Currently viewing the tag: "Summer 2011"

It has been a productive summer in the AMNH Research Library: 454 collections cataloged in the Photographic Print collection, and 461 collections for the Photographic Slides. That’s over 900 collections recorded for a single term! To our benefit, we did start with some pretty solid inventories, but verifying the data and assessing risk is no small task. Many improvements were made such as adding access points to the subject and contributor fields. Titles, dates, and summaries were revised to be made DACS-compliant. There was even time to do authority work on personal and corporate names. In twelve weeks, I think we accomplished a lot.

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Well, it’s the end of my time here at AMNH, and it’s certainly been a great experience. I’ve enjoyed looking into some of the Museum’s hidden collections and making records for them so that one day they won’t be so hidden. Since most of my work was in the Anthropology Department, and because there is yet work to be done there, I’ve created a summary of what has been completed there, and what is left to be done by interns this Fall.

All locations in the Anthropology Archive have undergone Phase 1 cataloging.Todd and I began this work in the Spring semester, and thought that because the Department already had their own records this phase would go fairly quickly. It took much longer than expected because we were overly thorough in our additions to the records of things like Physical Description, and additions to the Summary field. Verifying authority records using the Library of Congress Authorities site also took considerable time.

The Server Room (Room 36), Anthropology 2 (Room 14), and the Hallway Map case have undergone Phase 2 risk assessment.Still needing risk assessment are Anthropology 1 (Room 15), Hallway filing cabinets outside of Anthropology 1, and Hallway cabinets outside of the kitchen area.

 

Notes:

Bolding in the cataloging spreadsheet indicates new entries or information that was added to the records since obtaining the Department’s original catalog records from Kristen Mable.

Anywhere in the cataloging spreadsheet that the creator is listed as “AMNH Department of Anthropology,” the authorized heading is “American Museum of Natural History. Dept. of Anthropology.”I believe I’ve changed all of these using Excel’s find and replace function, but did not check line by line.

Field Notes were identified by determining whether the material appeared to be a first person account or observation of time spent in the field where the researcher was working.This includes field data sheets, sketches of sites, notes on what the researcher saw or heard at the site, and diaries kept while in the field.

On our final day in the Photographic Slide Collection, we divided our day between the two summer-long goals of cataloging hidden collections and performing a risk assessment of these collections. We are pleased to report that we reached our target of carrying out Phase 1 and Phase 2 up to PSC 359!

It was business as usual on our last day with this collection, and we have certainly seen a lot of amazing images. We had a very productive summer and learned a lot from this experience. See below for a photo of all of the collections we worked our way through.

Both David and I will be returning for the fall and are looking forward to exploring different areas of the archives. See you next semester!


Today we went through the end of Phase 1 and, unbelievably, we also made it through the end of Phase 2. How satisfying. The Photographic Print Collection is now done. Yay!

We came across this cool stereoscopic viewer which allowed us to see the slides in 3D, which included photos of Hawaii and Cambodia. Low-tech Avatar, but it really works.

This summer has been a great learning experience, and we got to see some pretty amazing stuff. Not only in processing the Photographic Print Collection, but through SAA webinars, tours of the diorama renovations and rare book rooms, and the brown bag lunch with Richard T. Fischer.

Lauren will be returning for more museum adventures this fall, but this is Joanna’s farewell. Thank you Iris, Becca, Barbara, Tom, Mai, Greg, and the rest of library staff for everything.

Hello there friends and neighbors. It seems like its only been a blink of an eye since I first started my experience here but alas this is my farewell of sorts. Thanks goes out to my partner/peers Daniel, Joanna, and Phoebe for being great sounding boards and solid people to work with. It has been a whirlwind of exciting discoveries for me and I would like to offer special thanks to Rebecca, Barbara, Iris, and Tom for their patience, insight and encouragement. I believe I will be leaving here with knowledge and understanding that will benefit me and hopefully others. Ironically I am here on my last day trying to tie up loose ends on the collection for the Department of Preparations (right where I started). What started out as a simple paige box is now a galaxy of historical records spreading out to other related materials and active use. I hope others take the time to explore this collection and treasure the marvels that it holds.

Good Journey

Michael Floyd


Today is our last day in the Paleontology archives. We started the morning with another tour with Bob Evander, checking out hidden collections among the specimens. We also came across this awesome giant sloth!

We’ve finished wrapping up all the loose ends for Phase 1 and 2 and have labeled all the collections. At some point, the hidden collections will have to be included but we took pictures of all the locations so that can be finished at a later point. Also the new collections that we created will need to be added to the finding aid. VPA collection numbers also need to be integrated into the existing finding aid. During our risk assessment, we did a basic overview of the map collection, but it’s clear that additional work on this collection would be helpful to the department, there are about 3,000 maps. The intention is for it the maps to be an ongoing project. We also have one collection of totally unprocessed material which we did a basic catalog record for, eventually it will hopefully be processed.

We really enjoyed our summer here at the museum and feel that we have learned a lot about how an archives works, creating new collections, and conducting risk assessment.

As a diversion from our typical cataloging and risk assessment, today we attended a workshop presented by Stacy Schiff, Visual Resources Librarian here at the museum, on Omeka, an open-source image cataloging software program. AMNH has recently implemented this system…so far four collections have been uploaded, and while none are live yet, they should all be publicly available in the next few months. It was educational and informative as we went step-by-step through the cataloging procedures and the descriptive standard used—AMNH Core—which is based on fields culled from Dublin Core, VRA Core, etc. Should either of us encounter Omeka in the future, we can consider ourselves well acquainted.
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Our day began with a brown bag lunch with former AMNH intern, Richard T. Fischer. Richard presented his summer experience in Washington D.C. at the Smithsonian’s Botany Library. He worked on the “Connecting Content: A Collaboration to Link Field Notes to Specimens and Published Literature” project as the Information Connections Research Intern. He spent the summer developing a methodology to connect the materials in the field notebooks, to publications and to specimens.

After lunch, we returned to the photographic print collection. Today we had a special guest, Iris, helping us catalog the remaining collections. We found this stunning photo, above, of Bedouin woman from Turkmenistan, taken in 1866 . Check out that headdress!

Next week our goal is to complete Phase 1 and Phase 2 for the photographic print collection. Wish us luck!

Today Becca and I ventured up to Mammalogy to continue the brainstorming process about how to assign location numbers to the collections. While Mammalogy’s archive was the site for the Museum’s original library, today it can best be described as “complicated.” On the first floor, the original shelves were taken out and filing cabinets were inserted in their place. Each bay is separated by the original metal work. In addition, many filing cabinets have archival boxes stored on top of them. The first floor houses the reprints collection, field notes, Archbold correspondence and expedition photographs, Department correspondence, Sydney Anderson’s papers and Karl F. Koopman’s unprocessed files. The correspondence files and reprints are arranged well within the filing cabinets, but the Anderson papers, while collected together, can’t really be described as truly processed in the archival sense. Mr. Koopman’s papers have yet to be processed, from conference badges to college yearbook.

The second floor setup is similar, but represents a more extreme version. This is where we find the visual materials related to the many expeditions the Department has been involved with. Like many New York City residents the collections have roommates. The materials are often organized separately, but live together in one drawer. This situation makes it difficult to completely ascertain where a properly labeled collection would begin and end. Prints taken by different photographers from the same expedition are organized separately, but if fully processed, would they be part of the same collection? The collections are not unprocessed, but they are not processed either.

This situation led us to the conclusion that it would be easier to number the bays rather than the collections themselves. In most circumstances this would not be recommended, but here it works as a temporary solution. The next step in the process will be to actually label the sections as unobtrusively as possible, working with the Mammalogy Department to get their official buy-in. We discussed whether to use labels on cardboard, wire and other office supplies to develop a professional look.

As today is my last day at AMNH, I wanted to say thank you Becca, Iris, Barbara, Beth, Joanna and Michael for their support and partnership. I’ll miss thoroughly scrubbing my fingernails at the end of each day and the vague smell of formaldehyde. The Museum is truly a magical place and I am grateful to have contributed in my small way.

Today in Anthropology I worked with Lauren to complete the risk assessment in Location II. There were only about 10 collections left in this location, and fortunately they were fairly large and generally only 1 or 2 collection units. We finished the risk assessment in this location before lunch, and moved on to the map case in the Anthropology hallway after lunch. Our favorite find from Location II today was this floor plan of an unknown museum from the “Notes on Museum Collections in Europe and America, 1911-1930” collection. Notice the bear hunt scene at the far left.


After lunch, we completed risk assessment on the hallway map case, and found these drawings of clay dolls from the collection of James Alfred Ford.


Next week we hope to finish risk assessment on the remaining hallway cabinets, which will bring us much closer to finishing both phases in Anthropology – hooray!