Tag Archives: Archivists

New Year’s Resolutions: Public Outreach

Exhibits are an important part of sharing information with the public and making historical items accessible. They also provide an opportunity to educate visitors on specific topics and showcase items of importance to the community. Public outreach events are another way to involve the public with the archives. Below are a few public outreach event examples to inspire your archives to offer events this year; some of the events below have been offered by Albertan institutions in the past with success.

  1. Create a Time Capsule

Involve community members by encouraging them to donate a small item, such as a photo or letter, for a time capsule project. The time capsule can be put into the vault to be used in the future for an exhibit. This project could take place over a particular holiday, which would provide content for an exhibit for a future holiday.

  1. Rehouse Prized Collections

A 2-3 hour hands-on workshop on proper housing and handling techniques can be taught to comic book and sports card collectors. Archival grade folders, binders, encapsulation materials, and labels can be sold as part of the workshop kit.

  1. Make a Portfolio or Window Mat Folder

A hands-on half-day workshop can be hosted where registrants have an opportunity to create a portfolio or a window mat folder to house an art print. A supply kit for the workshop could be sold upon registration. This workshop would appeal to artisans, art collectors, or art students.

  1. Make Long Lasting Memories

A presentation on choosing papers and glues to safely display photographs and memorabilia can be offered to the scrapbooking community. An additional workshop could be offered to the calligraphic community on choosing lightfast inks and watercolour paints. It is recommended to have samples available to show registrants.

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Common Ground: Disaster Psychology and Vicarious Resilience

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Photo credit: Adrian Pantea

Facility restoration and collections conservation are two of the most commonly sought after disaster relief services for archives. Disaster relief services regarding staff’s health is equally as important as the state of the facility and collection. The emotional toll of disaster recovery and remediation can be a physical, as well as a mental burden on staff members. Psychologists are often called on scene during emergencies and disasters to provide emotional support to victims, survivors, volunteers and disaster relief operations workers. Psychological trauma, also known as vicarious trauma, secondary traumatic stress, and compassion fatigue is not an uncommon experience for persons after a major event.

It is recommended to hold staff training meetings to practice disaster response scenarios. While it is important to practice staff and collection evacuation techniques, it is also important to foster staff coping strategies, called ‘vicarious resilience’. Staff can be familiarized with coping strategies by referring to disaster psychology books, such as, Vicarious Trauma and Disaster Mental Health: Understanding Risks and Promoting Resilience by authors Gertie Quitangon and Mark Evces. Practicing the coping strategies will help staff mentally prepare for traumatic events as well as cope with the emotional trauma caused by these events after they have occurred.

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Writing on Paper

It is best to avoid writing on original records, but sometimes it must be done; for example, when numbering an unbound text block. If it is imperative that labeling or numbering must occur then a pencil should be used. The writing should be executed with a light hand and in a relatively small size, best applied in the lower margin or on the back of the record. Labeling should only occur on paper and never on records made of other materials, such as polyester, cellulose-based polymers, linen, or photographic emulsion.

Types of Pencil Leads Available

There are many types of pencils available, from 10B to 10H. Pencils labeled ‘B’, which stands for blackness, have a higher amount of graphite. They are softer making them more likely to smudge and embed into the fibres of the paper. This is problematic because it will be more difficult to erase the labels and notations in the future. Pencils labeled ‘H’, which stands for hardness, have a higher amount of clay and less graphite. They are harder making them less likely to smudge but more likely to indent the paper. Pencils labeled ‘F’ mean they can be sharpened to a fine point.

A simple test was performed using the lead range of 8B – 6H, and F to see how much they smudged and how well they erased.

Control: Staedtler Mars Lumograph Pencil Set, on unbuffered 100% cotton blotting paper, no sizing agent*.

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Photo Credit: Emily Turgeon-Brunet

With visual analysis, it was found that 2H, 3H and F had the best balance of smudge resistance, ability to erase, and less likely to indent the paper. If writing with a light hand, it is possible to avoid indenting the paper with marks made by H pencils. If writing on paper that has been created with sizing agents*, it is easier to erase the marks made by B pencils.

*Size or sizing agent: Sizing agents are solutions that are applied to paper during or after the papermaking process to impart useful characteristics to the paper. They can make the paper more water resistant, increase its flexibility and smoothness, decrease the susceptibility for creasing, and inhibit the feathering of the ink from writing instruments.The Lead Team Logo

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Resources for Archivists

The Lead Team receives a variety of questions about a multitude of topics. Here are a few helpful resources we have found (or created!) while assisting our members.

 

Film Care by the Image Permanence Institute https://www.filmcare.org/

This website is a great resource – it provides guidelines for working with all film formats and types. It covers storage, including how to implement low temperature storage, charts mapping degradation when film is removed from cold storage and using A-D strips. One of the most useful (and exciting!) resources on this website is the storage calculator for colour and acetate films. Input the temperature and relative humidity of the desired storage space to calculate the longevity of the film under the specified storage conditions.

 

Free Resources by the Northeast Document Conservation Center https://www.nedcc.org/free-resources/overview

The NEDCC offers many free online resources about a variety of subjects, such as preservation and disaster preparedness and recovery. They also offer a free online disaster planning template called dPlan.

 

Flood Advisory Programme by the Archives Society of Alberta http://archivesalberta.org/programs-and-services/flood-assistance/

The Flood Advisory Programme’s website offers a variety of resources focused on disaster preparedness and recovery, such as how-to videos, emergency response resources, extreme weather alerts, recommended disaster response kit list, and staff training scenarios.

 

Salvage Operations for Water Damaged Archives Collections: A Second Glance by Betty Walsh http://www.cdncouncilarchives.ca/salvage_en.pdf

This document is a great resource to review general guidelines to follow in the event of a disaster. Sections include general best practices, guidelines for packing, recovery methods and rehabilitation.

 

Orphan Works: Statement of Best Practices by the Society of American Archivists http://www.archivists.org/standards/OWBP-V4.pdf

This report is a summary of recommended best practices when handling orphan works. Sections include principles, search strategies, documentation, and resources.

 

Bill C-61 – Act to Amend the Copyright Act http://www.parl.gc.ca/HousePublications/Publication.aspx?DocId=3570473&Language=e&Mode=1

No one wants to read it, but it is necessary for understanding Canadian copyright.
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