Last night a dozen intrepid SJSU iSchool archivist souls ventured away from our familiar computer screens and dared to rendezvous in person for a tour of the UC Berkeley Museum of Vertebrate Zoology Archives. Our host was Christina V. Fidler, an iSchool alumna and the Museum Archivist.
One of the highlights of the tour was a peek at Joseph Grinnell's field notes, which were remarkably similar in size, paper, and buckram binding. Had they been altered over the past hundred years to enforce this consistency? In fact, no! As Christina explained, Grinnell was quite fastidious in his notes and particular about the appearance of the books as well. Hearing about Grinnell's organizational tendencies lead me to ponder about how scientists and librarians could be good friends. Indeed, the "science" part of "library science" bobs its head yet again. Learn more about the Grinnell Method here. (Interesting note: Grinnell was an excellent artist and often sketched detailed pictures of lizards and birds in his field notes.)
Christina shared her insight on being an archivist: It is not necessary to a be an expert natural scientist to work at the Museum of Vertebrate Zoology. You just have to know your business as an archivist. However, don't be surprised if you encounter some unusual and not easily cataloged items that are unique to your repository! For example, how do you archive a 6' map covered in pins denoting the locations of salamander discovery?
Thanks to all who attended and an archivist salute to our host, Christina V. Fidler for a wonderful tour!
Don't forget to view the photos here!