Friday, September 30, 2011

Knowledge Sharing: Past to Meet Present Part 4

Knowledge Sharing: Past to Meet Present Part 5

Knowledge Sharing: Past to Meet Present Part 3

Knowledge Sharing: Past to Meet Present Part 5

Knowledge Sharing: Past to Meet Present Part 2

Knowledge Sharing: Past to Meet Present Part 5

Knowledge Sharing: Past to Meet Present

Knowledge Sharing: Past to Meet Present Part 5

Past to Meet Present Part 5

The story of 1,300 antique medical instruments donated to the Wake Forest Institute for Regenerative Medicine continues and Thursday, September 29, 2011 is a day to remember!

Dr. John "Jack" Monroe and his family, who donated the collection, were honored at an "opening" reception of the collection on display on the second floor of the Richard Dean Biomedical Research building where WFIRM is located. There is not enough room to display the entire collection so part of it is in storage but that didn't dampen the mood at yesterday's reception.

Speakers at the event were Dianne Johnson, archivist; John Gillon, senior director of gift planning in the Office of Development and Alumni Affairs; George Christ, education coordinator and professor for WFIRM; Karen Richardson, senior communications officer for WFIRM and Dr. Tony Atala, director of WFIRM.

And while John, Dianne and Karen agreed that this gift has been the hardest one to organize, facilitate and make available - the satisfaction of the Monroe family made it all worthwhile and Thursday's event was the culmination of nearly a year of work.

Guests, mostly employees from WFIRM, also had the honor of listening to Dr. Monroe talk about his favorite pieces. He agreed to talk for only a few minutes but I recorded 17 minutes worth of video on my iPhone which was quickly transferred to a DVD since my phone was nearly dead :).

Since Dr. Monroe practiced obstetrics and gynecology, one of his favorites is the "Lydia's Bottle." Some of his other favorite pieces have to do with bloodletting, a technique used to relieve all kinds of pain up until the 1900s. The least painful way to relieve the patient's pain was with leeches and Dr. Monroe said that many doctors used to carry leech boxes in their pockets to store the leeches as they used them over and over.

Another instrument used for bloodletting was lancets - small knives:
And of course the doctor had to contain/collect the blood in the "bleeding bowl," this one being Dr. Monroe's favorite:
Dr. Monroe said he was one of the top collectors in the world of bleeding bowls. During his years of collecting - spanning close to 60 - his favorite example of historical medicine was Dr. Samuel Vierling, one of the early doctors in Old Salem.

The afternoon ended with food and more stories from Dr. Monroe, his wife Boo - known as the great bargainer - and their daughter, Cloud. Mrs. Monroe would bargain for the pieces, many of which were found at flea markets such as Metrolina Trade Show near Lake Norman and even a flea market in Liberty, NC.

While Dr. Monroe and his family left happy, there still is some tweaking to the display of the collection, according to Karen. So stay tuned!

Friday, July 8, 2011

Historical Road Trip

The angels in heaven were bowling strikes as Evan and I hit the road for home on Thursday, July 7, 2011.

The strong lightening, loud thunder and hard downpour didn't last long though but our historical road trip to UNC Chapel Hill was a full and exciting day.

It started out getting lost - no, I mean - a drive through campus including the mega-hospital complex. But the nice receptionist at UNC's administration building got us to Louis R. Wilson Library - a place I could live amongst all that history!

Once again were up and down, up and down steps, i.e. lost, until we found Nicholas Graham with the Digital NC project - where Wake Forest School of Medicine and NC Baptist Hospital School of Nursing yearbooks will be digitized. After unloading them and taking care of business, Nick showed us around including the equipment used to digitize the yearbooks. Through grants and UNC's budget, they are using equipment and staff from the Internet Archive. There are three scanners - books are laid on a V-shaped stand, like they would be displayed, and a camera from each side shoots the pages. Then they magically appear legible and with little editing on the screen, ready for the world to see! Nick quickly walked us through the Digital Production Center with all types of equipment.

Then we were left on our own, still in Wilson Library, where we explored the exhibit gallery about the formation of Text and Images and Paper; the NC Collection gallery where Evan was scared to glance at the life-size statue of Sir Walter Raleigh but he enjoyed the etchings of Louis Orr (Evan is an aspiring architect) and then our research began.

Evan decided he wanted to look up his aunt, my sister, in the UNC yearbook which meant registering on paper, getting my driver's license copied, locking up our valuables and finding the 1995 Yackety Yak in the Rare Books room. Much to our dismay, we didn't find her - ugh!! She probably didn't show up for the picture - ugh again!! But here's proof that he actually tried:
Next we made our way to the Southern Historical collection on Level 4 where I wanted to check out two folders in the Human Betterment League collection. And here we go again with registering (just re-read the above paragraph). This time I was handed the box through a window and told to go to a private research room, probably because I had a very curious nine-year-old checking out, i.e. touching, everything! I attempted photographs of some papers but that didn't work out well. Same-day photocopying wasn't available and it is expensive to get an entire folder copied so I decided to just remember what UNC has and refer patrons there, i.e. collaboration.

Working in a medical library, I couldn't leave UNC without checking out its Health Sciences Library. Yet another drive around campus with nice views of Keenan Stadium, under the UNC Hospitals pedestrian bridge, passing Wilson Library twice :) until I decided to park in an alcove down the street from the Health Sciences library. Our hot trek up the hill included this view:

I saw brown, smelled coffee and touched the elevator button to Level 5. Still seeing shades of brown but no one around to help us find that rare book reading room. I can't leave when I'm this close so I peak in the preservation office where Rachel Hoff gladly shows off the tiny Wilcox Reading Room. While talking, Evan checks out the leather reading chair, floor lamp and tried on Dr. Wilcox's antique surgery glasses. His curiosity continues in the "stacks" area with movable shelving and his touching of the very old book. I did let him touch the blue velvet brick holding up the books but we quickly departed before we would really have to move in to pay for the damages :).

We then enjoyed a quick trip to the student stores and lunch in the "quad," suggested by a passing employee. Evan shoots photos while I finish up my lunch, now being attacked by various insects under the tree.

Then down - not getting lost - Highway 54 to our meeting location to drop off three boxes of personal materials to the daughter of a doctor whose collection is in the Archives here.

We leave with the angels bowling and our faces smiling!

Friday, May 20, 2011

Talking Archivists

Seven Triad (Winston-Salem, High Point, Greensboro, Burlington) archivists and one friend of archivists gathered for the first Society of NC Archivists Triad Social on Thursday, May 19.

Wake Forest was well represented with Z. Smith Reynolds folks Rebecca Peterson, Audra Eagle-Yun, Craig Fansler (the friend) and me, Dianne Johnson. Then there was Gwen Gosney-Erickson and Liz Cook from Guilford College and Bennett College's first dedicated archivist Marcellaus Joiner.

We enjoyed homemade macaroni and cheese, sweet potato hush puppies, salmon salad, collard greens with peanuts and more at Lucky 32 in Greensboro. The early evening atmosphere was pleasant and allowed for all kinds of conversation.

For example, Marcellus learned that he wasn't the only who had to process materials before digitizing them. And some of us even got to know Greensboro better whether it was a description of Super G from Audra or some behind the scenes details about the Civil Rights Museum from Gwen. Some personal stories were shared so it was a great time to leave our collections to get to know our fellow colleagues.

Next up is probably a tour of Etherington Conversation Services, followed by social time at another eating place!

Here's the group, post-dinner:

From left: Craig, Audra, Liz and Marcellus

Gwen (first) and Rebecca

Thursday, May 19, 2011

MLA Musings

Marketing As If Your Library Depended on it.
Presenter: Pat Wagner, Pattern Research

At MLA, I attended this CE class on Saturday, the 14th. I have always avoided marketing-type courses because I thought the information would be too obvious. It turns out that this class was very useful and focused more on understanding who your customers and how to speak to them.

The most important things I learned:

  1. Avoid being smug. We need to learn what our patrons really want and stop trying to convince them that our way is the better way.

  2. For each event/publication/class we should identify the target audience and play to that.

  3. Develop partnerships with users.

  4. Understand the difference between a feature and a benefit. A feature is what we can offer people, a benefit is what the user gets from the feature. This should be the focus of marketing.

  5. Be willing to change and/or eliminate what doesn't work.
There is a difference between Marketing Public Relations and Advertising.

  • Marketing is being aware of what people want and adapting to the change.

  • Advertising is about giving people a compelling reason to "buy" your product.

  • Public Relations is more passive, less specific and ongoing. It says "Remember me fondly and often".

Finally, the presenter suggested that we look at the activites we focus on and figure out how much time, money and effort we spend on each.

  • The Past - this is driven by what we are known for and what people love about us (books, journals, quiet space, etc.)

  • The Present - this should be driven by customer demands (mobile computing, e-materials, coffee bar, etc.)

  • The Future - this is about vision and what we might do that we have never done before (embedded librarians, 24/7 access, etc.)

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Past to Meet Present Part 4

A quick review since it has been exactly three months since the last post on this subject.

And the subject is Dr. John Monore's collection of antique medical instruments that are eventually going to be displayed downtown in the Dean Research Building, specifically Wake Forest Institute for Regenerative Medicine.

In March and April, Karen Richardson (public relations officer for WFIRM) and I:
1. Cleaned out the six display cabinets donated by Dr. Monroe
2. Figured out how to install the glass shelves into those cabinets
3. Worked on new locks for those cabinets
4. And finally, actually made many trips with a cart from an office where the instruments are stored to the cabinets!

Since we are not the most "visual" people, we re-organized several times but finally got the instruments grouped according to our themes: bloodletting, feeding, general diagnostic, pharmaceutical, etc. After that, we started researching museum cards to describe the different instruments. Karen has done most of the legwork on this which was finding the slips of paper in which Dr. Monroe described each piece and then finding the "matching" piece - great puzzle solver! She then started typing up some descriptions for each piece. We learned along the way that there really isn't enough room in the cases to place physical description cards for each piece so we were leaning toward framed descriptions to hang on the wall.

Meanwhile, while going through some collections in the Archives, specifically Dr. Lawrence C. McHenry who did research on the history of medicine, I have found awesome and relevant materials for antique stethoscopes and brain/neurological-type instruments.

So, Karen is doing her thing (creating first draft of descriptions) and I'm doing mine (collecting and learning all about old medical instruments) when...

Dr. Tony Atala, director of WFIRM, who seems to have a great insterest in the history of medicine, decided that he wants more pieces displayed. We barely touched the surface, really, out of 1,300 items.

When she sent me an email update just this week, she said:

Just wanted to give you an update on the mini-museum ....
Dr. Atala has decided to purchase additional cases since only a small portion of the collection was displayed.

So, can guess the 1.5 words that have made my entire week?

Ahhhh ... "mini-museum"

And of course, I replied with:

Dr. Atala needs to think bigger J I am ready to display all the things here too!

Okay, slight tangent there. Needless to say, Karen hopes to have the display completed by early Fall 2011.
Stay tuned!

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Saving Social Media

One of the Friday morning, April 1 sessions at the Society of NC Archivists/SC Archives Association conference was "Collaboration and (in) Records Management." My riding partner/roommate and I agreed to attend different sessions to compare notes on the way home.

This session doesn't directly apply to me but it still deserves a post because of the cool stuff the State of NC Archives is doing. Kelly Eubank, head of electronic records at the Archives, talked about social media use and archiving those records - can you even imagine?

What might be obvious to some people already, she stated that when an institution creates a Facebook page, Twitter account, etc., it is the institution's page meaning no privacy and follow the rules if you use the accounts.

But what got me to log out of my personal social media page :) was the next part. Kelly said that the State Archives is collecting and archiving posts from Facebook, Twitter, Flickr, YouTube, etc. It is called geospatial data archiving.

There are many issues with archiving electronic data but the main one is that printing it out does not preserve all the data. For example, in Microsoft Word, there is a properties tab which shows when it was created, changed and who created it. That is lost or not available if it is printed. The same goes with e-mail messages - you can't see which servers it went through which could be helpful, especially in state government.

Before information services was less enthusiastic about working with the Archives, she said to at least create a PDF of the information - don't leave it in Word or as an e-mail message. After years of building (and it is a daily struggle) a relationship with information services and other departments, Archives does get most electronic information in a good format to archive. Like this institution there are many privacy issues and that could potentially be another post entirely.

Lastly and I have saved the best for the last. When Governor Hunt was serving as the head of the state, the Archives received 6 GB of electronic material. After Governor Easley left office, Archives received 290 GB of electronic files.

So this archiving of electronic data is only going to get bigger and archivists continue to learn and persevere.