So yesterday was my official third day at my new internship. This archive specializes in keeping and preserving recorded sound which includes, but is by no means limited to: reels, 78s, cassettes, and CDs. As with most large collections, they have gone through a handful of various cataloguing systems and schemas, and require rotating shelf-inspections for deterioration and preservation.
Rather than spending the time relabeling thousands of items or inspecting the same shelves over and over again, we are in the first stages of creating various crosswalks so that access (at least digitally, and by others than the folks who know these items by sight) can be achieved. This will not only help part-time staff and patrons, but give the audio engineers an easier way to query and document problems with the physical film and the results of any restoration.
In the eyes of the staffers, this is the perfect work for Interns.
And if I were in their shoes, I would think the same. Except that I’M the Intern. hah!
At first, its hard to imagine that data entry is worth anything but busywork. When you go blow to the stacks, however, you can see the need for this kind of mind-numbery. Along with the items that are used frequently that need clearer identification, there are items that are still uncatalogued- and those are simply waiting for someone to give them a place in the system.
This isn’t busywork. It’s important. It’s a step in the right direction for a collection that reflects the amazing richness these audio recordings give to the NYC experience.