Week 15

Once again, this week was all about the audio tapes. This week really took me back to my younger days when I would work with VHS tapes. Does anyone else remember having to manual rewind the tapes, because the film had come loose? Because, I did a lot of that this week and I had major flash backs. This week I discovered that most of the tapes they have are actually apart of different series that cover different topics, so organizing them isn’t actually that bad.

I managed to go through a box of tapes finally, and they are all organized, charted and stored away. Unfortunately, there are still like 4 other boxes with videos and tapes that have to be archived as well, and I will most likely not get to those. Those boxes will be left for the interns next semester. This is my second to last week of my internship and I am surprised by how fast the time has gone by. I have already written my Final reflection paper for the program, so I guess the internship is pretty much over. However, I do still have one more week, and I am going to go and try to finish as much as I can before the very end.

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Week Fourteenth

This week its all about the tapes. As I work with these tapes I see why they became outdated a) this whole two side thing is supper annoying, especially when you don’t know what side is supposed to be first, b) this rewinding business is so time consuming, and each side can only fit about 45 minutes worth of material, c) its hard to label and store these tapes nicely, they’re too big, and don’t stack up nicely, and d) cassette players are so big. It kind of blows my mind to think that at some point in time these tapes were revolutionary to the audio world. Does anyone remember walkmans?

Doesn’t this picture just about sum up the entire era?

Anyways, despite all of this, the actually listening to tapes is not bad. I actually enjoy it. At the moment I am listening to each tape for about 5-8 minutes to try and determine, the topic being discussed, the year, who is talking, and if the tape is one of a series (since each tape can only fit a limited amount of audio on it).

Some of these tapes are super interesting, for example there was a lecture on Black history in the United States, with a focus on Chicago, and that one really grabbed my attention. However, I do not have time to sit here and listen to a two hour lecture.

Other tapes are not so interesting. For example the series on the administrative part of History Fairs, I can honestly say I could do without those tapes, however, even though they are not interesting to me they’re still important.

As I work on these tapes, I am starting to think that I will be lucky if I get through a box before the end of this semester. However, there is another archiving Intern who is coming in, so he should have plenty to do.

Until next week!

Week Thirteenth

This week I created a spreadsheet for all of the slides that I archived, and then I sent it to Allyson (the Newberry Library’s archivist). After that I do believe they are going to take all of those slides and store them away, meaning that i FINISHED with that part of the project!

Unfortunately, I had been under the impression that the previous intern before me had done more the audio and video files, however, that was not the case. So this week I started the daunting task of archiving the audio files. Most of the files are in cassette format, and they feel so old to me. I actually struggled with opening up some of the storage cases, and Frank had to help me open them. In my defense, when is the last time that any of us have worked with one of these?

I swear, the last time I worked with one I was in elementary school, early elementary school.

I thought the slides were time consuming, boy was I wrong. The tapes are far worse. To begin with, almost none of them have been rewound to the beginning, and its not like an mp3 file, where you can just jump to the spot you want. No, you have to wait to rewind it all the way to the beginning, and that actually takes a while. Additionally, since you cant jump, you have to wait to rewind or move forward on that tape and that takes a really long time.

And the sound quality, OMG, its actually really bad, at first I thought my headphones had gotten waterlogged or something. Nope, its the tapes. Working with all of this old technology really makes me appreciate how far stuff has advanced.

Next week is going to be interesting. Happy Thanksgiving!

Week twelve

This week I got to meet two new interns and explain to them what the archiving project entails, and where I think the project is going to be left off. One of the interns is Junior from Depaul, and the other intern is from Loyola too, and she is also a senior history major. Together we all met with Allyson (the Newberry Library Archivist) and we discussed what should would want from us to make her job easier.

The biggest thing that we agreed upon is that everything has been archived needs to be counted and put into a list, so that she knows what she has, and exactly how much storage place she is going to need for the documents. I had been under the impression that the previous intern had listed all of the video and audio records that she had organized. However, I was wrong (that is why you shouldn’t assume things), and I have to go through the 4 boxes of video and 3 boxes audio, and input every record into a spreadsheet. The video records are pretty cool, and a reminder of how quickly technology progressed. A lot of the video is actually in U-Matic format, which was the predecessor of VHS. U-Matic tapes looks like this

Unfortunately, this technology is so outdated (even though it not that old it was developed in the mid-seventies)  that the Newberry Library doesn’t possess the equipment to view these tapes. So we are just going to have to hope that the descriptions on the case boxes are accurate, and if there is no description we are going to have to leave the tape unidentified.

The good news is, that the intern from Depaul will actually be starting next week, so I am going to have some with the listing of all of the archives. This week I focused on the slides, and I am actually almost done with all of them (there were about 3 boxes worth of slides that I went through). However, listing the slides was pretty easy because I had already gone through them and organized them. I don’t think that videos or audio is as well organized as the slides. As a result those might take a lot longer than slides. However, I am excited to work with all of the old videos!

Week 11

This week had me finishing up the Annual Report for CMHEC. Getting everything ready for publication has been a lot of work. To be quite honest its work that is quite tedious, because I have to fix a lot of the very small things with the publication, but the small things actually take up a lot of time. However, Frank seems to be happy with what I have done so far, so that’s the good news.

There really isn’t anything new to report. After ten weeks of working at CMHEC, things have fallen into a pattern, and all of the projects that I should be working on have been assigned to me, and now I am just trying to finish as much as I can before the semester is over. So, I don’t think that there is going to be anything new for me to work on.

I am still not done with the annual report, and next week I am going to be focusing on the archiving project again. So, I am going to have to find time to squeeze in the annual report because that is something that I want to finish before semester is over.

To continue working on the archiving project I am going to meet with the Newberry Library archivist, and discuss what to do with the boxes, and boxes of documents.  (Before I leave I need to take a picture of all of the boxes that are sitting there. Frank also tells me that next week I am going to meet with the new interns, who are going to start next semester. He wants me to get the interns acquainted with the project, and let them know where the project stands. The hope is thhat ne

Week 10 at CMHEC

I cannot believe how quickly my time has gone by at CMHEC. Frank has decided to rethink the official name of the internship position, since at this point I do pretty much whatever needs to be done around the office, and the archiving project is often pushed to the back burner to whatever needs to get done.

At the moment I am reworking the annual report that I had been working on in October. Frank has given me some feedback and I am going back and re-editing the material that I currently have. I did not know that Frank had been editor prior to him working with CMHEC, but it became apparent in his feedback of the annual report. Everything he said pointed to his close attention to detail, and he was very clear with what he wanted, which I really appreciated. I am actually surprised about the amount of changes that I have to make to the report. I honestly believed that I was going to have to rework the entire thing since, Frank had not really specified what he wanted from the report, and he pretty much gave me free reign to do whatever I wanted with it. However, while there are some changes that I have to make, there aren’t nearly as many as I thought there would be.  Most of the changes that I have to are minor in nature in, but extremely time consuming. This Tuesday I pretty, much spent the entire day trying to rework the cover to get the design perfect, and edited the donors list that has to be included in the report.

Doing this project reminds me why I am not a graphic design major. I spend a lot of time doing little things to get the aesthetics looking just right, and focusing on some small but important details, and after four hours of work it looks like I have only done an hours worth. However, I know that when I am done with the report I will be

Week nine

As I stated in my previous post, the archiving project is moving extremely slow. As a matter of fact this week I really did not do anything in regards to the project, and instead spent my time doing other stuff around the project.

I know this blog is supposed to be about a historical internship, but I think it is slowly becoming a blog about common office tasks that are needed in order to keep a nonprofit going. To be quite honest after spending hours doing the archiving project I welcome the office tasks. It is not that I didn’t like archiving, actually I do enjoy it, the problem is that archiving images that you have no way of identifying at some point is not longer archiving, but its just collecting images and labeling them unidentified and not dated, which will not help anyone in the future, and that is the part the I find extremely frustrating. Luckily, there are other things around the office that need to get done.

This week I spent time going over the donors list of CMHEC, it is getting close to the end of the year, so CHMEC is getting ready to thank everyone for their support, and to thank everyone properly they have to calculate who gave what and how much they gave. To do this Frank gave me a huge list with lots of numbers on it and lots of people and a smaller list with a fewer people on it that thanked each individual for giving X amount of dollars. To make sure that everyone got thank properly, and that no one who shouldn’t get thanked didn’t, I had to go through the bigger list and calculate how much money each person gave to CMHEC over the year. You see people and organizations don’t just donate a lump sum once a year that would have made my tasks so much easier. Instead, people tend to give different amounts of money multiple times throughout the year. CMHEC, also, doesn’t keep very good track of cumulative donations. People can give money whenever they want, or at different fundraising events, and each amount of money at each different time is recorded separately, even if it was donated by one person. So I had to go through the bigger lists and find all of the times that a single person donated money. No, the list was not organized alphabetically, no the list was not organized by monetary fund, in fact I do not think there was any organization to the list, other than a five general categories of donation types. So this little tasks pretty much took up my entire afternoon.