Sunday, January 21, 2007

The Archives

The Field Museum also has an archives. The archivist on site is named Armand. Interesting thing is that he does not have a degree in library sciences. He is actually an anthropologist. These archives contain mainly papers but also has an extensive collection of audio, video and photo. The problem with this archive is that when Armand took over, the archives were not at all in order. Therefore it is a closed collection and he has to pull anything you want to see. Some of the most common requests are about geneology.

In addition of the normal archives, there is the photo archives. These are run by a lady named Nina. At the current moment the photo archives are available only in their on site intranet. However they are planning on releasing the archive to the general public soon. They make revenue for this project by selling digital reproductions of their archived photos. Also an intersting thing is that they use peer update on the photos. Like wikipedia, you can edit a caption if you know something about the photo. You make the change, and then it is verified by the museum staff before it is posted.


Hasan said...

What I noticed not only about this archive, but about all archives in general is that no definite system of organization exists for these type of collections. Since items in arhives cannot really be classified by the dewey decimal system or the Library of Congress, archivists just seem to devise their own ways of organizing the collection.
The photo archive was also interesting to hear about because I came to know where all the pictures in textbooks, articles, encyclopedias, and other reference materials come from.

Anonymous said...

I love hearing stories like Armand's about how librarians and archivists take initiative to organize collections because it was not previously done. He really seemed to enjoy the materials he continuously discovers in the Archives.

Amy said...

The size of the library really surprised me. I was expecting it to be a lot bigger. It seems like all of the information that they kept is very important and it is a shame that more people don't know about them. First of all, I really liked the archives. It was really interesting to me and I loved the stories that he told. I also really liked seeing the things that were back in the special collections. Even though the bird was kind of gross, I thought that it was really neat to see the same bird that was in the painting on the wall. It still looked a lot like the painting. I also liked the letters from Darwin. I didn't think that the Field Museum would have information like this.