A professional archivist, Mannon says that anyone can apply the concepts necessary to best illuminate one’s life story. Her focus is on helping people identify and care for the written documents, photographs, memorabilia and digital files that reflect one’s lifestyle and viewpoint. “Creating a ‘personal archive’ should be a pleasurable and rewarding experience. I offer the professional concepts necessary to properly organize, describe and preserve materials, but the book is really intended to break through jargon and demystify archives. This book helps you to have fun thinking about your life and what you want to leave for the next generation.”
"The Unofficial Family Archivist" is organized into eight sections that discuss preservation;
The book is peppered with photographs and sample personal and community collections. Mannon shares her professional knowledge and makes it approachable with personal stories that often include a touch of humor. For example, she shares the story of her four-year-old niece who leaves messages on her answering machine that say, “Hello? Helloooo! HELLOOO!! Hello?” Wishing to remember how she laughs when she hears the little voice, Mannon discusses the desirability of saving a recording of it.
As food for thought, Mannon notes, “in this fast paced era there is an abundance of information. Some professionals have said that we are living in a new Dark Age. We are moving away from recorded data that we can hold in our hand and see with our naked eye in favor of digital documents. If we don’t take the time to think about how we will save this information for the future, it will disappear.” "The Unofficial Archivist" discusses how we can ensure that what is important to us is saved for our lifetime and for our descendants with only a moderate amount of effort and a little consideration.
“My consulting work began with cultural institutions,”
In addition to consulting, Mannon runs workshops including a program called Preserving Memories that provides information to individuals with family papers about how to care for them. For the past three years, Mannon has also helped individuals on a one-to-one basis, offering her expertise by bringing her consulting services to individuals. “The records people keep in their homes are not only important to them, but also may have community significance,”
"The Unofficial Family Archivist: A guide to Creating and Maintaining Family Papers, Photographs, and Memorabilia"
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ArchivesInfo encourages cultural heritage organizations to work collaboratively with local governments, businesses, and individuals who keep records in order to identify archives and plan for their care.