What is an Archives?

As part of International Archives Week 2020, the International Council of Archives (ICA) has encouraged its members to consider what archives are and what they mean to researchers and society. Read on for my thoughts and a few sources on archival collections, institutions, and professionals, and what parts they play in empowering 21st century communities.

A Special Collections Travel Diary

In January, Associate Dean Katie McCormick and I kicked off the new semester by traveling to Berkeley Springs, WV, to acquire a new collection of books related to the French Revolution and Empire. Nestled in the panhandle of West Virginia, Berkeley Springs is within shouting distance of Virginia, Pennsylvania, and Maryland. It’s also known asContinue reading “A Special Collections Travel Diary”

The Library of Babel and Special Collections

The following is a guest post by student assistant Blaise Denton. Here in the Florida State University Special Collections we have a very special volume, Jorge Borges “The Library of Babel.” The standalone volume in our possession is illustrated by Erik Desmazieres. The Book details life in the great and infinite Library of Babel. ItContinue reading “The Library of Babel and Special Collections”

Much Adieu About Something: Reflections of Our Undergraduate Assistants (Part 1)

The division of Special Collections and Archives, of Florida State University, is privileged to have the assistance of our undergraduate student assistants in addition to our graduate assistants. In coordination with our Manager of Special Collections, Lisa Girard, our undergraduate assistants may also work between Heritage Protocol and University Archives (HPUA) and the Claude PepperContinue reading “Much Adieu About Something: Reflections of Our Undergraduate Assistants (Part 1)”

My Year in Special Collections

As I sit down to write my final blog entry as the Special Collections and Archives graduate assistant, I can’t help but think about the pivotal moment that started me down this whole career path. It was the Fall semester of 2011 and I was the nerdiest college sophomore that you’ve ever met. I wasContinue reading “My Year in Special Collections”

Accessioning a Rare Book Collection : Part II

After the successful transport and unloading of the Marsha Gontarski Children’s Literature Collection, I began the process of creating an inventory of all the books in the collection — an excel spreadsheet that is currently at 300 entries and steadily growing. This spreadsheet will serve not only as a record of all the books received in theContinue reading “Accessioning a Rare Book Collection : Part II”

Accessioning a Rare Book Collection: Part I

One of the most common questions I get from undergraduate students during instruction sessions is some variation of “How do materials end up in Special Collections?” There are many answers to this question, of course, but one of the most important ways we receive materials is through donations. With our rare book collections, we are particularlyContinue reading “Accessioning a Rare Book Collection: Part I”

Through the Eyes of a Collection

American Archives Month is when archivists often take the time to tell the public what it is we do all day and why they should care. However, we’ve never much talked about how it must be for the collections themselves. Here’s a collection-level view of what an archivist does when new materials arrive. When IContinue reading “Through the Eyes of a Collection”

Rare Books 101

So, what are rare books exactly? Your first thought might be something like this: Handsome, leather bound volumes that look old and valuable. To be sure, we’ve got a lot of books that look like this in Special Collections & Archives. Our rare books collections cover the spectrum, starting with the origins: fragments of papyrusContinue reading “Rare Books 101”

Digital Library Center 101

Greetings from the Digital Library Center! Want to get a head start on your upcoming research papers? Looking to learn more about the history of the university and life on campus? Maybe you just want to view some of Special Collections and Archives‘ notable rare books and historical collections from the comfort of your own room.Continue reading “Digital Library Center 101”