some digging and get back to you ASAP. Even if you don’t have a question right away, we hope you’ll search Twitter for #AskAnArchivist and follow along as questions and answers are shared to get a better idea not just of what we do here at FSU Special Collections & Archives but what archivists are doing around the world.
Banned Books Week 2016 is here! This year from September 25th to October 1st, we celebrate open access to information and the freedom to read. FSU Special Collections & Archives is host to several frequently challenged and banned classics available for use in our Reading Room, including:
The Lord of the Rings, by J.R.R. Tolkien (1954)
Lady Chatterley’sLover, by D.H. Lawrence (1928)
Fahrenheit 451, by Ray Bradbury (1953)
The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, by Mark Twain (1884)
The Autobiography of Malcolm X, by Malcolm X and Alex Haley (1965)
The Call of the Wild, by Jack London (1903)
For Whom the Bell Tolls, by Ernest Hemingway (1940)
Gone With the Wind, by Margaret Mitchell (1936)
The Naked and the Dead, by Norman Mailer (1948)
Howl, by Allen Ginsberg (1956)
To Kill a Mockingbird, by Harper Lee (1960)
Ulysses, by James Joyce (1922)
Naked Lunch, by William S. Burroughs (1959)
For more information on banned books, check out the American Library Association’s Banned Books Week website.
March 6, 2016 would have been the 99th birthday of cartoonist and writer Will Eisner (1917-2005), and once again the week surrounding it has been declared Will Eisner Week by the Eisner Family Foundation. Will Eisner Week is an annual celebration promoting graphic novels, literacy, free speech awareness, and the legacy of Eisner. Continue reading Will Eisner Week 2016→
As a digital archivist, when I’m working with exhibits, they are usually of the digital variety. However, when we wanted to make a splash for the launch of DigiNole: FSU’s Digital Repository which combines the digital library with the research repository, we knew we needed to do something a bit bold, a bit crazy and very impressive.
What’s Past is Pixels: Developing the FSU Digital Library is an exhibit opening today about our work on the digital library. Perhaps our introduction to the exhibit says it best:
For over 10 years Florida State University Libraries has hosted a digital library in some form or another. In that time technology has evolved, changing how we can interact with physical objects in a digital space. The FSU Digital Library continues to evolve as well.
Today, the Florida State University Digital Library, under DigiNole, our new digital platform, provides online access to thousands of unique manuscripts, photographs, pamphlets, rare books, historic maps and other materials from across the FSU campus libraries and beyond. Our goal is to support active learning and engagement by providing ample opportunities for discovery and scholarship. In order to achieve this goal new resources and projects are constantly being added to the digital library.
The exhibit takes you through the process of materials being selected, digitized, and described before they find their way into DigiNole. It then explores the new uses for materials that can occur in the digital environment and what the future may hold for the development of DigiNole over time.
We’re having some Opening Day festivities today for the new exhibit. A Coffee Talk at 10am, Cake (!) from 12-1pm and then a Closing Reception from 3-4pm. Also throughout the day, there will be demonstrations of DigiNole and what you can find and do with our materials.
What’s Past is Pixels: Developing the FSU Digital Library is located in the Strozier Library Exhibit Room and is open 10am to 4pm, Monday through Friday. It will be held from February 29 until April 8, 2016.
Mittan: A Retrospective is the photographic exhibit currently on display in the Special Collections and Archives gallery space in Strozier Library. The works of J. Barry Mittan candidly capture the student experience at Florida State University in the 1960s and 1970s. As a student and photographer for numerous campus publications, including the Tally-Ho yearbook and Florida Flambeau newspaper, Mittan often photographed students at official university-sponsored events and spontaneous student gatherings alike. Through his documentation of sporting events, Greek life, protests, concerts, study sessions, socials, and so on, he was able to construct a comprehensive view of FSU student life in which individuals banded together to share a common voice in an age of social change. Mittan’s unique perspective as a student informed his photographic purpose to see the individuals among the crowd.
Please join us for a closing reception celebrating the photographic works of J. Barry Mittan tonight from 5-7pm! The reception will be held in the Special Collections Gallery on the first floor of Strozier Library. The exhibit closes on February 8th.
As previous posts have shown, the work of Special Collections & Archives staff is not confined to the walls of the library. We love being able to get out into the community, so Associate Dean of Special Collections Katie McCormick and I jumped at the chance to attend the Burns’ Supper hosted by the St. Andrew Society of Tallahassee on Saturday, January 23rd at Westminster Oaks. The Burns’ Supper is a celebration of the life and works of Scotland’s National Poet, Robert Burns (1759-1796), which was begun by Robert Burns’s friends in 1801 to celebrate the fifth anniversary of his death. It is traditionally held on or around January 25th, Burns’s birthday, and commences with the famous “Address to Haggis,” followed by the eating of haggis with tatties and neeps (mashed potatoes and turnips). It was my first time trying haggis, and, I must say, it was delicious! The evening continued with dinner, toasts and poetry recitations, and a wonderful performance of Scottish music and songs set to Burns’s poetry put on by the FSU School of Music.
FSU Special Collections & Archives has over one-hundred editions of Burns’s poetry in our John MacKay Shaw Childhood Poetry and Scottish Collections, as well as many more volumes on the history, culture, and literature of Scotland. John MacKay Shaw was a founding member of the St. Andrew Society of Tallahassee, and his impressive book collection includes the famous Kilmarnock edition of Burns’s poetry, published in Edinburgh in 1786. Each year, the St. Andrew Society of Tallahassee generously provides us with a donation to support the upkeep and development of our Scottish Collection. At this year’s Burns’ Supper, we received an extra treat when society member Ken Sinclair presented FSU Special Collections & Archives with an 1873 Edinburgh imprint of The Complete Works of Robert Burns which had been passed down in his family for several generations. We look forward to adding this book to our collections, and we’re already looking forward to next year’s Burns Night!
What do archivists do all day, anyway? Look at old photos? Dust yearbooks? Take papers from one file folder and put them in another?
Those are all true to some extent, but university archivists play more roles in their community than one might think. Take a look at some of the extraordinary events during an average week in FSU Special Collections and Archives:
Thursday, October 15:
Students from the ART5928 workshop “Creating Experiences” visit the Claude Pepper Museum. Their project this semester involves creating a public event that could be held in in a museum space. The students have designed a Claude Pepper Pajama Party event and social media campaign, and today they’re walking through their ideas with Pepper Library Manager Rob Rubero.
FSU Special Collections has always considered local history one of its collecting strengths. In an effort to deepen community connections and learn more about the Tallahassee music industry, Rory Grennan and Katie McCormick attend a public appearance by influential songwriter and producer George Clinton. Aside from smiles and photo opportunities, our archivists enjoy many conversations with Clinton’s family and associates about his work and his legacy.
Friday, October 16:
Today, the Special Collections Research Center reading room has the privilege of hosting the members of the Florida State University History Club. A dozen history undergraduates attend an informational presentation by Manuscript Archivist Rory Grennan and Rare Books Librarian Kat Hoarn. Presentations and instructional sessions for students, faculty, and the public are a core part of the Special Collections mission, and occur frequently at the beginning of the school year. History Club members are excited to see 4000 years of human history laid out in documents from our collections including cuneiform tablets, a page from a Bible printed by Gutenberg, and artist books from the 21st century.
Monday, October 19:
Monday morning, archivists Sandra Varry and Krystal Thomas visit the University Registrar’s office to consult on the preservation of student transcripts on microfilm. The filmed student records see heavy use, and unfortunately enough of the film has been worn down that some records are losing information. The group discusses modern strategies such as digitization to preserve these essential historical records that document a century of higher education.
Later, Sandra Varry and division staff prepare for a new exhibit opening today in the Special Collections Exhibit Room on the first floor of Strozier Library. “Mittan: A Retrospective” celebrates the work of photographer Barry Mittan, and documents student life at FSU in the 1960s and 1970s. The exhibit was curated by graduate assistant Britt Boler and runs through January 2016.
In the afternoon, Krystal Thomas carefully reviews and uploads recently-digitized cookbooks and herbals to the FSU Digital Library. The Digital Library features digitized versions of the highlights of our collections, as chosen by Special Collections staff and our users, and new content is added regularly by archives staff.
Tuesday, October 20:
Things They Don’t Teach You In Grad School #47: Water and vinegar makes an effective, non-abrasive cleaner for a headstone.
Former FSU faculty member Paul Dirac was a giant in the fields of mathematics and quantum mechanics, and his papers are a frequently-consulted resource by researchers at FSU Libraries. Since no members of the Dirac family remain in Tallahassee, it has become the unofficial duty of our library and archives staff to visit Dirac’s grave once a year and see that it is kept clean. October 20th is the anniversary of Dirac’s death, and seems an appropriate time to visit the site. Archivists Katie McCormick, Rory Grennan, and Krystal Thomas, accompanied by library Director of Development Susan Contente and a handful of Physics Department students, scrub the headstone and plant fresh flowers this afternoon.
Wednesday, October 21:
Early this morning, archives staff notice an uncharacteristic rise in temperature in the stacks. After confirming initial impressions with a few temperature readings, contact is quickly made with library facilities staff to take steps to correct an issue with the building’s HVAC systems. Constant environmental monitoring is an important part of preserving our collections, as paper, film, and other substrates are vulnerable to fluctuations in temperature and humidity. There’s no point to collecting items that can’t be made to last! You never know what someone might need next week…