Sunday, November 11, 2012

Work as Usual

Yesterday was one of the less exciting days at the archive. I mostly accessioned photos and completed my reorganization of the Scene magazine box. I also began accessioning all the issues of the magazine into the computer. As far as accessioning goes, documents and periodicals are some of the easiest things to file. Photos and objects, on the other hand, are quite difficult. When we first were becoming acquainted with the Past Perfect program we accessioned many books. These were a good point to start from because books have a lot of information easily available, giving us good examples to explore the different sections of the Past Perfect program. Today while accessioning the issues of Scene magazine I was grateful to have all the useful information that comes with a magazine like the volume number, month and year of issue, general topics of that issue and so on. Meanwhile, the photos I accessioned were a bit more difficult. Sometimes years are written on the back which is very helpful. However, many of the photos I've found recently only have Japanese written on the back. I have been able to understand a few, but in Japan there are two dating systems, the Western - based system and another which uses the lineage of emperors for reference. When only the second system is used I am totally at a loss. If we should find someone who can read the photos for us I have decided to make a note for any photos that have Japanese written on the back. I also make sure to include any sort of information about writing on the back of photos no matter what language as it is an important part of the "Condition Notes" section. Its important to make note of anything that might be considered a alteration to the object to keep track of any damages that might occur if it is lent out. Doing the first magazine was slow, and the interesting pictures in it can also be distracting. But after I figured out the details that could be translated to all the other pieces, the process became much faster. This seems to always happen with a large group of pieces that need accessioning. Much of the work at the archive gets easier with time. That is why at first it is difficult to get started, but often around the time that the session is over I am not yet ready to leave. I reach my peak work pace then, and find it difficult to shift gears into cleaning up our work areas. I am glad that we are able to leave much of our work laid out. At this point, we have quite a few boxes of items fully organized and accessioned. We also have many projects nearly finished, and have been able to get a much better sense of the archive as a whole. I have not taken the time to take a nice look at our completed projects, but this week I noticed that we had made quite a bit of progress and was happy to see all our things nicely put together. Next week I will put the finishing touches on some of our latest projects and hopefully find many new interesting ones to take on.

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