The public service staff of Special Collections and Archives work closely with researchers daily. We regularly share stories here about research in Special Collections and Archives that yielded successful outcomes. By doing so, we hope to further expose the wide variety of research that our collections support and to encourage others to ask us for assistance. You can reach us at firstname.lastname@example.org or 949-824-3947.
SUCCESS STORY 6
WHO: Erit Maor, Graduate Student in the Master’s program in Urban and Regional Planning, School of Social Ecology.
THE CHALLENGE: Erin Maor did her Master’s thesis on “place attachment” and differences in resident perceptions of place attachment between a traditional tract design city (Fountain Valley, CA) and a master-planned community (Irvine, CA). She came to the reading room to look at materials about the City of Irvine and, in particular, about Ray Watson, former chief planner for the Irvine Company and eventually the President and CEO of the Irvine Company. We were able to show her a wide range of relevant materials, including the “Raymond L. Watson papers (MS-R120).”
ASSISTANCE PROVIDED: Over a period of several months, Erit Maor did detailed research with our collections. We also involved her in a number of projects here. Yvonne Wilson was working as curator of a new exhibition for the second floor lobby “Irvine: The Vision, The Plan, the Promise.” We asked Erit if she would like to work on the exhibit case that was to focus on Watson’s contributions to the development of the City of Irvine. She accepted and did an outstanding job, in collaboration with Yvonne. We were also negotiating with Mr. Watson for additional materials to be added to the Raymond L. Watson papers (MS-R120). He wanted to come to UCI to see how his papers were being used. We invited Erit to come to the presentation that Dawn Schmitz and Steve MacLeod gave to Mr. and Mrs. Watson. Mr Watson agreed to give the remainder of his papers to UCI and he also gave money to establish the Raymond L. Watson Library Fund in support of the Libraries’ Regional History collections. We were also able to facilitate a meeting with Mr. Watson for Erit Maor, where she was able to interview him and ask questions directly relevant to her thesis.
POSITIVE RESOLUTION: Erit Maor completed her thesis and graduated in the Spring 2011. Her work in the library and the many additional opportunities we gave her to work on other related projects assisted her tremendously in the research she completed for her thesis.
MORAL: This story documents our efforts at knowing our collections, having a commitment to user-centered services, and thinking creatively about how students might best be able to assist, as well. In this case, a number of successful collaborations were achieved.