Intro Post – Kerri

Hello everyone,Двери из массива или дверь, как достойный элемент интерьера.

My name is Kerri Sheehan and this is my second year in the MLIS program with a concentration in Archives and Digital Curation. I graduated in 2015 from Hood College with a BA in both English Literature and Communication Arts. I was (still am) an avid writer. In college I wrote for two different local magazines (Frederick Gorilla Magazine and Celebrate Gettysburg Magazine) and later freelanced after I got my degree.

I decided to pursue a library master’s degree for several different reasons. I’ve always loved books and antiquities but always viewed these as an interest and never as a career. My senior year of college I wrote a thesis on Emily Dickinson’s envelope poems. As part of my research I visited the Emily Dickinson Museum, her family home, in Amherst, MA. Through my research I grew to love and appreciate her manuscripts and the archival work that went into preserving them.  So through all of that, I decided to become an Archivist.

I’m currently working at the Special Collections and University Archives in Hornbake Library as a student assistant. I work in retrievals as well as redesigning/recoding past exhibit websites. I also just started working in the Preservation department in McKeldin Library, helping with their ongoing projects.

Last night’s discussion brought up some very important ideas and misconceptions that our profession has been dealing with lately. Vint Cerf and his idea of “Digital Vellum” (in lieu of the impending digital dark age) is one facet of concern that everyone this day in age faces. Though Cerf’s idea of the X-ray snap shot (whatever that means) sounds promising, I took his statements with a grain of salt and a dose of skepticism.

Yes, it’s important that we save as much digital information as we can. Especially since everything we do these days is digital. But is it practical to really try and save everything? Are we even capable of doing this? Simply and ideally, we could save every machine and every piece of software invented, store it in an archive, and pull them out when we want to view something digital from back in the day.

But where do we draw the line between being proactive and being packrats? We might think we have the capability to save all of these digital files, but we simply can’t save everything. To think that we have the power to essentially “go back in time” is pretty arrogant.

That doesn’t mean we shouldn’t keep doing what we are doing to preserve what we can. Like Bertram Lyons’ response to the digital dark age, we as archivists are already doing everything we can to preserve the digital aspects of our history. There are thousands of people assessing the importance of digital information and preserving said information accordingly. To assume that one machine or program could replace the countless people doing this painstaking job is an insult to all people in the profession.