I worked 20 hours at the ACP this week. I continued doing the housecleaning work I described in my last post, and also worked on the next batch of documents to be digitized.
But I though I’d use this journal to talk more about what I’ve been doing at the Independence Seaport Museum. My work there has really gotten more interesting in the past two weeks. I started working with an old intern that came back to help with the online archives for a couple of weeks. Meg has a lot of experience with the ISM’s online database Eloquent, which has proven very difficult to deal with. Since she is only working at the ISM temporarily, we’ve been working to create a series of guides that can help other archivists to understand how to upload new collections online, update information, and generally work within these archives.
Up until last week, I had had no experience with the backside of the Eloquent Archives. So for this project I’ve been acting as a guinea pig of sorts. Using the guides that my boss has created, I’ve been learning how to use the database system while she is there to answer any questions. By learning this way, I’ve been identifying what topics and steps of the process are not addressed within the guides.
So if I’m reading along with the guide and I come to something that doesn’t make sense to me, I tell my boss and we put a new section into the guide so that future users have answers to that problem. Usually, its a step that Meg overlooked explaining, as she’s so familiar with the system she did so without considering that a new user might not make the same conclusion
It’s really exciting to be working on the “infrastructure” side of archival work. Without proving that these guides are foolproof, they won’t be much use to anyone. Now they can help guide new users for years to come.