23 September 2014

Ask Archivists!

Today was Ask Archivists Day. In much of the world it still is, Australia being ahead of most of the rest of the world. It was/is a great opportunity to ask an archivist a question and have it answered. The hashtag to use is #AskArchivists. You don’t have to be a member of Twitter to read the conversation; only if you want to ask a question.

Questions were varied, from very broad, such as ‘what does an archivist do?’ to quite specific. I asked the National Archives of Australia (@naagovau) a question about understanding the codes and abbreviations on their Defence service records, which are digitised for World War I and in the process of being digitised for World War Two. This is a question that has puzzled me for a while.

@naagovau pointed me to their list of abbreviations and suggested that perhaps @AWMemorial (The Australian War Memorial) could help, which they did with a link to their glossary, which is very comprehensive. Question answered! I’m looking forward to going back through the service records I have for my family with new understanding.

Other questions had to do with such things as where records of births, marriages and deaths are held, and non-British aliens during the two world wars.

I also asked a question of archives in general:

Twitter questionAnd these are some of the answers:

Twitter more answers

Twitter answers

From this straw poll I can see that archives have been on Twitter for up to two years, with at least one jumping on only today. They use Twitter to communicate with researchers and other organisations, and to give snapshots of their collections. Letting people know what they have that we might want is an important job, and I’m so glad they do it.

There were also some jokes. I asked:

Twitter joke

The best answer was:

LightbulbAnd then there were comments:

lightbulb follow

Twitter lightbulb NAA

You’ve got to love archivist jokes!

It’s days like this that remind me why I love Twitter! It’s still going on now, have a look.

What do you think? Leave a reply here.