The Bigger Picture: Visual Archives and the Smithsonian
October is just around the corner, and that means that American Archives Month is quickly approaching. American Archives Month is a time to celebrate the importance of archives across the country, and the Smithsonian will be honoring the month with a variety of activities, including our second annual Smithsonian Archives Fair, which is free and open to the public, and will be held on Friday, October 14th from 10am to 5pm, in the S. Dillon Ripley Center’s concourse located at 1100 Jefferson Drive SW on the National Mall in Washington, DC.
The Archives Fair will highlight vast collections of archival and historical records at the Smithsonian. Staff from over a dozen different archival units, including the Smithsonian Institution Archives, will be on hand to showcase some of the Smithsonian’s archival treasures as well as current projects and programs. A lecture series (check out last year’s lecture series here) throughout the day will spotlight the infinite number of stories waiting to be told through the Smithsonian’s archives. All information about the event is on the Smithsonian Archives Month website.
Finally, we will reprise last year’s “Ask the Smithsonian” program in which fair attendees will be able to consult with Smithsonian experts including archivists, conservators, and librarians on how to better care for their own archives-worthy items. Note that the “Ask the Smithsonian” program is free, but requires preregistration—see the ticket registration form below.
So, save the date on your calendar, and share this information with your colleagues and friends. And stay tuned here for more updates on Archives Month activities across the Smithsonian.
- I’m a huge fan of the architecture of Istanbul, whose skyline is dominated by some of the most famous buildings in the world, so I was excited to hear about this new blog from Dumbarton Oaks Research Library and Collection, in DC: The Robert L. Van Nice Collection. The blog highlights the field materials of this architect, who studied and restored Hagia Sofia in Istanbul [via Aly DesRochers, SIA].
- For all of you Potter fans: “How an Archives is Like Hogwarts” [via Jennifer Wright, SIA].
- Well that’s a new school perk: incoming students at the University of North Carolina’s School of Information and Library Science get free data storage for life. Do you think more schools will start offering this [via @foundhistory]?
- An important project for families, genealogists, and researchers alike: the Virginia Historical Society’s “Unknown No Longer” project is a database of slave names gathered from the many records in their collections [via Now and Then blog].
- Great resource: the webcast, “Preserving Your Personal Digital Memories” presented by Bill Lefurgy of the National Digital Information Infrastructure and Preservation Program at the Library of Congress, is available archived online, and provides tips about keeping digital photos, electronic documents, and other media safe [via Sarah Stauderman, SIA].
- In case you missed last week’s Linked Open Data talk by Jon Voss, it is now available on YouTube for your viewing pleasure:
“An Introduction to Linked Open Data in Libraries, Archives & Museums,” a talk by Jon Voss given at the Smithsonian Institution on September 16, 2011.
As you may have noticed, we have some new features on our website, which we’ll be highlighting over the next few weeks. Today, I want to focus on our new help forums. For years, the Archives has been answering your reference questions, as well as questions about your own archival collections care, by email, phone, letter, and fax (yes, even fax!), but we’ve never had a convenient place online for you to ask questions, or for us to post our answers. Now we finally do!
We’ve pre-populated the forums with a couple of commonly asked questions and answers about our photography collections and conducting research at the Archives, researching the Smithsonian's history, and taking care of your own collections. For example, need to know the best way to display an old map—we’re here for you. Or do you need to locate a bibliography about the Smithsonian’s history—yep, got that too. And if what you’re looking for isn’t on the forums, we’ve made it easy for you to post a new forum topic for one of our experts to answer.
We encourage you to look around the forums, and we look forward to hearing from you there!