Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Insomnia Does an Archivist Good!

OK so first, I do not recommend this to all of you genealogists working on your archiving projects (little disclaimer there), but I can’t tell you how happy I am that I was able to plow through a ton of negatives last night this morning!  

{Doing happy dance… oh yeah}!

Every once in a while I get these bouts of insomnia.  For me, that means that I can’t sleep and don’t feel tired until sometime way after midnight.  Going to bed would just mean tossing and turning, so I stay up and do something relaxing until I feel sleepy (while my husband is catching up on some major zzz’s and REM sleep including the occasional snore… {jealous}).  I don’t think that this happens often enough to interfere with my daily life and I don’t like allopathic doctors or medications.  So, I just deal with it take advantage of it when it happens.  My mom and grandmother were night owls too.  We get our creative bursts of energy after the sun goes down.  “No I’m not a witch, I am you.”  (Sorry, I just had to).
Well, last night I went to bed at 3:30am!  I tossed and turned until 4:00am which was the last time I looked at the clock.  WHAT!?!?  WOW, that was HIGHLY unusual.  The thought occurred to me that I might not sleep at all!  Which would be fine with me until it catches up with me later!

Fortunately, I have several projects in the works and the one I chose to work on allowed me to sit on the couch with the TV on.  I had already compiled all of my negatives, sorting them by type, 35mm, 110 and disc camera films.  My focus was on the 110 size negatives stashed in an old can opener box.  (For Shame!)  WELL!!!  At least I saved them all!  The biggest mistake I made was separating them from the prints in the first place and not noting the date, subject, location or anything! ~I can’t tell you how much I’m learning!

I set up my little area, brought in the films and supplies and got to work.  I went through each image on each film and found the corresponding print which wasn’t to hard ‘cuz I already” sorted” in the previous phase of the project.  On the back of the each print in the corner I wrote (using my archival safe pen) “110” for the type of negative and then “N#”, “N” for “negative” and the number on the strip that correlates to the image. 

To see the itty-bitty image, I used both my floor lamp and desktop Ott-Lites.  I wore some reading glasses (I don’t wear  prescription glasses) and added some clip on Magna-Clips magnifiers in a +3.00 for when I couldn’t see anything without them.  I love these things for my hand sewing because they flip up and down.  Figured they’d work for this too – BOY HOWDY – they sure helped a lot! 

Some of the prints were collected already by subject in folders and I made a spreadsheet to help me locate each set.  I better save how I set that up for another post.  Just know that this is NOT  the initial stage of my project, or the last.  Still other prints were in an album – not chronological, but all mixed together (what was I thinking?).  And best of all (just because I like sarcasm) they were in one of those albums with the sticky glue behind the images – I think they call it a magnetic album.  YIKES!  I only have one of that kind of album and now it’s half empty {grin}.  Mostly “Germany” and “Spain” are out of it.  

I put each set of negatives in it’s own archival sheet protector, temporarily, with the prints I could find and a note with how many prints on the strip, the size of the prints (this helps to find missing ones because I can look at the size of the  prints) and subject or anything that might suggest a possible match for one missing like “Kera (my daughter) wearing yellow sunglasses”.  

I put all the sheet protectors in a 3” binder, temporarily again, and labeled the binder “WIP Germany” for “Work in Progress”.  That sets it apart from sets where all the prints are found and ready to put into archival page protectors for the particular print size.  Which is the next phase…

For now, all the 110 negatives are accounted for!  Thanks to a sleepless night (I think?)!!!  Now the negatives for the disc film is going to be worse because they’re even smaller!  Fortunately, their aren’t a whole lot of those – because those cameras were crap, cheap, worthless poor quality.  But good, I guess, if you’re in the sandy desert fighting in a war…

I hope I’ve given you some help if you’re struggling with what to do with all of your images and negatives.  I’m no expert, but I have learned a lot and want to do the best I can to have it all make sense to the poor soul lucky person who inherits all my neatly organized, indexed and labeled photos!   

NOW GO TO BED!  {Just kidding}.

*I have no affiliation and I am not being compensated for or by any of the products or companies I’ve linked to.  I just wanted to answer the questions before they were asked.


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