‘Ulu’ulu is saying farewell to Keala Richard, who began her adventure at the archive as a volunteer and later became the project assistant for the Hawaiian Legacy Foundation Collection. While we are sad to see her go, we are happy to see her off as a graduate from the LIS program at UH Mānoa and as the new acquisitions support specialist for the Richardson School of Law Library.
Mahalo nui for all your hard work!! A hui hou!
How did you learn about ‘Ulu‘ulu and why did you decide to work here?
My path to ‘Ulu’ulu was actually kind of a long one. I first became aware of ‘Ulu’ulu in my second semester of grad school, during an intro to archives course taken in the fall of 2015. My instructor invited head archivist Janel Quirante and her Roselani scholarship intern to discuss the work they completed over the summer. I was instantly fascinated, and later in the semester I jumped at the chance to take Janel’s moving image archive course in Spring 2016. That course was taught online, but I really wanted to actually get into the archive and do hands-on work. I used two assignments in an archives seminar as an excuse to tour ‘Ulu’ulu and complete a mini-internship project. After the initial introduction, I practically begged Janel to let me volunteer in the archive, because I saw it as an opportunity to not only have fun with the mini-internship assignment, but also build on the knowledge she was teaching me in her online course. That volunteer project, processing the Tom Coffman collection, was originally intended to be a precursor to a semester long internship in the Fall of 2016, but eventually led to me being brought on part-time as the Hawaiian Legacy Foundation project assistant instead!
Could you share a little about the work you did with the Hawaiian Legacy Foundation Collection?
The majority of my time has been spent creating initial item level descriptive cataloging entries for the 684 videotapes in the first acquisition of the HLF collection. This means that in addition to performing basic inspections, identifying series, and assigning locations in the vault, I get to examine each tape individually to create new catalog records. Not only do I identify formats and transcribe labels, I also consult notes provided by the HLF archivist, watch HLF productions, and draft communications for vendors and our donor.
Was there anything about the videos you worked with that was surprising or unexpected?
I started working with the footage shot for Listen to the Forest because it was designated as the core of this project, but as I moved on to other productions I started to see the same names and places over and over. What emerged, rather than a series of individual documentaries on various topics, was a longer kind of narrative history, documenting the collective knowledge of a special hui, many of whom were respected kupuna, and situated in a very specific place. That realization of the larger context and mission of Hawaiian Legacy Foundation was wonderful.
You’ve just graduated from the Library and Information Sciences program at UH Mānoa, where are you headed now and what will you be doing there?
I’m going to Disneyland! Just kidding, after a short break back home on Big Island, I actually will be starting at the Richardson School of Law Library at UH Manoa in January. I’ll be the new acquisitions support specialist, which means I will assist the acquisitions and technical services librarian with adding and cataloging new materials into the collection. I’ll communicate with their vendors, place and receive orders, manage budget allocations, import records from OCLC… you get the idea. I’m really excited to learn about the Law school and the specific needs of their students, plus I’ll be working in an aspect of the LIS profession that is almost entirely new to me. It’s an adventure!
Now that you have worked as a Moving Image Archivist, what is your favorite archival media format and why?
Working with the HLF collection this year I’ve secretly been calling myself QueenBSP. Get it? Queen Bee…SP? It’s a bad pun, I know, but the majority of the collection actually consists of Betacam and Betacam SP video tapes and I’ve gotten particularly acquainted with the format, almost sentimentally attached! There’s something whimsical about holding up a tape that’s bigger than your face, and not coming from a creative media background, broadcast formats seem oddly foreign and exotic. Working with them was always fun. That being said, I think everyone who works here or any other moving image archive is particularly drawn to older formats, especially film. I remember returning from my summer internship and seeing all of the 16mm reels deposited by Hawaiian Airlines and flipping out. Also, I may or may not have taken a selfie in vault where all of the cans are stored. Don’t judge me, they’re so cool!
Finally, do you have any recommendations for Holiday-themed movies or TV shows that feature libraries, archives, or archival footage?
This is really hard. Aside from the obvious (Harry Potter series), or the nostalgic (Beauty and the Beast), my favorite library-featuring entertainment isn’t technically Holiday-themed at all. I feel like every year leading up to the annual Christmas special, BBC America runs a Doctor Who marathon, which is probably where I first saw the episode “Silence in the Library.” Even before I went to library school, that was one of my favorites. Now that I’ve spent so much time focusing on preservation, there’s an added level of enjoyment for me in watching a beloved sci-fi series interpret something mundane like integrated pest management as essentially a deadly swarm of flesh-eating book mites.