Year in the Life: Katie Rojas, Pt. 1

Katie Rojas is the newest participant in our Year in the Life series, which follows new archivists in their first professional position. We will be following Katie for a year.

Name: Katie Rojas
Position:
Archivist
Institution: Local government
Years at position: <1
Education: The University of Texas at Austin (BA – Anthropology, with coursework in fine art and art history) The University of Wisconsin – Milwaukee (MLIS with Archives concentration anticipated Spring 2015)

I work for a local government archive, which operates as a division of the office of the clerk. We hold collections primarily created by internal departments and employees, as well as some local cultural resources. Our institution is pretty long standing, so we have records that date back to 1770. We largely serve internal patrons, though we are open to the public for research and do receive external reference requests. Our facility also houses inactive files for other departments until they meet retention – the permanent archives and inactive records live together under the roof of a 60,000 square foot warehouse. Currently, I only oversee the archives, but there is talk of putting both archives and records management under one umbrella.

Prior to becoming the archivist at my institution, I was an intern for a semester, and then was hired as an assistant in the archives. I officially began my position as archivist at the beginning of June. During the last couple of months I have been juggling several projects, one of which is regaining administrative control over the archives by beginning an inventory of our collections, updating our list of finding aids, beginning an accession register, and tracking research requests. I’ve also been chipping away at the finding aid for a collection of over 2,000 engineer’s field survey notebooks as part of a grant we received from our local conservation society. Additionally, we’ve been lucky to have two interns this summer. Though they are not archives students, it has still been a boon for us in terms of getting things done – scanning, making inventory lists, processing a small collection or two, etc. Managing them and their work reminds me a lot of my previous experience as a teacher! I will definitely miss their company and help when summer is done.

My professional interests include digital preservation, metadata, and the use of archives for socio-cultural justice. In my personal life I’m a foodie who loves cats, reading, museums, art, and music.

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