The Texas Collection turns 90 this year! But even though we’ve been at Baylor for so long, we realize people aren’t quite sure what goes on in a special collections library and archives. So over the course of 2013, we will feature monthly posts from our staff—from faculty to student workers—offering a little peek into the day-to-day work of The Texas Collection. This month you’ll learn about the work of two of our undergraduate student assistants. Our student employees help us with many projects, and all of their jobs are a little different. Meet Baylor senior Jynnifer McClinton and sophomore Samantha Buerger:
My name is Jynnifer McClinton, and I am a senior psychology major (pre-PT) from San Angelo, Texas. I have been a library student worker at The Texas Collection (TC) for seven months.
When I first started at the TC, my main priority was helping with a huge project: a complete reorganization of all the newspaper holdings. The work of putting in order thousands of issues was more alphabetizing and numbering than I had done since kindergarten! I now help preserve those rare and fragile papers by making Mylar encapsulations for them.
Material retrieval is one of my daily tasks. Due to the unique and valuable nature of the items that we house, only TC staff is allowed into the stacks to retrieve requested items for patrons, and we must take proper care in the transportation of our many fragile items. I also am one of two students entrusted with preparing periodicals for binding so that they will be better protected and preserved.
Maintaining and updating vertical files by clipping old newspaper articles is my favorite duty. I sometimes get caught up reading articles more often than I probably should, but some of the articles are ones that I would likely never have seen if I did not work here. I have come across articles about the Titanic only a day after it sank, Albert Einstein showcasing a new invention, Wild West shootouts and robberies (sensationalism at its best), the JFK assassination, and my favorite—historic articles about my hometown.
My least favorite task at the TC also involves vertical files: copying old articles before filing them. We have to make sure that copies are as neat as possible—so no crooked titles, shadows, or any extra marks on the copies.
One perk of my job is the great work environment. It has a very laid-back and casual feel. On holidays, we have parties with a boat-load of food. Who wouldn’t want to be a part of this TC family?
Each duty I perform is a necessary component in maintaining the validity and integrity of our materials in order to provide TC patrons with access to treasured and hard-to-find materials. It is truly incredible the amount of history that we have housed in this building, and due to our work here, we have access to it every day.
My name is Samantha Buerger, and I am a sophomore earth science major from Friendswood, Texas. I have been working at The Texas Collection as a photography archives student worker since the beginning of my freshman year.
When I started I had no experience with negatives or scanning pictures and knowing the correct resolution to use, but while working here I have had the opportunity to learn a lot about photography and the scanning of pictures and negatives. I have worked with a large range of negatives, anywhere from 35 mm negatives to 8×10 cellulose negatives. I appreciate and enjoy photography from the past, which is mainly what I work with.
I have contributed to a multitude of projects while working here. For example, I am scanning some of the many Fred Gildersleeve negatives to get a positive image, making a spreadsheet inventory of our (quite immense) photo collection, and entering metadata into a spreadsheet on KWTX broadcasts from the 1970s and ’80s, as well as some other smaller projects.
For the KWTX metadata project, we are putting together an inventory of the approximately 2,000 KWTX newscasts we have in our collection. The inventory includes the specific stories on that tape, their length, and the date of the story. The newscasts are kept on VHS and U-Matic tapes. The KWTX project is demanding because of its considerable size.
My favorite project so far has been making the spreadsheet inventory of our photo collection, because to do that you must look at every single photo we have, which is really fascinating because we have so many photos and the majority of them have to do with Baylor and Waco. This project is challenging due to the fact that we have over 300 boxes of pictures in our photo file collection.
Overall I have learned a lot about photography and the history of Baylor and Waco while working at The Texas Collection.