Visiting Duke

On Wednesday February 17th, I’m visiting the Sallie Bingham Center Zine Collections at Duke University, part of Duke’s Rare Book, Manuscript, and Special Collections library. The Bingham Center is home to several important zine collections, including the Sarah Dyer Zine Collection, which will be the collection I’m looking at primarily on this trip.

On a personal level, this is really exciting for me–I’ve never been to North Carolina, nor have I ever travelled out of state to go visit an archive. I’ll be there for two full days, from open till close. I’m extremely nervous, to be honest–I’ve worked in the Sophia Smith Collection, and with digital archives, but I feel very inexperienced when faced with a whole new archive. I got through the material requests online okay, though, so that’s the first hurdle I suppose.

I have a list of around 45 zines I definitely want to look at while I’m there, and have requested ten boxes: six from the Sarah Dyer Zine Collection, three from the Ailecia Ruscin Zine Collection, and one from the Sarah Wood Zine Collection.

Among the zines I want to look at are zines listed in the finding aid for the Mimi Thi Nguyen Zine Collection, in Collaboration with the People of Color Zine Project at the Fales Library & Special Collections at NYU. I hope to be able to visit that collection directly, but in the meantime the list is serving as a helpful resource for identifying some zines written by women of color in the 1990’s; I hope to locate networks of POC zine creators and look at their relation to/distance from white-washed riot grrrl scenes. A hand-full of the 40 some zines in the Mimi Thi Nguyen collection’s finding aid are also in collections at Duke, so I’m going to look at those when I visit.

Today is Sunday and I leave on Wednesday morning. I’m suddenly panicking about everything I need to do. The most important thing is that I need to create a revised metadata collector based on the one I’ve been using on the Girl Zines Collection, but much shorter. I have around 16 hours (if I skip meals) to get through 45 zines at least. This means I need to get the information I need very quickly. I’m trying to decide which metadata fields are most important–what am I likely to be able to find on zinewiki? What can be inferred? I wish I had longer than two days.

Anyways, I’ll post updates as the trip progresses!

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