Sunday, December 7, 2014

Internship Overview

Throughout my time at Loyola University's Archive and Special Collections, I have learned a great deal. Prior to this, I had never had experience in archives nor did I have any experience in digitizing. This internship provided me with both. This internship taught me to use the skills I developed throughout my time at Loyola, such as organization and research, and apply them to a practical field. I learned how to survey material and learned to determine what information was important for documentation. I learned how to arrange a collection and how to maintain it. I also learned how to create a finding aid using the information and material provided. This internship also taught me the importance of archive work. Archive work is essential in maintaining collections but also assists others in finding information or artifacts that they have been searching for. By providing an organized platform, the archives department allows for easier research practices for the public. This has been a great learning experience to me and has continued my desire to use my skills as a historian in a practical setting.

Thank you for reading this blog!

Week 14: Editing Digitized Book

After capturing the images for the book last week, this week, I am editing the pages so that they are legible and properly aligned. In order to do this, I have to use BookDrive Editor which allows me to rearrange, crop, and skew images. This is an important step in the digitizing process. After the pictures are taken, most pictures have to be rotated so that they are facing the proper direction. Then the next step is to skew the images. Since some of the images captured are slightly off or crooked, it is important to de-skew them so that the pages for the digitized book are as straight as possible. This also helps when trying to create a uniform size for the pages, which is done through cropping. While it can be done for the overall collection, it is better to do each individual page since not all the pages are captured exactly the same. Once all these pages are edited, the software will combine the pages into a pdf and this then can be put online and shared. That is the process of digitizing a book.

Friday, December 5, 2014

Week 13: Digitizing books

ith my collection now finished, I have the opportunity to learn how to digitize archive material. Digitizing archive material allows for books, newspaper or other material to be transformed into an online format. This then can be accessed by more people and provides a safe keeping of the books contents for books that are in poor condition. To do this, the archivist selects the type of work they would like to digitize and places it in the capturing center. The capturing center is a stand that holds the book open to the pages you want to digitize. Then using computer software, cameras that are mounted on the top of the machine take the pictures of the book and brings them to a screen where they can be edited and put together. This is a long task, for each individual page has to be digitized and then flipped to the next page and then the process is repeated. This week I am starting to digitize one of Loyola's rare books from 1721, called: "New Opera's, with Comical Stories, and Poems, on Several Occasions, Never Before Printed, Being the Remaining Pieces" and written by Thomas D'Urfey.

Monday, December 1, 2014

Week 12: Storage and Research

After finishing my collection last week, my collection was now ready for storage. Archive collections are stored in a a separate humidity controlled room.This room is also protected by a locked cage so that only authorized personnel may enter. Once a collection is finished, the collection is placed on one of the shelves and organized by call number. That is the final step of archiving a collection.

So with my collection finished, I was given the task to do some research. A man had come in to the Archives department seeking any information about his father. His father had attended Loyola around 1953 and played for the basketball team. With this information, I searched through yearbooks and student newspapers to see if I could find any mention of this man's father. Eventually I was able to find some information in the school newspaper that included a picture of the basketball team he was on. This information was tagged and then provided to him. So while an archivist may be responsible for organizing and maintaining collections, they are also responsible for helping to assist others in research.

Saturday, November 29, 2014

Week 11: Finishing the Finding Aid

In order to complete the finding aid, I had to label each individual folder with a folder and box number. For instance, the first folder of box one would be labelled 1-1. This would allow me to keep track of which folder was contained in each box. Once I did this, I had to add these numbers to the finding aid and give the title of the folders and what they contain. This is so that it is organized and easier to find when searching for a file. After completing this step, I went back and gave my collection a quick run-through to make sure that everything was recorded and that my collection was in order. With everything set, I finished creating my finding aid and finished my collection. Next week, I will put my collection in storage.

Friday, November 28, 2014

Week 10: Creating a Finding Aid

Since I completed organizing my collection last week, this week my task was to create a finding aid. A finding aid is a written guide that provides information about the collection, such as a description about the collection, a description about the institution, how the collection is organized, what subjects are found in the collection and provides a location for the items within the collection. All this information provides researchers and archivists with the necessary information to easily locate a particular piece of the collection. This is a very important step in the archives process.

Link to a list of finding guides for current Loyola University Archives material can be found here.

Thursday, November 27, 2014

Week 9: Boxing my Collection

This week, I finished up organizing my files from the Extension Society. After putting each file in order and grouping them into folders, I labelled the folders with the appropriate description and date. Once this was completed, I was provided with three hollinger/archives boxes which were used to store the files. These boxes are designed for archive material and provide safe storage for an extended period of time. These boxes are acid-free which helps prevent paper from breaking down and have a metal-edge on their corners that provide protection. They also contain a loop which allows easy access to pulling the boxes off the shelves. For my collection, I labelled the boxes as the Catholic Church Extension Society and provided it with a number in the set. This will be helpful when creating a finding guide.