The Archives Song

by Jeff Rosen 2004

performed by

The Off-Gassers


The Western Archives Institute - class of 2004

(click here to download or play the mp3 recording)

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The Archives Song

moderate reggae/calypso rhythm


At the archives they've got lots of stuff;

You write with pencil -- wear little white gloves;

Look to see what the people said;

Someday we'll all be dead.

I went down to the archives,
To learn about my old Aunt Sue;
Left my backpack outside the door;
My water bottle too.


They've got family papers and ar-ti-facts;
Old photos with chips and cracks;
All protected from U-V rays;
Saved for another day.

They've got rare books and man-u-scripts;
Cards and posters with spots and rips;
Old letters from every time and place,
Saved in a cool dark place.

(guitar solo)

So come on down to the archives;
We've got a shelf for you;
Make sure you give us the copyright;
Your old diaries too.

We'll accession you with a Deed of Gift*;
Legal papers to prevent a rift;
We'll write a record so you're easy to see;
Maybe an E.A.D.**

chorus x2

*Deed of Gift - the documents that establish legal and physical control over a donated archival collection.

**E. A. D. - Encoded Archival Description - a standardized catalog record for archival materials.

The Off-Gassers are:

Mark Allen, Maritime Museum of San Diego - vocals
Steve Chaney, Oracle Corporation - ukulele
Matt Oftedahl, Port of Vancouver (Washington) - kazoo
Jeff Rosen, Labor Archives - San Francisco State University - guitar & vocals
Sherman Seki, University of Hawaii - Archives & Manuscripts - lead guitar

-Very special thanks to Bayne Bentley and his colleagues at the Diocese of San Jose for sound recording and file conversion services.