Archives and Athletes

Guest blogger: Mariecris

Anyone passing by the Archives the first few weeks of December may have seen a curious sight: me working behind a blockade of boxes. I wouldn’t say that I was “hiding behind my work.” But at times my work involves being immersed in boxes, folders, papers, and so forth. The collection that I was working on was a 20 cubic foot collection: UAA Athletics administrative records.  However, the amount of records will drastically decrease by the time I am done processing.  A significant portion of the Athletics department records are financial, personnel and student records; records that archives typically do not collect. Financial records are usually stored by record centers for a minimum of 7 years.  Our records fall between 1973-1987. And since archival materials are open for research I had to weed out personnel and student records.  Doing so protects the privacy of UAA students and employees, while saving precious space in our shrinking vault. Needless to say my blockade may be a fixture in the reading room in the near future.

Mariecris's view from A&SC's research area.

Mariecris's view from A&SC's research area.

However, I have to admit it was great working in the  general research area, interacting with researchers, and taking advantage of the glorious view through only two sets of glass!

In addition to the view, the records were pretty interesting all in themselves.  Administrative records may sound boring and dry, but these records provided an interesting look into the development of ACC’s and UAA’s athletic programs and tournaments, their goals and priorities, and how they functioned from a day-to-day basis.  As the programs grew so did the amount of their records.  Preserving these records and making them available for research will open up information that would be useful to a wide variety of researchers.  Former UAA athletes and their children can research their own history at UAA. Researchers can track the development of sports at UAA and in Alaska. Journalists can get background information and images for UAA sports related articles they write.  This collection could even provide background information relevant to decisions/policies UAA and its departments make today and in the future.  And there are probably a variety of researchers who could utilize these materials that I have yet to discover!  These were the thoughts and hopes that passed through my mind as I worked behind my blockade of boxes.

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