Still “Editing”

18 05 2010

Yep yep yep … guess what I’m doing? What’s that? Editing? Are you ca-razy? It’s quite obvious that I’m currently writing this blog entry which can only mean one thing …

Procrastination for the NATION!

But I really need to get this done. Today the great annoyance has been trying to find a citation for an image which was sent to me by the son of the artist. A scan of what I think is an original was sent to me and I have no idea how to deal with it. Anyway, I’ve had no reply from the son about permission so I’ll have to call him tomorrow, which is exciting! He’s nice and excited about my work. Also he might be visiting us here in Colour City, which is a fun thought now, but I’ll probably not be quite as delighted when I have to do research for a walking tour of the city.


So, I’m doing research into dead guys (have I said this before?) and I’m using bureaucratic documents to find inventories of their stuff and today on my hunt I found only one inventory. BUT what I did find was a whole bunch of living guys with “desease vererial” and I think I might have discerned the word “Clap” in one of the entries. Which is awesome. It is not uncommon to find these records as these men where fined for venereal disease as it was considered preventable , but these are the first I’ve come across. I also keep running across mistakes in the database I am using to find these documents, but today was especially funny because I pulled a fellow who supposedly died an accidental death but wasn’t dead at all! And I can’t quite figure out how that mistake was made since accidental death was not very common.

The real reason I am rotted with the database is not because of such mistakes, however. Those are to be expected, especially when dealing with the heaps of information in the archive where I work and the years it took to create it. What really bothers me is that the project managers assumed that they would have time to enter the whole collection (within certain national boundaries since it is a transnational archive) within their timeframe. Of course, they were a little optimistic, and what was supposed to be a complete database turned out to be only a 25-50% sample. This bothers me for three reasons:

1) 25-50%? Hello? That’s not a small margin!

2) I have no idea when they switched from entering 100% of all data to only a sample. I do not know what they started with (which might be more complete) or how they subsequently picked their samples. Since no one was expecting to have to legitimize their sampling methodology (as there was supposed to be no sampling) there are no records at all of how this was done. In the ’80s. Yes.

3) When the decision was made to cut some of the data, it was the working men’s entries which were ditched. So in an annoyingly hilarious twist of fate we have this huge archive full full full of information on working men (and some women but, alas, don’t hold your breath), and yet when push came to shove it was their information which was cut when time constraints became apparent. So instead of having too much information on these ordinary guys, there is now too little!

Arg! I’m a possibly missing out on 50-75% of potential inventories!

They put everything into neat little piles … Neat little piles of chaos Mr. B! CHAOS!

Which is exactly how I feel. At face value, the database is wonderful. But as I’m sitting there, trying to interpret the statistics which it is producing, I have no idea how to read what the numbers seem to be telling me.

>>Liquor Alert!<<

Okay, so my roommate had some out of town friends over and I might have spent the rest of the night downstairs with them talking about dogs and crazy in-laws (not that I have either) and I may have not finished the article and also had a couple glasses of wine.

C’est la vie. Tomorrow is a new morning! (Ugh … I hate mornings).




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