Intern Report: Archive Your Pride Event Planning

This is a guest post by Anida Hodzic, UCSF Archives Intern.

Being an intern is hard work, especially at the UCSF Archives and Special Collections. During my summer internship, I was assigned the difficult task of helping my supervisor (Kelsi Evans) prepare for the Archive Your Pride Button Making Pop Up at the UCSF Makers Lab. To begin, we searched for images that would work on a button. I know what you’re thinking, that seems easy enough…The difficulty came in the amount of amazing images, posters, pamphlets, and other ephemera we came across.

My collage of some of the images from the collections.

UCSF digital collections on Calisphere, including the AIDS History Project Ephemera Collection and the Bobby Campbell Diary, were full of relatable and interesting content. We also went down to the vault and sifted through some un-digitized material. After we selected the images, we tried to make a few sample buttons. One of my fellow interns and I spent about an hour in the Makers Lab trying to make buttons without reading the directions. Thus we made a simple task complicated and confusing. Once we finally figured out that following directions was a good thing, the pride buttons came pouring out of the button maker.

The event the next day was worth all of our hard work. The turn out was awesome and people loved our images, glitter, and stickers. It was great fun to see everyone support Pride, the Archives, the Makers Lab, and each other’s creativity. The buttons were cool, the atmosphere warm, and my summer internship was fun and successful.

New UCSF Center for AIDS Prevention Studies (CAPS) Digital Collection

This is a post by Kelsi Evans, Project Archivist, and Lynda Letona, Archives Intern.

We’ve started work on our NHPRC grant project, “Evolution of San Francisco’s Response to a Public Health Crisis: Providing Access to New AIDS History Collections.” Throughout the project, we’ll be posting regular updates on Brought to Light.

We’d like to highlight the new digital collection of the UCSF Center for AIDS Prevention Studies (CAPS). CAPS was established in 1986 to educate scientists and stimulate new research projects that impact the practice, theory, and policy of HIV/AIDS prevention and keep pace with the changing epidemic. The scope of CAPS has evolved over the decades to include global projects, the development of prevention interventions, and collaborative work among researchers in fields including biomedicine, psychology, epidemiology, behavioral science, policy, clinical medicine, and other disciplines. The digital collection includes selected conference and research project materials, correspondence, publications, and ephemera.

Correspondence in the digital collection includes a 1994 letter from the American Psychiatric Association Commission on AIDS and the American Psychological Association Committee on Psychology and AIDS to Dr. David Kessler, Commissioner of the FDA. The letter expresses concerns about home sample collection (HSC) testing kits for HIV, including the range of reactions that people testing HIV positive or negative might experience. Such reactions, the letter argues, could result in severe states of anxiety and depression, increased suicidal thoughts and behavior, and increased high risk behavior for HIV transmission. The authors write, “We believe that face-to-face HIV counseling remains the procedure of choice and that HSC kit testing should be utilized only when the former is unavailable or unacceptable to the consumer,” since in-person counseling allows for more adequate assessment and management of psychological responses to testing.

The digital collection also includes issues of the Women Organized to Respond to Life-threatening Diseases (WORLD) newsletter. This publication includes powerful stories, including “Fighting Two Diseases” from issue number 12. Here, a woman writes about her experience of battling drug addiction in her youth and later HIV. She shares her great appreciation of going to a Kaiser educator who cared about her and helped her through difficult times. She writes that in spite of all the fear and devastation the diagnosis brought her, she has managed to experience many wonderful things and learned to remain focused on the good in life.

You can view the CAPS digital collection on Calisphere at calisphere.org/collections/26898/. To research the CAPS records in person, please make an appointment with us.

A (very) brief Report back from Society of American Archivists

It’s been a whirlwind last couple of weeks for me as I bounced from conference to conference, but as I settle back in it’s been exciting to collect my thoughts on what I’ve learned. And while it’s still fresh in my memory, this is a brief report back from the largest conference I attended — the annual meeting of the Society of American Archivists (SAA) which was held last week in impossibly-quaint Portland, OR.

Being the digital archivist, I mostly spent my time in sessions focused on processing, preserving, and providing access to digital materials, in all the different forms that can take. One of the most fruitful of these was hosted by colleagues from UCLA, UCB, Stanford’s Hoover Institute, Cornell, and Emory, and was entitled “What we talk about when we talk about processing born-digital.” This session reported on an effort to establish shared definitions for what it means to process born-digital archival collections. Because this field is so new, what is considered “processing” a collection at one institution might be a totally different set of tasks from that performed at another. To address this, the group is attempting to identify which steps are essential or recommended, and assign different processing levels based on these frameworks.

To attempt to break all these steps out in a clear way is an immense amount of work, so I’m incredibly excited that my colleagues have begun to take on this huge task. It will help us all out in a massive way.

UCSF was not without good representation, as our own Polina Ilieva moderated several events — one that was a meeting of the section on Science, Technology, and Health Care archives, and one that was a panel discussion on Collecting and Preserving contemporary science in institutional archives.

Two people in front of a power-point presentation at a meeting of the Science, Technology, and Health Care Section of the Society of American Archivists.

A very poor photo of Polina Ilieva taking over as Senior Co-Chair of the Science, Technology, and Health Care Section of the Society of American Archivists

Finally, some of my most interesting food for thought came from a panel on archival responses to climate change. The panel covered everything from Native Hawaiian community preservation of historic material endangered by sea level-rise, to projects acquiring better data to map which archival repositories are likely to be most affected by a changing climate. Especially pertinent for my work was a presentation urging us as digital archivists to think more explicitly about what kinds of energy use we are engaging through our different preservation practices. Simply put: current digital preservation practices rely on cheap data storage, and cheap data storage relies upon energy from fossil fuels. So where can we start to change that?

More updates soon as we start to engage with all these thoughts more directly at UCSF.