The Archivist Groove

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The Archivist Groove

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apr 23, 2009, 10:27 am

Our small university archives department is a small place, and I often find myself alone.

The silence is eerie.

What, if anything, do you listen to while at work? Do specific soundtracks seem to boost your productivity? Do they distract you? Or do you just prefer the noises your coworkers make unknowingly? What does your archives area sound like?

I'm in search of something beyond Michigan's NPR and whatever pops up on Pandora. Today it's been a mix of dance beats and Louis Armstrong.

apr 24, 2009, 9:19 am

John Mayer seems to treat me well, also.

Our intern left for the summer, so it's rather lonely.

apr 26, 2009, 9:52 am

We have been moving our Archives to a new location. The carpenter crew there listens to an "oldies" country station. What's really sad is that in my first career in the early 1990's, I worked at an oldies mix country station, which was a rather new format at the time. I only did it for about a year, but I know every single song and artist from the 1960s to the 1990s that their station plays. I don't know whether to laugh or cry.

But in the early mornings before anyone arrives, I tend to listen to Norah Jones, Tony Bennett, Nina Simone, and occasionally some stuff from the 1980s. Odd mix, I know.

jun 20, 2009, 3:06 pm

Our archives assistant uses Pandora to listen to some classical music. This type of music usually doesn't interfere with one' s concentration when working on a project or when one is talking with co-workers or patrons.

jun 20, 2009, 5:43 pm

Some people can have music in their ears while working on non-musical things, and it's possible they may even be listening to it, in a way. For me, however, music that has been written to say something (as opposed to simply sounding pleasant) cannot be treated this way - it's like having a small child tugging at your clothes, seeking attention.

Maybe it's my prejudice, but I suspect that if you can handle any kind of music in your ears it's an indicator that the music concerned, for you, is merely background noise, albeit one more acceptable than the intrusive ambient. In the same way as it's possible to be colour-blind, or have a defective sense of smell, without realising it, you may not be aware of what the composer wants to say.