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Maureen Callahan is a processing archivist at the Mudd Library at Princeton, where she accessions, processes, and provides reference for public policy collections. She is also involved with digital archives work, and was part of the committee that created Princeton’s new finding aids site — findingaidsbeta.princeton.edu. She previously worked as the digital projects manager at George Washington University and as an archivist at the Penn Museum.

ABA: In a few sentences, tell us what you’ll be presenting at ABA.

MC: I’ll be talking about data manipulation tools for archivists in charge of large amounts of archival description. I’ll talk about how I used google spreadsheets to manage three students and 1100 boxes of the Bill Bradley papers, and will explain how to convert this data using tools like XSLT, EAD McTaggert, or even MS Word mail merges to EAD, and how to use Google Refine reconciliation tools to clean up subject headings. These are tools that ANYONE can use, and that are good to know about, even if they don’t become your tool of choice.

ABA: What do you hope audiences will get from your talk?

MC: I hope that audiences will leave with good ideas about how to manage the masses of data we all accrue in our professional work.

ABA: Which of the following is the best part of being an archivists?
(a) Preserving history of future generations
(b) Dust
(c) Attending Archivists Being Awesome meetings
(d) What’s an archivist?
(e) Other (please specify)

MC: My favorite thing (and in my opinion, the most important thing) about being an archivist, is not the STUFF, but the people. I find efficient processing (and other archival administration) tools compelling because they allow us to turn our work around more quickly, make our materials more accessible, and in turn let us be more accountable to our patrons.

ABA:On a scale from 1 – 10, (10 being hardest) how easy would it be for
other archivists to implement the project you’re presenting here?

MC: 1 (!!!!!!).

ABA: Thanks, Maureen! We look forward to hearing your talk!