Behind the Curtain: Amanda Rindler, Records Manager

Color photograph of Amanda Rindler in front of a bookcase

Behind the Curtain is a series highlighting IU Archives staff, partners from various departments of the IU Libraries, and students who make all of our work possible.

Title and role: I’m the new University Records Manager. I work with units to help determine how long records should be maintained and to transfer records to the University Archives when appropriate. I also help with creating and updating unit-specific records retention schedules and assist with the development of unit-specific records management plans.

Records Management is an important part of the records life cycle, which includes creation or receipt, use, and disposition. The disposition may be destruction or transfer to the archives. Having a records retention schedule in place identifies records that should be transferred to the University Archives at or before the creation. This means that units can have a plan in place to regularly transfer records instead of keeping them in a basement for 40 years (although we’ll work with those records too!) By aiding units in practicing good records management, we are ensuring that those records that tell our history are preserved. Effective records management also improves accountability and compliance and can save time, money, and effort by not storing and retrieving records that do not need to be retained.

Educational background: I have a BA in History with a Public History specialization from Ball State University and an MLS with an Archives and Records Management specialization from Indiana University.

Previous work experience: I began working at the Ball State Archives as an undergraduate student and knew that’s what I wanted to do. As a student at IU, I worked for the IU Archives and other repositories on campus. After I graduated, I worked with government records management before becoming the Local Government Records Archivist at the Ohio History Connection. My experience is in guiding records creators in determining proper retention periods for their records and transferring records of enduring value for continued preservation.

Favorite experience (so far): I’ve enjoyed meeting with records creators to learn more about their work and the records they create. One of my favorite parts of records management is getting to talk to people about things I’m not familiar with, but that they are so passionate about. Often people are overwhelmed by the volume of records and I like being able to lighten that load by helping them create a plan.

Favorite item or collection: I haven’t developed a favorite quite yet. Not really a hidden gem at 612 cubic feet, but I did discover that the Indiana University President’s Office records, 1937-1962 (Herman B Wells) is a wealth of information. I recently had a reference question from a patron wanting to know more about their grandfather who attended IU for training during WWII. It was suggested that I look at this collection because a lot went through the president’s office at that time. I was surprised to find a letter written to Wells from the grandfather’s father asking President Wells to keep an eye out for his son while he was on campus. I was happy to be able to find something for the researcher and will keep this large collection in mind for future reference questions during Wells’ long tenure.

Current project: There are a lot of records coming in from various departments that are keeping me busy! I’ve recently accessioned records from the Interim Vice Provost and Marching Hundred. I’m also re-boxing several boxes of English Department records from the IU Warehouse for transfer and boxed some records from the Media School.

On top of that, I’ve been working on updating the records management webpage and making sure all our contacts are up to date. I would love to start doing more outreach to areas of IU that are underrepresented in the Archives. If you have records that may need transferred or want to set up a schedule for regular transfers, please reach out! Information on transferring university records can be found on our website under Archival Services.

What she’s learned about IU by working with the Archives:

IU does so many things! There are so many different departments and centers with people passionate about their subject matter specialties.

Behind the Curtain: Molly Wittenberg, Records Manager

Role: Molly is the Records Manager, a new role within the Archives and the University as a whole. Her primary role is to work with units across campus to help schedule the records they create, and help facilitate the disposition of records when they’re no longer active – whether that’s transferring them to the University Archives, or destroying them.

Educational Background: She earned her MLIS from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign in 2015. She also has a B.S. in Therapeutic Recreation from Southern Illinois University-Carbondale.

How she got here: Prior to joining IU, Molly was working for the City of Berkeley in Berkeley, CA. They did not have an archives, but much of her work still focused on the identification and transfer of records and maintaining preservation and access.

Prior to starting graduate school, Molly was working for a small business where she worked with government offices to digitize their historical records. That position initiated her curiosity, and a course in records management in grad school solidified her interest in the field. She also grew up in southern Indiana, and IU was always an exciting place to visit. It’s a great place to come to work every day.

Favorite Collection in the IU Archives: Molly loves finding correspondence between individuals and offices on campus and the unique insight these records provide. They’re also a great reminder of the importance and value of capturing correspondence in the digital age.

Current Project: Molly is currently updating our website with available information related to records management services and resources for IU.

Favorite experience in the IU Archives: One of her first – working with offices across campus to remove older, inactive physical records from the IU Warehouse. It was a hands-on introduction to a variety of the content created by IU. The experience provided an opportunity to discuss the importance of records management and transferring records to the Archives.

Ernest P. Bicknell (scanned from photograph album), 1922. Archives image no. P0047460

What she’s learned from working here: Quite a bit about alumni – most recently Ernest P. Bicknell and his role with the Red Cross during WWI. Contact the IU Archives to see the Ernest P. Bicknell papers.

From the IU Archives Trenches: Graduate student processor Amy Jankowski bids a fond farewell

After spending nearly a year and half working as a graduate student processor at the Indiana University Archives, it is time for me to bid adieu to my colleagues and fellow students as I embark on my first professional adventure. I have highly enjoyed my time here–both in Bloomington generally, as well as specifically here at the IU Archives–and a part of me is quite sad to see this chapter of my life come to a close.

Graduate Student Processor Amy Jankowski, installing her exhibit, "Borkenstein and His Monster: The Man Behind the Breathalyzer," in the Indiana University Archives reception area, March 2011

I was lucky enough to begin working at the Archives in February 2010 during my second semester of graduate work towards my Master of Library Science degree, which I pursued through the IU School of Library and Information Science, earning my degree in May 2011. Even before beginning the academic program, I developed a passion for cultural heritage preservation by way of archival documentation, thus I tailored my coursework to meet the requirements for the Archives and Records Management specialization. Coming to work at the IU Archives was instrumental in my ability to understand archival work from a stance of personal, experiential depth. I was able to apply the theories I learned in the classroom and through professional literature to hone my archival processing skills and better understand not just the technical concepts of archival work, but also the intricacies and unique issues with which one must contend to best address arrangement, description, and access as suitable for each individual record collection… not to mention I got to process some really fun collections and develop a deeper appreciation for Indiana University’s rich history! I am indebted to this position and to my supervisors for providing me with a diverse range of real world experience–including collection processing, encoding finding aids for online access, exhibit curation, basic reference, participating in social media outreach (i.e. this blog post!), and even just sharing day-to-day archivally oriented conversations–which proved invaluable during my job hunt.

Beginning in mid-July 2011, I will begin my first professional position as the Assistant Librarian at the San Diego Zoo Institute for Conservation Research, located within the San Diego Zoo Safari Park in Escondido, California! This position is a surreal melding of my childhood and graduate student dreams, and I feel all too lucky for my good fortune. I could not be more excited about this opportunity, where I will have a diverse range of responsibilities including but not limited to: maintaining, preserving, organizing, and promoting access to the library’s archival and rare book collection, pursuing digital access and preservation efforts, exploring outreach opportunities, and otherwise supporting the library’s general plans, objectives, and operations. Perhaps I will even have the opportunity to begin my own repository blog at the San Diego Zoo Library!

The move to Southern California will be a major transition for my Midwestern roots, but I look forward to the adventure, as well as to learning more about regional and zoo history. For now, I bid one final thank you to my supervisors and colleagues at the IU Archives. Your guidance, encouragement, support, and archival wisdom never went unappreciated. I hope our paths cross again someday!

Best,
Amy Jankowski