Wednesday, May 25, 2011

The Easy Way To Refile Film, Salt Lake City

Copyright 2011, CABS for Reflections From the Fence

(Thanks to Linda McCauley of Documenting the Details, for the idea for this post.  Here is the answer to your question, Linda!)

I mentioned the other day that I had discovered a little trick to help speed up my refiling of film.  See here in the genie-mecca, you have to refile your own film.  And, I found it was taking a hunk of time to do so.  I mean, there is a mega bunch of film here!  Well that is why we come to the genie-mecca, for mega bunches of film.

Bank after bank, row after row, microfilm storage units, a LOT of storage units, as far as the eye can see!
Above: Looking down only PART of only ONE row, look at all those cabinets,
look at all those drawers, FULL of film!  Be still the researchers little beating heart!
Pull open a drawer, there ya go, the gold mine!  FILMS!  But, look at how many in just ONE drawer.
So, after you have found your film, taken it to your reader, found (hopefully) your person of interest and the record you desire, have obtained a copy of said record, you now have to return the film to the proper drawer, filed numerically, thank you very much.

First couple of hours, it is pretty easy, you are not tired, your eyes still focus.  No problem, find the film numbers on the end of the cabinets.

OK, got the right row??  Now, wander down the row and try to find the right drawer.  Where DID that film come from??

Which drawer??  Brain is starting to fog over, which drawer???
So, here is the little trick I discovered late the first afternoon.  It made the refiling almost painless.

Above:  Look real close, there is a second set of number/letters on these drawers.  See that 389??  That is the number assigned to this particular film cabinet.  Now, see the letters, A, B, C, D, E, F, G??  Those letters are assigned to a drawer.  So, when I take my film out of the drawer, before I close it, I jot down the number 389 and the drawer letter, say, F.  I have been writing the number right on my printed copy of my to do list.  It takes about 6 seconds to write down those key numbers and letters.  It saves me many times that when it is time to refile.  With that number I can walk right to the correct cabinet and with the letter I can pull open the right drawer in just a few seconds, no complicated thinking going on, zip, zap, fast!

I happened to meet a volunteer in the middle of a row, he was moving films, I was refiling.   He asked if he could be of assistance, I said, no, I just have to find the cabinet number I need.  He asked me, how did you learn that trick, someone show you??  I replied, nope, figured it out myself today.  He snickered a little and told me about a gal that had been coming to the library for 40 years and had never discovered this little trick.

Gotta say, I sure am glad it did not take me 40 years to figure it out, in 3 days of research it has already saved me a nice hunk of time.  Refiling - - not a big issue.

What film do I need next?  Lets think, hmmmm, how bout vital records from the state of Washington, ya, lets have a lookie see.



Barbara Poole said...

I'm glad you are so smart! Really, the photos are excellent as is your write-up. Don't forget to jot down the isle number (#11), because that is the first thing to look for. Nice piece.

TennLady said...

Well filing them should be a snap for you. It does look intimidating though. How many films have you found misfiled or not found because maybe they are misfiled?

Carol said...

Barbara, I have not seen aisle numbers, really. But, I can see those file cabinet numbers quite easily from the walkways (see first photo). Really, are there aisle numbers?? I'll look tomorrow and let cha know. (Day trip today, no library.)

TennLady, Filing, ya, It does come back, years of volunteering in the Westland FHC, memories and lessons learned. Actually, I have yet to go looking for a film and not found it in the drawer, and have not found a drawer with misfiled films. I know that will probably happen, but not yet.

I have not seen volunteers reviewing drawers for misfiled films, but, I have seen them moving films around. They have a row or so of films that are sorta out of order (and are marked on the cabinets thusly), came from the vault later, something, and they are incorporating them, which as you and I both know, means, you are gonna be moving a LOT of films, drawer to drawer, cabinet to cabinet.

So, very happy with the films, finding everything I need, with exception of one film requested from the vault, but that is a huge long story.

Susan (Nolichucky Roots) said...

Filing this away for when I get to Mecca! Great tip!

Linda McCauley said...

Now I see why it took a blog post to answer my little question!

Sounds like they should add this to their orientation. Glad you figured it out and shared it before I (hopefully) make the trip next year.

Amy Coffin, MLIS said...

I met a lady at the library who brought little refrigerator magnets in the shapes of different fruits. When she took a film, she put a magnet on the drawer. It made it easy for her to spot the drawer when she returned to the aisle.

She gave me a "lemon" to use and I have to say it was pretty handy.

Glad you found an easy system as well and it didn't take you 40 years!

Carol said...

Amy, have seen people doing that, but, I still need to try to remember what aisle, or row I need.

Barbara, you are right, there are aisle numbers, in my forth photo, it would be 11. DUH, I never saw that, being so intent on the film numbers in the HUGE font!

Cheri Hopkins aka You Go Girl #2 & Sweetwater Sherry said...

Great idea Carol, I use tiny colored magnets which work until some "smarty pants" moves them. Need to try out your system! Thanks for the tip, great meeting you today...You Go Genealogy Girl #2, Cheri

Michelle Goodrum said...

I did not know about the filing cabinet numbers and I've been there a few times - not 40 years worth though! LOL

I use yellow stickie notes to put on the drawer. I always have those with me.

Michelle Goodrum said...

Forgot to mention - all those pictures of microfilm cabinets, drawer and such have left me feeling a bit weak in the knees and light in the head.