Friday, 24 May 2013

Week 48: Magazine, Schmagazine....


In my 36th week at the Mayme A. Clayton Library and Museum, I finished sorting the Black LGBTQ Papers, tinkered with Google Drive, and worked on the magazine inventory.

Last week, Jerome spent a few hours sorting the last box of LGBTQ materials. Since the Black LGBTQ Collection has been identified as one of our priority collections, I decided to come in on Monday to file the last of what Jerome had sorted. The next steps are to enter the folder names into a container list and finish filling in the finding aid. These tasks are much less subjective and I’m planning to delegate to any volunteer who is available, barring any objections with the content.

I was very impressed with our volunteers this week that came in to the museum this week with every intention of using Google Drive. I had uploaded most of the content for Dr. Clayton’s Collection of African American History and Culture, and created folders for the other 38 collections in the institution. I assumed that I could share the documents with volunteers who had Google accounts and they could log in and edit, however I learned that there are some subtle difference between Google Docs and Google Drive. Google Drive is the cloud that can hold all files in all formats, Google Docs is the application that allows you to create and edit the documents. When I uploaded an excel document to Google Drive, I had to open it with Google Sheets in order to edit it, and only the owner of the document could make changes that would save. I think that I have to share the documents while I am in Google Docs in order for others to make changes that would save. I also had to bring in my wireless device to be sure that volunteers could access the internet anywhere in the building where they would be working on the collection. This week I had everyone logged into the museum’s account so that the changes would save, I plan to work out the “share” features in the days ahead. In the meantime, it is good to see everyone’s progress from my office and have consistent file names which provide a clear indicator of which inventories are missing from the collection.

The serials series in Dr. Clayton’s collection has been something that I have approached with reluctance. In the past, the staff has recorded magazine inventories with X’s and O’s as well as entering month and year for each item. I also know that there are random drop offs in the magazine room that have been filed without respect to provenance. Lastly, there have been several attempts to label boxes that have resulted in a variety of alpha and numeric tags. One of our interns, Erick, from San Jose State University did his best to make sense of the magazine room, but last Saturday was his last day working with us. I feel like we have the majority of the information that we need, the problem is that it is scattered across six or seven documents. Through all of my cutting and pasting, as well as sorting I have about 8,000 rows in the excel document. I plan to do some spot checking and re-labeling of boxes in the week ahead, but this is definitely a task that is not appropriate for the faint of heart. 

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