Monday, October 10, 2011

Now You Know

Jason's Disneyland Alamanc was created mainly with mail merge (and a formatting macro I created). But I had never used mail merge, or was aware of its capabilities, before I was trying to figure out how it might be possible to create a daily history of Disneyland on the evening of March 15, 2010 (a red-letter day in the history of Disneyland historiography). That night I played around around in Microsoft Word and, for the first time, output a rudimentary daily history of the Park.

But that's not what this post is about. Rather, my desire for such a history of Disneyland helped to move Richard Nixon's Presidential materials across the country. As a result of Congress amending the Presidential Recordings and Materials Preservation Act of 1974 (PRMPA), the National Archives was moving the Nixon Presidential Historical Materials from the Archives II facility in College Park, MD to the Nixon Library in Yorba Linda, CA--and I was in charge of the details. In August 2009, I had worked with a colleague on a way we might print the move labels for over 26,000 boxes, but I wasn't completely satisfied with how they looked from a Microsoft Access report. I knew that these labels would be permanently affixed to the boxes, and I wanted them to look right. We had some time, so I put it out of my mind.

March 16, 2010 (about two weeks before we were to begin putting the boxes on pallets, to then load on to the trucks), I came into work and told myself I needed to finally come to a decision about how to produce the move labels. I hadn't been at work long before I thought to myself, "mail merge!" It didn't take too much time to create a template and get my managers to sign off. These move labels were then produced and applied to the over 26,000 boxes (enough to fill 21 53' trailers) that traveled to California, supplying a Move ID for each box and its California shelf destination.

For many years to come most of the archival boxes at the Richard Nixon Presidential Library and Museum will bear labels produced from the same process that birthed Jason's Disneyland Almanac.