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Category: historical research

After The Games Are Over: Olympic Archival Records

What does an archivist ponder after she turns off the Olympics? What happens to all the records of the Olympics after the closing ceremonies? Who decides what to keep? Not knowing any Olympic Archivists personally, I took to the web to see what I could find.

Olympics.org uses the tag line “Official Website of the Olympic Movement” and include information about The International Olympic Committee’s Historical Archives. The even have an Olympic Medals Database with all the results from all the games. ... 

THATCamp 2008: Text Mining and the Persian Carpet Effect

alarch: Drift of Harrachov mine (Flickr)I attended a THATCamp session on Text Mining. There were between 15 and 20 people in attendance. I have done my best to attribute ideas to their originators wherever possible – but please forgive the fact that I did not catch the names of everyone who was part of this session.

What Is Text Mining?

Text mining is an umbrella phrase that covers many different techniques and types of tools.

The CHNM NEH-funded text mining initiative defined text mining as needing to support these three research functions: ... 

Of Pirates, Treasure Chests and Keys: Improving Access to Digitized Materials

Key to Anything by Stoker Studios (flickr)Dan Cohen posted yesterday about what he calls The Pirate Problem. Basically the Pirate Problem can be summed up as “there are ways of acting and thinking that we can’t understand or anticipate.” Why is that a ‘Pirate Problem’? Because a pirate pub opened near his home and rather than folding shortly thereafter due to lack of interest from the ‘very serious professionals’ who populate DC suburbs – the pub was a rousing success due to the pirate aficionados who came out of the woodwork to sing sea shanties and drink grog. This surprising turn of events highlighted for him the fact that there are many ways of acting and thinking (some people even know all the words to sea shanties without needing sheet music). ... 

Using WWI Draft Registration Cards for Research: NARA Records Provide Crucial Data

NARA:   	 World War I photograph, 1918 (ARC Identifier: 285374)

In the HealthDay article Having Lots of Kids Helps Dads Live to 100, a recent study was described that examined what increased the chances of a man living past 100.

A young, trim farmer with four or more children: According to a new study, that’s the ideal profile for American men hoping to reach 100 years of age. The research, based largely on data from World War I draft cards, suggests that keeping off excess weight in youth, farming and fathering a large number of offspring all help men live past a century. ... 

SAA2007: Archives and E-Commerce, Three Case Studies (Session 404)

George Washington US DollarDiane Kaplan, of Yale University Library’s Manuscripts and Archives unit, started off Session 404 (officially titled Exploring the Headwaters of the Revenue Stream) by thanking everyone for showing up for the last session of the day. This was a one hour session that examined ways to generate new funds through e-commerce . Three different e-commerce case studies were presented, followed by a short question and answer period. ... 

Controversial Photos, Archvists’ Choices and Journalism

New York Times Magazine Cover: January 1995The New York Times Magazine published The Great Ivy League Nude Posture Photo Scandal in January of 1995. Still available online, it is a fascinating tale that took reporter Ron Rosenbaum on a wild hunt through multiple archives in a quest for long lost photographs. I spotted a link to the article in a post on Boing Boing – and once I started reading it I couldn’t stop.

The story includes thorough coverage of the research (and the footwork and the paperwork) it took to find the final resting place of some very controversial photographs. Taken as part of the orientation process of new students at Ivy League and Seven Sisters school campuses predominately during the 1940’s, 50’s and 60’s, these photos were theoretically taken to screen for students who needed remedial posture classes. William Herbert Sheldon was a driving force behind many of the photos. Best known for assigning people into three categories of body types in the 1940s, Sheldon based his categories of endomorphic, mesomorphic, and ectomorphic on measurements done using the student photographs. Rosenbaum’s quest was to find the real story behind the photos and to discover if any of the photos survived the purging fires at that occurred at many of the schools involved. ... 

International Environmental Data Rescue Organization: Rescuing At Risk Weather Records Around the World

iedro.jpgIn the middle of my crazy spring semester a few months back, I got a message about volunteer opportunities at the International Environmental Data Rescue Organization (IEDRO). I get emails from from VolunteerMatch.org every so often because I am always curious about virtual volunteer projects (ie, ways you can volunteer via your computer while in your pajamas). I filed the message away for when I actually had more time to take a closer look and it has finally made it to the top of my list. ...