Monday, July 16, 2012

NIGR: Day 1

I can’t believe today has only been one day long. Six content-rich presentations delivered with rapid-fire speed, NARA, Library of Congress (LOC), dealing with security at federal buildings, trying to remember the names of 41 other attendees (well, ok, I knew 3 or 4 already)… and now I still need to figure out what documents I want to order tomorrow.

Today’s take-away: just getting an understanding—or the beginning of an understanding—of what all is at NARA and LOC, how/where to find descriptions and finding aids, how to drill down to find the materials themselves, what all is online (whether info or digitized materials), and constant reminders of how to think outside the box when looking for info on people, places, and events. 

Things I’m still struggling with: The heat, occasionally. How to get from point A to point B (poor sense of direction!) Where in NARA and LOC I can take a tote bag or papers and where I can’t. 

Things that surprised me: How beautiful our classroom is (crystal chandeliers!); it’s well-air-conditioned too, thank goodness. The small size of the cafeteria at NARA (um, tad disappointed in options there). A lecture on military headstone records can be interesting. The Library of Congress takes the world’s worst ID photos; seriously,  makes the DMV photographer look like Annie Liebowitz. 

Things I wish I had known: I should have brought a lanyard for the two clip-on name tags I have to wear (awkward!). The Genie Guide to NARA is available in paperback—I’d bought it in hardcover. (PS—I’m glad I brought it with me on the trip; I was using it last night to refine one of my research plans.)

Tomorrow’s line-up includes military records (one of my weak points) and an evening at the DAR Library.


  1. Hope you got to the Round Room in LOC - we sat for several minutes in awe (and catching our breath) last year. Small convenience-type store two blocks away has good selection, if it's nice enough to walk (out of door and straight ahead on the corner).

  2. Ugliest photo ever taken of me was at LOC. I'm laughing. You're making me want to go!