Tag Archives: Emily Vigor

Year in the Life: Emily Vigor, Pt. 12

Here is Emily’s final Year in the Life series post. If you would like to participate in the Year in the Life series, send an email to the blog editor

Here I am at my final post of the year, and I’ve been trying to think about what to write. Last month I summed up what lies ahead for me at the Environmental Design Archives, so Continue reading

Year in the Life: Emily Vigor, Pt. 11

It’s hard to believe that another month has flown by. Time seems to speed up as I get closer to completing the NHPRC grant, and it’s hard for me to believe that a year has gone by so quickly. We completed the processing of the Callister collection this month, which thankfully still gives me plenty of time to write and encode the finding aid, as well as tie up a few other loose ends with both collections, which should hopefully further increase access. When I first started my position a year ago, it was under the assumption that I would only receive funding for one year. Through the support of my supervisor, I’ve been fortunate enough to be offered an additional 18-months in funding. Once the NHPRC grant is completed, I’ll be processing the papers of Timothy L. Pflueger, a prominent architect in the San Francisco Bay Area who is well known for designing Art Deco skyscrapers and movie theaters, including the Pacific Telephone & Telegraph Company Building in San FranciscoPacific Telephone 2. Since I have a background in art history, I’m excited to have the opportunity to work with such a visual collection. This month has been a busy one in the archives and on campus. Students are back in class, and the EDA has been installing the exhibit Unbuilt San Francisco. This exhibit is a collaboration with four other venues and focuses on the cityscape that could have been. This is the first exhibit I’ve worked on for the archives, and it has been a rewarding experience to see the gallery walls filled with incredible ideas for the Bay Area, including a proposal for a resort on Alcatraz Island! I’ve also been working on our crowd funding project this month to help process and provide access to the collections that include Joseph Eichler home designs. California has a fairly large cult following for Eichler homes, and we’re hopeful that this network will be interested in contributing to our campaign. Over the last month, I’ve also reached out to several other archives that have piloted crowd-funding campaigns about putting together a panel for the next SAA conference. This will be my first proposal for a session at SAA, and I’m hopeful that we’ll be considered.

Year in the Life: Emily Vigor, Pt. 9 & 10

Hello from the SAA annual meeting! What a whirlwind trip. It’s been a really wonderful experience so far to sit in on so many wonderful presentations and roundtables. New Orleans is such a vibrant city, and though I’ve been busy with the conference, I’ve also been able to sneak away and enjoy a lot that NOLA has to offer (much of which has been amazing food thus far!). This is my first time attending the annual meeting, and I’m amazed at how large and well run this conference is.

The presentations have been diverse, though many continue to focus on the digital side of our profession, covering topics such as the digital divide, cloud storage benefits and disadvantages, and crawling websites. These presentations have left room for audience participation and provide the opportunity to hear how other institutions face these challenges, which is enormously helpful as I work through similar issues at my own institution.

Jackie Dooley’s plenary talk on Friday was directed towards the necessity to provide opportunities to students and new professionals, and I found it to be hugely reassuring that someone who has such an illustrious career in this profession has taken the time to understand the challenges facing those of us who are just beginning our careers. 25% of SAA members are students, and she emphasized the importance to engage and work with these members to welcome them into this profession and encourage their participation. She emphasized the need for true entry-level positions, one’s that will allow students with experience in internships and volunteering to apply and have a true shot at the job. And on the topic of internships, she discussed the necessity to ensure that internships, which are too frequently unpaid, benefit the intern over the employer. These positions are often our only opportunity to “learn on the job” before we start to search for employment post-graduation. Her recommendations to employers working with students or new graduates included offering praise and credit, recognition, listening without correcting, and learning from their perspectives. I found her talk to be honest and a reminder to myself to support friends, interns, volunteers, and other new professionals in any way that I can.

Outside of the world of SAA: The last two months at the EDA have been incredibly busy. We’re continuing to work on the Callister collection, and we’re thankfully on track to finish the project in time for our NHPRC grant deadline in October. It’s hard to believe that a year has almost passed in what feels like the blink of an eye. It’s been an amazing first year out of school, and I feel so fortunate to have had this job opportunity. While the grant ends in October, I’ve recently been offered an 18-month extension to continue to stay on at UC Berkeley to process another collection.

Outside of the NHPRC grant, I’m researching new opportunities for bringing in funding for projects outside of the traditional paths of grants and donations, including exploring the utilization of crowd funding sites. These funding endeavors would be for minor amounts of funding, rather than what would be needed for the full processing of a collection. I’ll have more to share on this topic next month, but I’m looking into the possibility of putting together a panel talk on this topic for the next annual meeting. If any of you out there know of projects of have participated in projects that use alternate methods to gather funding and would like to work on putting together a panel discussion, please feel free to contact me!

Year in the Life: Emily Vigor, Pt. 8

June is already flying by here at the archives. I’m writing this post on the same day that the Callister tube project has been completed (on a Friday, no less) meaning we’re two weeks ahead of schedule! A not so exciting photograph was taken to commemorate the placement of the last label by my incredibly hardworking assistant and student worker. It’s pretty thrilling to compare this image with the one I took back in April to see how far we’ve come.  I’m hoping to have the rest of this project processed by the end of July, with the finding aid ready in August.

photo (1) (1)

photo (5)

This month has definitely made me thankful for the help of volunteers and student workers. Having extra hands to assist with basic processing allows me to move ahead on more complex aspects of processing. It’s also a nice chance for me to interact with students in the Environmental Design undergraduate and graduate programs here at UC Berkeley.

This month I’m also looking into the possibilities and options for crowdfunding in archives. The Environmental Design Archives relies on outside funding (grants, donations, etc.) for the majority of our projects. I’ve heard a lot about Kickstarter in the news the last few months, and also just found out about Scalefunder, which is geared toward university communities. If anyone out there has another resource to share, or experience with using crowdfunding for collections, please let me know!

Year in the Life: Emily Vigor, Pt. 7

Happy May, everyone! I’ve just realized that this is my seventh SNAP post that I’ve written, meaning I’ve been at my job for half a year so far. It’s hard to believe that so much time has flown by, and that I’m that much closer to my grant deadline. I’m still working on processing the Callister tubes, and am nearly halfway through rehousing them. We’re still on track to meet our deadline goal for the end of June, and I’m really looking forward to it.

Given that the last month has been fairly straightforward with work (processing rolled drawings for 40 hours each week), I figured I’d focus this post more on the professional development side of our jobs. It seems as though many of us in the profession tend to work alone or with few other people, which has its benefits, but can also be a bit desolate. I felt so invigorated after attending the Society of California Archivist’s Annual General Meeting last month, where I not only heard about developments in our field but also had the chance to talk with other archivists with similar experiences. Here in the Bay Area, there are numerous groups for regional librarians to meet up socially and connect, but this type of outlet doesn’t yet exist as much for regional archivists. Last weeks article in the New York Times about archivists got me thinking about how to engage with other local archivists. I’m toying with the idea of starting a similar social outlet where networking, new friendships, and of course sharing stories could become more commonplace. Annual meetings are great, but they only afford us the opportunity to connect once a year. Regular meetups would be wonderful outlets for those of us who are more on the lone arranger side of things and worry about the amount of time we spend talking out loud to ourselves instead of others!

Since last month’s conference, I’ve also been spending a lot of time thinking about digital repositories and how to start preparing my archives for this transition. We currently take in some born digital materials, but we still have a lot of work to do in terms of preparing ourselves for more permanent preservation. One of the workshops that I attended last month was on open source software for digital repositories. I’m looking into possibly utilizing Rsync and BagIt, and am also talking with other archives and libraries on campus to better understand their workflows when managing this type of content. I’d love to hear from anyone else about their experience with digital repositories!

Year in the Life: Emily Vigor, Pt. 6

We’ve been following Emily for half a year now! Check out Emily’s other posts here: Pt. 1, Pt. 2, Pt. 3, Pt. 4, Pt. 5, or see all the posts in our Year in the Life series by selecting “Year in the Life” from our categories drop down menu on the right. 

April has been a pretty fruitful month so far. In March the Kump collection was officially photo 1completed, encoded, and is now ready for research! This feels like a huge milestone for me, but it’s one that I don’t have much time to savor at the moment since I need to push on to processing the Callister collection (remember those nearly 800 tubes I’ve talked about?) The tubes are interesting to work with, but they’re definitely slow going. Each tube is supposed to contain the drawings for a specific project, but we’ve been coming across tubes that contain up to 7 or more projects in one tube, often with no date and limited project information. I’m calling these my nightmare tubes, since they can be frustrating to sort out. But working with these materials is sort of like an extended treasure hunt, offering up beautiful hand drawn perspective photo 2renderings of projects. We’re hoping to finish working with the tubes by June, and I’m really hoping that we can meet that goal.

April also seems to be the month where conferences start picking up. I’m writing this post from the Society of California Archivist’s Annual General Meeting in Berkeley, CA. This is my first time attending this conference, as well as my first conference since I’ve completed my degree, and I am definitely happy to have it right in my own back yard. It has been a great opportunity so far for me to meet other regional archivists that I might not have come into contact with in my regular job. I’ve really enjoyed having the opportunity to hear about the rewards and challenges facing other archivists in their repositories, as well as the chance to meet other new professionals and students. Given that I work in a warehouse with a limited amount of personal contact, I’m personally relishing the time spent here surrounded by so many people that share a common interest!

Year in the Life: Emily Vigor, Pt. 5

Happy March, everyone! We’ve almost made it through winter, and here in California it
feels like spring is already in full bloom. This month has been busy with finalizing the
digital documents that will guide researchers in using the Kump collection, including
the finding aid, file list, MARC record, and project index. Our finding aids are hosted
on the Online Archive of California’s (OAC) website. As a contributor to the OAC, our
finding aids will also be indexed through OCLC’s ArchiveGrid. This resource was a new
discovery for me this month, and our archives have just signed up for this service. I’m
hopeful that it will be useful in connecting more researchers to our collections. I’d be
curious to hear your thoughts if anyone else has experience with this resource.

March has also brought along the start of processing the Warren Callister collection. Last
month we conducted a carton survey and created our processing plan. Though these are
only created for internal use, they’re incredibly helpful in guiding our processing priority
of materials, as well as how much we should be processing each day to ensure that the
collection is completed by our deadline. Since Callister’s collection contains nearly 800
rolled drawings, we did testing to see how many rolls we could get through in an hour to
estimate the time it will take to assess and rehouse them. While this is only an estimate,
it’s a helpful tool for gauging how we’re progressing as we process.

On a professional development note, I’ve started taking courses towards SAA’s Digital
Archives Specialist (DAS) certificate program. Last week, I went to Seattle to attend the
Digital Repositories course, taught by Jessica Branco Colati and Gregory C. Colati. This
was the first DAS course I had taken part in, and I found it to be a good starting point.
It’s obvious that digital repository programs will be unique to each institution depending
on their goals, but the Colati’s provided a strong framework and a wealth of resources to
help build a reliable and sustainable digital repository service. They also emphasized the
fact that we are not alone when building this type of service. I’d love to hear if anyone
else has taken a DAS course or has had to build a digital repository program for their

Year in the Life: Emily Vigor, Pt. 4

Hello again! How is it that February is halfway over already? The weeks are flying by as I work towards the deadlines I set for myself to finish Kump. I can’t believe that I’m coming to the end of processing this photo 3collection, though there are a few more hurdles to jump over before everything is completed. My best-laid plans were helpful as a guiding tool, but I’m finding that patience and a sense of humor are essential when working towards wrapping up a large project! Everything has been foldered and arranged into their appropriate series and subseries though, and that has provided me with a huge sense of accomplishment. There’s something about seeing a carton filled with neatly labeled folders that is incredibly comforting.

Maintaining lists has become more essential at this stage of completing the project than at any other. I use Google Docs to share a checklist of final tasks with the assistant archivist, and it has been a useful tool to keep us organized and designate tasks.  I’d love to hear how other people keep organized as well if anyone out there wants to share their preferred methods!

While I finish up working on Kump, I’m also starting to shift my focus towards the collection of Warren Callister, the other collection that our NHPRC grant covers. This past week I started to create the photo 1processing plan. When doing this for Kump, I referenced How to Manage Processing in Archives and Special Collections by Pam Hackbart-Dean and Elizabeth Slomba (2012). There are examples of plans in the back of this publication that I found to be helpful in guiding me through this process, including equations for how to estimate the amount of time needed to complete a project. Callister’s collection consists primarily of rolled architectural drawings (almost 800!), and our main concern is that we provide enough time to get these rehoused. Working on the processing plan supplies me with a plan of attack, and helps me start another set of checklists!

See you all next month, with hopefully more tales or progress to share!

Year in the Life: Emily Vigor, Pt. 3

To see more posts in this series, use the categories drop-down box to the right and select “Year in the Life.”

Happy New Year! The start of the year has been pretty quiet around here (meaning this post might be a bit short), but now that we’re half way through January things are starting to pick up. The main game plan for the rest of this month is to finish going through the boxes of the Kump collection and organize them into their appropriate series and subseries. I’m pushing to get this all done by the end of the month so that I can complete the finding aid in February while starting to create a processing plan for the Warren Callister collection, which is much larger and far less organized than the Kump collection. It all feels slightly overwhelming, but I’m finding that I really love this kind of work more than I had anticipated, which is incredibly reassuring in the first year on the job!

One rather large side project that I’m currently working on with a colleague is updating our processing manual to make it as comprehensive as possible. Our hope is to create a step-by-step guideline for how to get from point A to point B. The Environmental Design Archives works with interns and student workers throughout the year, and we want to make sure that we supply enough information to clearly outline how to transform chaos into organized, accessible collections.  This includes how to write a finding aid using the Archivist’s Toolkit, how to make that finding aid accessible online, and how to create a MARC record for the collection. We want to ensure that interns especially are able to come away from the archives with real experience for how to complete these processes and have work that they can show to potential employers upon graduation.

Outside of the archives, I’m trying to find new ways to stay active and current in the world of archives now that I’m done with my degree. As much fun as it is to have my weekends free from school, I think I may have reached my quota for cat videos and am looking for some new inspiration. If anyone has recommendations for blogs, books, etc., please share them in a comment!

Hopefully next month’s post will be filled with tales of the joyous completion of processing the Kump collection!

Year in the Life: Emily Vigor, Pt. 2

Here is the second installment with our Year-in-the-Life contributor, Emily Vigor. We are following Emily for a year in her first professional archival position. Check out her first post here, if you missed it. 

In last months post, I provided an overview of my job at the Environmental Design Archives. This month, I would like to focus on the collection of Ernest Kump that I will work on until March 2013 (when it will hopefully be fully processed, arranged and described). Ernest J. Kump (1911-1999) was an architect who worked primarily in California building numerous schools, including Foothill College and additions to UC Santa Cruz. Kump’s collection came to the EDA in 2005 from the family’s residence in Austria (currently a pretty awesome looking hotel). The collection had some conservation issues when it came to us, and this month we had a conservator come to our facility to help us assess howphoto 2 to proceed with preserving delicate items. The collection had been stored in a damp basement, meaning that much of the materials had encountered water damage. Kump’s father was also an architect, and the collection we have includes his drawings on linen and trace paper of various projects throughout California. These drawings were damaged in a fire in Kump’s office in 1964 and the residue of smoke and water has left them in a fragile condition (see photo).

Kump’s father had also used copper fasteners to keep project drawings together, and these have grown a green residue that is damaging project papers. When our conservationist came to our site, we asked her for the best way to proceed using MPLP. We want to stop further damage from happening, but with a limited amount of time we knew that we needed to prioritize how to process these drawings. Our conservator recommended that we remove the fasteners and gently brush away any residue and separate the linen and trace paper drawings with acid free paper. Each project will be stored in its own map folder in flat files. One final recommendation from our conservator, which was much welcomed given that our collection has endured smoke and water damage, was the inclusion of zeolite sheets (commonly found in the cat litter aisle) placed in Mylar sleeves to help absorb the strong odor that continues to linger in the collection!

photo 1This month has also provided a lot of learning experiences for me, including what to do if you discover a pipe that has been slowly dripping undetected onto rolled architectural drawings in Hollinger tubes for several months, how to protect surrounding collections from said water by draping them with plastic (see image), how to configure Archivist’s Toolkit using MySQL only to find that the California Digital Library will host AT on their server for us, and what to do when the alarm in your facility goes off and the police are called when clocks are not changed for daylight savings time! With November already under my belt and December half way over, I’m looking forward to what new learning experiences lie ahead.

Year in the Life: Emily Vigor, Pt. 1

We’d like to introduce a new series on the SNAP blog today. For this series, we will be following archivists in their first professional position, checking in monthly for a year. The archivists may share their success/troubles/questions/resources/advice with the rest of us as they transition into their first professional position. If you would like to contribute to this series, even for a guest post and not a yearly commitment, please email me. Let’s meet our first contributor, Emily Vigor. We will be following Emily for a year.

Name: Emily Vigor
Position: Archivist
Institution: Environmental Design Archives, University of California, Berkeley
Years at position: <1
Education: California Polytechnic State University (BS – Sociology), Richmond University (MA – Art History), San Jose State University (MLIS – Archives emphasis)

I work at the Environmental Design Archives (EDA) as the Project Archivist for the Ernest Kump and Warren Callister collections. The EDA serves the College of Environmental Design at UC Berkeley, and holds nearly 100 collections documenting built and landscaped environments. My position is funded through a National Historic Publications and Records Commission (NHPRC) grant for a project titled, Living and Learning: The Architecture of Housing and Schools – Providing Access to the Records of Two Architects. I started at this position in October 2012, and have spent the last month assessing the collection of Ernest Kump, preparing a processing plan, and working with my manager to hire an Assistant Archivist and student workers. As the project advances, I will be processing these collections using the Standard Series for Architecture and Landscape Design Records, written by Kelcy Shepherd and Waverly Lowell.  I’m also utilizing Mark A. Greene and Dennis Meissner’s MPLP approach to ensure that the Kump and Callister collections will be processed within the one year allotted by the grant. Professional interests include working with digital records, visual resources, and their associated metadata. I currently serve as the chair-elect for the Northern California chapter of the Visual Resources Association, Outside of work, I spend my time working with yarn (and contemplating possible yarn bombing projects), reading, watching far too many cat videos, and visiting galleries and museums.

We will check in with Emily again next month!