I pursue a better understanding of archives work, jazz style.

Why am I doing this?

There is a core motive in the center of everything a person writes and shares voluntarily.  That core may not obviously agree with the tags which identify that person to others, carried on business cards, job descriptions, book jackets or online profiles.  But it is very close to what that person believes in and desires with all their heart.

My job description is that of an archivist.  I took on this profession partly because it seemed more practical than a career in music, creative writing or subsistence farming, but also because the core of my self-expressions lies close to what I see as the purpose of archives here and now.

When we write of our own free will, we do it in order to proselytize — to share our beliefs and invite others to conversion, in one way or another.  I have not seen any exceptions to this.

While I was studying at the University of Pittsburgh for an MLIS, I took classes from Dr. Richard Cox.  He emphasized the importance of reading and writing as constant practices for professional archivists to establish.

Dr. Cox’s treatment of the school’s archives program was the reason I chose the University of Pittsburgh (even though it saddled me with a student loan that is grievous to be borne).  I arrived in Pittsburgh with my mind heated up from reading books by Sven Birkerts, Neil Postman and Barry Sanders, and Richard Cox stamped my mind with a die that I was glad to take.

Literacy — writing and reading — has been at the foundation of my life since my infancy.  To share my mind with others in as good, clear and responsible a way as one can manage is a constant aim.

I am very animated by my understanding of universal moral principle.  I wish to see pure principles govern human behavior in all places and things, instead of conventions, fads, conceits or even expert opinions.  Here I lapse into an adolescent addiction of quoting Rush songs:

“So much poison in power, the principles get left out.

So much mind on the matter, the spirit gets forgotten about.”

I have limits of time, understanding and resources, as all do.  But there are things that move me, they matter to me, and I believe they should matter to others.  So I write about them. On this blog I steer my writing towards things having to do in one way or another with my profession, or things surrounding archives that I see as having a connection.

As I mentioned above, I don’t see a very clear borderline between professional and personal interests.  I can see where a personal interest might have nothing to do with a professional one: I’m not going to write about hiking trips or cooking here.  But I will write about things that have something to do with encouraging literacy, curiosity and creativity: my strongest personal connections to the work of archives.

If I state what is obvious to you, you may be glad that I am not asking you for money.


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