Thursday, August 09, 2007

A to Z

I processed the last faculty file from the News & Pubs donation today. The gamut of Alexander to Zimmerman will join the existing range of Abdulhay to Zook, and our 32-box Biographical Files will swell to 62 boxes. Men and women, researchers and clinicians, doctors, nurses, dentists, administrators, an architect, a captain of industry, short timers and fifty-year employees, saints and sinners--in short, someone for everyone. Not only will these go a long way towards answering innumerable patron questions, they'll really help with our grand plan to do a whole series of exhibits on those characters we've begun referring to as "The Handsome Devils."

Separated out from the 30 new boxes of biographical materials were 16 boxes of portrait photographs, which--along with the five donated boxes of images arranged by subject--will be incorporated in our Historical Image Collection.

And yes, we do plan to sleeve them all, and I'm a little self conscious about that now, having gotten the sense from the special collections community at large that this may simply be a sign of our "rinky-dinkedness," if you will. Rather like "if you have to ask, you can't afford it," the impression seems to be that "if you can sleeve it all, you must not have very much--or very much else to do." We're certainly not the Library of Congress, but we have our fair share of images (we're roughly estimating 15,000 at this point) and plenty else to do. But, we've made this aspect of collections care a priority, because we've seen what time, rough handling, and poor conditions have done to the materials we didn't get to in time. A picture is worth a thousand words, and as long as we're able to get up in the morning and come to work, we're going to do whatever we can to make sure those visual records remain for the next generation.

There, I've said my piece. Now, back to getting dried rubber band off negatives...

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