Archives collect more than dust

Who would have known that hearing stories about the archives of John Hopkins University would have sparked laughter from an audience?

Jim Stimpert spoke to an audience on the importance of the role of being an archivist. He will also speak at Walsh and Mount Union.

“Archives are not dusty,” Stimpert said. “They are windows to the past.”

Stimpert, an alumnus, has had a love for history that dates back before he began high school. He said his love for history started when his favorite uncle gave him books about the Civil War.

“I’m glad I knew I wanted to go into history before I entered high school,” he said. He went on to say that some history teachers were better at coaching then teaching.

Once he graduated from Malone, he went on to Kent State University to get his master’s in history.

In the summer, he took a job in the school’s archives and it was there he found what he wanted to do for the rest of his life. He said that by taking the job, he was able to see what being an archivist was all about and how much he would be able to learn from it.

The next year he began to work toward his master in library science degree as well.  Because he already knew what he wanted to go do with the degree, he said that the professors were very willing to help him. After graduating from Kent, he heard about a job opening at John Hopkins in the archives. He applied, and later got the job.

Through this job, he has become what he calls “the go to person…” for the archives of John Hopkins.

The audience consisted mostly of professors, but there were a few students as well.

“I thought it was very interesting,” said Ruth Scibiur, junior history major. “I’m looking into library science so I was able to learn a lot more about it.”

Most of the professors that were present said that they found what he said to be very interesting.

“I thought what he said was very informative,” said Dr. Scott Waalkes, professor of political science. “He gave a lot more information about what exactly an archivist does.”

As Stimpert was wrapping up, he talked about how everything is being digitized. One of the members of the audience asked if it is still a good idea to keep a hard copy of everything, even if it does take up a lot of room. Stimpert answered with a resounding “yes.” He explained that people cannot always trust technology to keep everything that they need.

Categories: News

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