SAA @ UCLA presents “UCLA Information Studies: Fields of Endeavor.” The Fields of Endeavor series introduces UCLA Library and Information Studies program graduates and current interns who are out in the field taking knowledge learned in the program and putting it to use! We’re excited to present Archives and Records Assistant, Katie Duvall!
Name: Katie Duvall
Graduation Year: 2011
MLIS Focus: Archives
Job Title and Site: Archives and Records Assistant, Institutional Archives, The Getty Research Institute
What do you do all day?
Right now, my job encompasses records management and archives. On the records management side my days can be anything from processing regular records management requests (basically sending and retrieving boxes from Iron Mountain storage) to meeting with departments and discussing their records needs, helping organize annual disposition logistics, and helping revise the records retention schedule.
On the archives side, I perform different levels of processing on institutional collections, from box listing to a complete finding aid. This can also include creating or updating MARC records and helping departments appraise and transfer material to the archives.
Most frequent response when you tell people what you do:
If I say I’m an archivist, I usually get a blank stare. If I mention the Getty then it’s, “Oh, I love the Getty!”
Most interesting item, record, document, etc. you have come across:
I just finished working on the Robert Mapplethorpe archive for the special collections department here, so I’ve come across quite a few interesting (and weird) things. Some of the stranger items included a rodent foot (perhaps squirrel) that was painted blue and mixed in with jewelry making supplies and a card with human hair taped to it. One of my favorite parts of the collection were the “beefcake” photographs from about the 1940’s-1960’s. They were hilariously awesome. Leopard printed loincloths, anyone?
Of course, there were also gorgeous photographs and other artworks. If you’re so inclined, you can read a little more about the collection in general here: http://blogs.getty.edu/iris/treasures-from-the-vault-robert-mapplethorpe-papers-and-photographs/
What new skills have you developed through this experience?
I’m learning more and more everyday about appraisal and working with donors/ donor departments.
Recommendations for students who are interested in your career:
Work on your core. I wish I wasn’t serious, but archive boxes can be heavy! Get as much experience as possible processing collections before you graduate. Embrace technology and learn all you can about born digital materials; it’s a huge issue and there’s no one size fits all solution.
One archival commandment you would establish:
Don’t be afraid to get your hands dirty (literally, not metaphorically; stay away from shady backroom dealings, people).
Favorite archive to visit:
I could no sooner choose a star in the sky… Although, I would love an excuse to spend hours combing through the archives, soaking up old Hollywood, at the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences’ Margaret Herrick Library.
Favorite/Most memorable course from UCLA IS Department:
Preservation of Heritage Materials with Ellen Pearlstein. We worked with an LAUSD collection where we created housings for Roman and Etruscan objects. It was pretty cool.
Course you wish you had taken at UCLA IS Department:
Metadata with Murtha Baca.