On Monday, July 4, Americans will be celebrating Independence Day. They will observe this holiday, of course, by taking to their cars, trains, buses, boats and planes to enjoy their three-day weekend elsewhere.
This edition of Finding Aid Friday features transportation collections. Learn a little bit about some popular modes of travel and the records preserving their histories. Onward!
Or, rather, skyward! The first finding aid is for the Pan American World Airways collection at the University of Miami. The staff at UM Libraries created a wonderful digital exhibit/portal to the collection, providing a nicely illustrated overview of the airline and the path UM took to obtaining its records.
In looking through the UM digital collections, I found myself falling in love. The finding aid has an “add to cart” feature that allows researchers to shop the collection by clicking the box of items (or just the items!) they wish to see. Those clicks are requests which you can then submit to library staff for viewing on the date of your choosing (subject to approval, of course). Guys!!! This is so cool!!!!
Honestly, to hell with the finding aid, and just go to look at all the pictures!
A little closer to home is a not-quite-a-finding-aid from the New York’s Metropolitian Transit Authority (MTA). But first, a digression. Their Archive Guide includes something that I dreamed of when I was an active archivist, a notice that reads: “For remote research requests, conducted by the Archivist and billable at their discretion up to $100/hour, please allow up to two weeks for your inquiry to be processed and answered.”
$100 an hour. See, people, THAT is how much an archivist’s time, energy, and labor is worth. Not unpaid internship an hour. Not $15 an hour. $100. Carefully sifting through the slowly decaying remnants of history has a price. Praise be to the MTA archivist for letting the world know.
Here’s an item-level descriptive aid for their Board of Transportation collection, which features all your mass transit propaganda needs.
It’s illustrated with thumbnails, which aren’t enlargeable, so here are a few pics I took at the Transit Museum and the Museum Annex on a recent field trip with the kids:
Ordinarily I’d do three finding aids, but I’m taking a half-day to get ready to go Upstate tomorrow. Happy 4th, my fellow Americans!!