Wednesday, August 27, 2008

A Room with a View

The name of this blog, "Notes from 2M11" refers to the room number of our office (I guess it also refers, in embarrassing cliché, to Notes from Underground, but that's so sadly first year English major, that I'm hiding it in parentheses). Although the RBML is on the 6th floor of Butler Library, Katie and I occupy this "satellite" location on the second floor mezzanine.

We are lucky. We have a window which we stare moodily out of when the sun is shining in a cloudless blue sky, watching Columbia students blithely enjoying their young lives. We can listen to NPR and shout at the inanity of commentators without bothering neighbors or students or passersby. We have quite a bit of floor space which is generally unheard of in this profession. We don't have luxuries like desk drawers or supply closets or water coolers, but we are content nonetheless.

Anyway, last week Katie and I came to a realization that if we didn't act soon, our office was going to be overrun. Archival boxes were piling up, spreading across shelves and desks like kudzu.

Exhibit A (in which you can catch a glimpse of our window):

Exhibit B (which kind of scares me, frankly):

So we assessed the situation, considered our resources, and then did what any similarly space squeezed archivist would do--we created a makeshift processing table in the middle of the room out of record carton boxes:

This mini-desk gave us just enough space to organize, reorganize, label, and barcode our "processed" manuscript boxes so we can send them off to off-site storage. We are at what is kind of the mid point of our processing. We've gone through almost 200 boxes of materials, and most of those almost 200 have been weeded, re-foldered, temporarily labeled, re-housed in archival manuscript boxes, and recorded on our work-in-progress finding aid. We still have quite a bit of work to do with this collection, but for now, clearing out about 80 MS boxes was quite a relief. So hurray for accomplishments, and hopefully we can repeat this send off again sometime soon.


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