Monday, January 12, 2009

A Day in the Life

Wow, what a day.

First thing this morning I finished scanning hi-res versions of flu images from the 1918 and 1957 outbreaks for a request from someone at the UN. This is a big time of year for flu photo requests. We have a folder called “Flu” that held a mix of tiffs and jpegs but not all jpegs had corresponding tiffs; hence the scanning. I burned 5 copies of the disc so the next time we won’t be scrambling to put one together (seems like something we should have done long ago, but noooo), and then FedExed the patron’s copy.

When Mike came in he and I went over what documentation is still needed for images that are being used in the 100th anniversary of Walter Reed book, and what images are needed in higher resolution. I had to use a tiny laptop computer that’s not on the network to access our external drives, where 99% of our images are, in order to look for that information. As we’ve mentioned before, the USB drives on our networked computers no longer function, so we have to go through these gyrations to get work done. Even if our external drives could still be used on the networked computers, we’re blocked from file-sharing sites, a great service I’ve used in the past to upload images. So once I finish looking those things up I’ll have to burn whatever I come up with to a disc to give to the guy doing the layout.

The Anatomical Collections manager came into the archives with a folder of negatives of the first documented military aircraft fatality, in 1908. He wanted to scan them and doesn’t have a working scanner, so we got him going on an ancient scanner and computer. I’ll get some of those images posted here, but not today.

Andrea came into the archives to measure artifacts that will be used in the Lincoln exhibit going up next month. She needs the measurements to plan the exhibit case layouts.

The museum director said there is a book in the works about the AFIP. We will likely be called on to find photos and documents for the person putting it together.

I emailed one of the archivists at Catholic University in DC to let her know that we wouldn’t be bringing them some clippings we promised them until the week after the inauguration. If you don’t live in this area, you wouldn’t believe how packed the roads are predicted to be; that is, those roads that are being allowed to stay open. I think my commute through town, and Mike’s similar commute, will be all the inauguration traffic we’ll be able to take. Come to think of it, we live here and can’t believe what’s happening to the roads, like a ban on “personal vehicles from all Potomac River bridge crossings from Virginia into the District and from interstates 395 and 66 inside the Capital Beltway on Inauguration Day.” Off-topic, but this is our life.

Mike returned from a meeting with a request from someone in the AFIP’s legal office who wanted information on the history of AFIP, so I headed to a different part of the building to pull files for her. On the way I met Andrea who asked for a scan of an oversized image of Ford’s Theater. My large-format scanner hasn’t arrived yet so I’ll either have to take it to another office where there is one, or scan it at my desk and stitch it together in Photoshop, which I’m not at all good at. That request is still percolating.

After lunch Mike and I started another run-through of the data that’s been uploaded into this new relational database the museum is converting to. We both really, really, really hate this job. We work from a print-out that’s organized by collection, and then by field, to check that the data has mapped from our old database into the correct fields in the new one. This process has been done probably 6 times and the notes for each run-through are in a different color. We’re running out of pen colors. Today one of the modules kept freezing. Grrr. We did that as long as we could stand it.

Jim from Historical Collections came in trying to match an image of an artificial kidney to the one we have on display, for a researcher request he’s gotten. We pulled the original picture to take to the exhibit floor to make the comparison. It’s not the same machine. Very similar but not quite. Here's a photo, different from what Jim was looking at, to show you this machine.


1 comment:

Mike Rhode said...

Bah. What a day.

Cool artificial kidney shot though - I don't remember that pic.