Monday, March 02, 2015

The Inner Sanctum

Last week was “no-meeting” week at the library which gave me ample time to execute one of the goals I have for 2015: a re-organization of the physical archival materials at OHSU HC&A.  The re-organization was prompted by an analysis of the physical holdings of the archives which indicated that we could gain some space and maximize shelf utilization by moving from an accession number-arranged schema, to one in which materials were arranged by the size of their enclosure (metal edge letter boxes, versus legal; oversize materials versus negatives, slides or micro-formats, etc.).  In scoping out the plan I determined that I would need to move roughly 1,155 linear feet of material.  No-meeting week seemed perfect for this.

I started with an inventory of the oversize boxes and their rough dimensions.  I cleaned off one row of materials and moved them to work tables, allowing me to free the space where the oversize materials would move to.  I decided initially to start with oversize materials and ensure that they were located closely to the work tables and the giant flat space under which more oversize materials are stored.

Stacks - Oversize materials on the right
As materials were moved to the first row and eventually the second row, they were re-indexed on a spreadsheet and the resulting new locations were entered into our archival management software tool.  As the central rows were slowly filled with oversize boxes, the row that had been marked for letter-size metal edge boxes was also starting to fill.  After approximately 30 hours of shifting and shelf-optimization, the process was complete.

Stacks - 14 sections of letter-size boxes on right

In the end we freed roughly 80 linear feet of shelf space and set the stage for new materials to fit right in with their same sized buddies.  With the new layout we also have completely free aisles and table tops to work with.

I thought I would end this post with a "shelfie."  In the background you can see a little of the School of Nursing Banner, which adds some color and light to the room.  Also, you can see our new (not really "new") archives buddy, Melvin P. Judkins' cobra, which once sat on Dr. Judkins' desk.

University Archivist (right) with cobra (left)
Interested in visiting our archives?  Contact University Archivist, Max Johnson and I'll be happy to schedule a tour.


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