Tuesday, March 14, 2006

all in a day's work

for anyone who has ever wondered, "What exactly does Miss Adventure do?":

a historian at work

I sit here in this room in an office building with stacks of papers and my laptop. The papers are the remains of the archives of ARCI, the Italian Association for Recreation and Culture. This institution began in the 1950's to create a national network of social circles, clubs, community centers, recreation leagues... anything from bocce ball clubs to local concert series. And it is the subject of my research.

I leaf through folders, loosely organized by year and topic. There is no catalog. In order to find documents that will help me comprehend and write a history I look page by page at most folders. Anything of import gets noted; I make a digital photo of the page. I keep databases of the sources, of events and dates, people, statistics, etc. I organize carefully, since I'm generating thousands of pages of data. Everything must be searchable, clear, retreivable.

The office is the national headquarters of UISP, the Italian Union for Sports for Everyone. They were at one time united with ARCI so wound up with the archives. "Archives" in this case meaning boxes full of office documents, correspondence, leaflets, etc. piled into the basement. Today I found an actual bookworm. I hope that's what it was.

The office is strange, but most of the employees are really great. Note the wine bottle in the picture above. Not mine. Though it doesn't seem like a bad idea when I'm digitizing the upteen thousandth page of the week.

I'm left mostly to myself with the folders. Beeping along on my digital camera -- why does it have to beep?


Blogger I'm Sunburnt said...

You make our lives seem so glamorous. And are you sure that's not a cockroach? I see many of those in my library. By the way, you can turn the beeping off (which I learned the hard way after being yelled at by a surly geneologist), although you might like to keep it on as a little productivity signal.

March 22, 2006  

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