Tuesday, September 27, 2005

Celebrating Georgia Archives Week

October 1 - 9 is Georgia Archives Week. In keeping with this year's theme (Discover Hidden Treasures)the SPSU archive will add one new entry page to the SPSU wiki a day next week, and link to those pages here on the progress blog.

What pieces of SPSU history would you like to see added to the wiki? Should we highlight past university presidents, or enter in past student traditions? Is there a building on campus that deserves its own entry, or a collection you think we should highlight? Let us know - e-mail or call the archives with your suggestions!

We'll also be updating this page each day with looks at how other university archives celebrate archives week.

Wednesday, September 21, 2005

The way faculty and students share information has changed considerably since SPSU first held classes. In the picture above, you can see one of the glass slides used in lectures from years past. Starting this month faculty and students can share information via the SPSU wiki. Documenting student life, campus culture, and the way subjects are taught at SPSU is all part of the mission of the archives and special collections. Check out our wiki entry for more pictures of items and collections you can find with us. Posted by Picasa

How will the archive arrange material? How do other university archives provide access to their maps and drawings?

The end goal of arranging, describing, and re-housing the collections in the SPSU archives and special collections is to provide better access to students and faculty that want to use the materials. Libraries, and archives have used a variety of ways to make collections of maps and drawings available.

The University of Georgia's Hargrett Library has a numbering system attached to their map collection. This is common in archives, and makes the materials easy to find in the flat files. The Library of Congress maps are also arranged by a numbering system, but employ a version of library cataloging in identification as well, using the same cataloging schema used in the rest of their collection.

When we organize the collections in the SPSU archive, each item will get a number (making it easy to find physically), and will be described using Electronic Archival Description, or EAD. You can see how the data entry for EAD compares with data entry for a library catalog record at this test page from Columbia University, where architectural drawings were already described in the library catalog before they were given Electronic Archival Description.

A good example of using EAD in collections similar to ours can be seen at the International Archive of Women in Architecture from Virginia Polytechnic. Another good example of EAD used in a collection of architectural drawings can be seen at this page from Cornell. EAD was chosen as the descriptive standard for the SPSU archive because it is the standard endorsed by the Society of American Archivists, and because using this schema will facilitate sharing our records with the Digital Library of Georgia.

Monday, September 19, 2005

This is an example of the type of architectural drawings you can find in the SPSU archive. Gregson & Ellis Architects, "1000 Bed Psychiatric Building for White Patients at the Milledgeville State Hospital". No date listed. Posted by Picasa

Organizing the Map, Survey, Blueprint and Architectural Drawing Collection

This week marks the start of organizing the Map, Survey, Blueprint and Architectural Drawing Collection. In an initial survey done last week, it was estimated that SPSU holds over 200 linear feet of these materials. When used in an archive, library, or museum, the term "linear foot" means how many feet of shelf space a collection occupies. For instance, a standard flat file contains a little over 4 feet of linear storage per drawer, so a 5 drawer flat file is said to house 20 linear feet of material.

By this estimate, archive will eventually need somewhere in the neighborhood of 10 flat files to house the collection. This year we plan on purchasing 6 flat files to start the collection, and housing those prints that are smaller in drop front boxes.

Faculty and Staff with an interest in this collection are encouraged to submit input on how they would like to see the collection arranged for use. Just drop a comment at the end of this post, or call the archive to set up an appointment at 678-915-7444.

Wednesday, September 14, 2005

There are currently hundreds of uncataloged blueprints, maps, and technical drawings in the SPSU Archives and Special Collections. One of our priorities is organizing this unique research resource. Posted by Picasa

What's a University Archive? Why do we need one? And why does ours have a blog?

Welcome to the blog of the SPSU archives. If you've never used a university archive before, you probably have some questions, like:

~ What's a University Archive?

~ Why does Southern Polytechnic need an archive?

~ Why does the SPSU archive have a blog?

The Archives and Special Collections department of a University library can play many different roles in an institution. The SPSU archive will collect, arrange, describe, preserve, and provide access to those items that are too valuable to be part of the general circulating collection of the library. Examples of items you would find in the archive would be papers of past faculty and adminstrators, memorabilia documenting SPSU student life and culture, items related to the history of the school, and rare books and other hard-to-find material relevent to the history of subjects that SPSU teaches.

SPSU has hired its first full time archivist to provide better access and preservation to its archives and special collections. While we've done an excellent job in the past of collecting items relevent to our history, many of these items need special attention if they are to be accessed without accidental damage. Over half of the items in special collections are currently under-documented or need special housing needs addressed in order to be useable as a research collection. Once some of these issues are addressed, SPSU can join other institutions in the Digital Library of Georgia.

Because most of the collection can not currently be accessed due to space issues, this blog will be updated regularly so that faculty, staff, and students can watch our progress. The archives and special collections is on its way to becoming a valuable research tool for everyone at Southern Polytechnic. We also hope we can show off some of the wonderful artifacts relating to the history of our school along the way. So keep checking in with the SPSU blog, and watch us change and grow!

Currently the archive has cramped conditions, but soon we hope to make all the documents realting to SPSU's traditions and history available for research. Posted by Picasa