Thursday, November 09, 2006

MacGyver's Archival Glossary: Microspatula

A thin cylinder of metal, flattened at both ends, typically used for removing staples, paperclips, and other unwanted items during archival processing. Also useful for/as...

...testing doneness of cakes, muffins, etc
...emergency surgery
...earwax removal drum circles
...a double-bladed lightsaber for your Star Wars playsets

Note: only attempt the above actions under the supervision of a professional. Expect mockery.

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Nero had an Archivist?

Yep, according to this article. I can imagine that, even in today's world of tight budgets, staff cuts, and impending drafts, that working for a possibly unstable emperor would have been, say, less than fun.

Also, October is American Archives Month. So stop by your local archives and check them out! Even if you don't find anything fabulous, you'll bump up their monthly statistics, and the staff will love you for it.

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

A Larch Visit

Sitting at home this weekend, watching all my favorite football teams lose, lose, and lose again, naturally my mind began wandering to more important topics. Namely, I wondered how many anagrams I could get out of the word 'archivist'? Better yet, how many from 'archivalist'?" Imagine my surprise and disgust when I check on Monday to find that someone beat me to it! Not having anything else original to post this week, I decided to follow through with my idea for this post, copying -- I mean, sincere flattery -- notwithstanding. A quick visit to this site and typing in my handle gave a long list of results, the best (?) of which include the title of this post, and these:

A Vicars Hilt
A Rivals Itch
Sir Lava Itch
Clash Trivia
Cash Trivial
His Viral Cat
Ah Viral Tics

Interestingly, anagramming for 'Brett Favre' yielded "Bar Fret Vet," which doesn't mean anything on the surface but does sound like it could be a newspaper headline about despairing Packer fans.

Monday, September 11, 2006

This Week's Mailbag

Dear Archivalist:

I am a new archival student and will be getting an internship at Big-Mega-State University. Can you give a rookie a few pointers as I start my new career?
Signed, Newbie Arranger

Dear NA,

Never fear, Newb! Here is your quick guide to getting along with everyone in your new home, and wherever you may go in the future. Remember, collaboration is key, so follow these guidelines to the letter!

1. Food is acceptable everywhere in the archives except actually in boxes on the shelves. Unless that is where you store your candy supply, that is. It's also very important to remember to always give a cut of whatever food you bring into the archives to the archivist and any other staff that he/she deems necessary to placate. This applies to all foods except rice cakes.

2. Never never NEVER use the word 'miscellaneous' in your descriptive efforts: no 'miscellaneous' folders, series, or collections! This word is a constant and nearly indestructible bane of archives, along with silverfish, mold, and library budget cutting committees. If access and description are what we're all about, then why use a term that furthers the cause of neither? This is a lazy and disgusting term, and you should avoid it like you would light beer and unsalted peanuts.

3. Pencils only, please. Pens are for poking, throwing, and finding at the bottom of drawers and bookbags. However, don't let this stop you from getting your institution's name printed on a pen and handing them out by the thousands at that next local/regional/national meeting. Archivists, like most people, love free pens. We just ... can't use them on the job.

4. Hire student employees/interns. They provide a cheap (ideally, free) way to bring your repository up to snuff technologically. As long as you have an endless supply of student workers, you will never have to bother to learn just what the terms 'rss,' 'wiki,' or 'digitization' actually mean.

5. Attend professional conferences. These can be invaluable resources, places where you can learn new techniques, make new friends and visit with old ones, and obtain excellent pointers on resume- and career-building. Quick tip: those camera phone pix from a meeting's closing bash can make excellent job interview blackmail in a few years.

Wednesday, August 30, 2006


Is that a welcome to you or to me? Anyway, welcome to Archival Trash, your bloggedly low-tech, often low-brow place for random musings on archives, sports, and other things that come into my view from time to time.

First, a little about me. I am a professionally trained and employed archivist ("Ich bin ein Arkiver..."), working in a small archives in Maine. I recently moved here with my wife, Mrs. Archivalist, and my cat, [She-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named], so expect a few upcoming posts about our adventures as we explore our new home. Don't expect any posts about the details of my job, tho, because I value my employment too much. However, feel free to post comments about your job at any time, as we'd love to share and savor your discontent.

Again, welcome aboard. If at any time you feel a little sick, please sit down and breathe into the bag provided.