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From The Archives!

Posted on January 23, 2015 by in The OFI Blog

The following is an excerpt from the National Museum of American History (NMAH) Archives Center Fall 2014 Intern Report by Alison Oswald. Alison and her colleagues have served as mentors to many visiting interns over the years – you can read about the experiences of the most recent Archives Center interns below:

The following is from the Fall 2014 report from Archives Center at the National Museum of American History:

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“The most rewarding aspect of this internship was the connections I made with the Archives Center staff. They provided me with useful insight regarding the archival profession. It is these experiences that you cannot learn in the classroom, which ultimately makes them very fulfilling.” – Kyle Powlina

The Archives Center hosts undergraduate interns who are interested in exploring the archival profession and graduate students who are pursuing course work for a degree in library, archives, and information science or public history. By providing actual experience and training with MARC cataloging, reference service, audio-visual archiving, the Archivists’ Toolkit, research, and digitization, we are connecting the theoretical knowledge with the practical hands-on knowledge that all budding archivists need. The Archives Center remains a committed partner in educating, training, and fostering the archival profession. Our internship program is closely connected to the classroom and coursework for many who are enrolled in information and library science programs.

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“Overall, the experience has been wholly satisfying. I have achieved my learning objectives, developed a rapport with the wonderful archives staff, and made real connections, both personal and professional, with the Archives Center holdings.” – Marlin Olivier

The Archives Center hosted two interns for the fall 2014 semester, Marlin Olivier and Kyle Powlina. Both candidates were from the University of Maryland’s iSchool at College Park and completed the independent archival field study. The Archives Center worked with Dr. Michael Kurtz who directed the field study at Maryland. Olivier joined us to assist with a major metadata conversion and enhancement project to make the Archives Center’s EAD-encoded finding aids comply with guidelines. Oswald and SI EAD Coordinator, Nancy Kennedy jointly hosted Olivier. Kennedy designed some new workflows for converting data and migrating to Archivists Toolkit. This workflow required data parsing and finding aid review within MS Word, MS Excel, oXygen HTML editor, and the Archivists’ Toolkit. Over the course of this workflow analysis we identified: the “work” most appropriate for each stage of migration; where bottlenecks most frequently occurred; which data elements were most problematic; and which features of the spreadsheet, style sheets, and scripts needed updating. Eleven findings were migrating, including Ruth Ellington, Kushi Macrobiotics, and the Mike Grgich Papers. Olivier also helped with processing portions of the Mr. Wizard Papers. Powlina worked on preparing Warshaw Collection of Business Americana container lists for the subject categories. Warshaw is one of the most used collections and a total of 35 subject categories were made accessible. Powlina also assisted in maintaining reading room services and did some “clean- up” work in the Archivists Toolkit.

The Archives Center welcomes in spring 2015, two University of Maryland iSchool students (absolute coincidence!), Chelsea Bucklin and Susan Gillett.

Both interns will continue the good work of Marlin and Kyle. Our strong connection to the iSchool continues.