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Adventures with Archives

A researcher on campus asked if I could help him track down an obscure database, “The Bronson Database” compiled by a Berkeley professor in 1982.

It sounded to me like the kind of thing that would live in a pile of floppy disks in somebody’s desk drawer (since it wasn’t listed in WorldCat at all), so today I started tracking down exactly whose desk drawer might have such a thing.

After a full day of exchanges with everyone from a SUNY librarian to an English Prof at Berkeley, a Berkeley archivist finally came through for me. As it turns out, one copy of the database does exist…

… in a file folder…

… in an archive…

… IN PUNCH-CARD FORMAT!

The archivist noted that while they do offer a photocopy service, it would probably be impractical in this instance, but that my researcher could travel out to look at the cards if he wanted to.

I love archivists. And I love the idea of a punch-card database (though I’m sure that will disappoint my researcher).

2 thoughts on “Adventures with Archives

  1. Yeah. An amusing proposition indeed. :-)

    I’m also amused by the idea that people could travel there to “look at” the cards (the archivist’s words).

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