The Final Count Down

This week is my last week working on the Roland Jackson Collection. I have corrected all of my errors in ArchivesSpace, polished up the finding aid, and have labeled my boxes.
This is a picture of the collection back in June before I started  processing
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And this is the collection now. 
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The collection went from having 7 records boxes, 8 document boxes, and 1 oversized box, to having 6 records, 2 document boxes, and 1 oversized box. The books in the collection were catalogued and binders in the collection were removed. 
This fellowship has been an eye opening experience and I have gained vital archival knowledge which will come in handy in the future. In addition, my experience at the library has also taught me to ALWAYS bring a sweater (it feels like an igloo in here!).
Although this is my last post for my CCEPS fellowship, there are still plenty of CCEPS students working on different projects throughout the year. Shout out to the CLIR Water Project and the studnets working on the project. You can check out their progress by clicking here . Also for more posts about all current and future CCEPS projects, you can click here
Peace out!

My Struggles and Triumphs with ArchivesSpace (Pt. 2)

Archives space has been by far the most challenging part of this whole experience. Upon my return to work on Monday morning, I sat down with Lisa to look over the work I had down on ArchivesSpace. Overall I did a pretty good job of inputting all of the collections information, but there was one issue that put me back. 

I myself am still unsure about what happened and I will do my best to explain what I did…
When inputting folders into ArchivesSpace, every folder needs a top container. A top container tells us where each folder can be found and in what series. For example if I had a folder labeled box: 2 belonging to series 3, the top container would say box: 2, series 3 (Simple right!). My issue came when was looking at the drop down options for the top container and there was no series 2. So what I did, unknowingly,  was I created new top containers for each folder. I ended up creating 138 top containers when I only needed 13. Lisa noticed what I did and tried to fix the top containers, but she ran into the same problem I did. She was also not able to locate any top containers after series 1. The next day after some troubleshooting, Lisa was able to fix the drop down options and delete all 138 top containers. I then went back into ArchivesSpace and put in the new top containers which were now in the drop down options. 
Although it took me a while to input the new top containers, I was grateful I did not have to redo the whole collection. Although I had to redo series 2-5, there were not a lot of folders within those series. I was grateful I did not have to redo series 1, which is triple to size of series 2-5 put together. 
 

My Struggles and Triumphs with ArchivesSpace

This past week I have been feverishly working on inputing the collection into ArchivesSpace. Last week I got a quick crash course on how to use ArchivesSpace. When I left work on Thursday for the weekend, I felt totally confident in my abilities to master the program. However, there was one hurdle that would disrupt my level of confidence…a three day weekend!
During my internship, I am only able to work Monday through Thursday. So after learning a handful of vital information on Thursday and then going on a hiatus for three days, I retuned on Monday with a lot less confidence. 
On Monday afternoon, I played around with ArchivesSpace trying to shake out any remnants from Thursday’s crash course. It did not take me long to remember, and by Tuesday morning I was inputting data like a pro. I did run into a snag on Wednesday when I realized I mixed up box 7 and 8. Earlier in the week I managed to accidentally number all the folders in box 8 as box 7. Therefore, when I was inputting box 7 into ArchivesSpace I was really inputting box 8 under the wrong box number. I caught my mistake when I opened box 8 and realized it was box 7. I then had to go back, erase, and renumber all the folders in both boxes, and renumber the ones in ArchivesSpace. My other struggle with ArchivesSpace, or maybe the culprit was computer, was the lag time between clicking a folder title and loading the folder’s information. It was not a big issue, but it did slow me down in renumbering my folders. 
Despite these struggles, I have been able to build up my confidence in working with ArchivesSpace. I hope to continue working with the program in order build up my skills as an archivist.

Heading Towards the Finish

This week I have finished up processing the collection. Next week I will begin the task of creating the finding aid using ArchivesSpace. 


A finding aid helps users in accessing and navigating the collection, and provides information about the contents within the collection 


If you go to the Online Archive of California, click on an institution and browse through the finding aids, you will see the variety of finding aids. You will also notice that although every collection has a finding aid, the content in the finding are never the same. 

This is because every collection was created in a unique way, every collection will have a different arrangement and description. Depending on how a collection was created, the arrangement and description for one collection may not necessarily work for another collection. The finding aid is there to help researchers understand a collection’s specific arrangement, and find information within a collection that will be relevant to their research. The finding aid will also provide information on who created the collection and how the collection ended up at a certain institution. 
For example, the finding aid for the Roland Jackson Papers would have a biography about him. Which would say something along the lines of: 
Roland Jackson was a professor at CGU from 1970 to 1995. In the 1980s, he expanded the music program, established a Ph. D. program in musicology, composition, performance, conducting, and church music. He also founded the scholarly journal Performance Practice Review. As a music historian, Roland’s research, teachings, and publications ranged, from computer music studies, early music, 19th century music, film music, music analysis, and performance practice. The collection contains correspondences and
personal papers related to his personal life and academic career.

In addition, the finding aid will provided information about access, publication rights, accruals, processing information, and arrangement. Overall the finding is meant to provide as much information about the collection as possible. 

Archival Processing in Review

This week I am still swimming deep within the waves of boxes and folders. I just wanted to do a quick overview of what I have done since the very start of my internship.

  • Conducted a collection survey which helped me become familiar with the records within the collection. I took notes on collection’s arrangement, materials, preservation problems, and the events documented within the collection. I also make sure the collection contained no sensitive information and took the necessary step to address those issues.
  • Created a processing plan in which I wrote down information about the collection as a whole, issues to be aware of when processing the collection, and a proposal about how to arrange the collection. What I learned this week is that the processing plan is constantly changing. If my initial processing plan is not working, I can always add, remove, and edit the processing plan.
  • Execute processing plan by removing clips, duplicates, acidic materials, and materials with no research value. Every action done during processing, should be written and documented in the process plan.
  • As of right now I am happy to report that I am more than half way done with processing the collection! Hopefully, within the next two weeks I will begin to create the finding aid.

In the mean time, I wanted to share some photos of Roland Jackson.

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REUNION- Former students of Wauwatosa High School, including many veterans, got together in the school cafeteria for an informal open house. During the evening. Roland Jackson, 1535 St. Charles St., obligingly pounded out some “hot licks” on the piano to entertain the crowed. Fall 1945.

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Spring 1947

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Northland College faculty 1949

Roland top right

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May 1950

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This picture taken in Freiberg German. 1952. While at the University. 

The Silent Killers

The past few weeks of my CCEPS internship has been comprised of me sorting and cleaning up the folders and boxes in order to create a cohesive system for researchers to easily find what they are looking for within the collection. I have been slowly relabeling and re-foldering the records into acid-free folders, which will help preserve the records.

 The picture below show box before rehousing (right) and you can see how the folders to not match and the folders are overstuffed. What you can not see is the newspaper clippings and staples that are inside each folder. These items may not seem harmful, but over time can cause severe damage the records. The majority of newspapers are not meant for longevity and are made out of low quality wood pulp, which is very acidic. Good storage is critical to the preservations of newspapers. However, if a newspaper or clipping is left within a collection, the acid can transfer and destroy other records. It is important for an archivist to replace the clipping with the photocopy of the clipping. The clipping can either be thrown away, or be preserved for those who wish to study the material used to make newspapers. Staples are an another item that can cause irreversible damage. Many staples can rust, causing permanent staining on paper records. In addition, other office items such as clips, rubber bands, binder clips, straight pins, tape, and post-it notes can all cause physical or chemical damage 
As an archivist, it is my job to preserve these records for future research. So what I have been doing these past free week is removing staples, newspapers, office binders, and taking out anything that could potentially damage the records. In addition, I have been keeping track of photographs which will need mylar sleeve protectors.The box on the left show records that have been successful rehoused into new acid free box, acid free folders, with no staples, and no newspapers.
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Throw Back Thursday

While walking through Target this week, I got the faintest hint of harsh reality. Target had taken their patio section and transformed it into their back to school section. this yearly ritual can strike fear into any kid who would rather have summer last forever. As for me this reminded me of my college days at the University of California Riverside, which were filled with hard work, embarrassing moments, and memories I will cherish for life. With that said I do admit to having some strong UCR pride.


In 1978 UCR hosted the annual winter meeting for the Souther California Chapter of the American Musicological Society (AMS), and Jackson was a chairman of the society. When going through his papers I came across a black and white flier which provided driving directions and a campus map of UCR, where the meeting was to take place. If you notice on the directions the 210 freeway does not exist past the 57.


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When you compare the 1978 campus map to a current campus map, it shows just how much the university has grown in the past 40 years. It was interesting to see just how old some of the buildings and classrooms are. According to the newsletter, the AMS had their meeting in the humanities building, which is the same building I had most of the classes in. It is also the building where the top of my desk broke off during my final. It is mind-blowing for me to think about the people who walked the halls of UCR before me, and those whose are currently there. It is interesting to think how every student from the past, present, and future, whether they know it or not, will leave a mark.

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Update 1: The Case of the Missing Box 9

 

On July 17th box 9 successfully rescued. Box 9
secretly kidnapped by a collection of Craven playbills and was given a new
identity as box 14! Early Monday morning, the archival police were able to
track down his last known whereabouts and uncovered clues that lead to the
recovery and rescue of box 9. I am happy to report that box 9 is in good condition
and has been returned to the Jackson family. 

 

In other words, box 9 was accidentally labeled
as box 14 of the Craven Playbill Collection and went into storage with the
wrong collection. But it sounds more edgy when described as a kidnapping
mystery.

 

And with that my friends, the case of the missing
box 9 is officially closed! 

 

Update 2: Ethics and Legal


The
hardest part of this week was doing research into whether I needed to take
steps toward protecting the names of those mentioned within the legal papers. With
the help and guidance from professor Gabriele Carey, I learned a lot about the
issues and concerns that go along with sensitive and private records.

 

I
learned that
the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act
(FERPA) requires all schools receiving federal funding to protect the privacy
of student educational records. However, the records in the collection discuss
a lawsuit and are technically not considered educational records, and are not
protected under FERPA. However, if the lawsuit deals with unfair grading
practices, or harassment of students by their professor, or unfair/false
evaluations/references, these papers might fall under FERPA.

 

Another issue is whether the records are confidential
or not.

Since the lawsuit was settled out of court, the
parties may have agreed not to disclose information about the lawsuit or its
settlement as part of the settlement agreement. These letters and records
within the Jackson collection might fall under the protection of the settlement
agreement if they agreed to protect the records dealing with the lawsuit. 


Confusing right?

 

To be continued…

Poland 1981

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Whenever I tell people I am pursuing a masters degree in
History and Archival Studies, the conservation always shoots right past the front half of my degree only to arrive at same
three questions everyone asks me about archiving.


Questions 1: What is Archival Studies?

Question 2: What does an archivist do?

Question 3: Why do you even want to be an archivist?


These are all great questions, but for the sake of time I
will only address the last question and highlight one of the reasons why I want to
be an archivist.

 

One reason comes from something I like to call “the find,”
it is a discovery that is always unexpected (and not to mention totally
awesome). When I was first given the Roland Jackson Papers, I was told the
collection had materials related to Roland’s career as an educator. However, no
matter how prepared one is to process a collection, you never know what you might “find”. Despite having an idea of what the collection contained, I found
something unexpected and interesting.

 

When doing the survey, I came across a letter written in 1981 to Jackson from a man he met in Poland. His name was Wojciech J. Kowalczyk and the letter is asking for help in going to the United
States. After doing to a quick internet search, I discovered that the letter
was written during a period of economic turmoil within Poland and right before
the introduction of martial law. Kowalczyk was one of many Poles trying to
emigrate to the west. Roland and Kowalczyk wrote to each other a few more times,
but it is unclear if Kowalczyk ever made it out of Poland.


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These unexpected finds are one of the reasons I want to
become an archivist. History to me has not always been about just knowing the
who, what, when, where and why, but knowing the how. I always want to know how certain
events and experiences influenced the actions, opinions, and emotions of those
living through it. Letters like the ones between Jackson and Kowalczyk give
insight into how Kowalczyk and Jackson’s opinions, actions, and emotions were
affected by Poland’s economic crisis and martial law. There are even letters written by Roland to a colleague asking for help to bring Kowalczyk to the United States. These types of finds are what I enjoy about being an archivist. 


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Archival Ethics and Box 9

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I have finally completed the
extensive task of conducting my first solo survey (WHOOOOO!). My overall
feelings and impressions of conducting a survey left me conflicted and struggling to find balance. 


During the survey, I was struggling
with the desire be very meticulous with each box and move quickly through the
collection. Nonetheless, there were many occasions where I got caught up in reading
letters Jackson wrote and received from colleagues, relatives, and friends.
There will always be a need to find the perfect balance between being detailed
and efficient.


As an archivist, there are core
values and ethics that every archivist needs to be aware of. During processing
an archivist must be thorough and aware of protecting the rights, personal, and
confidential information of those individuals and organizations mentioned within a collection. While going through the collection I did uncover legal material which contained the names of the individuals involved. As a result, these names may need
to be protected. I will attempt to follow up on this topic later down the line.


Another issue I discovered
with conducting the survey was when I came across box 9. According to the container
list, box 9 was supposed to contain correspondences from May 2003 to July 2004.
However, the box contained material from an entirely different collection, the
Craven Playbill Collection. I did not panic and I was hopeful I would find the letters within another box. Sadly, I have yet to
find them and the case of the missing letters remains a mystery.