Another year has flown by and we have quickly reached the end of 2011. It was a very busy year for us in the University Archives and Historical Collections. Weather played a major role early in the year when MSU closed for only its fourth day in history. Our intern, Eve Avdoulos, published a blog about snow days that had over 1000 hits in a single day.
April 2011 saw the beginning of the 150th anniversary of the U.S. Civil War. We created an online exhibit outlining MSU’s (then Michigan Agricultural College) involvement in the war and have been digitizing and transcribing our letters and diaries to get them online. Later in the year we did a joint exhibit about Michigan in the war with the Library and the Museum. That exhibit was in the Library’s display cases from September-November.
Also in April we hosted a workshop on iRODS as part of our Spartan Archive grant. Over 30 people from institutions in Michigan and the Big Ten came to learn about iRODS from Regan Moore, Director of the Data Intensive Cyber Environments Center at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
One major internal change that occurred this year was the installation of Archivists’ Toolkit as our new collection management system. Staff have been busy since May with normalizing records, subject headings, and names. The UAHC has jumped in with both feet and have been using AT not only to manage collections, but also for our records management information and for cataloging our serials collection. Two part-time staff members, Megan Badgley and Jennie Russell, have been hired to help with data cleanup. A third staff member, Purdom Lindblad will begin in January 2012.
There were a couple major changes in services this year. In November we changed our hours to 9-5, which is the first time in staff memory that the archives has been open to the public during the lunch hour. Several researchers took advantage of the new hours during the first week of the change and it looks like all is working out for the best. We added a new service this year – backup media storage. The UAHC is providing a storage service for removable backup media to MSU’s departments and operational units.
The fall was very busy. We held our annual American Archives Month trivia contest with the grand prize of sandstone coasters. We sponsored a showing of the movie Shaft at the East Lansing Film Festival. Several classes came in and did projects at the archives, leading to a busy research month. The archives began publishing articles in Insight, the joint Archives/Library newsletter. Also this fall, we welcomed a new staff member, Tom Wellman, our new University Records Manager.
Last, but certainly not least, the UAHC won a joint award with the Vincent Voice Library from the Faculty Emeriti Association. The award was won for Outstanding Contributions by an Academic or Support Unit for Creating Opportunities for Faculty Emeriti. The project behind the award allows faculty to record oral history interviews, which are cataloged and made publicly available in the Vincent Voice Library and have a preservation copy maintained at the University Archives.
Even as the year ends, we are looking forward to 2012 with its new projects and events. We hope you will visit us in the reading room or at one of our events. See you next year!