Wednesday, May 1, 2013

All good things must come to an end.

Well my friends, the 2013 spring semester has come to a conclusion, and as a result I must part ways with you all. I have truly appreciated the experience and have been completely dumbfounded at the amount of views my blog has received; to date it has received approximately 640 views!

I'd like to take this opportunity to reflect upon the past couple of months.

Going into this internship I had no idea what to expect. I just assumed I would be organizing and labeling things. Boy was I wrong. I remember first meeting Ken and Dawn (the acting president and vice president of the museum) at the storage unit, and when they opened the storage unit up I remember feeling completely overwhelmed and scared. But I took it, and I made it my own. I started by completely reorganizing the storage unit into something that made more sense. Special Collections are now on the left wall of the storage unit, Museum Exhibits take up the back left corner and the back wall, and Museum Supplies take up the back right corner and the right wall. This took approximately 2-3 weeks to do. By doing this I became extremely familiar with the entire collection in the storage unit. 

After I organized the storage unit, I then took an initial inventory of the whole storage unit. I recorded this initial inventory in my finding aid. The next step was to take each Special Collection out of the storage unit and transport it to one of the RICHES offices at the University of Central Florida. It was here that I then conducted a more detailed inventory of each collection. I went through each and every box in each collection and made note of every folder, binder, newspaper, etc that I could. All of this was input into my finding aid. Another thing I did was move things around in each collection, so that they made more sense for future researchers. The collection that had the most reorganizing done to it was The Center Collection. I combined legal documents and records into a couple of boxes, and then I combined various publications into others. After I was done reorganizing this collection, I made note of the changes in my finding aid and I was even left with an empty storage bin! I was quite proud of myself for doing that.

After my inventory I had about 2 weeks left to the semester which I spent attempting to partially rehouse the Brian Arbogast collection (I say attempt, because I really only had a week since I had a wedding in CA to attend). I learned a lot when it comes to rehousing. I learned that most of the things we all do to store our photos and documents, is pretty much wrong. Binders are a big no no, so are staples, paper clips, and even those nice little plastic document holders. Metal leads to rust, and plastic document holders lead to moisture being trapped; thus aiding in further deterioration. In the rehousing process I also learned the importance of copying newspaper articles onto acid free paper, and discarding the original prints. In addition to all of that, I also learned how to create a cost analysis report both in Microsoft Word and Excel. Prior to this, I had very little experience with Excel; now I feel as if I can do anything in Excel!

I have been extremely grateful for this experience. I have learned so much about the archival processing experience. From organizing, to categorizing, to even partially rehousing a collection, I even got a taste of the administrative side, I have gotten a taste of what it is like to be a professional archivist. Even though at times it was a bit frustrating and overwhelming I have enjoyed the entire experience. Most importantly, in the process of all of my duties, I learned about the GLBT history of Central Florida. The region I have called home since I was 3 years old,. I have learned about a history I have not really known/thought of in much detail. Because of this internship I have gained a better understanding of the history of the GLBT community, and a much greater respect for those who came before me. I have come to respect those who have made significant strides so that I can enjoy my lifestyle the way I do now. 

I'd like to thank Dr. Beiler for giving me the opportunity to apply for this internship, and being a constant guidance when I felt lost. I'd like to also thank Alan Lunin who was my acting supervisor during my internship. Though we did not meet as regularly as we probably should have, he still provided me with many words of encouragement when I needed them. Ken Kazmerski for constantly being on top of my e-mails, always quick to respond when I had a question; despite his having hip surgery. Dawn Rosendahl for also being quick to respond, and even meeting me at the storage unit. I'd also like to thank David Bain for taking time out of his schedule and meeting me to discuss the museum's digitization efforts. I would also like to send out a special thank you to Bruce Ground who provided me with information on his collection. I also would like to thank Bruce for donating his collection to the museum and giving me a chance to process his collection. It was such a uniqe collection of GLBT history that I will not soon forget. I also want to thank the rest of the GLBT History Museum of Central Florida for all that you do. I only wish the younger generation could appreciate not only our history, but the work you all have done to preserve it! Lastly, I want to thank my readers for reading my blog. I really did not think anyone would read this little thing, but I have been overwhelmed by the amount of readership, and even the students and faculty coming up to me and telling me that they enjoy my blog! It means the world to me! Thank you!. 

For now I shall close the door on this chapter of my life and college career. I shall leave you all with a cheesey photo I took today as I returned the Brian Arbogast collection to the Storage Unit:

Until next time,
-Kyle the intern

Friday, April 12, 2013

Rehousing a collection

This week I started the actual process of rehousing the Brian Arbogast collection. It took me a combined total of about 11 hours to rehouse just two boxes. The process is quite tedious (as I've mentioned in my previous post). Basically what I had to do was go through each box again and make sense of what I like to call "organized chaos."

I started working on box one which contains the files concerning the ILGA (International Lesbian and Gay Association), GLAAD Florida, and the various correspondence with other GLAAD chapters in the country. This should have been an easy process, and it was for the most part. Until I got to the files pertaining to the formation of the GLAAD Florida chapter. I went through these folders and had to find like files so that the organization makes more sense for future researchers. Once I made sense and reorganized these files I put them into new acid free file folders that were purchased from I then relabeled the files and put them in new acid free boxes purchased from the same site.

The second box I went through was box two (naturally). With the exception of about two or three files, this collection was almost entirely composed of files in plastic document sleeves housed in three ring binders. These are incredibly bad to store documents in long term. They allow for moisture to get trapped which adds to the deterioration of the documents. I took a similar approach to this box as I did with the first one. I would open one of the three ring binders and take the documents out. I then sorted all of the documents while they were still in the plastic document sheets. Once I sorted the documents, I then took them out of the plastic document sheets and removed any paperclips (which along with staples, rust). I then placed the sorted documents into the new acid free files folders and into the new acid free boxes.

Overall I was nervous at first, but once I got started I found the work to be rather enjoyable, and the time seemed to fly by. At times I would hit a road block and become frustrated with certain documents, asking myself "Where on earth should this go? It doesn't pertain to this, but it kind of pertains to that." Eventually I would overcome that road block and make sense of the matter. Rehousing is a lengthy process, one which I do not know if I will be able to complete before the end of the semester. Alas, where I leave off, the next intern will pick up. I will have left detailed information pertaining to what all I have done, and what all needs to be done. Ideally this will make the next intern's job much easier.

I leave you all once again. Have a great weekend and Until next time,

-Kyle the intern

Friday, April 5, 2013

Creating an abstract for a finding aid and rehousing a collection

So this week was rather paper work intensive earlier in the week and more hands on later in the week.

Earlier in the week I started adding more to my finding aid. The inventory is just the first of many layers. The next layer, which I started this week, is an abstract of each collection. In each abstract I cover a brief biography of the creator of each collection. I then talk about the history of each collection and how that specific collection came into the hands of the GLBT History Museum of Central Florida. It is a bit tedious and takes some research. Overall, it helps me as the archivist become more intimate with the collections, and in the long run it aids researchers who want to know if that particular collection houses something of interest to their research.

Yesterday, Thursday April 4, 2013, I met with Dr. Beiler to get the guidance needed to process/rehouse am entire collection. This is a bit intimidating because it is a lot of responsibility. It involves going through a collection and deciding where to place things. There are many things to consider and it is not a decision to be made without considerable amount of thought. Things to consider are:

Did the creator of this collection place these documents in a specific order? If so, for what reason?
Do the items in a folder belong together? or were they misplaced?
Other things to consider/take note of are dates for a scope of the collection. This way I can state for certain in my finding aid the dates the collection covers.

This process is a lot of responsibility, but I know at the end of this process I will know where everything is, and it will reflect in my finding aid. I think my doubts come from me feeling like as an intern I should have my hand held through this process. However, how am I to gain the experience if I do not do it myself? I guess I am just worried about messing everything up. I just have to continue to have confidence in myself and my work. At the end, if my finding aid matches the content of each box, than I did my job correctly!

I leave for San Diego next Thursday for my significant other's sister's wedding to her partner. This is really exciting, especially more so now with the recent supreme court arguments on same sex marriage. I will try and post my blog next Thursday. If not Thursday night, than Friday.

Until then,

-Kyle the intern

Friday, March 29, 2013

It's been a while

Well hello readers! I am so sorry for neglecting you all again!
This semester has been a trying semester. Take this internship add two upper level history courses and a General Anthropology course plus my 3 days a week job at Disney (that has me working anywhere from 4-15 hours a day) plus my relationship plus my mother's health issues and you've got the perfect recipe for madness! ;)

Anyways, enough of my pity party, I suppose I should update you all on what I've been up to.

Well I've pretty much wrapped up my finding aid. I need to add the historical background information on the museum as a whole, and the individual collections. Once I do this it will pretty much be complete.
I've been contacted by a graduate student wanting to do some research on the GLBT history in the mills/50 (ViMi District). I felt bad because as I've just been inventorying the collection I don't really know much information about the history. I can say that I know The Center has a relatively long history at their current location, but prior to being located on Mills, they were on 50. I can say that there was once a GLBT book store called Out and About Books located off of Mills. I know there is a store called Ritzy Rags. All these things I can say, but I do not know the entire history of each location. Nor do I really have the time to investigate the whole history of these locations. My responsibilities have had me inventorying the collection and making it more accessible for researchers, so that they can uncover the history for the public. That's not to say that I have not gathered a decent understanding of the history of our community. I certainly have, and I feel like I, myself, have gained much more appreciation for our community through this internship. Anyways, the whole point of that rant was to connect it to my finding aid. Once I've finished my finding aid (which I anticipate having completed by Sunday). I will thus make it accessible to the researcher who has inquired about the collection. I will also offer up a time to meet with her so that I can give her a basic understanding as to what items are what. Hopefully I can aid in her research!

The other thing I've been working on is a plan of action for the GLBT History Museum of Central Florida. In my plan of action I basically address certain things that I've learned about during this internship. Things such as the importance of having a acquisition policy. Should the museum accept items on loan? Or should they only accept donations? Or both? This is important because if a museum accepts an item on loan they have to consider certain issues. Issues such as "who is responsible for insuring the item? The museum? Or the Loaner?" or even "Who is responsible for storing the item? The museum? or the loaner?" These are all little details that have to be considered when creating an acquisition policy. For the most part the GLBT History Museum of Central Florida has an official policy, but they have not decided whether or not they will accept items on loan.
In my plan of action, I also include my thoughts and ideas. Such as networking with other museums throughout the state and country (even the world). I've also included ideas on obtaining more history from the community, and some other ideas and opinions.

I think the plan of action is my favorite part. I get to take all that I've learned this semester about archiving and public history, and I get to actually show what I've learned. It's one thing to have the collection inventoried and organized, but to write up my recommendations and actually have them coming from my experience and research is pretty exciting. It certainly makes me feel like I know what I'm talking about and like I've actually learned from this whole experience. I love it!

The other thing I have left to do is to actually rehouse the Brian Arbogast collection! This will be pretty exciting! I start working on that next week!

For now I leave you all to go work on some Anthropology reading before I head into my part time job at Disney! Take care and have a great weekend!

-Kyle the intern

Friday, March 8, 2013


Ok, so my title may be a little misleading, I finished my inventory of the collection! My finding aid is now a beautiful 25 pages long. I spent about 16 hours this week finishing up the rest of my inventory. My time was mostly dominated by The Center Collection. the rest of my time was devoted to the Patty Sheehan, Saviz Shafaie, and the Ken Kazmerski GLBSU Collections.

The Center collection is a very large collection to go through. It was originally 9 boxes of various documents pertaining to The Center. Through the process of reorganizing, I was able to bring it down to 8 boxes.
Boxes 1-3 pertain to the actual entity of The Center. That is to say, it contains various documents dealing with The Center. Documents such as Board manuals, minutes, lease information, membership information, funding information, etc.
Boxes 4-5 deal with the various publications The Center published. The longest running of which was The Triangle. Before it was The Triangle it was once New Directions, Centerfold, The Center Fold, and a couple other titles that escape my memory. Box 4 contains documents related to the running of the publication, The Triangle. This contains documents such as ad-agreements, funding, distribution, etc.
Boxes 6-8 contain various clippings from different news sources both locally and nationally. These clippings pertain to various GLBT community issues and concerns throughout the years. These boxes also contain various newsletters from an array of local GLBT groups.
The reorganizing of this collection required extensive work. Many times I felt like I had lost my mind. But the thing that helped the most was the fact that I had originally gone through and took an inventory of every file in the collection. I would move various files in my word document by cutting and pasting. I would then actually move said document to the corresponding box. Furthermore, just when I thought I had it just right, I realized I had to renumber the box! Needless to say, post-its are my friend. However, it is one thing to simply move a post-it, I had to also make sure my word document (my finding aid) reflected accordingly.

Taken about mid-day Thursday 3/7/2013. I simply felt like I had lost my mind! Completely surrounded by boxes and files!

I finally wrapped up work on The Center Collection this morning, Friday March 8, 2013. I was then able to go straight into the much smaller collections of Patty Sheehan, Saviz Shafaie, and Ken Kazmerski.

As I was going through the Patty Sheehan Collection I realized, I had finally found the "missing" Arbogast box! This box has been quite the frustration for me, as the Brian Arbogast collection is labeled as "Box 3 of 5" So earlier in my work when I couldn't find "Box 1" I had given up hope! Alas, the Sheehan Collection is housed in what used to be Box 1 of the Arbogast collection! It seems to me that this box was condensed into one of the other boxes in the collection so that it could make room for the Patty Sheehan Collection. Alas this mystery has been solved.... At least I hope so.

This is the box that currently houses The Patty Sheehan collection, but was once Box 1 of 5 in the Brian Arbogast collection.

The Saviz Shafaie Collection consists of 4 albums with various clippings of newsletters, news papers, photographs, etc. It also has a bag filled with buttons and pins pertaining to various GLBT events.

The Ken Kazemerski Collection, more specifically The Ken Kazmerski's GLBSU Collection, is in two bins. It consists of albums, files, shirts, awards, photos, and other items pertaining to the UCF Gay Lesbian Bisexual Student Union which was started in 1976. The items chronicle the rich history of this originally closeted club. It even includes the files of the 1995-1996 president. It is truly an interesting collection to look through. Though I have to say, honestly, every collection is really interesting to look though. Maybe that's because I'm just naturally nosy!

After I finished inventorying the collections I also took note of approximations on how many boxes and file folders would be needed for future rehousing of each collection in archival quality boxes and file folders. This is information I will include in my final recommendations for the GLBT History Museum of Central Florida. Throughout the current semester I have learned valuable information that I can pass along to the museum and its board. All of this information I will apply to a final recommendation for the future of the museum's archives, which is my next step!

Until next week,
-Kyle the intern

Friday, March 1, 2013

Digitizing history and continual inventorying!

This week I continued work on The Center collection. I have about three boxes left to inventory. I should note that I've been saying "processing" when in all actuality I've been taking a detailed inventory of each collection. The only collection I will hopefully fully process is the Brian Arbogast Collection, and that is because I will be rehousing the whole collection as well. Most of the work I've been doing with the other collections is making it easier for the next intern to pick up where I leave off so that they can better process the collection.

With that being said, I suppose I should inform you all as to what all I was up to this week. Well on Tuesday I met with David Bain whom is responsible for pretty much all the technological aspects of the museum. Ie. the online museum. We discussed the efforts made by the museum to digitize the collection. We discussed things such as the efforts to scan in all the publications and "tag" them with all the headlines from each issue, thus making it searchable. One of the things I really found interesting was he makes it a point to extensively tag articles dealing with political figures and their views on GLBT rights. He hopes that by doing so, people who do their research on voting for political figures will be able to see both past and present views. This way people can be educated voters.

Another thing we talked about was the fact that there are thousands of photos that had been uploaded to a yahoo group site. Unfortunately though, this site is not compatible with recent technology anymore. As a consequence all these photos will be lost. This is unfortunately a problem within the Public History realm. When creating a digital component to a museum, one must consider the longevity of the technology they are using. Not only must one consider the longevity, but they must also consider the compatibility with future technology.

Thursday I finished up inventorying box 6 of 9 Center boxes. It has been interesting going through these items, mostly because I did not know just how extensive the history of The Center was. It started off as the Gay and Lesbian Community Services, and eventually ended up as The Center. They also issued a monthly newsletter called The Triangle. It has been most interesting coming across this stuff simply because I had forgotten what it was like to create a news letter in the "olden days." We are talking about having templates that you stick pictures and what not on, and then having to send it off to a publisher! It reminded me of when I was in high school and I was pretty much the only one on the yearbook committee one year. It was left to me to cut the pictures and glue stick them onto pre-printed templates. What a task! It is simply amazing how much technology has changed in just 10-15 years! Everything is done with computer programs now, and with a click and a drag, you've got your published work!

This Saturday I will be attending a History Harvest up at the Sanford Public History Museum. I hope to learn more about overall efforts and techniques to digitize history. Next week I will be technically on Spring break. However, I will be at the University continuing work on my internship, as I will be missing about a week in April due to a wedding I have to attend in San Diego. My partner's sister is getting married to her partner, so it is kind of relevant don't you think?

Until next week,

-Kyle the intern

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Excuses, THATCamp, Metadata, The Center, And More Archiving!

Hello readers! My apologies, again, for the delay in posting! I worked a lot of hours last week, plus school, so I have not really had time to sit down and write! So here we are now, nearly 5 days late. I'm a terrible person!

Let's recap shall we?  

Saturday February 16, 2013 I had the opportunity to attend THATCamp (The Humanities and Technology Camp) which was held in downtown Orlando. THATCamp is an "Unconference" where "humanists and technologists of all skill levels learn and build together in sessions proposed on the spot." It was really interesting! They had several time slots and three rooms. At any given point and time there was essentially three presentations being held. I unfortunately was only able to attend two presentations because I had to be at work at 2:30pm. The two presentations I was able to attend were: The UCF Center for Humanities and Digital Research Projects and H-Net 2.0.

The UCF Center for Humanities and Digital Research presentation discussed two particular sites. The first was The Charles Brockden Brown Archive. This presentation discussed the creation of an electronic archive. From the conception of the idea to the creation of the archive, and all those involved in between. The whole archive was created by a small group of researchers, but required national collaboration. This gave me the idea of having the GLBT History Museum of Central Florida look into ways of possibly collaborating with other national GLBT history museums. Who knows, maybe one day there could be an online archive for the history of the GLBT Community on a national level!

The second presentation I attended was the DAIS- Digital Archiving Information System. This one was created by graduate students in the UCF Text and Technology Program. Basically this site serves as a one stop shop for digital archives. It not only informs on how to create a digital archive, but it provides access to numerous digital archives throughout the country. Instead of serving as a simple directory to other digital archives, this site provides abstracts of each digital archive in their database. This provides the researcher with enough information to make a decision as to whether or not a particular archive would serve them properly. It is quite the feat and seems very promising!

The other presentation I attended was that of H-Net 2.0. Dr. Cassanello skyped the creator of the site, and he gave us an overview of the history and evolution of the site. This site has peer-reviewed essays, discussions, book reviews, etc. all on a scholarly level. In the past it was primarily updated by e-mail. By doing this, it provided access to people in countries that would normally not be able to contribute due to limited internet. For example, countries in Africa. Unfortunately though, as technology has changed, the site had to change as well. E-mail has become a dying form of communication and the site realized they were loosing subscribers and thus had to revamp their means of procuring information. It is now a site that is no longer updated by e-mail, but set up more like social media. The new site looks to be very promising.

Tuesday February 19, 2013 I met with Laura Cepero who is a metadata editor for RICHES of Central Florida. She gave a presentation about metadata, OMEKA, and the RICHES Mosaic Interface. 
Metadata at first seems complicated, but is actually pretty interesting and I'm sure easy once you get the hang of it. It is essentially a means of describing digital items (documents, letters, photos, etc) with key words so that researchers can easily find them. I like to think of it as more of an advanced form of the hash tags used on Twitter. 
OMEKA is a site that you can host your own archives on. Many of the University's digital archives are hosted by OMEKA (The university however, has their own servers, thus they have more storage space than OMEKA provides). OMEKA provides different templates and all the tools one needs to create their own digital archive. It's pretty much amazing! 
Speaking of amazing, let's talk about the RICHES Mosaic Interface! This is really an awesome feat! "The RICHES Mosaic Interface is the central internet location for content created through the RICHES projects and links to sources on Central Florida available from other repositories around the state." Basically, it displays a satelite image of Central Florida, and as you zoom in, and click around, you can discover the history of the different areas of Central Florida! One of the more complete areas on the site is Sanford. It is still relatively new and has a lot of room to grow. One of the cool features of the site is that it is able to "harvest" information from other repositories with compatible sites!

Thursday February 21, 2013 I stopped by the storage unit and picked up 6 of the 9 boxes of The Center collection. I was able to go through 5 of the 6 on Thursday alone! Which was quite an accomplishment if I do say so myself! My finding aid is now about 17 pages long, and it keeps growing! I've made a lot of progress, but still have much to do! I am almost done processing the special collections, the next step will be to process the exhibits. I also need to rehouse the Brian Arbogast collection. I hope to get a lot of work done during spring break which is apparently next week! I am currently sitting in the RICHES office and about to get to work! I will post another update on Friday (for real this time!)

Until then,

-Kyle the intern