It’s weird to think this is the last blog post for CCEPS for me. I have learned so much this semester! Last week, presented about my fellowship to library staff, faculty, my friends and a few guests. It was great to meet Katy Hertel, Carl Hertel’s daughter who donated much of the collection. Also, one of his former students from Pitzer came to watch the presentation. Unfortunately all of the pictures did not show up on the screen, but most of the photos used were ones that I had posted on this blog. There was some discussion after the presentation about how to bring the materials into the community, and we talked about how many of Hertel’s former students may have more information and material that could be added to the collection. It seems that there is an opportunity to use the archive to connect Pitzer alumni to their alma mater. Much of the Pitzer experience is about the people in the community, and figures like Hertel relate students, faculty and staff across generations.
I realize that I have not actually posted a Picture of Carl Hertel, so below is a photo of him (standing left) with the 1988 Art seniors. This is not from the collection, but it is on the Pitzer Flickr page. I was aware of information related to Hertel in the Pitzer archive, but when completing the front matter in Archive Space, I realized that this collection is part of a large network of materials in Claremont. In Special collections, there are various collections including the Pitzer History project and the Richard Barnes collection, that are associated. The CCDBL, Pitzer Art Gallery, and Scripps’ Denison Library also has materials that would help a researcher interested for more about Hertel. And who knows what could be at CGU!
This experience at CCEPS has been fantastic. For someone, like myself, who is interested in archiving and preservation as a future career possibility, this is a great way to get experience and/or expand on existing knowledge. Working on a collection I found connected to as a Pitzer student was not only motivating but I was always interested in what I was doing. I learned a lot of the activity that goes on in an large archive like Special Collections, from the classes that come in to the other materials housed there. Thanks to Lisa and everyone on Special Collections for an awesome and semester!
This week I worked on the front matter. Some of the process is just transferring data that already exists, or compiling it. An example of this is creating the date range in which the collection fits. I had already been looking out for the earliest date just because I was interested to know- there is a copy of something that was made in the 2000s but it is of a 1950s art piece so the earliest date in the collection is a letter from 1961. The items on the front matter that take the longest time are the written sections including scope and content, or what is cover what is included in the collection, and an abstract. One of these written parts is the biographical information. This is called the Hertel Collection, but Michael Woodcock’s important contribution of materials as well as the inclusion of some of his own items, means he is included in this section. For the biographical materials on Hertel, he had written his own short biographical account of his life in the 1990s that provided a lot of information about his life, that would not be included in any other place. Most career bios available for researchers would not include many stories from their childhood, but Hertel writes about significant moments as a young person that he can pin point as the origin of his interest in the environmental art, “the Chinese style,” and “the Mexican impressionist element” in his art. Writing a short bio for others to reference is not only helpful, but it is a great opportunity for someone to shape and influence the way they are remembered in situations such as this collection. One can add the small details that others may not know, or would skip over, but personally, are very impactful in a lifetime.
Next week I have the presentation regarding my time a CCEPS. In these last weeks, I have started to reflect at how far I have come this semester, and this presentation only supports that. It is also make the little remaining time left this semester very real. There are still things to do before this collection is ready for use, but it will be exciting when it finally gets there!
Everything is in its place! Each folder and item have an address now, with a box and a folder number. It was a puzzle that Lisa had to help me with, but each box is pretty much filled with the little or no empty space. The materials arrived in 4 records boxes, a doc box, two flat boxes and a large drawer folder, but not the arrangement includes more linear feet, many more types of boxes and more folders. It’s interesting how many more linear feet the collection is now that everything has been unfolded, refoldered, sleeved, etc. At one point I needed to rewrite a folder title, and I used the box and folder number listed on archive space to locate it. It was fast and efficient, it’s great to see in work in practice. The picture below is of the collection in the CCEPS room.
Also part of labeling every folder requires time spent on archive space. As mentioned in the post before the process is long, yet again is another layer of checking my work. In one instance, I found that I had physically divided a folder into two, but failed to do so on my excel sheet or Aspace. While labeling folders, I have to go through every single one which is the most detailed way to assure no mistakes. Next week, and my last full week, I will be working on the front matter for the collection. It’s weird to think that this is almost over! I have learned so much in the past few months!
This week I continued working with Archive Space. Lots of screen time. Entering the data in would seem like it would be an easy job, but when using slow computers, one accidental click and you’re waiting for the page to load; all those extra seconds add up! But entering all the data into the system also acts as a very helpful check on the information. Sometimes rereading a folder title after having gone through the rest, I would decide to change it because I had a better or more specific title. Other times I would find notes with questions about materials, and this gave me an opportunity to revisit these queries and actually find an answer.
This week was also when my thesis was due, so my time spent on CCEPS, like this blog post was shorter than normal
(The slight blur to the photo recreates the feeling of staring at a screen.)
This week I worked on the oversized materials, putting them into folders, finding the right folder box combinations, and then labeling them. They had been laying to flatten really since I first started working on this collection. When I first surveyed the collection I had though there were large posters and small posters, but only taking them out of their folder this time did I realize that the large posters are actually uncut sheets of the smaller size posters. Each poster design was created by a coworker, family member, or former student of Hertel for his memorial exhibition in 2005. Each poster is very different as the artists used a variety of mediums and each has its own unique style.
Also this week, I started entering information onto ArchiveSpace. This part is time consuming and I prefer working with things rather than typing, but making the collection available users is why I am working with the materials in the first place. It also improves my keyboarding skills too!
This week I continued work in the audio visual materials, finding the correct boxes and labeling them. For those that were not in their original tin, I photocopied the front so record of the original label title would be kept, no matter how hard it was to decipher. I also made copies for the Route 66 box. This box keeps coming up in the blog posts because it offers such an interesting opportunity. The box included food, but 17 year old raisins are risky in what creatures they might attract into the boxes. The solution was to photocopy the food items and then put them into their own sleeves so they represent the idea of why they were included in the project. While trying to figure out how the project would be intellectually arranged in the collection, I had an idea. The materials are from a 1999 Michael Woodcock class and are part of series 6, or the “Michael Woodcock Contribution.” With 5 subseries already existing, how could I resist calling the Route 66 class project subseries 6.6?
I still have a few items I am working with to come up with folder titles or that I haven’t quite figured out how to physically arrange, but I feel that I am getting closer to the end point. There is still much to do, but the shift to the next step of entering data into the finding aid is coming soon!
I came back from Spring Break (Week 8) greeted with boxes of all sorts! Small boxes, large boxes, flat boxes. And then we went looking for more boxes! It was then the issue of figuring out which boxes for which materials. This week I started into the process of figuring out how to store all of the audiovisual materials in the collection, based in the options of the new materials I had to work with.
In the first survey, I expanded my audiovisual knowledge by learning to distinguish super 8mm from 8mm from 16mm. This time around I learned the different ways to store audio versus video. The trick is Vertical equals Video (and audio) and Flat is Film. Next week I plan to box all of audio visual part of the collection according these rules. I want to make sure I do it right the first time because on Thursday I made the mistake of choosing the wrong folder size for the 35mm slides and I had to rewrite the titles.
This week I spent quite a bit of time reading up on archives. I looked at Describing Archives: a Content Standard (DACS) first but then moved on the book pictured below, College and University Archives. It is a collection of essays on archives in colleges. It was published in 1979, which leads to some things to be a bit outdated, like the absence of the internet or the use of male pronouns to describe faculty and other positions, but it provided quite a bit of good information behind theory and practice. The essays were framed about the relationship of the archive to the institution of higher education in which it is located. One piece discussed how the university archive is a “window” into American society, as the student records reveal who is applying, attending, and graduating from college. The topics cover the idea of universities collecting their own materials, less about accepting outside materials like our Special Collection does. But for my work, regarding a former Pitzer professor as well as my experience in the Pitzer Archive, I felt that these essays were relevant. There was a section on Oral history which directly connects to the Pitzer History Project in which I have participated in as an interviewer of students, staff, alumni and emeriti faculty.
I felt as though things had slowed down this week but then on Thursday a huge step was made as I started writing titles on folders. Some are in the works and other information has to still be added to them once confirmed, but pictured below is an example of the what I have done. I am excited to return from Spring Break with lots to do!
Advising seems to have changed in the past 40 years- just take a look at the above description for the Art major at Pitzer in the catalog 1972-1973. These days there is a distinct format for how all courses and major requirements are laid out on the Pitzer web catalog. This interesting approach to explaining the major reflects the experimental education I referenced in the blog post from last week. There was space for alternative methods allowing students and faculty to think about their experience in creative ways. This map above may not be as straightforward as the lists available online today, but the four years at Pitzer don’t always need to be, as you are taught different techniques to tackle traditional ideas. Pieces like this in the collection give a glimpse of what Pitzer and similar places in higher education were doing before standardization in the 1980s and 90s, when we began to consider institutions like WASC.
A lot of progress was made this week. We had a bit of a box hunt and explored options for what would be done with the Route 66 box (pictured a few weeks ago). With everything from stickers to food, there are precautions that must be taken to preserve the single item, or its representation, within the context of the preventing possible damage to its surrounding collection. I guess raisins are more dangerous than they first appear. This week, as I have begun to arrange and folder more material, it became more difficult to keep all the intellectual organization and notes in head. This was solved a the suggestion of Lisa to create a spreadsheet of folder titles and notes, that can also be used later for Archive Space. Next week I will continue to work on this, and with all the folder titles in one place, it will be easier to make sure the names and formats are in a standard style.
One of the parts of the collection I arranged this week was the assortment of Dick Barnes correspondence with Hertel. In this age of technology, it is advised to be careful what you may put online or send to people because “you never know who is going to read it!” Most people do not consider this when writing letters, yet the same idea still applies because it could end up in an archive, where you never know who is going to read it. I began to think about this as I saw some of the letters referring to opinions about controversies at the college. I have come across a few documents that will require some level of confidentiality, so I learned about different options for sealing, redacting, and requests reviewing for few materials that fit such description. The pictures below are two examples of the drawings sometimes included in the margins of the letters written from Barnes.
This week I also began going sleeving photographs. Most of the photographs are from the classes Hertel took to the deserts for an external studies semester program. The photographic materials are a variety of sizes as evidenced below. These photographs provide a complement to the syllabus and proposal documents I already have seen in the collection with a visual example of the projects and places Hertel used for his interdisciplinary and experimental approach to education.