Family history, records, and archival description

A continuation of my pop culture reviews, a new anti-racist archival description, and interesting articles in various fields

Hello, everyone! I hope you are all having a wonderful week.

I thought I’d first highlight my new blogpost which reviews the recent season of Carmen Sandiego (a screenshot from which is shown above) which has, unlike other shows, themes of family history and records interwoven throughout. Sure, you could say it is a “kid’s show” but the fact is that it confronts a lot of “adult” themes, making it clear it is trying to bring in an audience not only of children but also of adults. The whole season is about Carmen finding out more about her past since she has no memory of her past, not finding out the truth until the end of the season after confronting her new partner-in-crime and former instructor, Shadowsan, with information about his mission to Argentina. In the process, there is also themes of record destruction, and distortion of records by the record creator to exclude certain details, reminding me of those 1990s Hollywood films I reviewed a while back.

Now, this brings us to a list of anti-racist archival description resources I’d like to mention to you all if you aren’t aware of them already. Originally promoted in the Women’s Archivists Section of SAA (Society of American Archivists), and later in the Description Section, this list of resources is, according to the Anti-Racist Description Working Group of Archives for Black Lives in Philadelphia, otherwise known as A4BLiP, the result of a two-year process, consisting of “metadata recommendations, an annotated bibliography, and an extensive bibliography, which aim to provide archivists with strategies and frameworks for creating anti-oppressive archival description, as well as for auditing repositories' existing description for anti-Black racism.” They can be reached at a4blip@gmail.com. An interesting resource to keep in mind going forward!

With that, we move onto an interview with Jenn Parent, Reference Archivist at the Museum of Flight, by a chapter of the SAA, talking about their collections and educational offerings, mainly answering reference inquiries, which she says “are mostly related to photo requests and general research/reference” while she also, when she has time, “process and catalog archival collections” because she loves processing, along with contributing to outreach efforts. The Museum itself has archival collections which “contain materials that document the entire evolution of manned flight, from the Wright Brothers to modern jet travel to space exploration,” a wide collection. While she states that she likes “continuously learning and encountering material that sparks an interest,” she says that her favorite part of her job is “being able to successfully guide a researcher and help fulfill their information need, especially when they reach out to me with what they may think is a long shot.” Its something that archivists should strive for to the best of their ability!

I’d also like to mention some interesting articles like one with a person who is a hacker/archivist noting how there is “practically no place someone can try to keep secure or keep private that does not have vulnerabilities through cyber networks,” a review of the archives program Dspace, observations from a conference of Canadian archivists, and suggestions inclusive processing of indigenous collections. Hack Library School has some interesting articles this week, focusing on a meeting with a delegation of Russian librarians, thoughts on what an ideal MLS would look like, and sneakily observing a reference desk at a local library.

And that’s it for this week. I hope you all have a great rest of your week.

- Burkely

P.S. I know I sent my last newsletter at 6:34 PM last week, but I meant to send it around this time, so I’ll try to make sure I send it around 4-4:30 PM in future weeks.