What I Do

I am truly one of the lucky ones, as I wanted an archivist job and found one. Several in fact. Ancestry.com gave me a great start in January 2010. I was a digital preservation contractor using a setup like the one below. I took images of documents and books, such as
1890s tax digests from all of the Georgia counties at the time, and incoming correspondence to the Governor of Georgia at the time of the American Civil War, Joseph E. Brown.

Ancestry_scanning

Then in June 2010, I began working at the DeKalb History Center in Decatur, Georgia. I had volunteered and interned there, so I knew and liked everyone, so when the archivist job came up, I was kindly called.

processing                  clothes pins                   finished collection
Processing is a bit messy. Or maybe that is just me. I find interesting things, like the carefully dated clothes pins used in one collection. When it's all over, however, the nice acid free boxes ready for researchers make it worthwhile!
Processing is my favorite part of the job.


As of December 2013, I am a reference archivist at the Georgia Archives. I have been working on documents from Gordon County, which used to be filed in small cardboard boxes and folded into thirds. I am flattening them, removing old hardened rubber bands and re-foldering them. One day I was surprised to find a stack of Confederate money in one of the boxes!

                                         before flattening    removing
        rubber bands   flattening table   Confederate money

I also used the fume hood to vacuum, one by one, pages that had been stored badly, and were infected by mold.

                                                                                                fume hood

I also flattened, processed and re-housed some very long railroad maps. Some were well over twenty feet long. I used mylar on the tubes to prevent any damage to the maps, since they were not acid-free, then acid free paper for the labels. They are in the vaults now, ready for a researcher.

                                                                                                                railroad
        maps

        

While volunteering at the Georgia Archives in 2009 and 2010, we made boxes for a set of books from the late 1700s called the Scottish Nation, all about families of the time.  These are sometimes called drop spine, clamshell or double tray boxes. 


            rivets  threading the cord  cord inserted


            secured cord  under weights  securing the glue


            closed box upright  finished box open with book inside 

Here is the box finished, with the tied threaded under the plastic grommet disks.  It fits! 

Preserving video and audio is also important, and while volunteering at the Atlanta History Center, I digitized many 1/4" audio tapes.  These tapes were part of a folklore collection that was created as part of a folklore class taught at Georgia State University.  The tapes I digitized were from the 1960s and had wonderful stories, songs and life remembered by those living then. The collection is huge and I made digital files of the tapes and chose audio clips that will be used online eventually.

While at the DeKalb History Center, I started a project to digitize an oral history collected called the I Remember Hour, interviewing DeKalb County residents about life in DeKalb County through the years.  Due to my television background, I also took the DVD/VCR combination machine apart for regular cleaning.  The collection consisted of approximately 130 VHS tapes from as far back at the 1980s, and a couple of 1/4" audio tapes from the 1970s.  The VHS tapes were in varying shape, but most were still fairly stable.  Every so often I would run into a blue or green video however!  It is a good thing to have these invaluable materials on DVDs as a step towards more permanent preservation.

I also learned many great things while in school.  I learned XHTML by building a website for a real client, put together a strategic plan for a fictitious academic law library, put together museum collections in Pachyderm and OpenCollection and built the Nuts About Georgia! digital library, serving as project manager for my group. You can find examples of my web work here:

Pachyderm project:
www.jsweetapple.com/pachyderm/



For a museum course at Florida State, I even set up an exhibit in Second Life!

            second life exhibit

As part of a three-day internship at Georgia State University in June 2009, I processed a small collection on a feminist womens' theater troupe called The Sisters of No Mercy.  My work, in the form of a finding aid, is online at the GSU library site.

Some Other Links:

Georgia Archives

DeKalb History Center


Society of American Archivists

Society of Georgia Archivists

Atlanta History Center

Florida State University College Of Communication and Information

I completed a 2 year online only program here. It is now called the iSchool, combining information technology and library science.
I attended classes without shoes. 
How cool is that?  I ended up with a 3.9 GPA too, which still shocks me!

United States Personal Chef Association
I was a personal chef from 2003 to 2007.  I gathered preferences, shopped for the food, then took my cookware and supplies
to a client's house and cooked a week's worth of meals in one go.  It was a great job and does not require a huge outlay of money
to get started.  The USPCA is the best!  I hope to go back to cheffing one day!

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