Friday, June 30, 2006

In Praise of Archivists

Columbia Daily Tribune (MO) columnist Bill Clark devotes his essay this week to Kris Anstine, who Clark describes as "the person who normally answers the phone at the University of Missouri’s archives office and fields the questions from folks like Ol’ Clark who know just enough about history to be dangerous."

"No question seems to be too tough for him. He makes the caller look like a genius, and when you apologize for bothering him he says: 'That’s not a bother; that’s my job. If you don’t call, I’ll be unemployed.'"

Clark's zeal for archives is quite something: "What fun it must be," he writes, "to answer the phone and not fear the toughest of questions, knowing you have 14,000 square feet of documents and, in MU’s Special Collections Department, 50,000 rolls of microfiche."

It's always nice from an archival or reference standpoint to know that you've made someone's day by finding that information they've been seeking. It's even better when they take the time to recognize you for what you do (because who doesn't enjoy a little praise every now and again?).

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