My Thanksgiving usually is comprised of gorging myself on deviled eggs, watching football, and taking crap from the Buckeye wing of the family, again… *sadness filled pause*
Anyway, besides the usual thankfulness of health, happiness, a wonderful family, and a spouse who likes college hockey, this year I will be adding things that have either helped in my budding career, or that helps our profession. Here are some highlights:
Open Source Software and Freeware OK, I know this is an geeky way to begin my list, but it is true. The computer on which I am currently typing also has local installations of Archivist’s Toolkit, Drupal, WordPress, and Apache. I know that open source is not necessarily free because of the learning curve involved, and sometimes it can be kind of frustrating being on your own. However, I love the fact that I can download these tools and play with them. Imagine if we had to go to Microsoft or some other vendor for all of this stuff. I am hoping soon to make the switch to Open Office, and maybe even a Linux based system as well (perhaps it will run on a solar powered machine made of granola and hemp).
The National Treasure Franchise Yes, the Nicolas Cage character is not an archivist and there are several things in that movie that made us all cringe, but let me tell you a story. The first movie was released to video at about the same time I did a short internship at NARA. I watched the video with my then 6 and 10 year old nephews and offhandedly mentioned that I was just at the National Archives. The six year old asked me if my job was like what Nicolas Cage’s character does in the movie. As I pondered my answer, I first looked at the TV, on which Nicolas Cage was rolling the Declaration up like a Bon Jovi poster and partaking in some witty banter with the beautiful conservator. I then looked at my nephew, who was waiting for my answer, his trusting eyes looking at me with anticipation. I said: “Yes, yes it is.” I will continue this lie until he is old enough to understand that the truth of what Uncle Lance does is actually as cool as the lie. So, despite the bad preservation practice and historical inaccuracies, anything that makes me look cool and puts butts in the seats at the National Archives is alright by me. Besides, if you are going to misrepresent what an archivist does, it could be worse (before I get sucked into the debate on the preceding clip, I refer you to Derangement and Description, whose take on this matter is spot on).
Grad School Cohort/Twitter Before I went to grad school, a friend of mine, whose wife earned a MBA a couple of years earlier, told me that my grad school cohort will become quite important to me. Well, Chris from New Jersey was right. Even though I am older than most of my former classmates (that is why this blog is called NewArchivist, not YoungArchivist), they have proved to be an invaluable help to me by providing a place to ask “dumb” questions and vent about the common frustrations of a new professional. I see the group of archivists on Twitter as a similar type of resource. While Twitter interaction obviously lacks the face to face element (and you run the chance of broadcasting your ignorance to the world), where else do you have an opportunity to communicate with archivists from all different locations, expertise, and experiences (without having to risk getting mired in #thatdarnlistserv)? I do not get a chance to contribute as much as I would like on Twitter, but I hope to increase my participation in the future and help add my small part to that discussion.