The actual day-to-day processing of the Inesita papers was, for me, a learning experience as a new archivist. Though Inesita gave me a great starting point with the nearly immaculate arrangement of her materials, there were moments when I had to intercede and change her original order. This was done with LSC’s users in mind to facilitate the material’s discovery. I think it’s about finding a sweet balance between professional archival judgment in imposing order and doing no harm. This is something I’m still learning.
Inesita at a 1962 concert.
Inesita in Campero costume, 2000.
This collection also served as my introduction to digital preservation and processing. At the same time, it was LSC’s first hybrid collection to have paper material processed concurrently with digital material. This posed challenges because I found myself in new territory. However, thanks to the help and guidance I received from the digital archivist and a fellow intern, I learned how to navigate between processing the digital and paper materials. Perhaps this was the perfect collection from which to learn. Since I had such a small amount of digital material to work with, it was much easier to manage that discrepancy. My biggest takeaway might be learning about how vulnerable digital objects can be, especially optical discs. It took a bit of troubleshooting to ultimately copy the content from all the discs onto our server and transfer it to Archivematica, our digital preservation system.
It has been an incredible opportunity to work with this collection, given my interest in dance archives. I continue to have an understanding that dance archives have a diversity of material, such as audiovisual and digital, which demands specific care. Moreover, it was extraordinary that I happened to be there when the curator was negotiating the accession of the collection with Inesita. It was kismet that her papers were selected for me to process as part of my fellowship. It feels special that I was able to see her collection from the very beginning of its movement to UCLA to finally its processing and availability for researchers. I genuinely hope that her work will gain larger recognition given its access to teachers, dancers, and historians of flamenco.