The following is a guest post by Keri A. Myers, a volunteer archivist with NDIIPP.
I never planned to have obsolete digital storage media as a traveling companion. It just kind of happened. And I’m an archivist with lots of experience working with digital materials!
This summer I relocated to the Washington DC area after spending the last six years living and working as an archivist in London, England. It is good to be back in the country of my birth and I return with some good experiences under my belt.
My first job in the UK was as a project manager for the Trades Union Congress Library Collections at London Metropolitan University. I managed The Workers’ War: Home Front Recalled and Winning Equal Pay: the value of women’s work.
The task was to digitize a substantial part of the collections and create two websites to make those resources available. I oversaw the digitization process of photographs, posters, letters, pamphlets and other ephemera. I created archival back-ups of data, added all the metadata to the collections management software and prepared and converted oral history and video clips for uploading to websites.
My work experience at the TUC Library 6 years ago really sparked an interest not only in digitization but the issues surrounding digital preservation.
Another part of the job which I really enjoyed was working on outreach and education. Together with our project partners, built a mock factory which was a traveling exhibit highlighting the work experiences of those in Britain during the Second World War. Taking place in year of the sixtieth anniversary of WWII, we toured the country at commemorative events, culminating in the great celebration in London’s Hyde Park.
My next stint of employment was at the Vaughan Williams Memorial Library at the English Folk Dance and Song Society. As the organization’s first ever archivist I had my work cut out for me. I was in charge of developing an archival program to accession and catalog the organization’s rich history focusing primarily on the manuscript collections but also was left to tackle the organization’s rich film and audio collections.
I focused on creating condition reports for manuscript collections to be digitized, which lead to Take 6, a searchable database of manuscripts from six folk song collectors, as well as the digitization of Cecil Sharp’s diaries from his collecting trips in the Appalachian Mountains.
So as I find myself in a new city looking for new opportunities I have started volunteering at the Library of Congress with NDIIPP to further my understanding and interest in personal archives management and digital preservation.
And just like NDIIPP, my interest is in the personal as well as professional. My parents were elated with my return to the U.S.–it meant I could finally claim all my boxes in their attic. Now I am working on processing my personal collection of papers and finally tackling my digital assets as well.
I am ashamed to admit that I’ve traveled with obsolete media from the U.S. to Europe and back again. I have set myself a goal to finally organize my papers and do a bit of personal digital archiving to rediscover what I dumped on those Zip disks all those years ago. I’m looking forward to testing NDIIPP’s personal digital archiving advice and perhaps to offer some ideas for making it better.