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Archivists on Lockdown: In Person Meetings - By Sierra McGee and Jess Hooley

Recently we have been able to meet as a team and it has been a blessing, allowing us to complete our work and grow closer as a team. We would like to express gratitude to Dr. Sarah Higgins for helping our group meet in person. In person classes were still suspended during this time so she submitted a COVID-19 risk assessment form to the university, which they approved the form and gave us permission to meet.

On March 3rd, we had our first in person meeting. The team examined each other’s boxes and determined the best way to group the archive material. Over the coming weeks, we began preparing the catalogue, repackaging the archive material, and finalizing the hierarchy tree. The classroom was booked from 9:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. and we met every Wednesday and Thursday.

River Pink oversaw repackaging material. She recorded the amount of packaging we had available and how much we would need. Repackaging material included filing boxes for postcards and photographs and folders to place documents and books in. River demonstrated how to make folders and the correct way to package archive material.

While we began repackaging, Imogen Foley finalized the hierarchy tree. The hierarchy tree contained the family’s names, the types of documents associated with the families and the community surrounding Strata Florida. Once that was approved, Imogen and Elfed created the catalogue in an application called AtoM (Access to Memory). It’s accessible online through our university login, so we could work on it from home.

During Easter Break the classroom was reserved for Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays from 9:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Elfed Selman said, “Everyone worked really well together. It was a new experience for us all and we knew that, so we helped each other out a lot and made it a proper team effort.”

We encountered a few problems while cataloguing. Some of the items contained sensitive material, so an access statement was created. This statement is included in every catalogue description. Our team reviewed everything carefully to determine if access to certain items would remain open or closed. Some of us felt overwhelmed with the amount of material we had to catalogue, and if it was possible to finish in time. As the end of April approaches, most of us have finished cataloguing. We are beginning to shift our focus to writing the final report and our final presentation in May.

Please stay tuned for our final blog post! Thank you for reading!

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