Okay, so I started writing this blog entry nearly a week ago and then got caught up in various other things, like answering e-mails and working on the magazine. But I still feel like I should talk about the symposium, so better late than never, right? Right? So here it is.
Last Friday (that would be Friday, November 6), I attended a symposium in St. John’s called Examining the Archival Footprint: the Past and Future of Archives in Newfoundland and Labrador. (Okay, not only was I attending, but I was speaking as well: I did a presentation about how Them Days is modernizing, and I was a panelist for a roundtable discussion.)
All the speakers had thought-provoking topics and points. I learned a lot about telemedicine too! We heard from a variety of people, from The Archivist and Librarian of Canada (what a title!) to researchers and all sorts of archivists in between. Unfortunately, my camera was out of battery power and the charger was back in Goose Bay, since I’d forgotten to take it with me nearly two and half weeks earlier. So you’re just going to have to imagine this.
Okay, so back to the ways Them Days is changing. Since you’re reading this on the blog, that’s one of the ways in which we’re changing in the 21st century: the Internet allows us to get information to our readers quickly. You could see the renovations as they were happening last winter because I was taking pictures of it and uploading them to this site! It allows for a behind-the-scenes peek at what goes on at a magazine and in an archive.
The Internet also allows us to become more accessible to people further away too. We don’t have any archive content online, but soon we will have our finding aid online. It’s the first step! That way, you’ll be able to search our holdings from the comfort of your home, even while wearing your pyjamas! (P.S.: you can also shop online at Them Days from the comfort of your home in your pyjamas.) You won’t be able to immediately see what you’re looking for, but you’ll know we have it.
We’re also in the middle of digitizing our negative collection – it’s huge – and then we’ll start work on other digitization projects. The digitization of the negatives has already made a huge difference in the way I work in putting together the magazine. I can quickly search for an image and determine if it’s the photo I need or not. It’s already in digital format, so I don’t need to scan it again…and then that helps the negative itself in that it doesn’t need to be handled so often.
I’m quite enthusiastic about it all, and I think that really came across at the symposium. But let me be clear…I have reservations about it too! There are a lot of things to consider when it comes to putting archival material online, like copyright, confidentiality, restricted material, time, money, resources, etc. It’s a new frontier out here on the Internet…a little bit like a virtual wild west. It’s scary and exciting all at the same time, but with time and energy, we can deal with it and still remain your familiar, lovable Them Days. But just a bit cooler and easy to access.
Anyways, that’s it for now…back to other pressing matters!