Previously on this blog, we have shared a day in the life of an archivist, but we focused more upon activities that we might be doing rather than the ones we were actually doing. This time around we have decided to share an actual day and kill two birds with one stone. First, we are participating in the Library Day in the Life Project, through which library folks all over the world share what a day in their professional lives looks like. Secondly, we thought it might be cool for our readers to see what the archivists do all day up in their dusty old cave. Steve will be sitting this one out, so it’s all me this time.
Tuesday, January 31
8:00am Put my kettle on. No, I’m not British, but I do drink hot tea ALL DAY. I will leave further references to tea drinking out since, like I said, I do it ALL DAY.
8:05am Check a ridiculous amount of emails-mostly listserv junk. Really folks, do we have to have 10 emails discussing what exactly is meant by a linear foot?
8:15am Volunteer to assist grad school with information table at Tennessee Library Association annual conference because I’m a kind person. Are you listening, Steve?
8:30ish am Create monthly report for my work in ye olde Special Collections
9:00ish am Continue working on an outstanding reference request which entails poring over catalogs, bulletins, and primary source material from the last 100ish years. I have to elbow Steve out of the way to get any work in on this project.
10:30am Patron comes in to do some research. He’s someone we know, so we talk shop for a good amount of time and get an update on the progress of a gallery he’s designing on the role of African Americans in our town’s history. Really interesting stuff.
Noon-ish Completed a finding aid for the Amsterdam Edition of John J. Audubon’s Birds of America print collection. Then did the 20 million things I do with a finding aid. Produce it in PDF, EAD XML, and HTML. Modify the HTML. Create a MARC XML record and save it for our cataloger. Upload documents to the server to put in our finding aid index. Link it to collection descriptions. Blah, blah, blah…I think you get the picture.
1:20 or was it 2:00? Okay, I’ve stopped keeping track of the time. You caught me-are you happy now? Gathered materials for a meeting tomorrow with a design prof. who wants to bring her History of Design class over to look at examples of different methods of printing (woodblock prints, engravings, letterpress, offset lithographs, etc.). This is one of the parts of my job that I love the most. I LOVE it when our patrons use our materials to support academic programs. I can feel the stars aligning….
Time?? Read a few articles on user-centered services in archival repositories. You say “yawn”, I say “yay”.
3:45pm Drink my last cup of tea while discussing what might happen on next week’s Downton Abbey with Steve. In the words of Ice Cube, “I can say it was a good day.”