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A Day in the Life


Chris Banks

on 12 April 2010

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Transcript of A Day in the Life

National Personnel
Records Center deals with:
Civilian Personnel Records
Military Personnel Records
Todd Gilliom, CA
National Personnel Records Center
U.S. National Archives and Records Administration
9700 Page Ave.
St. Louis, MO 63132

phone: (314) 801-9087
On July 12, 1973,
a disastrous fire at
NPRC (MPR) destroyed
approximately 16-18 million
Official Military Personnel Files.
Chris Banks
March 24, 2010
I Interviewed Todd Gilliom, Certified Archivist for NARA at the National Personnel Records Center (NPRC) in St. Louis, Missouri
On Professional Organizations:
a good way to feel a part of something bigger outside my job, to remain connected to the archival world at-large
Right now, my job is not very supportive of it. At other jobs, it was very much supported.
Lack of participation does not make you any less of a great archivist.
"I have known some smart and able professionals who wasted all their time working for professional organizations instead of making their collections usable, almost as if they liked talking about archives more than doing the work."
"Too much commitment to professional organizations can be unethical."
Advice to new archivists:
You will know more about archives than your bosses.
It can be tempting to imagine how things "ought to be done," but the boss gets to decide what ought to be done, "SAA does not get a say in things."
The theory is so far beyond the practice, due to all the dinosaurs, political appointees, and historians in charge of archives programs, in every type of institution.
The work can be great or it can be boring, depending on your co-workers and boss.
What does an archivist do?
"I catalog old paperwork like a librarian would, then preserve it for the future as a historical resource. I used to love to tell people about reading other peoples' diaries or combing over old manuscripts, but in my current job, I bore myself talking about it too much so like to keep it brief."

What are you working on now?
Processing a record series about 84,400 cubic feet in size with a team of 12 that re-boxes the materials, vacuums the records, enters data into the database, and affixes barcode labels to the records and new boxes.
Daily production up to almost 60 boxes per day.
Two years into this record series, about 30% complete.

On being a Certified Archivist
It helped, especially early on before I was able to document accomplishments in certain areas.
You can very easily demonstrate familiarity with archival concepts to employers
It shows that I have a particular point of view about my career identity

Thank You for listening.
Full transcript