campus news & events

One Month, One Suitcase, and a Once-in-a-Lifetime Opportunity

College Archivist Kelli Bogan heads to England through Rotary International

NEW LONDON, N.H. — Rain boots, dress shoes, sneakers, two uniforms, enthusiasm, and lots of energy; these are the things that Colby-Sawyer College archivist, Kelli Bogan, will need to fit in a single suitcase for her month-long visit to England.

On Sept. 26, Bogan, a Sunapee resident, will depart to visit southeastern England for four weeks as a part of the Rotary International Group Study Exchange (GSE) program. Each year, Rotary International selects five professionals between the ages of 25 and 40 from southern New Hampshire and Vermont to spend four to six weeks abroad learning how their vocations are practiced in other countries through tours, observation and exchanging ideas.

As an archivist at the Susan Colgate Cleveland Library and Learning Center, Bogan spends most of her time reviewing, organizing and scanning the college's historical documents into the digital library, Haystack, as well as assisting students in using the archives for research. For the next month, however, Bogan will leave her quiet home under the vaulted ceilings of the Colby-Sawyer Archives to shadow English archivists through the halls of Canterbury Cathedral, Windsor Castle, and numerous other sites where she will experience and learn the varying approaches the world has to archiving historical documents.

When asked whether she anticipated any radical differences between how her career is practiced in the United Sates and how archivists work in England, Bogan mentioned that there is one significant difference that she hopes to observe. As opposed to the United States' method of organizing documents into a structured collection, Bogan explains that the European approach to dealing with historical documents is to interfere with them as little as possible. She explains, “They might do some preservation on (the documents), like removing staples and paperclips, but they don't change the order that it came to them in. Their philosophy is that they are the gatekeepers of the information, and they don't feel that they should be making the judgment calls on how it should be organized.”

Bogan will have plenty of opportunities to see if this approach to archiving is practiced in many places, as she will visit several different archives each week. In addition to experiencing England as an archivist through tours of libraries and national galleries, Bogan and her fellow GSE members will learn about the culture by staying with several different host families, attending events like a town crier competition, touring Parliament and meeting with other chapters of Rotary International to share information about New England.

Although she will have very little free time between presentations, attending cultural events, taking tours through numerous English libraries, and bouncing from one host family to the next, Bogan still feels excited about her trip.

She admits, “It's going to be busy, but it's going to be amazing,” and goes on to explain, “I've heard from other people who have gone that you don't sleep, ever.” It seems as if maybe Bogan should plan a little extra room in her suitcase to pack a month's-supply of coffee, right alongside her enthusiasm and rain boots.

-Jessica K. McLavey '10

Jessica K. McLavey is an English major and an intern in College Communications at Colby-Sawyer College.