Hello everyone, hope winter break was good to you all! As they say, all good things must come to an end, so here we are hard at work again. This semester is kind of a big deal to some of us as graduation nears. Although that day cannot come soon enough, it also means that there is a lot to get done and even more to learn! Time to get back on track and end winter break hibernation.
I have started this semester by completing some of the projects I started last semester. That included properly storing finished collections. I had to make space for additions to collections, create labels and make sure working space was cleared for new projects. I have also been working on identifying gaps between our El Tucsonense digital and physical collections. I was happy to find that we have a couple more issues we can possibly digitize and add to the MMAP budget proposal. That wrapped up last semester’s pending tasks.
I also had my semester check-in with my marvelous mentor, a meeting that entailed a thorough revision of my work plan and prioritizing projects. I am excited to know that I will be learning about digitization through two projects: MMAP (Mexican and Mexican American Press) and a Borderlands related photograph project. Not everything that goes on in Special Collections are big or glorious projects, however. Some of the tasks archivists perform are small in scale but huge in importance, such as responding to patron inquiries.
This semester I am being coached on how to answer reference questions. I have learned that being familiar with our collections is extremely useful, but not essential. Learning to navigate through extensive resources and learning how sources respond to searches (such as plurals and synonyms) are key. Rule of thumb says that in order to be able to help someone, one must listen them. This is no exception, as engaging in dialogue (or emails) is how we learn what the researcher really needs.
I am saddened to think that I am only here for one last semester, but excited to see what new things I will be learning….so here’s to making it count!!