Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Church Archives

I ran into a reference, the other day, to a manuscript I did not have. It was an oral interview for which the transcript was only available in the church archives. Of course, I thought of a friend who spends a lot of time there, but I figured what I really need is to learn how to do this myself. So I made a list of what I needed. I know, I'm very list oriented. It makes me feel I'm in control of my secret fear (described below). I went out the Church Archive Website found the phone number and called. The Church Archives have certain people designated just to answer the phones. The person I got was very nice. I'm sure they all are.

As an Amateur I have a secret fear that the next librarian I talk to will say "No book for you" a la Seinfeld. Somehow I feel they must have a sensor that tells them I'm just some Joe who wants to satisfy his idle curiosity, not a professional who makes his living doing this and is "deserving" of their help. I've never had any librarian ever do that, but there it is.

Well, this time was no exception. We talked about what I wanted and she looked in her index to see if it was there. After finding it she gave me the manuscript number and an email address. The purpose of the email was sort of like a taking a number at the deli. I emailed what I wanted, along with the manuscript number and whatever else the person on the phone suggests, and I got an automated response with a Case ID. In my case it was a two part question, so I go two case IDs. I'm guessing it isn't really so automated, or that is some serious artificial intelligence.

I'll keep you posted as the story progresses.


Hunter said...

I've had this experience, too. Since you're still apparently waiting for a response, I'll tell you about my experiences. I request information, get my "email ticket," and a couple of weeks later invariably receive an outstanding response to my request. Sometimes the responses take time, yes, but I've never been disappointed by the staff at the Church History Library. Good luck.

BruceC said...

That is good to know, Hunter. Thanks. Do you make many such requests?