Maureen Cech is Assistant Librarian, Special Collections at the University of Delaware. Previously, she served as Assistant Curator of Literary Manuscripts at the University of Maryland, College Park. She’s been working with literary collections since 2006.
ABA: In a few sentences, tell us what you’ll be presenting at ABA.
MC: I’ll be talking about literary manuscripts: what they are, some challenges to processing them, why I think they’re cool and why everyone else should too.
ABA: What do you hope audiences will get from your talk?
MC:I’d like for other archivists to get a sense of what’s in literary collections and how they’re used; they’re often under-represented as a subject in the literature and at conferences, usually under the umbrella of “personal papers.” But they have their own challenges that transcend just the personal since they also represent an occupation, i.e., writing for publication.
ABA:Which of the following is the best part of being an archivists?
(a) Preserving history of future generations
(c) Attending Archivists Being Awesome meetings
(d) What’s an archivist?
(e) Other (please specify)
MC:(E)Other– I like being (at least momentarily) confused with an archaeologist. I’ll be Indiana Jones any day.
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:I don’t know if I can put a number on it. Processing literary papers can be easy or difficult, depending on the collection and the processor. Often archivists are required to be able to work with any kind of subject matter, but I really do think literary papers necessitate some subject expertise.
ABA: Thanks, Maureen! We can’t wait!