David Farrell, University Archivist, University of California-Berkeley, The Bancroft Library


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David Farrell helps build and manage the archive collections of the University of California-Berkeley, which are the official and unofficial historical records of the university. Farrell says, "The archivists work closely with departmental and individual donors of records, with researchers who use our collections, and with library staff who are responsible for processing, cataloging, and preserving the collections."

Farrell focuses on the collection development side of the archive and has a public service role in responding to queries from researchers using the collections.

In A Day's Work:
A project he is currently working on provides a snapshot of Farrell's typical day. "I'm currently preparing an exhibition on Darwin [that] will open soon in our gallery," he says. It involves editing texts for labels, selecting materials and images, arranging for loans of items from campus museums, libraries and individuals, and communicating with the exhibition designer.

Farrell is also involved in coordinating a California Digital Library pilot project to archive campus and faculty websites, which gives him the opportunity to work closely with IT staff. "The campus is implementing a new digital records management system, so I provide an archivist's perspective on digital access."

Most Memorable Customer Encounter:
"During the ‘Nude Dude' craziness several years ago, when folks on and off campus were walking around without their clothes, I took a call from a customer in the library copy service. This flustered individual wanted me to know that the copy staff were all working naked. When I called, the supervisor actually argued about whether they had to wear their clothes at work!

I cited the campus nudity policy the Chancellor had been compelled to issue (a copy of which is in the archives), which says that the only persons allowed to go naked on campus are children under the age of 5 and persons appearing in activities sanctioned by a faculty member or academic department."

View From The Desk:
"I'm on the third floor of our newly renovated library, and what I see are the tops of trees and a little band of blue sky at the top, like a tree house."

Outside Interest:
"Hanging out with friends, hiking, reading, listening to music. I love ping pong and working in my garden."

If Not Econtent, Then What?
"Econtent is a relatively small part of my work. I'm mostly about history, academics, project management, serving the public-interesting and important work-and that's why I like it."