Currently, I am sitting in the digitization lab in Wake Forest University's archives, where I started an internship in October. I'm getting to know the scanning equipment here on a much friendlier basis and am writing this post between scans on the beloved Epson. The project I'm working on today is part of digitizing the university's collection of football game programs and related newspaper clippings. Coming from the world of community newspapers, these projects have a lot of significance for me. Something my publisher liked to stress was that our newspaper was a record of history. Although there were many times when I had to consult archives of my own stories for background information or those of many of the reporters before me, the point was never driven home as well as it has been in my short time here. I even found an article from my old newspaper in some of the work I've been doing!
The football programs hold a lot of interest for me as well because they are chock full of advertising. Ads can contain a wealth of information about the cultural context in which they were created - what was important, what people wanted, what people likely spent their money on, what companies wanted people to spend their money on, what attitudes and values were acceptable. I appreciate the glimpse I'm getting into the past.