Rosalie Gartner joined the SCUA team on November 15, 2017 as the Lead Processing Archivist. She moved here from Boston, Massachusetts, where she has lived for the past 6 years. Originally from Colorado, she moved to Boston to attend Simmons College, where she earned her MS in Library Science with a concentration in Archives Management. After graduation, she worked at Emerson College for several years, doing everything from course instruction to processing to records management. In her free time, she enjoys reading (of course), sewing, and traveling. Despite the extreme cold, Rosalie is happy to be here! And we are super ecstatic to have her here!!
Becky Jordan, reference specialist in Special Collections & University Archives (SCUA), is retiring and today is her last day. Becky is an ISU alumna, and she has been with SCUA since she graduated in 1975! She worked in the Parks Library as a student and began work in SCUA right after graduation. If you’ve ever had a research request or visited the archives, it is likely Becky Jordan provided you with assistance.
You can read more about Becky in our Staff Pick! post from last summer.
Please join us in congratulating Becky on her much deserved retirement. We will miss her very much and wish her well!
Rosie Rowe is the Audiovisual Preservation Specialist for Special Collections & University Archives (SCUA) at Parks Library. Rosie has more than 20 years of experience in audiovisual fields and has worked extensively with the preservation of analogue and digital media formats. In her previous role as the Audiovisual and Film Specialist at Archives New Zealand, she was responsible for building and maintaining a new audiovisual lab, where they preserved more than 20TB of at-risk, historical media for the national archives.
She aims to provide similar guidance and preservation workflow to the film and audiovisual collections at SCUA. We are very pleased she is here. Please join us in welcoming Rosie!
A few weeks ago, Chris, Descriptive Records Project Archivist, introduced himself to our readers. Here are a few more new faces (as well as some old faces in new positions) at Iowa State University’s Special Collections and University Archives (SCUA).
Rachel is the new Outreach Archivist and has spent the last six years working in the Alaska & Polar Regions Collections & Archives (APR) at the University of Alaska Fairbanks. She spent two years working primarily in reference and processing collections, then moved on to catalog manuscripts and rare maps, work with donors and appraise potential donations, and organize presentations and exhibits that highlighted the collections and services of APR. Rachel received her MSLIS with an Archives concentration from Simmons College in January 2006 and spent her first two years out of school working as a reference librarian at a public library in Westminster, MA. Rachel’s superpower is she talks at the speed of light!
Amy is the new Rare Books and Manuscripts Archivist. She started in this new position on October 19, but she’s already been at SCUA for a little over two years as a Project Archivist. You may have already read some of her blog posts, highlighting collections she has processed, or just those she thinks are cool. She came to ISU from the University of Illinois, where she received her MSLIS in 2013 and spent two years working as a Graduate Assistant at the Rare Book and Manuscript Library. Outside of work, Amy likes to dance. She has done ballet, jazz, clogging, Lindy Hop, Charleston, and most recently Scottish country dance.
Brad was named the University Archivist this past November. His new job didn’t take him too far from his old one as he has been a staff member of SCUA at Iowa State for over twelve years. During this time he was in a supporting role working mostly with University records and the film and media collections. Now as University Archivist, he is responsible for documenting the history of the University–an impossible task if not for the amazing work that the rest of the staff in the department does. Brad has lived in Iowa his entire life, growing up outside of Maynard in northeast Iowa. He is a graduate of Iowa State University (BFA 2000) and recently received his MLIS from the University of Wisconsin—Milwaukee.
Hello, folks. I’m Chris, and I’ve been working the Special Collections team since late August, 2015, so it’s about time I introduced myself.
My title is “Descriptive Records Project Archivist,” which makes sense once you know what I do here. In some respects, I’m just another cataloger—one of the people who creates and edits the bibliographic information that the public accesses via the ISU library system’s online catalog. On the other hand, I catalog selected resources from the holdings of the Special Collections and University Archives unit, a distinction which matters more than one might assume.
Before explaining that difference, here is a bio in a nutshell.
I was born in the dry heat of Palm Springs, California. When I was a boy, my family was unusually itinerant (which is a story in itself). All that moving around taught me to make my own fun, with or without other kids, so it was natural that I became a book-lover.
I earned a Bachelor of Arts in humanities with a minor in history at Northern Arizona University in Flagstaff, Arizona. That’s where I got involved in special libraries and archives work. After a few years in the trenches, I got my MLIS (Master of Library and Information Studies) at UCLA, where I focused on informatics, especially music informatics.
My wife and I moved to Iowa in August, 2015 when she was offered a good job here. I knew little to nothing about Iowa (let alone Ames or ISU) before taking the plunge, but it’s been a real pleasure so far.
—Which brings me back to my job, and what makes it special. All cataloging is done to help people find, identify, select, and/or obtain information resources. But what if these information-seeking people have very different goals as to how they will use what they find? What if the resources themselves are fundamentally different from, say, mass-produced library books?
That’s where I come in. I have experience working with rare books, archival and manuscript collections, and “special” libraries of several kinds. This department wants to provide deeper description and documentation of its rare, unique, and unpublished materials. There are numerous ways we’re all working to increase awareness of, and access to, our collection. My contribution is to strategically catalog selected stuff that isn’t always well-represented in libraries’ traditional online catalogs. Because our subject matter is both narrower and deeper than that of Parks Library as a whole (academic libraries cover a vast range of topics), I have a terrific opportunity to learn about our specific “audiences,” how they use our resources, how and why we’ll preserve them for posterity, and so on. Doing all that requires embedding me in the department, where I share service desk duties, meet the full range of patrons, and engage directly with the team on a daily basis. In addition, I’m doing a survey of our collections to determine where we stand in terms of cataloging and documentation, and I’m redrafting some local procedures. In conclusion, “doing right” by SCUA’s patrons, collections, and staff involves both “digging in” and perceiving the “big picture.” (Pardon my mixed metaphors—what was that, three in a row?)
Best wishes until next time, Dear Readers. —Chris, Descriptive Records Project Archivist.
Special Collections and University Archives is closed today in recognition of Independence Day.
Have a happy 4th of July!
The President of the Society of American Archivists, Kathleen Roe, recently called for archivists to come up with a 5 word phrase for engaging people in conversations about archives and archivists. Here at Iowa State University, we’ve decided to focus our five word phrases on why archives are important and what the ISU Special Collections Department can do for you.
Here are the options – vote for your favorites and/or add your own!
Here is a special post to announce some exciting news.
A little over a year ago, Stephanie introduced herself and the two other project archivists to our readers. Now, Stephanie will be the first of us to leave ISU as she moves on to a new Collections Archivist position at Wake Forest University Special Collection and Archives. Congratulations, Stephanie!!!
Stephanie’s many contributions to the Special Collections department can be quantified in numerable ways—from processing almost 400 linear feet of archival collections, to greeting and assisting patrons over hundreds of hours at our public services desk, to composing more than 30 interesting and informative blog posts. But there are many other ways that Stephanie has contributed to the department over the last year-and-a-half that will be greatly missed: her quick wit, her enthusiasm, and her insights on all things archival.
Thanks for the laughs and for all the hard work, Stephanie! ISU will miss you *sniff*, but we know you will rock your next job!
Stephanie’s last day is tomorrow, so please join us in wishing Stephanie all the very best in her new endeavors in a warmer climate.
Every October is American Archives Month – a time to celebrate the work of archivists and the physical and digital items that benefit from our care. There are as many ways to celebrate Archives Month (or #archivesmonth, on Twitter) as there are archival repositories. Larger archival institutions have a full range of activities to showcase their work. The National Archives and Records Administration profiles staff members and favorite items throughout the month on social media. Smithsonian Institute Archives covers its work through a number of virtual and in-person opportunities. Here at ISU Special Collections, we celebrate by working: accepting university records and donated materials relating to our collecting areas; working with donors; processing materials; answering questions from the wide variety of folks who enlist our help; educating students through tours and classroom talks; and providing access to our collections through our website and Reading Room.
The Society of American Archivists, our professional organization, is observing Archives Month, of course. The association president, Kathleen Roe, recently wrote a blog post and asked the question “Who have you met on your journey through archival records?” She posed her question in reference to people whom she met through the historical record – such as the faculty and staff, students, and alumni whose collections we hold.
The Special Collections reading room and exhibit space in 1971, RS 25/3
But as I sit in the Reading Room with a researcher hard at work and one of our student workers making preservation reproductions, I think of the meaningful interactions and lessons that I learn from the living people that I interact with in and around the archives. For example:
- Students of all ages, from middle school on up to retirees who are curious about something and have the time to pop in. And of course academic scholars from ISU as well as other institutions who seek the rare and unique information that we hold. Even the questions that they ask, about the archives or about their interests, teach me lessons about my work all the time!
- Our student workers, who bring their perspectives and questions to work every week. It’s nice to hear what student life is like in 2014 when I’m used to fielding questions and handling materials that are often older than today’s students.
- Donors who generously hand their memories, or their loved ones’ memories, over for care-taking. It is a privilege to assess a lifetime’s worth of accumulated materials and process them to allow others to benefit from all the knowledge within.
- Colleagues who have fielded my questions, encouraged and mentored me, introduced me to other archives colleagues in their network, and so on and so forth through the six degrees of separation between me and Kevin Bacon. No, wait, between me and famed archivist Theodore Roosevelt Schellenberg.
- Archivists of the wider world who I meet through graduate school, or at regional conferences, or at the SAA Annual Meeting – which was held with two other records-centric organizations this year. There is an unending supply of new people to meet, share stories with, and learn from.
Much appreciation goes out to all those who make our work as archivists possible – especially the archivists ourselves. You can celebrate American Archives Month by coming by to see our new exhibit on Homecoming, doing research, or checking out all the resources we have available through our [newly updated] website!
Hi! I’m Kim and I’m the newest member of the Special Collections team.
I started in August as a new Archivist. I’ll be serving as the archives lead on digital materials as well as doing general “archivist stuff.” It’s an exciting time – we’re preparing to get a formal digital records program established. It will take some time to get everything in place so keep an eye out in our blog to see the latest developments. Digital records (sometimes used interchangeably with “e-records,” “electronic records,” or “born-digital”) are things with archival value that are originally in some digital form – e.g. e-mail, databases, web sites, Word documents, etc. The Library of Congress has some tips on how to maintain your own digital records: http://www.digitalpreservation.gov/personalarchiving/records.html
I’m a California transplant. I grew up in the Central Valley and foothills of the Sierra Nevadas. I’m personally familiar with agriculture and rural life – so I’m seeing some familiar sights around Central Iowa. My high school was surrounded by orchards and berry fields. When I was little we had goats, ducks, and chickens and I ordered my school clothes out of a Sears Catalog at the general store/post office in Coarsegold. My mom grew up in Lee County, Iowa where my grandpa had a farm and raised corn, soybeans, and hogs. Even though I’m a Californian I grew up hearing all about Iowa and now I live here! I recently inherited my aunt’s recipes – six recipe boxes crammed full of hand-written recipe cards many of which she collected from the Donnellson (Iowa) newspaper. So, I’m bringing a little bit of Iowa back to Iowa with me. (Speaking of which, did you know we have a fabulous Iowa cook book collection?)
I’ve been around archives and libraries for a while now. I got my first library job in 1995 as a student worker in a curriculum library at Northern Arizona University (NAU) but switched to NAU’s Special Collections and Archives (SCA) two years later. At SCA I got to do a little bit of everything – processing manuscript and photograph collections, conservation (and preservation work (phase boxes, rebacking books, and more!), exhibit design and construction, and working with people – learning from donors, assisting researchers, and supervising students and volunteers. I’ve mostly stayed in Special Collections or University Archives except for a few brief stints at law libraries and police records.
I earned my B.A. in Humanities (minor in Anthropology) from NAU and my MLIS from University of California – Los Angeles (UCLA). I love university life and campus histories and I’m happiest being part of the rhythm of college campuses. While at UCLA I worked as historical researcher for a book project on UCLA’s history and served as author of the history of the William Andrews Clark Memorial Library. I also worked in the UCLA University Archives. I completed my time at UCLA when I earned my doctorate in Information Studies in 2011. My dissertation “Appraisal Learning Networks: How University Archivists Learn to Appraise through Social Interaction” received the ALISE/Eugene Garfield Doctoral Dissertation award in 2013. I also spent six weeks in Australia last summer as a visiting scholar at Monash University and study abroad instructor learning about e-records and the Australian records continuum. My doctoral focus was archival studies and my sub-specialization was in the History of Science and Technology so working at the Special Collections at Iowa State is a perfect match for my interests!
For the past few years I’ve been serving as Archives Program Director and teaching at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee in the archival studies area within the MLIS program. I’ve made the decision to return to practice and am very enthusiastic about the possibilities of this position. It’s a great team here. I hope you will visit us and see what we’re up to.