The Week That Never Sleeps

I meant to post last week, I truly did, but it was a busy week in DHC Land. So this week, not only will you be getting an extra-long post, you’ll get two in one week! (I’m hoping to get back on my post-at-the-end-of-the-week schedule. Who knows? Maybe I’ll get crazy and post even more.

So, for some highlights of last the week,

First off, after days and days of this:                                I produced this:



The last staple!! (And yes, I took a picture). I didn’t quite do a dance afterward, but I definitely made a celebratory noise of some sort. And I apologize that this has been staple-centric so far,but I just couldn’t help that last picture, that pile was very impressive. However, I think it’s safe to promise that there will be no more gratuitous mentions of staples.

With my processing being completed, I felt like it was time to sit back and really think about what else I needed to do. So, Monday I sat down and came up with a tentative plan for the rest of the collection, including a series proposal, things I’d like to do (coming up with a  digitization plan for the film and videos, developing a media separation form for outdated floppy discs and data CDs), questions I needed to ask and notes about any information that needed further consideration (what to do with all of the sensitive account information, etc). I then showed this to Nena, who after a few edits and suggestions gave me the go ahead. As this is the biggest collection I’ve ever worked on, it was very satisfying to know that my ideas and inclinations are on the right track in territory that I’m not expressly familiar with. Yay for burgeoning  professional competence!  So, with a newfound vigor, I set to work labeling folders and boxes, which may sound tedious, but yields such beautiful results. See below:


A place for everything, everything in its place.  There is something utterly satisfying about turning a wall of varying levels of chaos into something neat, orderly, and accessible. (Though I must admit, Tony Micocci was a stellar record keeper, so there wasn’t much chaos in this collection). Processing and labeling is a wonderful, wonderful way to channel obsessiveness, for sure. I wish I would’ve taken a picture from the same angle as the unprocessed boxes so you could appreciate the difference even more. Alas, you live and you learn. Tomorrow, I’m working on the art in the collection, which of course will be great material for my next entry.

Last week also held a few meetings which I have come to really enjoy. Monday I had a lovely lunch with an Associate Curator from another one of the Special Collections at Thompson Library. It was great to learn even more about how OSU’s libraries work and I also got some golden advice about job searches and interviews. Always appreciated.

Later the same day I was able to meet with Conservation. It was pretty awesome to see the Conservation unit in action with all of their nifty tools and unbelievable materials. I have to say that while I know what conservators do (kind of), how they do it has always seemed sort of shrouded in mystery. So, it was particularly interesting to see some of the ways that they do their work and that they didn’t work out of some huge secret lab. They were all very friendly and very happy to explain their work to me. Also, it is worth mentioning here that especially for a someone about to have an MLIS, I’m fairly uninterested in books. (I know, I know, I should be ashamed.) It’s not that I don’t like them, but there are lots of them. They’re lovely and all, but ultimately they aren’t as unique as archival or special collection material. But some of the books I saw in Conservation (that I’m sure originate from the Rare Books and Manuscripts), were absolutely amazing. Particularly the book from the 1500s that was bound with a manuscript from the 1400s. (I think those were the dates, I’ll have to check to make sure.)

Drool-worthy books

I also was able to meet with the Digital Imaging Specialist. It was great seeing all of the impressive tools they have and what they do there. It was of particular interest to me as they are currently doing many of the things I will be doing when I get back home to the Ballets Russes Archive at University of Oklahoma. I was able to see some of the different things that the copy cameras are capable of and get some awesome ideas. I look forward to more contact with this department.

Overall, I must say that I have immensely enjoyed the experience of meeting all of these different people and seeing how their departments work. I feel like these are invaluable resources and something I wouldn’t have been exposed to had I not had this opportunity to come to OSU and work for the Dance Heritage Coalition. These meetings really give me so many ideas for both the work I am doing here and the work I want to do elsewhere. It’s giving me an opportunity to think much more globally when it comes to my profession and definitely instills the value of collaboration and networking.

So, while doing this, we were also preparing for our panel at the Dance Critics Association Conference in New York, New York. The session was called Don’t Throw That Away! Preserving Your Legacy as a Dance Critic. We discussed the the importance of dance critics preserving their materials and gave them advice on how to find the best repository for their materials if they should decide to donate them. It was my first presentation at a conference. Ever. And while I was nervous, it was a great experience. Things went well (with the exception of some microphonic technical difficulties) and I did not die, despite my worst fears. haha. The audience seemed interested in what we had to say, asked a lot of questions, had wonderful anecdotes, and many of them stayed afterward to talk to us and ask questions. I felt like it was definitely successful.

The rest of the conference was great. I particularly enjoyed Nancy Goldner’s session where she discussed her career as a dance writer. It was interesting to hear her stories and see how dance writing has changed immensely over the years. I also enjoyed getting an overall view of the challenges faced by dance writers and the idea of them as stakeholders and audience. They are a passionate group of people and that is always wonderful to see.

And omg, New York! I started the beginning of the weekend thinking I needed to see as much as I could since I probably wouldn’t be returning anytime soon and left Sunday knowing I needed to come back as soon as I got a chance to see even more. In my brief time there, I must say, I think I can see why people get so fanatical about New York. It’s got an amazing energy and has the power to transform. There was something undeniably awesome about it. I ate wonderful food, got caught in Central Park in the rain, saw the rain-kissed streets at night, tottered my way on and off subways, and thoroughly enjoyed my time there.

I knew I couldn’t be in NY and not see at least one performance. One of the other fellows, Nichole from NYPL, told me about a burlesque performance in Brooklyn called the Floating Kabarette. The host was ridiculously hilarious, the acts were either delightfully funny, jaw-droppingly spectacular, or undeniably sexy, and sometimes a combination of any of these attributes. The space was beautiful and I left the place buzzing. As far as performances go, it was right up my alley and a wonderful show to be my first NY experience. If you ever get a chance, you should definitely, definitely go. And kudos to Nichole for such a great recommendation!

And speaking of other fellows, I think it should be mentioned how nice it was to see (nearly) everyone again. Especially as I haven’t been home in a month, it was wonderful to see familiar faces again. Irlanda and Penny were greatly missed and I look forward to seeing everyone again at SAA in August.

So, as promised, here is your extra-long post. And it has been wonderful having you, especially if you stayed until now 🙂

Until next time,


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2 Responses to The Week That Never Sleeps

  1. Charlotte Hart says:

    Tara – you have a talent for commentary. I’m enjoying reading you! 🙂 Congrats on the presentation!

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