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Things We're Grateful For

November 25, 2010

On this Thanksgiving Day, Rebecca, Rob and intern Brian Stewart give thanks for the people and things that have made 2010 a memorable year at the Drexel University Archives.

The Good Idea Fund generously funded two Archives events this year: In May, we held a birthday party for George W. Childs, a friend of A.J. Drexel and a founder of the Drexel Institute. In October, we held a zombie Halloween party, where we ate zombie treats and learned how conservators bring damaged archival materials 'back to life.' These events would not have been possible without the help of the Good Idea Fund.

We use open source software to manage our collections and create digital content. Archivists' Toolkit stores information about our collections and generates finding aids. Our website is built in Drupal, an open source content management system. Our digital exhibits are created in Omeka. We are grateful for these programs and for the communities of developers who keep them updated.

We have been lucky to host a number of visiting classes this year. During spring quarter, Professor Erik Rau's HIST285 students came to the archives to research the role of technology in Drexel's history. This fall, we also hosted Professors Shushi Yoshinaga and Julia Colton's Typography I classes. These students explored selected books from our rare book collection and learned about different styles of type and layout.

Student workers help keep the archives running. They digitize collections, create digital exhibitions, rehouse materials in acid-free folders, and help with reference questions. Thank you, students, for all your hard work this year!

Almost everything in the Archives collections -- our photographs, our rare books, records from 1891 and from 2009 and every year in between -- has been donated (or transferred) from a Drexel faculty, student, staff or alumn. We could not succeed in our mission to document the history of Drexel without donations (of material) from the Drexel community. We thank everyone who donated a yearbook, a collection of photographs, or many boxes of records from an office cleanup day. While we can't thank all our donors here, we're especially grateful to the University Relations department; under the leadership of Vice President Phil Terranova, University Relations has played a key role in preserving Drexel history by entrusting its photographs and documents to the University Archives.

While archives are all about primary sources, one of the collections we use most is the Drexel student newspaper, The Triangle. It is the starting point for research on many questions about the history of the institution. We are thankful for all the students who wrote articles and took photographs for the 90-plus years of the paper's existence. We are also grateful to former Archivist Steven Janick for painstakingly compiling an index to the articles in the Triangle and other Drexel publications. We plan to make that index available in 2011, making it easier for users to access the historical riches in those papers.

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