IT FEELS LIKE IT HAS TAKEN FOREVER, BUT THE INSTITUTIONAL PHOTOS ARE COMPLETED!!!!!!! It has been a long journey but those 2,000+ photographs have all been logged into Omeka! I didn’t exactly experience any major hiccups, with the exception of about 20 or so photos not being scanned into Omeka, so in all honesty it wasn’t a particularly hard job. I did really enjoy the photographs I found in the institutional photos. I felt like it ranged anywhere from the Dedication of the Woodrow Wilson Birthplace, to the many upon many curators and board members, to possibly every single angle and event that happened with the Pierce Arrow. One thing I found the most interesting was that the Institutional’s basically showed the history of every object in the museum and the manse over time, to the point where we started to get into color photography and Kodachrome.
Now, I am on to my next mission. Conquering the Condon and Cox collection. Wish me luck.
Week one was quite the blur for me seeing as it was the first week of my first ever internship. During this week Brianna and I learned how to log photo information into Omeka, and made significant strides when it came to processing the photos left in the smaller file cabinet. However, during this week I really feel like I was focusing more on completing the task rather than learning about the items.
This all seemed to change when week two came around. I feel like during week two I paid more attention to what was in my hands, rather than just logging it into the computer and putting it back in a folder. This was the week that I felt like I really started to remember and recognize famous faces of the people in Wilson’s life. This then lead to being able to write more accurate titles to the pieces that had very little information on them, and creating a mental timeline of when a picture was taken. This was also the week when Brianna and I realized that not everything in this photo collection was going to be smooth sailing. Her and I started to realize that most of the photos in the collection were either 1) not put into Omeka (easiest fix of them all), 2) not scanned into the computer, 3) completely messed up when it came to numbering, or 4) All of the above. When this was realized it was up to Brianna and I to work as a team and stay incredibly organized over the next week and a half to fix all of this. Lastly, this was also the week that I realized that I could use my knowledge of Art History when it came to putting in photos into Omeka. For example I ran across a lot of reproduced Jacob Riis and John Singer Sargent photos that had no information on them. From knowing this I managed to put in more accurate titles and descriptions into Omeka.
Week three was a lot of work but lead to the greatest amount of success! During this week Brianna and I managed to fix the entire photo collection that we were working on. Doing this required a lot of organizing photos into separate files, a lot of scanning, a lot of daily game plan creating, and a lot of talking out what we were doing. Also during this week Brianna and I managed to find some time and go downstairs to listen to “Coffee with the Curator”. During this the Curator talked about the stories of Oscar Dabney and Margarent Cline from the museum’s Soldiers’ Stories: World War I Through American Eyes exhibit. Afterwards we then got a moment to speak to the Curator and ask him a few questions about the presentation.
Week four was a little slow for me sadly. This was the week that I managed to catch a sinus infection from one of the kids that I work with at my other job, and was sadly out sick for a good amount of this week.
Week five was a whole different story. During this week I started to feel better and was sent out to work on the Institutional Photos (insert dramatic music here). So far there have been no number mishaps or issues of items not being scanned yet. Also during this week I managed to get the most work done yet; basically just making up for my lost time from last week. Currently I am about 1/2 of the way through the collection and going strong!
Breaking News: Intern in Search of Sasquatchial Finding Aids Proves Successful!
There’s a lot of things wrong that headline, I’m fully aware, but typing out “sasquatchial” was just too fun to pass up; who knows when — or if — I’ll ever type it again. Fingers crossed that someday I will.
So yes, my hiking and mapping from last week led me to the land of finding aids, a much read bout place that I’m looking forward to getting to know a lot better. This week I’m working with the collections that already have some type of finding aid entered for them in Omeka; lose ones that have data in their Dublin Core fields with some pieces still missing or in need or some TLC.
So I’m kind of starting off simple in terms of learning what info there is and where it goes and learning the formatting Mark wants the finding aids to go by. It’s a good toe dip into the pond…ocean…whatever size body of water sounds the most impressive, let’s go with that.
I now know the locations of both the accession and donor files in case I need any supplemental information and also accidentally took home the plastic clip I was using as a bookmark for when I pulled a file. Which I just now realized…whoops. Sorry, Mark!
So far I think the most interesting part of doing finding aids is filling out the biographical notes section since it gives you the chance to really explain what the collection is beyond the collection description. Some of these smaller collections I’ve been working on were actually donated by the person they’re about or that person’s family so it’s fun playing Nancy Drew and finding all the clues to put together to get a picture of who that person was or how that collection came to be in the WWPL archive. The donor files are unique all on their own since they’re kind of the timeline of how an item– a letter or photograph — started in one place and ended up in another and how the process went of acquiring it; it’s something I didn’t think I would find as fascinating as I would. Some items have a detailed history and some don’t…those are the ones I wonder about the most.
To continue on in the vein of Sasquatch hunting, this week was trail hiking and trying to read the map right in order to get where the last sighting was. Is that a sign of a finding aid I see up around the bend???
Mark had me go through the 2017 collections list to see which ones were already in Omeka, which ones had a finding aid somewhere on the computer, and which ones were just missing…everything. Or a part of their everything. It was a really long list. I don’t remember the exact number, but I do know it was over 100 in terms of how many collections the WWPL archive had last year; some I couldn’t find anything about — meaning there wasn’t anything on the 2017 list beyond a collection name and nothing else — so those ended up with question marks typed next to them and highlighted a special color.
Oh, yeah, I made a new spreadsheet as I went along and, quite frankly, it’s kind of headache inducing. I’m not quite sure how it happened, but one second I’m chugging along, then the next I’m just like “I need to color coordinate this with this and that with that and actually, really, everything just needs to be colored!!!”. Uncolored white spaces became the enemy.
So now I have this…Tetris blocked looking spreadsheet with like…8 or 9 different colors — maybe more — and I can say with 70% confidence that I remember what each color stands for; I forgot to make a key. Whoops. I think I tried to write one down at some point, so that could very well be floating around somewhere, but probably not. I did at least copy and paste an uncolored version of my spreadsheet so in case any poor unsuspecting soul goes to open it they won’t be blinded by the…everything it has to offer in terms of Roy G. Biv and all the color variations in between.