Monday, August 25, 2008
A new (tiny) collection in the archives
We recently acquired the Welling Collection – a set of photographs and a PowerPoint presentation – from Col. David Welling, M.D. (retired). Dr. Welling was part of the Critical Care Air Transport Team (CCATT) that was deployed to Yemen to treat and evacuate US sailors injured in the terrorist bombing of the USS Cole. The team was awarded the McKay Trophy, an annual award that the National Aeronautic Association gives to the Air Force person, crew, or organization that makes the most meritorious flight of the year. Dr. Welling said, “The mission was the highlight of my 30-year career.”
The photo above is from Dr. Welling. It shows patients and medical staff inside one of the planes that evacuated the wounded from Yemen to Germany.
Now, a behind-the-scenes peek at the decision about how to handle this collection. We could fold it into the MIS (Medical Illustration Service) collection or make it a collection all its own. The MIS collection is a kind of generic bunch of stuff (which is not to say there’s nothing interesting there – there is plenty interesting) but it’s also 4000 boxes. Bankers’ boxes. It would be easy to “lose” something in there. Plus, the Welling collection was born digital. The only hard copy of anything we had was the disc he sent to us and the emails about it that we printed out.
The other way to treat it – as a collection of its own – would be a consideration even though it’s a one-folder collection. Kind of small for a whole collection, but that’s how we decided to treat it. This is important to us because we have very little contemporary material and we really want to be able to put our hands on it when we need it. By making it a collection we automatically make it a line item on our shelf list (the inventory of our collections) and so it remains higher in visibility of the materials we maintain. We copied the disc Dr. Welling sent us onto a gold archival disc and printed out the photos and the PowerPoint, and all of it will go into a box that holds other small collections right here in the archives.