On January 13th 2020 I started my internship at the Black Film Center/Archives. A New Year, a new decade and a brand-new experience learning how to catalog. It is exciting because I have not worked in an archive since my undergrad years. They seem so long ago, the good ole’ days. Those happened to be some of my fondest members, but I digress…
I arrived at the office at 10:00 am promptly and was warmly greeted. I was able to dive right into the task of learning how to catalog which was made a lot less formidable because of my supervisor, Ronda Sewald, had created very detailed and wonderful worksheets to help me learn. This first week I became acquainted with the types of materials that the BFC/A has, some of which I never seen before or even knew existed. There were digital tapes at one point, and there were different types of videotapes like Betacam. This was all new to me. I was able to see and feel some of these different types of media. It was fun. Later on in the week I started my first mini-exercise, describing a physical object in order to be able to fill in the physical descriptions field. In this exercise I learned a golden rule, do not assume. If the person did not document it on the media or accompanying documentation then it is probably best to leave that information blank.
Towards the end of the week I began to learn how to construct a title and dates. Titles were relatively easy when they are taken from the materials themselves, otherwise it is just a matter of making sure the person searching will be able to tell something about the media from the title. Dates were a little more confusing for me. I understood the format and how to write an estimation, but it still confused me. The biggest lesson I learned after finishing this section on title and dates and having my work reviewed is not all material is actually published so it is okay to leave some fields blank.
This is the end of my week; I feel like I accomplished a lot. I hope I am able to keep up the memento.
Thanks for reading and stay tuned for part 2 week 2 in adventures in cataloguing!
Questions or Thought: Why is the Black Film Center/Archive called a center and an archive?