Some of our favorite things, installment 1

Inspired by a posting from the Smithsonian’s Archives of American Art earlier this month, we decided to share some of our favorite archives tools with you!  First up, Arlene.

 My Flip HD videocam, by Arlene

Arlene’s personalized Flip HD videocam

I know this may be surprising to include in a list of archival tools, but I love it.

Here’s the thing: I’d like to blame it on a period of sleep deprivation I had a few years ago, but I suspect it’s just age. My memory. It just isn’t what it used to be. So my Flip goes everywhere with me, especially when I go to visit donors and they show me their collections or if I need to review large quantities of records. I walk and talk with my Flip in hand and voila: instant recording with both video and audio so when that 500 cubic foot collection is brought in the door, I know how we packed it, what went where, all those things that took place at the donor’s home or place of business. Just brilliant. A few years ago when we had a long-distance processor working for us, I would film as I walked the collection stacks area and read the labels on the boxes so she knew what had been put where. And it’s what we used to film Mariecris’s great tutorial on building cheap and easy book enclosures (that’s part 1 of 5, there). And I keep promising myself that one of these days, we’ll film a guide to parking on campus for our researchers. Just as soon as I convince somebody else to star in it! Now that I’ve got the Flip, I can’t imagine how I functioned without it.

PS: I’m told that they’re stopping the production of the Flips soon.  Very sad, since the aforementioned memory problem means it now takes me a little longer to learn new pieces of equipment than it used to do. Good thing I own a few of them so I hopefully won’t have to swap out for a very long time.

PPS: In between taking the photograph of the Flip above and posting this, I managed to kill that one. Broke the lens. It still works, but in order to protect the optics when I use it, I’ve put it in its waterproof case and that kind of interferes with the audio quality. So I went out and bought a new one for general use. I haven’t yet made a pretty skin for it like I did for the one above, but one of these days I will.

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