Internship Location: The Ohio State University Rare Books and Manuscripts Library
Internship Supervisor: Dr. Geoffrey Smith
Faculty Internship Advisor: Dr. Karen Gracy
Internship Goals and Objectives: As digital libraries and initiatives so often are projects to expose unique materials that might not have other extant copies, I believe an internship with the Rare Books and Manuscripts Library will give me knowledge and a deeper understanding on the classification and organization of such materials.
I seek to utilize the internship to further my MLIS education in areas that I was not able to study. In this case, I hope to learn more about rare books librarianship, the development of finding aids, and issues of archives such as provenance and striking balances between getting material accessible to researchers with a sufficient amount of supporting information without wasting valuable resources on documentation for collections that might not require it.
Gaining fundamental knowledge of the sorts of organizations that are more and more causing their materials to be available digitally I think is important to understand not only the nature of digital libraries and curation of digital objects, but their corresponding analog materials. This internship would provide an interesting ability to work in an organization that bridges the gap in some ways between library and archive as well.
The project itself will be dealing with the organization and description of the manuscripts and correspondence of Hugh Nissenson. I would be developing a finding aid for the collection and work with various staff members in the library for the description and cataloging of the collection. I would also be meeting with Geoff Smith on a regular basis for mini-workshops and lectures about issues pertaining to rare books librarianship.
August 4, 2014 (Monday), 8:30am – 5:30pm:
Hours Completed: 9.00
Accumulated On-Site Hours Completed: 9.00
I met with Geoffrey Smith in his office in the Rare Books and Manuscripts Library where he gave me an overview of his responsibilties. We discussed issues pertaining to rare books librarianship and archives including copyright concerns, patron access issues and handling of delicate materials. Dr. Smith described the collection I will be working to organize and ingest into the library. The previous day the library had received the collection manuscripts, research and correspondence of Hugh Nissenson who passed away in December of 2013. His wife donated his papers to the library for preservation.
Dr. Smith gave me a tour of the department and introduced me to other staff members who I will be working with including Cate Putirskis who is the special collections processing coordinator. I will be working with her extensively during the project while organizing the Nissenson collection. Dr. Smith also provided me with a tour of the closed stacks of the library, including the vault which houses some irreplacable and fascinating items.
Finally Geoff left me with the processing manuals for the department as well as scholarly articles related to the handling of archival materials and background on Hugh Nissenson to prepare me for the rest of the internship.
Hours Completed: 9.00
Accumulated On-Site Hours Completed: 18.00
I met with Geoffrey Smith in his office in the morning to touch base and get started on working with the Hugh Nissenson collection itself. The collection is composed of 33 boxes of material shipped from Hugh Nissenson’s home in New York City by his wife to the Rare Books and Manuscripts Library in Columbus. My initial task is to open up each of the boxes and provide an introductory documentation on the contents and status of the box.
I processed the first 21 boxes of material and noted significant dates and date ranges present in the materials, any conservation needs that might need to be taken into consideration, any realia present, and the general subject matter of the materials. This was challenging at times because Mr. Nissenson did not appear to use a significant organizational system and in many cases the boxes were full of loose papers with no discernable rhyme or reason.
Once this first step is complete, Dr. Smith, myself and the Special Collections Processing Coordinator Cate Putirskis will meet to determine how best to organize and ingest the collection. Some initial thoughts are to collocate the manuscripts, research and drafts for Mr. Nissenson’s various novels and books, and also to chronologically order all his correspondence.
Next week I should finish the final 12 boxes and work on the next step of processing.
August 27, 2014 (Wednesday), 8:30am – 5:30pm:
Hours Completed: 9.00
Accumulated On-Site Hours Completed: 27.00
As is becoming the course of the typical internship day I met with Geoffrey Smith in his office to touch base and discuss any issues and questions concerning the internship. We discussed issues concerning what exactly consitutes material to be saved in the collection. For instance should books used for research in the course of writing the Nissenson’s novels be kept in the archival collection? What artifactual realia is worthy of keeping and what is just junk? Etc.
For much of my shift I processed the final 12 boxes of material. These followed the same pattern as the first 21, having little in the way of organization, with some exceptions. I continued to take notes on the contents, conservation status and date periods of this material
After finishing taking a first pass of notes on the materials, Dr. Smith and I met with Cate Putirskis to begin discussion of how the material will be organized in series and sub-series. The collection will be broadly separated into a number of categories including: published works, personal life, creative non-published works. These then will have separate sub-series. For instance, published works will have sub series of drafts, finished manuscripts, research notes, etc. On September 3rd, this plan will continue to be developed.
September 3, 2014 (Wednesday), 8:30am – 4:30pm:
Hours Completed: 8.00
Accumulated On-Site Hours Completed: 34.00
I had my typical meeting with Geoffrey Smith in the morning where we discussed more issues related to the Nissenson collection. The strategy for tackling the rather unorganized pile of boxes that I’m working with is going to be extracting material relating to specific series in the archive to winnow down materials and start collecting items into acid-free folders and hollinger boxes. To start this process we decided to first collect all correspondence. Organizationally, Geoff was of the opinion that arranging it alphabetically by name of correspondent and then chonologically within each correspondent would be the best way to go. We also talked about some conservation issues such as taking the journals that are composed of loose single sheets of paper and possibly binding them into one single volume (or volumes).
I conferred with Cate, the special collections processing coordinator, about Geoff and I’s plan for the correspondence and she provided some more grounded advice concerning it and how she and her department would normally proceed, given the state of the collection. Since there was so little existing organization, and nothing already in folders, she recommended arranging the materials in only chronological order, and chunking it by decade. Thus all letters from the 1960s would be in one set of folders, though they wouldn’t be arranged chronologically from January 1st to December 31st. Arranging the correspondence in our original format would have involved a tremendous amount of time that would have left insufficient processing time for the rest of the collection. I’d like to explore going back and doing more with the correspondence, time permitting at the end of the internship.
Over the course of my shift I pulled correspondence from one and a half boxes of the thirty-three in the collection. I picked boxes I knew to be mostly or entirely correspondence to provide a good start. This will continue until I’ve pulled out all of the easily obtained correspondence, and then as I continue to pull out say, manuscripts or journals, I’ll continue to file correspondence as I find it.
September 11, 2014 (Thursday), 8:30am – 4:30pm:
Hours Completed: 8.00
Accumulated On-Site Hours Completed: 42.00
Geoff was not in yet when I came into my internship so I proceeded to to the special collections processing area where I have been working and continued with the phase of the project which I started last week. I continued to pull large amounts of correspondence from the boxes and arrange it chronologically by decade. Large amounts were pulled from Nissenson’s life in the 1960s, 1970s and 1990s.
I also decided to change my strategy in the processing of materials. Instead of pulling one type of material from a given box and then setting it aside to process the rest later, I believe going forward I’ll make sure to completely empty all boxes before proceeding to the next, thus saving me from having to handle each box a number of times. Now that I have a handle of the series and sub-series of the collection, I think this will be far more feasible. Next week I intend to go over these plans with Geoff and consult with him on miscellaneous items found in some of the boxes that I do not know what to do with.
Hours Completed: 9.00
Accumulated On-Site Hours Completed: 51.00
Geoff was not in during this shift so I had no morning meeting with him, nor did he check in on me during the shift. I instead continued working on my project according to the most current version of the processing plan, updated during my last shift.
I processed an additional three boxes worth of materials, separating out the contents into their different series and sub-series. Principally these materials were: Personal (journal), Personal (correspondence), Personal (children), Published works (“The Tree of Life”), Published Works (“My Own Ground”), and Published Works (“A Song of Earth”). I also set aside a number of items for Geoff’s review next week (including most strangely, a dog tooth from the Nissenson family pet that fell out of said dog’s mouth). Also of note, a special sub-series of the correspondence is being separated; all letters between Nissenson and noted author Cynthia Ozick, author of topics on Judaism and feminism. The two authors appear to have been great supporters of each others work.
Now that a significant amount of material has begun to coalesce, Cate has allowed me to use shelf space in the processing room for the organization of the materials. The conclusion of my shift was spent cleaning up and getting things organized in this space.
Hours Completed: 9.00
Accumulated On-Site Hours Completed: 60.00
I met with Geoff this morning to discuss some of the more interesting finds of the collection, such as the Ozick correspondence. We also discussed some of the content of his novels, of which I have so far read two (“The Tree of Life” and “My Own Ground”). I let Geoff know that I wanted to discuss some oddball items that I was unsure about how to categorize. He let me know he’d be down to the processing area later in the day to look at the materials.
I continued to try and work on more challenging boxes that contained largely loose papers in need of separation into their respective subseries. Principally I worked on materials related to “The Tree of Life”. Materials related to this book had some issues as a large amount of artwork was created for the book, and at this point in time, Nissenson was drawing a great deal. While most of the journal entries are on standard 8.5 by 11 inch paper, some of the entries from this time period are on large sheets of paper with big sketches and artwork included. These will prove a challenge when it comes time to archive the materials. One and a half more boxes were processed.
Geoff did come down to meet with me about some of the stranger materials, including such highlights as what appears to be a lock of hair, a tooth that fell out of the family dog’s mouth, photos from medical procedures, and Nissenson’s passport from I believe the 1970s. I now have a better idea of what to keep and what can be pitched. I’m also learning how useful the “Personal – Miscellaneous” sub-series can be for many of these strange items.
Hours Completed: 9.00
Accumulated On-Site Hours Completed: 69.00
I stopped by Geoff’s office in the morning to check in and let him know about my progress, but he was already engaged in a meeting with other faculty members so I proceeded down to the Special Collections Processing area and continued working on my project. I continued to process boxes of materials, dividing the contents into their respective series and sub-series. Materials contained in these boxes were at tights particularly troublesome as they were either heavily creased (essentially just handfuls of paper jammed into the corners of boxes) or difficult to identify, or both.
After lunch I decided to change tack and instead start to process the separated material into more of a finished format. I asked Cate to show me how to properly label folders and boxes and she set me up with the proper stamps and showed me the format in which this process is done. She also explained to me a bit more about the stages of processing, ie. that collecting the materials into folders occurs first, but boxing and labeling said boxes is one of the last steps of working with the collection.
For the rest of the day I worked to get my sorted material into properly formatted folders and get those folders in chronological order. I managed to process all the correspondence, all the journal entries, and all the materials associated with “The Tree of Life” and “My Own Ground.” Next week I intend to finish off getting the materials for “The Song of Earth” and one other novel, the name of which is evading me right now. I’d also like to start labeling the folders for the many short stories and speeches that exist in the collection, as that pile is rather large. At present, I believe there are just over twenty boxes still left to process.
Hours Completed: 9.00
Accumulated On-Site Hours Completed: 78.00
Geoff is on vacation this week, so I skipped checking in with him at his office and headed straight down to the special collection processing area to get to work. Considering my lack of experience with archives, being able to continually evolve my plan for working with this collection has been incredibly important and today was a continuance of that objective. I started off by processing two more boxes of materials, dividing out materials related to Nissenson’s novels and collections of short stories, from his correspondence and journals. For the first time, I also came into contact with a large amount of his short stories. This presented a challenge as two the major series for the collection are “Published Works” and “Unpublished Work” and I honestly didn’t know what short stories had actually been published and which had never even been attempted, or been presented to publications but never accepted. Geoff gave me a short bibliography to work with at the start of the internship but that only included his longer book-length publications. Now I’m setting aside a subset of material to tackle at the end where I’ll have to do some research and determine what was published and what wasn’t.
Also today I tried to finally get the pile of remaining boxes more organized and manageable. I was still feeling overwelmed by the sheer amount of material left, but today decided to divide out anything that will be easily dealt with and leave it for last. This includes boxes of books, including Nissenson’s book, books he used for research, and I’m guessing books he just had laying around his study when everything was packaged off and sent to us, and also all of his personal journals and datebooks. These compose a hefty amount of the total collection and after processing three boxes today and dividing out all that easy material, there is now a much more manageable 13 boxes of material that is more of a challenge. For the rest of my internship, I’m hoping three shifts will be devoted to finishing off the challenging materials, two shifts for the easy material, and three shifts to finalize organization and write up the finding aid. I imagine this plan will continue to evolve and change in the final weeks to come as well.
Hours Completed: 9.00
Accumulated On-Site Hours Completed: 87.00
I met with Geoff this morning to update him on progress over the past two weeks. We discussed my progress and talked about some issues brought up in 75 hour internship check-in. For instance, he did state that digital material will be accessioned into a collection if that is the original format for the material. I let him know that I thought the more recent novels of Nissenson were born digital and did not have hard copies. I later found out at least in one case this wasn’t true, still not sure about the last book he wrote before passing, “The Pilgrim.” I as of yet have not found anything pertaining to that book whatsoever.
I managed to process an additional five boxes worth of material that required more intensive checking. Roughly eight boxes worth of papers left to be gone through. Found a large amount of material coming from the writing of “The Days of Awe,” along with a number of manuscripts and final copies of “The Tree of Life.” In terms of the final copies, there were nine, all seemingly identical. I confimed with Cate that it was generally not necessary to keep all the copies and that generally one would be fine, maybe two if Geoff requests it. One copy processed and foldered, while remaining eight are being held until we confer with Geoff.
Hoping to process remaining problematic boxes of papers in next two shifts leaving remaining five shifts for final labeling of boxes/folders, and processing of remaining monographic materials, along with the writing of the finding aid.
Hours Completed: 9.00
Accumulated On-Site Hours Completed: 96.00
Geoff was out for the week, so I went directly to the special collections processing area to continue work on the problematic boxes of papers. Surprisingly, I managed to process all remaining boxes of materials that I expected to take two shifts. There were few surprises in the boxes. I foud the last journal remaining journal entries, which now provides a holistic perspective on the author from the 1970s to the 2010s. I’m hoping for next week to focus on some problematic materials that I set aside for last. Principally among these are a number of short stories; I’m unsure of whether or not they were published, which will determine the series in which they are categorized. Also, there are three photo album/scrapbooks that are in pretty terrible shape, and I am unsure how Geoff would like to handle them. They contain lots of clippings about Nissenon’s work, but have things just shoved into them. Removing all the materials would take a considerable amount of time. These sorts of problematic materials will require Geoff and Cate’s attention next week.
Hours Completed: 9.00
Accumulated On-Site Hours Completed: 105.00
Monday of this week I received an email from Cate informing myself and Geoff that a new and large collection would be coming shortly to the special collections processing area and would require the space that I was presently taking up in the storage room. Cate left detailed instructions on what I was to due with the Nissenson materials I was processing, so the first half of my shift was spent assembling white cartons and transferring materials to them for storage in a set of shelving that I had been using. I was unsure whether everything was going to fit, but luckily the entire collection condensed nicely. This also gave me a chance to work on foldering some collections that I had otherwise been putting off (eg. drawings his children did when they were young, photocopies and clippings of articles, etc.)
Once I had the collection suitably organized, I gathered all remaining materials for processing on a cart and started working on them. This mostly included some final remaining hanging file folders full of papers. I managed to process about half of those over the remainder of my shift. Geoff also accompanied me down at the start of my shift and let me know the aforementioned scrapbooks could simply be placed in an enclosure and otherwise be left as is.
For my next shift I hope to finish the final bit of processing and then proceed to start labeling/boxing process for all the accumulated folders now housed in cartons.
Hours Completed: 9.00
Accumulated On-Site Hours Completed: 114.00
I anticipated this shift would involve finishing to process the remaining hanging file folders and beginning to start the inventory and placing of folders into Hollinger boxes. This didn’t go quite as planned. After finished to process the last remaining file folders, I talked to Cate about the next step for the collection. She let me know that I still had more processing to do than I had realized. The remainder of my shift was spent dealing with materials that I been putting off, much like what I did the previous week. This shift I spent getting all the photographs into sleeved pages, getting the various pieces of visual art into a variety of different sized folders, up to and including those that will require an entire drawer, and handling the journal entries that Nissenson did on large pieces of art paper during a period in his life where he seemed to channel his visually artistic side more. Working with the photographs was also my first oppurtunity to wear white gloves in the processing department, which was fairly exciting for me.
Cate furthermore let me know that all the many datebooks and bound journals that Nissenson kept would also need to be foldered. Thus my plan for next shift would be to finish foldering all materials and get the collection in its final arrangement. At present, the cartons and their contents are very loosely in the order in which I hope them to be, but next week I’d like to have them all in the order in which they will actually show up in the inventory.
Hours Completed: 9.00
Accumulated On-Site Hours Completed: 123.00
This morning had some suprising scheduling issues crop up. Rebecca Jewett, the assistant curator for Rare Books and Manuscripts, and someone who has been very helpful to me informationally about the department, let me know that Geoff won’t be in the office much for the next month or two. Thus, I had no meeting with him this morning and emailed him after my shift to let him know what would still be required on his end. As I have been working with Cate quite a bit, and the processing for this collection is nearing completion, I don’t anticipate this being a problem. The finding aid will require his input, but that should be able to be coordinated over email. Cate was also out of the office, so I was unable to confer with her either on some issues that I wanted to discuss.
What I did manage to do however was folder all datebooks, journals and sketchpads, which was about 90% of the remaining unprocessed material. Still left are some oddball realia, two scrapbooks that Cate has already said can be placed in enclosures (I just need said enclosures) and one oversized piece of artwork. During the remainder of my shift, I did manage to successfully organize all the letter and legal sized material in their cartons and finalize the order for what will become the inventory. The collection stands at eighteen cartons, and about fifteen to twenty oversized folders.
The organization for the collection is broken up into four primary series: Published Works, Unpublished Works, Professional Papers, and Personal Papers, in that order. Organization for these series varied slightly. For Published and Unpublished Works, all material was organized chronologically. This will give researchers a feel for how Nissenson’s work progressed throughout his lifetime and through each major work. In the Unpublished Works section, there was a significant number of folders of Untitled/Undated material that I could not identify whatsoever. For the Professional and Personal Papers, the materials were first organized by sub-series. Professional papers mostly had speeches he gave, but also reviews of other works, commentary on his work and other sub-series. Personal papers had a great number of sub-series, the bulk of which were his prodigious looseleaf journal, and his many datebooks, bound journals for scrawled notes. These are respectively labeled as “journal” and “journals” which hopefully won’t provide too much confusion. A great deal of the Personal and Professional papers were undated, so these were alphabetized by title when no doubt was found, but otherwise also arranged chronologically. All of this should become evident in the finding aid/inventory.
After emailing Geoff I also emailed Cate to try and ensure an appointment for my next shift, and I need to be trained on the software that Special Collections Processing uses to create inventories. For the next two of my final three shifts I hope to finish labeling the folders (filling in the collection/box/folder number) and using the software to create the inventory. My final shift I hope to create the introduction and scope note for the finding aid. The only other part of the collection not touched by me are all the published monographs and serials that were amongst his papers. Geoff and Cate have both mentioned that they would simply be cataloged into the general collection and I believe they will be outside my purview in this internship.
Hours Completed: 9.00
Accumulated On-Site Hours Completed: 132.00
Having not heard back from Geoff I decided to head right down to the special collections processing area so that I could meet with Cate and begin training in the use of ArchiveSpace. Cate had already created a collection in the software for me to use and after getting an account with the proper authorizations, Cate guided me through the use of the program. After creating the four series (Published Works, Unpublished Works, Professional Papers, Personal Papers) I commenced with labeling the folders with their collection/box/folder number and inputting them into ArchiveSpace.
Of the eighteen cartons of materials I processed ten of them, which turned into thirty-three Hollinger boxes, and succeeded in hitting my goal for the day. I plan on finishing to process the remaining eight boxes next week and hopefully deal with the larger folders, mostly containing art, as well. During my last shift I still intend to work on the scope note and introduction.
Hours Completed: 9.00
Accumulated On-Site Hours Completed: 141.00
As Geoff was still out of the office this week, I went directly to the Special Collections Processing Area to continue to work on the same processes that I had started last week. Namely, entering the contents of the Nissenson collection into ArchiveSpace and labeling the folders in which the materials are housed. Of the final eight cartons of materials (seven containing leter size material, one containing legal size), all were entered into the inventory, labelled with box/folder/collection numbers and rehoused in Hollinger boxes. Following this I worked with Cate to find and utilize appropriate housings for all the remaining material. There were a variety of pieces of visual art in folders ranging in size that needed to have boxes, and also added to the inventory. This was accomplished along with housings for some other large or unusually sized material. For instance, two scrapbooks that had a large amount of paper and clippings shoved into the front cover. The papers not actually inside the scrapbook pages were foldered and both the folders and scrapbooks were placed in the closest sized box available, and surrounding with tissue paper to prevent shifting. Large sketchbook/journals were placed in larger Hollinger boxes with tissue paper placed in the side, to again prevent shifting.
At the conclusion of the shift, virtually all material was housed and entered into ArchiveSpace for a complete inventory. I discussed with Cate my remaining duties necessary to complete the processing of the collection and the remaining work to be done on the finding aid, in particular; this ends up being all the notes. The finding aid will require notes for the series and sub-series, as well as scope, content, and biographical notes. These will be completed during my final shift next Wednesday, December 3rd. Also, I intend to meet with Geoff on Tuesday, when he has told me that he will be in, to discuss the conclusion of the internship, and a small amount of material that I’d like him to look over. This includes some personal documents (health records, passport, prescriptions), sundry items of questionable intellectual value (a homemade “Happy Birthday” sign made by his kids, a damaged Father’s Day book) or items that would require a tremendous amount of preservation work for little potential gain (maps used for research, that are badly folded, heavily taped, or crumbling and that could easily be replaced or are commonly available).
Hours Completed: 9.00
Accumulated On-Site Hours Completed: 150.00
During my final shift with my internship I initially went directly down to the special collections processing area to meet with Cate concerning training for adding the various notes to the inventory in ArchiveSpace. She gave me the documentation for the process and afterwards I went to Geoff’s office to meet with him concerning the the sundry items mentioned at the end of the previous post. We discussed what still needed to be wrapped up for the internship and what had been accomplished. Afterwards we went back down to the processing area and luckily most of the sundry items were able to be elminated. We did end up keeping a passport of Nissenson’s, and some photographs that I had previously overlooked, in addition to a solitary audio cassette tape labeled “Jimmy Nissenson.” After Geoff departed I filed those items in their appropriate locations and updated the inventory in order to reflect the changes. A few documents were given to Geoff so that he could check with Marilyn Nissenson (the author’s wife) about how to handle them. These were generally medical documents, of little intellectual value for our purposes that could most likely simply be destroyed.
Following this, I started work on inserting the appropriate notes into the inventory to make it a more complete finding aid. After some missteps, Cate gave me some additional guidance on the procedure and I finished the process. I started at her recomendation with a bottom-up approach, inserting scope/contents notes in each sub-series and then parent-series, moving back up to the collection level. The collection had scope/contents notes in addition to a number of other descriptive fields including notes on the processing agent, biographical, preferred citation style, and others which will all be viewable in the attached version of the finding aid submitted with the conclusion of the internship. The remainder of my shift was spent editing the notes for clarity and fixing mistakes made. While Cate let me know that the finding aid would not be immediately available for public view due to the processing workflow of the department, a copy of it would somehow be made available for my internship, which I still have to obtain at this time.
Assessment of Learning Experience
My goals for this internship were based around my need to work with actual collections and learning what challenges can be posed in their processing. Namely, I sought to experience the challenge in striking a balance between sufficient processing for researcher needs while also dealing with archival backlogs. In addition, I sought to gain experience in the development of finding aids and the ingest of archival material, along with issues of provenance, copyright and donor relations. I belive the internship was a success in that all of these goals were met and experienced. I learned a great deal about the concept of “more product, less process” and how it relates to archival processing workflows. My initial expectations on just how much organization the Nissenson papers would get was quickly scaled back as I realized just how long a highly organized collection can take to process. My initial expectation was to get all of Nissenson’s corespondence organized by correspondent and then chronologically. Had I gone this route, I would likely be still working on that task well after graduation, without having touched any of the other documents in the collection. Developing the finding aid was fascinating, and using the information taken from each section of the collection to build up to a collection level description was an interesting means of distilling what I had learned by working with the collection.
As I am most interested in getting analog materials in unique collections available digitally, the internship was illustrative in the degree of time that can be spent organizing and describing a collection, without having even gotten to the point of collection-wide digitization. I was surprised at the degree to which archives have such large backlogs and are endeavoring to simply get the material available for potential researchers. Clearly wide digitization of such collections is most likely beyong the scope of a typical archives budget and staffing constraints.
The internship continued to reinforce the need for good technology skills in the profession, and an understanding of electronic best practices. Working with ArchiveSpace, a fairly new product in the market, and the numerous possible bugs in it’s relatively young code reiniforced the need to know as much about the tools we’re using in the profession as is feasible, so as to be able to adapt and fix them. More than ever I would like to increase my education about HTML/CSS/Javescript/SQL/Ruby/Java, a goal which signifies the next major step in my education.
I would recommend other potential interns to familiarize themselves with the important documents of the organizaiton they will be working with, while also researching best practices for the field at large. This can help understand where the expectations of the field in general interesect with your worksite in particular and better prepare your expectation going in. This also has the obvious benefit of preparing the intern for the tasks they’ll be working on, by familiarizing them with policies and procedures.
Overall I found the internship to be very useful for my education, and I found it very rewarding to work in an archives environment, as opposed to a library environment, which is what all of my professional and educational experience has dealt with thus far. Learning about the specific challenges that archives deal with was rewarding, in terms of donor and patron relations, dealing with backlogs, and the differences between cataloging in a library setting on an item level, and describing series and collections in an archives setting. I defintely realized that ongoing education is a necessary component of entering the profession and that the master’s degree only provides a baseline of information that must be continually built upon over the course of looking for and engaging in employment.