My First Week in the Real World

I have just started my second full week of work at the Special Collections Research Center at the College of William and Mary.  I am the Public Services Archives Specialist, and so I’ve been (unsurprisingly) doing a lot of things that face the public, in addition to my training.  My primary task, so far, has been to answer all of the email reference questions that come into our general special collections account.  These have primarily been genealogical requests so far, which is different than the kinds of requests I was getting at UNC.  For example, one person specifically mentioned the DAR in her request. I’ve also been getting my hands into the social media tools used by the SCRC.  We have a Twitter account, a Flickr page, a Youtube page, and I just created our Facebook page.  I’m currently trying to post a today in history from our collections type post every day as well as mentioning all the classes that come in and use the SCRC. I’ve also been participating in a lot of classes.  Well, participating may be a strong word.  What I’ve been primarily doing so far has been to make sure that the students don’t break anything while the other staff member conducts the class.  But I will have classes of my own to teach in the spring. Finally, I’ve just started to learn how to accession new materials that we purchase or are donated.  Here at the SCRC, accessioning means that we take the materials, create a basic record for them, and put that record on the web.  For some collections, especially ones that are single items, that might be enough.  Other collections that will eventually need processing go into a spreadsheet to be worked on by undergrads, grad students, or volunteers. So that’s what I’ve basically been doing so far.  We’re also working on ways to create a better workflow for dealing with reference requests (in the pondering stage) as well as the workflow for how we recruit, prepare for, and execute classes.  I’ll keep you all updated.