ABA is happy to welcome back Matt Shoemaker! Shoemaker is the Digital and Web Services Librarian at Temple University.

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

MS: For the past year I have been the archival consultant for the Dungeons & Dragons Documentary project. It started with me just helping the producers find some materials for the project, but it quickly became clear that more work was needed with these genre collections. My tasks evolved from finding materials for the film to working with creators and collectors across the country to find privately held hidden collections, raise awareness about them, and try and save some of the collections from being broken up and sold or at least digitizing them before that happened. In the process I have faced legal issues abound, challenges of getting to materials, fending off ebay sales, getting people to open up about materials, on the fly digitization challenges with portable equipment, and many other adventures I thought would be worth sharing with you all.

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

MS: There are two main things I hope to get across. The first is that there are more things you can do with archives than just sitting down and processing. I rarely see presentations about field work beyond the local hidden collections projects (which are great!) and it is good to know you can work with other audiences, professions and even get out there to do archives work. Second, this whole project has also enforced for me that you need to just get out and try something and be ok with failing if it doesn’t work out. Get out of your comfort zone once in a while and see what you can do. I guarantee you will at least learn something if not build something you can really learn from, be proud of, or even further other personal goals of yours.

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?

MS: This is a 1. The project has certainly put many of my skills to the test but to do it just took the will to want to. A lot of it translates to community outreach for archives you could do locally if you are willing to put the effort in.

ABA: Describe your favorite collection or project in 3 words.

MS: Gilded-age Pink Floyd

ABA: BONUS: If the city of Philadelphia was an archival collection, what would its series names be? [I. Sass and cynicism; II. Miscellaneous grime; III. Cheesesteaks; etc.]

MS: I. You got your history mixed with my litter
II. Food and Beer Ephemera
III. Miscellaneous just because, Deal with it

ABA: Awesome! We are really looking forward to your presentation!