Monday, November 30, 2015

NSA stopped collecting bulk phone metadata

You may have missed it in the mad rush for pie over the weekend, but the NSA announced that it will no longer conduct mass collection of phone data as of Sun Nov. 29th. Instead the NSA will collect  "focused and targeted" data. Pres. Obama signed a law in June limiting the NSA's power to collect millions of Americans' phone records, a process which occurred since Sept. 11th  via the USA Freedom Act. This change is a result of Snowden informing us about the many activities of his former employer, the NSA. Now a targeted warrant or court order will be required to collect phone data from telecommunications companies. It is interesting to note that the NSA has requested access to historic metadata until Feb. 29, 2016. I assume this means the motherlode of data they have collected thus far. There is no answer yet as to whether or not this request will be allowed. With all the terror in France and Europe happening now, I'll bet France is wanting access to all that data and considering setting up their own similar system, if they haven't already done so. After this time the big question in my mind is this- is the NSA really not collecting bulk data anymore? How do we know this for sure? They are still collecting data. Who is regulating it? Read more about it here

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Happy archival Thanksgiving!

As a day to give thanks for all our blessings and those we love and our freedoms, I wish you all a happy Thanksgiving. President Lincoln proclaimed a national day of Thanksgiving on Oct. 3, 1863. To read a copy of the proclamation click here

Here is how Thanksgiving is represented three of the  Clarke's archival collections: 

1) Geesje Visscher, Diary of our Grandmother, 1869-1901.  This is a Dutch language diary (copy). the Geesje who married Mr. Visscher on May 2, 1841. In 1845 the Visschers sailed for the U.S. with Rev. Van Raalte, eventually settling in Holland (Mich.) by 1846. They had a large family, most of whom became or married ministers. Among other aspects of daily life, her diary discusses celebrating Thanksgiving in 1877. Here's how they did it:

Transcribed diary entry (p.64, transcribed by Mr. Clarence Jalving, from the Dutch) of Geesje Vander Haar Visscher.

The 29th of November we observed Thanksgiving Day as ordered in the President’s proclamation. It’s wintry and yesterday it snowed hard all day. Maria is home and so four of them went to church while my husband and I stayed home. The roads aren’t fit for buggy or sleight[sic] so they walked to church. We talked and read together and felt a profound sense of gratitude for all we had enjoyed throughout the past year. When the children came home they said that Rev. Pieters had preached from Psalm 29: ‘But in His temple He is honored by everyone.” We had a fine meal at noon and gave of our substance for the needs of the students and the poor. And so another Thanksgiving day was history.  

This is a copy with a typed transcription of the diary. The diary is also available on microfilm. The original is at the Joint Archives of Holland, Michigan. 

2) Ursula Hemingway Jepson Collection, 1903-1951, has a  scrapbook which includes an original photo of the Hemingway family Thanksgiving dinner. Ursula (1902-1962) was one of Ernest's sister.

Jean Brinkman, Sadie Hawkins dance advertisments and letters (copies), 1949, 2014. Hawkins graduated from CMU in 1950. The first advertisement is for the weekend of November 5, 1949. It has seven characters and a letter written on the back to Jean's mom dated November 2, 1949, Jean discusses having asked Roger to the dance, thanks her mom for cookies and pearls, notes that she ate with Gamma Delta, is now treasurer of the Women's Glee Club, about her classes, about going with Roger to the circus put on by CMU people, and asks how she shall get home for Thanksgiving weekend. There is also an advertisement is for the weekend of November 18, 1950. It has eight characters and a letter written on the back to Jean's pop dated November 17, 1950, in which she discusses that she took Paul to the dance, had problems finding a boy whose date had not asked him ahead of schedule, which was against dance protocol, seating for a band trip, her classes, and that she has a ride home after her last class Wednesday for Thanksgiving

You can read more about the collections in CENTRA, the catalog.

We also have some fun postcards in our display holiday cards.

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Native American month archival collections

November is Native American month. We have the largest collection of Michigan Native American primary and secondary sources in the state. Some of these materials document Native Americans in other states as well as interesting leaders and historic events. See our online bibliography,  which, while old is still relevant. A lot more has come in on the broad topic of Native Americans in the US and Michigan specifically since then, but it will get researchers started. We are always acquiring new items.

One of our biggest, most important primary source collections is that of Charles Cleland. I'm still encoding the finding aid. It's over 100 boxes and dense, dense, dense information. I'm on Box 57 of 105. I can't catalog it until we have the finding aid perfect. It's a challenge.

Here's a partial description of the collection from the draft finding aid. 

Charles E. Cleland, Native American research collection, 1970-2008, and undated 117 cubic ft. (in 122 Boxes, 9 Ov. folders)The collection includes mostly undated photocopies of materials generated by various tribal lawsuits against states and the United States (US) government in the collection. Some of the materials date back to the 1780s, but they are not originals, they are photocopies mostly made in the 1970s-1990s or later. There are some original reports and court records created during the time period 1970-2008. The collection is rich in and dense in documenting Native Americans of Michigan, Minnesota, and Wisconsin, and First Peoples of Ontario, Canada, their history, culture, and relationship with the presiding government.

The collection is in original order. It is organized alphabetically by series by tribe or community seeking tribal status, reservation boundary (KBIC) case, tax case, or for hunting and fishing rights (Voight or LCO [Lac Courte Oreilles] case) (105 boxes, 102.5 cubic feet). Within each series there are various subseries which may include: calendar documents (reference documents in chronological order), Cleland reports and reports of others (un/published), Cleland’s testimony as an expert witness, reference documents and/or un/published sources including newspaper or journal articles, books, maps, government reports, laws, land, legal and tax records, correspondence, business or personal records, excerpts from journals, diaries, and accounts, treaties, various US or Canadian court documents, miscellaneous and/or related documents, footnotes, project files, transcriptions of oral histories, finding aids, various types of  maps, sketches, and genealogical and/or family charts. Some materials are bound volumes and others are oversized materials. Tribes or communities represented in the collection include the following nations or communities: Bad River, Bay Mills Indian Community, Fond du Lac Chippewa, Forest County Potatwatomi, Keweenaw Bay Indian Community, Lac Courte Oreilles, Menominee, Mille Lacs Chippewa, Saginawa CHippewa, Sarnia, Stockbridge-Munsee.

Monday, November 23, 2015

FB safety check

Twice now as a result of terrorist attacks, Facebook has activated its safety check, first in Paris now in Nigeria. It had been used before after natural disasters. This is a sad statement, but it does provide relief to people to know their friends and loved ones are safe. Read more about it and how it works here

Saturday, November 21, 2015

Wayne State University seeks University Archivist

This is an updated posting for this position. If you have questions about this position, please contact the chair of the search committee, Erik Nordberg, at, who is happy to discuss the opening with prospective candidates.

University Archivist

Wayne State University seeks an experienced, service-orientated individual to provide vision and leadership for the University Archives. The University Archivist captures and disseminates University history in the digital age, through both traditional and innovative collecting strategies, and by increasing accessibility to collection information and content using electronic research tools. Working directly with individual departments, faculty, staff, and alumni, the University Archivist acquires both official University records as well as personal papers and other manuscripts relating to the institution’s history.

This position reports to the Director of the Walter P. Reuther Library, Archives of Labor and Urban Affairs. This is an AAUP-AFT represented position on Employment Security Status (ESS) track with eligibility for promotion. The successful candidate will be hired at the rank of Archivist II, III, or IV, based on qualifications and experience.

Major Areas of Responsibility:

University History
·   Actively promotes Wayne State University as a significant urban academic institution
·   Facilitates relationships with University departments, administrators, faculty, students, and student organizations
·   Advocates for responsible management of University records in compliance with local, state, and federal laws
·   Supports institutional efforts to mark significant milestones in University history, including the sesquicentennial of Wayne State University in 2018

Acquisitions and Collecting
·   Seeks new collections documenting the history of Wayne State University, including institutional records and personal papers relating to faculty, staff, and alumni
·   Actively participates in donor interactions to further the mission and goals of Wayne State University, the University Library System, and the Reuther Library 
·   In collaboration with the Library Director and other staff, enhances the preservation of institutional records at Wayne State University

Processing, Description, and Access
·   Provides access to University history through the organization and preservation of its records and the creation of finding aids, inventories, databases, or other reference tools
·   Supervises students, volunteers, and interns assigned to work with University collections, including selection and supervision of graduate students in a funded internship program
·   Creates and manages digital content for University archival records for the Reuther Library’s online environment

Reference and Outreach
·   Serves as primary contact for research inquiries pertaining to University history
·   Leads development and implementation of programs, curriculum support tools, events, and exhibits to increase awareness of University history and use of University collections
·   Participates in reference services in the Reuther Library’s reading room

Professional Development, Service, and Activity
·   Participates actively in the shared decision-making for library planning, resource management, and program and policy development
·   Represents the library through active participation in professional associations and University committees

Required Qualifications

·   Master’s degree from an accredited institution in library/information science, archival administration, history, or a related field, with graduate archival study
·   Minimum of 3 years paid professional experience in an archives, special collections, or records repository
·   Demonstrated experience in the arrangement and description of archival collections and the creation of finding aids
·   Demonstrated experience working with archival collections, research, and outreach in a digital environment
·   Experience using archival collection management software
·   Demonstrated ability to work with a wide range of users, donors, and constituencies
·   Excellent interpersonal, organizational, written, and oral communication skills
·   Ability to manage multiple priorities and tasks and work effectively, both independently and collaboratively, in a collegial environment
·   Demonstrated initiative, self-direction, and a commitment to innovation, creativity, and excellence
·   Demonstrated commitment to expanding skills and professional growth
·   Ability to meet expectations for promotion and ESS as part of the Reuther Library academic staff
·   Ability to lift 40 lbs

Preferred Qualifications

·   Knowledge of current trends in administering college and university archives
·   Familiarity with current trends in records management services for an academic or research organization
·   Membership in the Academy of Certified Archivists or the Institute of Certified Records Managers

Wayne State University and the Community
Founded in 1868, Wayne State University is a nationally recognized metropolitan research institution offering more than 380 academic programs through 13 schools and colleges to more than 27,000 students. Wayne State’s main campus comprises 100 buildings over 200 acres; its six extension centers offer higher education to students throughout Southeast Michigan. Wayne State is a nationally recognized urban center of excellence in research and one of only 10 U.S. public universities in major cities holding the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching’s designation as an institution with “very high research activity,” as well as the foundation’s most comprehensive classification for community engagement. Wayne State students have the opportunity to apply their learning for the betterment of the community and the city as a whole. The University’s students, staff, and faculty take pride in being a key player in the city's unique urban Renaissance with the campus located in Detroit’s Cultural Center and surrounded by museums, galleries, theatres, and other attractions.

Walter P. Reuther Library, Archives of Labor and Urban Affairs
The Reuther Library is the largest labor archives in North America and is home to the collections of numerous unions and labor-related organizations. Its collection strengths extend to the political and community life of urban and metropolitan Detroit, the civil rights movement in Michigan and nationally, and women's struggles in the workplace. The Reuther Library is home to the Wayne State University Archives, established by the Board of Governors in 1958 in recognition of the importance and permanent value of the University's official files, records, and documents.

This position will remain open until filled.

Faculty & Academic Staff
University Archivist, Wayne State University (Archivist II/III/IV)
Posting 041529