Friday, June 22, 2012

What Would Sickles Do?

When I worked in the Museum for about 25 years, many times we found ourselves asking, "What Would Sickles Do?"* Sickles was a man of action, and took action when he perceived a need. I've noticed that many of the sites for sharing information about the Museum, including this one, are not being maintained, and some (as noted in the rest of the post) are actively being ruined, so I've decided to step back in.

The NMHM's public affairs office has moved the Museum's website and taken down a lot of material the Guide to the Collections (which listed over 500 large groupings of material for researchers), any articles written by staff, all the transcripts of the AFIP Oral histories, the Archives annual reports and probably more.

They did take the time to go through the Archives annual reports, cull all the users of the Archives over 20 years, and put it in one big list. They converted all the finding aids to pdfs, which probably makes them less visible to search engines. The also broke all the links in the History of Medicine Finding Aids Consortium search engine hosted by the National Library of Medicine.

You can still find the Guide to the Collections at the Internet Archive or buy a print copy at cost from Lulu. Fortunately Internet Archive had crawled the site and you can find all the useful missing material here. However, search engines will no longer pull this up for you apparently, based on a quick test for the Foreword to Photographic Atlas of Civil War Injuries (which you can still read here).

*Actually we didn't because he was a bit of a loon - see Gettysburg, battle of or, Key, Philip Barton, murder of.