Day 76, simple day

Thursday, 2/13/2019

As usual drove to the East Bay to the Shustek center to meet with other volunteers and work on the collections. Today I was assigned to taking photographs. Each object that comes into the collection is documented with photographs before being stored. In prior years, for example 2015-2017 when I was cataloging at the Yosemite warehouse, the photo setup was, in my opinion, substandard. The photo equipment now at Shustek is much nicer, a decent Canon  camera connected directly to a PC so the photos can be uploaded into the database instantly.

In the afternoon, all hands turned to packing the objects that had been processed in the preceding month or two. After being cataloged and photographed, objects are carefully packed into acid-free boxes eventually to be housed high on shelves in the warehouse. Each object has its unique number on a barcode tag. So first you play a tetris game of fitting objects into a box so they aren’t touching, and are cushioned with chunks of archival plastic foam so they can’t move around. Then you scan their barcodes, along with the unique barcode of the box, into the database, and put the box on a numbered cart and enter the cart number as the box’s current location. Eventually movers will move the cartloads of boxes to the warehouse, put them on shelves, and scan the box numbers to enter their new shelf locations. So any of the over 100,000 objects in the warehouse can be found again.

Last week we actually ran this system in reverse, going to find a dozen objects that were needed by someone doing research. Find the boxes, look in them for the objects — and there they were.

Home for a quiet dinner and TV.

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