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CFPRT RoundUP FALL 2018

CFPRT scholars report out on their work over Fall Quarter.

Krystell Jimenez, Information Studies

Processing Scholar: University Archives Faculty Papers

This quarter has brought a lot of unexpected surprises, from mysterious puppets to mice nests. Previously, I hadn’t had the chance to work around major preservation or conservation concerns such as pest damage or special housing for unusual items, but this quarter has changed that. I cleaned off materials in a box where mice had built a nest and learned how to custom-make boxes for a pair of puppets. In the first case, I learned firsthand the kind of damage that can result from mice setting up a nest on the materials, including water damage from urine. A box of photographic slides that I was processing was covered in chewed up cardboard bits, dust, and other unpleasant things. Chela Metzger from the Conservation Center showed me how to vacuum and clean them up. They are now neatly and safely stored. In the second case, the same collection contained a pair of puppets of undetermined origin. Octavio Olvera taught me how to make custom-made boxes and how to store unique and delicate materials. (It’s a lot harder to make those neat little boxes than you think.) There is still some work to be done to ensure adequate description of the puppets, but they are safely nestled away. This quarter I’ve learned so much about the practical side of coming up with solutions for protecting and saving materials, and I feel better prepared for any other surprises I might face.

Max Daniel, History

Processing Scholar: Sephardic Temple Tifereth Israel Papers

“Mouy keridho i bien amadho cherico...” “To my dear and loving sweetie...”: Transnational Romance in a Transnational Romance Language

As the CFPRT fellow in charge of processing materials from the Sephardic Temple Tifereth Israel Archives, there are plenty of items that caught my attention as noteworthy - among them those in the Ladino language, also known as Judeo-Spanish. Now a nearly-extinct language, the language’s history began as it developed in the centuries after the expulsion of Jews from Spain and Portugal in the 15th century. Based on various pre-expulsion Iberian dialects, much of the Sephardic (as Jews with Spanish ancestry are called) diaspora throughout the broader Mediterranean region spoke and wrote a Ladino full of Turkish, Greek, Hebrew, Slavic, French, Italian, and Arabic loanwords. With no modern schooling in the language or standardized institutional bodies, Ladino has not developed any authoritative set of spelling, grammatical, or orthographic rules, but will be largely recognizable and intelligible to readers of modern Spanish. Though still used by some today, until the vicissitudes of World War Two and the Holocaust in the 1940s, Ladino was an everyday, living language used for newspapers, religious texts, conversation, business transactions, speeches, communal records, and more.

And love letters. Among some of the Ladino-language items found in the STTI archive, like synagogue board meeting minutes, songbooks, and speeches, there is a large cache of around 100 letters sent between Nissim Saul and Sarah Reby in the years 1913 to 1915. Both natives of Izmir, Turkey, Saul arrived in New York City around 1910, working at an import/export business while awaiting a reunion with his fiancee, Sarah Reby, in 1915. This long-distance romance, made clear through the florid language, reveals the intimate worlds of young lovers divided by thousands of miles. The couple was eventually wed in New York City in 1915, later moving to Los Angeles where Saul was a president and active member of one of the local Sephardic communities.

Mario Galladro, Information Studies

Processing Scholar: Jonathan E. Fielding Papers

Since October 2018, I have been working alongside another CFPRT Scholar, Alex Nguyen, processing the Jonathan E. Fielding Papers. Working as a CFPRT Scholar has only reinforced my joy working in Archives. Before this position as a CFPRT Scholar, I worked at the Archives and Special Collections at Loyola Marymount University as a Processing Assistant and a Student Assistant. While working there gave me ample time to learn the ins and outs of processing, nothing really prepared me for the amount of work the Jonathan E. Fielding Papers had to offer. Before, I would help process collections of about 4 to 6 boxes easily and thought nothing much of the size of the Fielding Papers; that was until I discovered the Fielding Papers had a grand total of 95+ boxes!

Albeit its size catching me off guard, I was determined to work to the best of my ability. It hasn't been easy! In fact, it took Alex and myself almost all of Fall Quarter just surveying the collection. Currently, we are plotting out our Processing Plan to begin creating order and re-housing. Overall, I have really enjoyed working in this collection. The most enjoyable portions have been looking through Fielding's younger days and finding silly things of his youth. It's a good change of pace to stumble upon these documents which give a more personal side to his legacy.

I am very grateful to have been given this opportunity to process this collection. It has been a good example of the work I will encounter as I proceed in the Archivist profession.

Alex Nguyen, Asian American Studies and Community Health Sciences

Processing Scholar: Jonathan E. Fielding Papers

This quarter I, along with my partner Mario, inventoried the Jonathan E. Fielding Papers. As a student in the Jonathan and Karin Fielding School of Public Health, learning about one of the two namesakes has been an interesting journey. Dr. Fielding, M.D., M.A., M.P.H., M.B.A., worked for nearly 50 years in both the private and public sector of public health. His work includes time at the federal government, UCLA, various foundations and non-profits, Johnson & Johnson, and the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health.

Through his files, we got to know lesser known parts of Dr. Fielding, the lauded public health professional. Dr. Fielding avidly doodled during his many meetings. He might have been inspired by his own collection of early American art which he recently donated to the Huntington Museum. In the same vein, he also owned an art gallery in the 1970s. He also wrote poetry as a child and spent a year in Europe to study alternative forms of health care. Dr. Fielding also found time during his constantly moving schedule to correspond with and advise students who sought him out.

Dr. Fielding continues to intrigue me as a figure. While I had heard various theories and rumors about him, which comes with donating $50 million to name a school after yourself inciting a rushed and whispered hagiography in the collective imaginary, the information I have learned has not satiated my curiosity. The 96 boxes he gave to the archives do not encompass his entire career. We discover more and more about him every day.

Patrick Queen, Information Studies

Collections Data Scholar

This doodle abstracts the cyclical complexities of file systems and the process of discovery and confusion that are the necessary evils in trying to organize large datasets across multiple servers. It expresses a constructive frustration that I have thoroughly enjoyed over the last quarter.

Dylan Karlsson, Information Studies

University Archives Project Scholar

This Fall, I began working on a collection data clean-up project in the University Archives, in preparation for the move from using a legacy system to using ArchivesSpace. The project thus far required manual knowledge of data-cleaning programs like OpenRefine (I took a great Library Carpentry workshop in YRL to refresh my memory) and a full dive into ArchivesSpace’s interface. Coming from a Digital Humanities background, I was grateful for the opportunity to see firsthand the interconnectedness of archival collections and their digital records, to see how they alter our understanding of history. Working with materials from the University Archives in particular offers a look into the organization and function of past offices and administrations on campus. As UCLA’s centennial approaches in 2019, it is a good time to reflect on the institution’s past, how these records reflect the present, and how the University remembers itself. For instance, it was through the archival material that I learned that UCLA has not always been situated in its current Westwood location. UCLA, or the “Southern Branch” as it was then called, was first located on North Vermont Avenue before the student body grew too big for the 25-acre campus. A committee was selected by the Regents to survey and delegate where the new campus would be located, finally selecting its current space, the “Beverly Site” in 1925. Though this campus makes UCLA what it is today, working with these archival materials has certainly changed my sense of history and environment while on campus.

Kuhelika Ghosh, English and Communication Studies

Undergraduate Student Assistant

This quarter, I mostly focused on re-processing and updating the Fultz collection and finding aid. Francis M. Fultz was a school superintendent as well as the director of conservation and reforestation in Los Angeles city schools. He published quite a few books on plants and conservation in the Los Angeles area. However, the most interesting part of his collection was definitely his manuscripts. Ranging from fiction to nonfiction, these manuscripts give a small glimpse into Fultz’s life and inner thoughts. For instance, the one I display here is a short vignette Fultz wrote on why he wrote about the Sandyville Boys. I really enjoyed looking through this collection while updating the finding aid.

Cheryl Cordingley

Digital Archives Program Scholar, Information Studies

I began working in the Digital Archives Program in the summer, and in continuing my work this fall I explored tools to increase access to processed digital collections material. As the Archive processes more born-digital material, thanks to the work of previous and current CFPRT Students, researchers will have the opportunity to access files that had not been readily available. However, the tools that we use in the Digital Forensics Lab are not necessarily well suited to researchers in the Reading Room. Through my explorations and experimentations with various software programs, I was able to determine several programs that would be helpful for researchers accessing the majority of the material and make recommendations for changes to the current setup in the Reading Room. I was also better able to understand why these materials may not be easily accessible in their original state on their own, whether due to proprietary software, changes in user interfaces, or character encoding issues. This also revealed the fine balance archivists sustain between access and preservation.

Carolina Meneses, Information Studies

SAA/ARL Mosaic Scholar

Earlier this summer, as the Dance/USA fellow in dance archiving and preservation, I started processing and describing a small collection by a lesser known figure of the early (late 1940s and onwards) Los Angeles dance scene, Elle Johnson. There wasn’t a whole lot of information about Elle out there, but I was able to piece together her story through clippings found in her papers. Her small collection came to LSC in a small legal size document box, but in no order I could discern. Following LSC’s processing manual as well as Guidelines for Efficient Archival Processing in the University of California Libraries, I decided it would be best to arrange the collection by file, sorted by material type and in chronological order. I did wonder later, after discussions in my classes about original order and knowledge organization, how Elle might have used her archive to inform and guide her own work. I wondered if something was lost in my imposing of a ‘discernible’ order. Unfortunately, Elle passed away in 2006 so there was no way I could get her feedback about what the original order of her materials meant for her and how she used them.

The bulk of the Elle Johnson papers consist of photographs. I separated these by format (photographs and negatives) chronologically by approximate decade and placed them in folders accordingly. I was happy to finish processing/description of the Elle Johnson papers, as her story is a gap in the dance record of Los Angeles that deserves to be preserved and described for future researchers.

Elle Johnson Dance Trio photos from the 1950s, Elle Johnson papers (Collection 2362). UCLA Library Special Collections, Charles E. Young Research Library, University of California, Los Angeles.

Joanna Smith, Information Studies

Digital Archives Program

My name is Joanna Smith, and I am a 2nd year student in UCLA’s Master of Library and Information Science (MLIS) program. During the Summer and Fall Quarters of 2018, I have been working as a Digital Archives Scholar in the CFPRT. I have had the pleasure of getting to process the born-digital materials in the Eiko Ishioka Collection at UCLA, which has been really exciting. For this project, I have gotten to learn about and to use various software and hardware tools, including BitCurator, KryoFlux, Forensic Toolkit, ArchivesSpace, and Archivematica. Through the use of these tools, I have been creating copies of all the files from the Ishioka Collection’s 330 items (ranging from optical discs to floppy disks), examining the files in Forensic Toolkit, creating description of the files to be input into the Finding Aid, and processing and packaging the content in Archivematica. Not only have I learned a tremendous amount about the digital archiving process, but I have had an amazing time doing it. The born-digital media files in the Eiko Ishioka Collection that I have processed so far have ranged from costume design sketches by Ishioka for Bram Stoker's Dracula (1992) to video clips of Ishioka doing costume fittings for the 2011 Broadway musical Spider-Man: Turn off the Dark to sketches of uniform designs for the Houston Rockets. When looking at the files on a new disc in the collection, I never know what I’m going to find, which continues to make working with this collection a joy.

Another reason I am really enjoying the CFPRT program is getting to work with all of the curators, catalogers and archivists (especially my supervisor, Shira Peltzman). Everyone has been so welcoming, supportive and knowledgeable. Furthermore, as a CFPRT student, I have been able to sit-in on presentations and Q&A sessions of people interviewing for jobs at the UCLA Library, as well as getting to attend and participate in staff meetings and staff training days. Getting this practical experience of working in the Digital Archives and getting to see how a university archive like UCLA’s functions has been invaluable.

This image found on a disc in the Eiko Ishioka Collection is an image of a costume designed by Ishioka from Bram Stoker's Dracula (1992).

Credits:

All images from collections in UCLA Library Special Collections. Copyright UC Regents. All Rights Reserved.

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