An Archivist’s Tale

An Archivist’s Tale Archivists in conversation with archivists, discussing their work and passions. Hosted by husband and wife team Karen Trivette and Geof Huth.

Episode 109: I, Too, Am an Archivist: Why Can't I Go out There and Save the World? (Diedre Dinnigan)
03/21/2020
Episode 109: I, Too, Am an Archivist: Why Can't I Go out There and Save the World? (Diedre Dinnigan)

Episode 109: I, Too, Am an Archivist: Why Can't I Go out There and Save the World? (Diedre Dinnigan)

Diedre Dinnigan, an Archivist and Heritage Specialist and the Principal of ForKeeps, tells us how stumbling upon an archives changed her life, how she became an archivist because of that, and why she prefers to be an independent archivist in charge of her own destiny and focused on helping people an...

Episode 108: A Map to Someone's Life (Ostap Kin)
03/14/2020
Episode 108: A Map to Someone's Life (Ostap Kin)

Episode 108: A Map to Someone's Life (Ostap Kin)

Ostap Kin, Archivist, Librarian, and Research Center Coordinator at the Zimmerli Art Museum at Rutgers University, tells us the story of chance that redirected part of his life from literature to archives, his immigration to the United States, and how archives capture valuable and coherent fragments...

Episode 8: All Related to Word and Image (Marvin Sackner)
03/08/2020
Episode 8: All Related to Word and Image (Marvin Sackner)

Episode 8: All Related to Word and Image (Marvin Sackner)

Marvin Sackner, one of the founders of the Ruth and Marvin Sackner Archive of Concrete and Visual Poetry, explains how he and his wife became collectors of visual poetry and other works that merge image with text, how they built their renowned collection, and where he donated their assemblage of pub...

Episode 107: All Related to Word and Image (Marvin Sackner)
03/07/2020
Episode 107: All Related to Word and Image (Marvin Sackner)

Episode 107: All Related to Word and Image (Marvin Sackner)

Marvin Sackner, one of the founders of the Ruth and Marvin Sackner Archive of Concrete and Visual Poetry, explains how he and his wife became collectors of visual poetry and other works that merge image with text, how they built their renowned collection, and where he donated their assemblage of pub...

Episode 106: Filing Was in My Blood (Rachel Binnington)
02/29/2020
Episode 106: Filing Was in My Blood (Rachel Binnington)

Episode 106: Filing Was in My Blood (Rachel Binnington)

Rachel Binnington, an American archivist in England, reveals her peripatetic life story that begins when she was a child, tells us of her archival yearnings which began many years be most of ours did, and surprises us with her wide array of archives jobs covering corporate records, US congressional....

Episode 105: One Man with a Dog, One Man with a Kettle (Paul Dryburgh)
02/22/2020
Episode 105: One Man with a Dog, One Man with a Kettle (Paul Dryburgh)

Episode 105: One Man with a Dog, One Man with a Kettle (Paul Dryburgh)

Paul Dryburgh, Principal Records Specialist (Medieval Records) at the National Archives of the UK, explains how a Medievalist transforms into an archivist and discovers a life full of history, people, technology, and the materiality of records. Humour (in this case), intellectuality, humanity, and d...

Episode 104: A Living Body of Information (Kerstin Arnold)
02/15/2020
Episode 104: A Living Body of Information (Kerstin Arnold)

Episode 104: A Living Body of Information (Kerstin Arnold)

Kerstin Arnold, a cultural heritage professional at Archives Portal Europe tells us of her beginnings at the German Federal Archives and provides the amazing story of how a small band of people aggregate metadata on 55,000 fonds and collections held by European archives to allow people all over the....

Episode 103: I’d Rather be in Charge of My Own Uncertainty (Margaret Crockett)
02/08/2020
Episode 103: I’d Rather be in Charge of My Own Uncertainty (Margaret Crockett)

Episode 103: I’d Rather be in Charge of My Own Uncertainty (Margaret Crockett)

Margaret Crockett a consultant archivist and records manager with Margaret Crockett, Ltd., and Archive-Skills Consultancy, tells us about her beginnings in government archives, her adventures in archives on the open sea, and how she loves the freedom of being an independent archivist.

02/07/2020

Information overload can be contained if the users are trained and encouraged to select and evaluate their data and to reflect upon the significance and the place in the scheme of things of the information they receive.

John Meisel, “‘Newspeak’ and the Information Society,” Archivaria 19 (1984): 182.

#ArchivesQuotes

02/06/2020

It is not easy to control transborder data flows, and satellite footprints tramp across boundaries. One consequence is that in telematics and in broadcasting, new electronically defined regions are emerging, cutting across traditional communities.

John Meisel, “‘Newspeak’ and the Information Society,” Archivaria 19 (1984): 180.

#ArchivesQuotes

02/05/2020

Our quick and highly selective glance at the emerging era has revealed that a considerable number of features of the information society could constitute conditions encouraging the emergence of an authoritarian society.

John Meisel, “‘Newspeak’ and the Information Society,” Archivaria 19 (1984): 181.

#ArchivesQuotes

02/04/2020

But not everyone is likely to have too much information in the information society. It is, on the contrary, highly likely that a profound gulf may develop between the information rich and the information poor.

John Meisel, “‘Newspeak’ and the Information Society,” Archivaria 19 (1984): 178.

#ArchivesQuotes

Episode 102: A Mole Costume (Tamara Thornhill)
02/01/2020
Episode 102: A Mole Costume (Tamara Thornhill)

Episode 102: A Mole Costume (Tamara Thornhill)

Tamara Thornhill, Corporate Archives Manager at Transport for London, tells us not only her own tale but also the often surprising history of her organization, which oversees almost all of the transportation system in Greater London, include most famously the London Underground.

01/31/2020

But not everyone is likely to have too much information in the information society. It is, on the contrary, highly likely that a profound gulf may develop between the information rich and the information poor.

John Meisel, “‘Newspeak’ and the Information Society,” Archivaria 19 (1984): 178.

#ArchivesQuotes

01/28/2020

Unlike biodiversity in the biological world, in the technological world biodiversity is a problem. This diversity increases the complexity the archivist must address, creates possible technological dead ends that not every archivist can solve, and almost guarantees the permanent inaccessibility of some of the records.

Geof Huth, Appraising Digital Records, in Appraisal and Acquisition Strategies, edited by Michael Shallcross and Christopher J. Prom (Society of American Archivists: Chicago, 2016): 11.

#ArchivesQuotes #quoted

We ended the day with the amazing story of Rachel Howse Binnington of the wonderful grocery and home products and perfum...
01/24/2020

We ended the day with the amazing story of Rachel Howse Binnington of the wonderful grocery and home products and perfume company Fortnum & Mason. Here Karen of An Archivist’s Tale and Rachel pose between Mr Fortnum and Mr Mason after the podcast. Thanks to Rachel for her great hospitality.

We had a fun and informative podcast this afternoon with Paul Dryburgh, who focuses on Medieval records, but deals with ...
01/24/2020

We had a fun and informative podcast this afternoon with Paul Dryburgh, who focuses on Medieval records, but deals with much else at the National Archives (UK). Thanks to Shona from TNA’s public relations for a great tour and for setting this up. Oh, we are also pictured.

We have just finished our interview with Kerstin Arnold of Archives Portal Europe, our third in London this week. Thanks...
01/24/2020

We have just finished our interview with Kerstin Arnold of Archives Portal Europe, our third in London this week. Thanks to her for the talk. Her episode will post on February 15th.

Now we’re off to the National Archives (if the UK) for a podcast recording and then to a final one later in the day.

01/24/2020

Another impact of telematics on the brain also deserves to be noted. The new information order may affect the judgments people make about political issues and, particularly, perhaps the values they pursue individually and collectively, as distinct from the settling of the humdrum details of their daily lives.

John Meisel, “‘Newspeak’ and the Information Society,” Archivaria 19 (1984): 178.

#ArchivesQuotes

In the morning, Karen and I interviewed Tamara Thornhill, the head archivist at Transport for London and we’re privilege...
01/24/2020

In the morning, Karen and I interviewed Tamara Thornhill, the head archivist at Transport for London and we’re privileged enough to get a tour.

01/23/2020

Appraisal is a science, an art, and an analytical process archivists use to determine what our descendants deep into the future will need in order to understand who we once were. We can never know if we have decided perfectly right, but we know that we must always strive for that tantalizing perfection.

Geof Huth, nanoessay (23 January 2014).

#ArchivesQuotes

01/22/2020

Appraisal is analysis. Your most important tool is your mind.

Geof Huth, Appraising Digital Records, in Appraisal and Acquisition Strategies, edited by Michael Shallcross and Christopher J. Prom (Society of American Archivists: Chicago, 2016): 47.

#ArchivesQuotes #quoted

01/21/2020

Archivists need to be part of the world where archives are made.

Geof Huth, Appraising Digital Records, in Appraisal and Acquisition Strategies, edited by Michael Shallcross and Christopher J. Prom (Society of American Archivists: Chicago, 2016): 15.

#ArchivesQuotes #quoted

A note to tell everyone that we have taken over the Society of American Archivists’ Instagram this week. So head to @saa...
01/20/2020

A note to tell everyone that we have taken over the Society of American Archivists’ Instagram this week. So head to @saarchivists on Instagram to see our week in archives in England.

01/20/2020

Archivists’ choice in this complicated digital reality is not between failure and success; it is between total failure and the possibility of success; it is the choice between nothing and something.

Geof Huth, Appraising Digital Records, in Appraisal and Acquisition Strategies, edited by Michael Shallcross and Christopher J. Prom (Society of American Archivists: Chicago, 2016): 13.

#ArchivesQuotes #quoted

While in England to visit friends and record podcasts, An Archivist’s Tale will quote a few of Geof’s words that others have quoted.

01/18/2020

The electronic document has been described as a hybrid between writing and speech—more mutable and less permanent than the printed word but less spontaneous and potentially more lasting than oral communication. As such, is the digitized document a representation or a simulacrum? For the electronically sampled, digitized image, there is no meaningful original which inheres irrevocably in the reincarnation.

Dodge, Bernadine, “Across the Great Divide: Archival Discourse and the (Re)presentations of the Past in Late-Modern Society,” Archivaria, vol. 53 (2002): 18.

#ArchivesQuotes

Episode 100: We Don't Travel. All We Do is Talk (Karen Trivette and Geof Huth)
01/18/2020
Episode 100: We Don't Travel. All We Do is Talk (Karen Trivette and Geof Huth)

Episode 100: We Don't Travel. All We Do is Talk (Karen Trivette and Geof Huth)

Karen Trivette and Geof Huth sit down at the end of the year to celebrate the 100th episode of this podcast and discuss their individual archives days, their plans for 2020, the value of archives, and the home they have found for their podcast archives.

01/17/2020

Increasing reliance on computers and their display panels is likely to bring about a major reduction in paper work and in the use of printed materials.

John Meisel, “‘Newspeak’ and the Information Society,” Archivaria 19 (1984): 176.

#ArchivesQuotes

01/16/2020

The widespread application of computers to educational, entertainment, and other purposes is likely to affect the language, and hence the thought processes of individuals. Computer languages resting, as they must, on a binary base, simplify concepts and invite their reduction into a limited number of dimensions.

John Meisel, “‘Newspeak’ and the Information Society,” Archivaria 19 (1984): 176.

#ArchivesQuotes

01/15/2020

Prodigiously efficient recordskeeping, ubiquitous video cameras and sensors, and the thoroughgoing automatization of banking, shopping, book-borrowing, phoning, taxi-dispatching, and virtually all else therefore makes Orwell's 1984 a real possibility, insofar as technology and economic organization are concerned.

John Meisel, “‘Newspeak’ and the Information Society,” Archivaria 19 (1984): 175.

#ArchivesQuotes

01/14/2020

A subscription to a state-of-the-art cable system therefore now permits a cable company and suppliers of other services (and whoever else may gain access to their computers) to have a record of their customers' views on political and other issues, entertainment choices, purchases, banking transactions, air or train travel, car rentals, and movements at home, and educational activities.

John Meisel, “‘Newspeak’ and the Information Society,” Archivaria 19 (1984): 175.

#ArchivesQuotes

Episode 99: There's Always Jobs in Archives (Joseph Komljenovich)
01/11/2020
Episode 99: There's Always Jobs in Archives (Joseph Komljenovich)

Episode 99: There's Always Jobs in Archives (Joseph Komljenovich)

Joseph Komljenovich, Senior Associate Archivist at the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, regales us with stories: of how he began his college career studying finance but slipped somehow into archives, about epiphanies, about never having been a normal kid, and even about returning to finance, to som...

01/10/2020

The storing of records and other information in vast networks of data banks cuts across international boundaries and at the same time threatens the privacy of individuals while bestowing unprecedented powers on corporations and bureaucracies.

John Meisel, “‘Newspeak’ and the Information Society,” Archivaria 19 (1984): 175.

#ArchivesQuotes

01/09/2020

Notions of the information revolution and the information society are becoming so commonplace that they hardly need any explanation. The name given the technological base which has made these changes possible is telematics or compunications. We are dealing here with the consequences of fusing sophisticated computers and advanced communications devices like fiber optics, satellites, interactive cable, digitalization, and a host of other dramatic new technologies. Add to this the increasing use of robotics, videotapes, videocassettes, and major breakthroughs in switching and other advances in telephony, and you find yourself in a world which dwarfs the lively imaginations even of such daring visionaries as H.G. Wells, Jules Verne, and Aldous Huxley.

John Meisel, “‘Newspeak” and the Information Society,” Archivaria 19 (1984): 175.

#ArchivesQuotes

01/09/2020

Now, we will begin an eight-day reign of quotations from this amazing and prescient essay: John Meisel, “‘Newspeak” and the Information Society,” Archivaria 19 (1984).

It tells us that archives is always about information writ large, and always about people.

#ArchivesQuotes

01/08/2020

If we digitize two collections and put them on the web and they each get 1,000 hits, can we logically conclude that the contents of all our less frequently accessed hard copy collections are therefore intrinsically less useful?

Mark Greene, “‘The Surest Proof:’ A Utilitarian Approach to Appraisal,” Archivaria 45 (1998): 151.

#ArchivesQuotes

Episode 98: I'm Constantly Being Smacked in the Face on Purpose (Cal Lee)
01/04/2020
Episode 98: I'm Constantly Being Smacked in the Face on Purpose (Cal Lee)

Episode 98: I'm Constantly Being Smacked in the Face on Purpose (Cal Lee)

Cal Lee, Professor at the University of North Carolina Chapel Hill School of Information and Library Science, invites us to his office to discuss how philosophy and the need to address digital records propelled him into archives and how he has connected himself deeply into the archival profession na...

Episode 97: Once the Sallie Bingham Center Got Its Hooks in Me (Kelly Wooten)
12/28/2019
Episode 97: Once the Sallie Bingham Center Got Its Hooks in Me (Kelly Wooten)

Episode 97: Once the Sallie Bingham Center Got Its Hooks in Me (Kelly Wooten)

Kelly Wooten, Librarian at the Sallie Bingham Center for Women's History and Culture at Duke University, invites us into her home to enjoy her cats and to discuss her career in libraries and archives, one focused on women's work, girl's literature, and zines.

Episode 96: That Mechanism That Can Improve People's Lives (Chrystal Carpenter)
12/21/2019
Episode 96: That Mechanism That Can Improve People's Lives (Chrystal Carpenter)

Episode 96: That Mechanism That Can Improve People's Lives (Chrystal Carpenter)

Chrystal Carpenter, Coordinator of University Archives and Special Collections, tells us about her beginnings in Egyptology, her experiences dealing with the aftermath of a massacre, her rich and broad career, and an attempt to reframe what the Archives Leadership Institute could be.

Today, we recorded our 100th episode, one in which we talk only to each other. We sat down, at the end of the year, to c...
12/18/2019

Today, we recorded our 100th episode, one in which we talk only to each other. We sat down, at the end of the year, to celebrate the 100th episode of this podcast and discuss our archives days, our plans for 2020, the value of archives, and the home we have found for our podcast archives. Two hours from now we awake to fly to North Carolina. (Pictured are the notes taken during the episode.)

Episode 94: My Place in Archives (Aaron Purcell)
12/07/2019
Episode 94: My Place in Archives (Aaron Purcell)

Episode 94: My Place in Archives (Aaron Purcell)

Aaron Purcell, Director of Special Collections and University Archives at Virginia Tech, recounts his journey from the history of the French Revolution to archives, his professional focus on donor relations, and his place in archives.

Episode 93: 2X2: Happy Accidents (Kate Theimer and Jim Gerencser)
11/30/2019
Episode 93: 2X2: Happy Accidents (Kate Theimer and Jim Gerencser)

Episode 93: 2X2: Happy Accidents (Kate Theimer and Jim Gerencser)

Kate Theimer, writer and editor, and her husband, Jim Gerencser, College Archivist at Dickinson College, tell us of their lives together as two archivists and the amazing accomplishments they have achieved.

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Desde sus inicios hasta la era digital los archivos custodian el patrimonio documental. En el Día Internacional de los Archivos te indicamos cómo puedes encontrar documentos históricos.