Spring break is often known as a ‘breather’ or ‘time to relax’ for most college students. However, this year I was provided the opportunity from the School of Library and Information at Wayne State University to participate in a condensed internship with the National Archives and Record Administration in Washington D.C. The opportunity was exhilarating and the possibilities of what we were going to experience were endless, happy to say that the actual time there lived up to the hype.
My week long experience would mostly be conducted in College Park Maryland, where the second archive building is located, referred to as Archives II. For a little background information, this NARA building is dedicated mostly to researchers and is not a museum compared to the National Archives in D.C. Archives II contains textual, cartographic, microfilm, and electronic records. There is also motion picture film, sound, and video recordings and photographic/graphic works. The materials are designated by floor level for researchers and equipment is provided when necessary.
The small project we were assigned for our week of work is a part of a much larger digitization program that is being completed by NARA. There are two main goals associated with their plan, which is access and furthered preservation. The digital access is for the benefit of researchers that come into the archives but also for those who cannot make it to the archive, allowing them to conduct their research online. Also, from a preservation concern, the plan is to no longer pull the records once they have been digitized. It was interesting to learn that the standards/requirements for the scanning are purely for access, not as concerned about quality but more about quantity. Stephanie and I got the chance to work on declassified army records, specifically the Vietnam War, roughly six archival boxes containing 5-10 folders each. The records contained war bulletins, operation reports, combat experiences from the U.S. forces in Southeast Asian from 1950-1975. After being brought up to speed on scanning requirements and specifications, we got to check out the equipment we would be using! The two of us took turns alternating the scanners, so we could gain good experience with both. I had never seen or used either of them before. There are six different types of scanners that one has access to in the scanning room. The two new scanners, for me, were the ScanSnap SV 6000 and the Zeutschel, below is a picture using the ScanSnap. The Zeutschel was an amazing piece of equipment and probably one of my favorite things to learn to use during my time there.
NARA did everything they could to make us feel comfortable and give us an all encompassing experience. Along with our project work, we participated in various tours, workshops, and presentations. The tours of both Archive I and Archive II were beautiful, “both behind the scenes” and what all visitors have access to. There was a special opportunity for us to meet Sam Anthony, assistant to the Archivist of the United States, who conducted the Archives I tour. He took the time and was eager to talk to me and Stephanie, giving guidance and advice on how to network/market ourselves in the D.C. arena. Our supervisor also took us back into one of the stacks at Archive II, another highlight. The career workshop specifically stood out for me, we had to opportunity to learn how to build our career profile and cater it towards government jobs.
The week went by in a flash, but it was an experience I will never forget. Along with the work at Archives II from 8:00am to 4pm, we didn’t miss out on the opportunity to explore the city. Several of the Smithsonian museums had extended hours for the summer so we took every chance we got to explore those, highly recommend the American History Museum. We also took the chance to explore the Holocaust Museum and International Spy museums, all of the (most, I am sure I missed something) monuments, The Library of Congress and experienced different restaurants in the areas. A fun little side note, we also got to experience the first Metro shutdown, for something other than a weather emergency since 1976, it caused for a crazy Wednesday! Needless to say, it would take pages and pages to go over every detail of the trip, but this synopsis covers the experience SLIS provided for me over spring break 2016.
For Spring Break, I decided to do something a little out of my comfort zone and applied for the week long internship with the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA). Upon being accepted, my placement was with the Information Security Oversight Office (ISOO) working even more significantly with the Public Interest Declassification Board (PIDB). My main project was to create the Wikipedia page for the PIDB highlighting all of their efforts in declassification policy. I sat in a working group meeting on Tuesday March 15, 2016 which had senior government officials from the CIA, NGA, and NSA all discussing how to work with inter-agency policy to release information to the public. What was being said, is that they do not have enough bodies to complete this and that it is very difficult to go through each document that has a classified, secret, or top secret distinction and determine if any of the information on the record would be harmful for public use.
Later that week, after the completion of the project, I sat in a separate meeting with the PIDB members which were all discussing the actions needed to advise the president on different executive orders. They have previously assisted the president with different tasks that went on to aid in the review of Executive Order 12958. They held a forum asking for input on the matter and even went as far as reaching out to the public. They determined in this meeting that there are many steps needed for declassification of records and documents, and went on to further discuss this matter later that afternoon with other presidential advisors at the White House.
Overall my time in Washington D.C. was absolutely amazing and could not have asked for a better experience. I have met so many different individuals who are still keeping in contact and even going as far to help me form the perfect resume and even aid in a career search for me. I have met so many incredible individuals and am forever grateful to Wayne for giving me this experience! I hope that so many others take the time to do this program!
Wayne State University MLIS Candidate
For further information, please visit the websites below:
This past March, I was fortunate to participate in Alternate Spring break with a handful of other SLIS students. When I heard there was an internship related to digital preservation at the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA), I knew I had to apply—couldn’t pass up the chance to experience firsthand the digital preservation strategy at such a significant institution.
Though many folks thinking of NARA naturally think of the Washington, D.C. location (known as “Archives 1”), the majority of archival work actually goes on at their location in College Park, Maryland (known as “Archives 2”). My classmates and I stayed in Washington, D.C., but as a digital preservation intern, I spent my time working at Archives 2—just a shuttle ride away every morning.
Under the supervision of Leslie Johnston, the Director of Development and Tool Management, my project entailed assisting a NARA team as they create and edit “ERA 2.0,” their new Electronic Records Archive system currently in development with IBM. My job during my week-long internship was to refine existing “user stories” and create new ones using guidelines for Trusted Digital Repositories.
Some background for readers that might not be familiar with a lot of these terms: NARA is responsible for government records of all kinds. On the most basic level, the Electronic Records Archive allows users to upload digital objects directly, seamlessly transferring them to NARA. The Agile method is a form of project management commonly used in software development. The Agile method utilizes “user stories,” which are short, one-sentence descriptions of a capability desired by a system user. They generally follow the format: “As a <type of user>, I want <some goal> so that <some reason>.”
In regards to ERA 2.0, many user stories focused on creating an intuitive interface that allowed for flexibility for archivists and administrators, while still maintaining principles like provenance. For the refining of old and writing of new user stories, I focused on the preservation functions of ERA 2.0, utilizing TRAC and Drambora guidelines. I enjoyed my project greatly, especially since I had the opportunity to work at the intersection of traditional archival principles and the development of cutting-edge software. Additionally, I directly viewed the substantial amount of work that goes into ensuring the long-term preservation of digital objects at a large, government-accountable institution.
My favorite part of the internship was getting to sit in on meetings with IBM developers and see the collaboration between IT and archivists—something that is inevitably valuable in today’s tech climate. Most people I spoke with at NARA expressed similar dissatisfaction with the current ERA system, especially on the user experience side—common complaints referenced its clunky interface and the substantial number of clicks required for regular commands. After contributing to the new user stories, I was pleased to leave NARA knowing that my work will directly positively affect the countless users of ERA 2.0.
My second favorite part of the internship? That would be sight-seeing around D.C.—I had never been before! Alternate spring break at NARA was a wonderful experience and I am thankful I gave it a shot. Gaining a glimpse into the goings-on at NARA was an amazing privilege, and I know what I learned during my week of work will continue to aid me as I advance in my LIS education, and, soon after that, my career.
My name is Mark Prindiville, a graduate student in Wayne State University’s Library and Information Science program. I was one of the lucky few chosen to go on the Alternate Spring Break program under SLIS, specifically to the Maryland State Archives in Annapolis, Maryland. Admittedly I was nervous about this opportunity, as I had no previous exposure to government archives and I did not know what to fully expect traveling solo. However, it is safe to say that my travels and my work experience were well worth it.
Upon my arrival at the government building, I was introduced to all of the staff working within the Appraisal and Description department and was given the grand tour of the facilities. Before I knew it, I went from exploring the different facets of a government agency to digging elbow deep in a box of dusty wills. My first assignment was organizing the Register of Wills from Baltimore County, roughly during the time period of 1876-1883. Upon completion, a secondary task was assigned to a local volunteer to complete the process of arranging these particular records, so I was given another assignment. While the volunteer was working on the box of wills, I was assigned to help review content from a selection of microfilm. According to my supervisor, Kathryn Baringer, Director of Appraisal and Description, there were some errors surrounding the information pertaining to microfilm uploaded onto their online repository. For example, the uploaded information could say that the first part of one slide had 75 images/parts to it, but the slide itself might actually have more, or even less. So I was assigned to review the film strips and to mark down corrections where they were needed.
I was also assigned work within the conservation lab, where I was introduced to the concept of ‘vacuuming’ documents. I was assigned one box, filled with documents that had been irradiated of any mold and other contaminants, and my main duty was to unfold everything so that I could vacuum as much of the material as possible. The end goal was to clean off as many documents as I could so that they may move on to the next team, who were to scan the documents for digital access.
My final assignment was an indexing project dealing with Marriage Records across the different counties in Maryland. The dates were narrow, however, ranging only from July to August 1950. By the end of the week, I would guess that this project, along with the conservation lab, was where I had spent the most time. I would estimate that I completed about 3-4 cubic feet worth of marriage record material.
At the end of the week, the Appraisal & Description team invited me to join in on their department meeting. Here I was able to better understand the daily work done by the different members of the department and I was able to piece together how different and diverse the types of assignments each member works so hard on.
My time at the Maryland State Archives was short, yet very fulfilling. I was able to take a glance at behind-the-scenes work of a government archive. I was able to take part in ongoing preservation projects, as well as being able to work alongside staff and volunteers who have the experience and archival knowledge for which to make these project goals seem possible. And I was able to gather insight on different archival practices and techniques, which I may put to good use during my studies and beyond. My colleagues here might say that I was working, while my friends might say I was enjoying a nice getaway, all the while my family might say that I was on cloud nine. I say, why not all of the above…
Dear Students, Alumni, and Faculty:
I’ve worked with Christine for many years and she has been a staunch supporter of libraries in Michigan and across the US. She is a well-respected librarian and administrator. [Her only drawback is she is a University of Michigan grad, but we can forgive her for not choosing the best Library School (Wayne, of course) 😉 .]
I am endorsing Christine Hage and she will have my vote for ALA President and hope that those of you who are ALA members will vote for her as well.
Joseph J. Mika
Professor Emeritus, WSU/SLIS
Christine Lind Hage for ALA
Dear ALA Colleagues,
My name is Christine Lind Hage and I am running for President-Elect of ALA. Your 2016 ALA ballot will be arriving soon and voting runs from March 15th through April 22nd. I am asking for your vote.
When you ask a child what they want to be when they grow up you’re likely to hear “fireman” or “super hero”, but my dream from the beginning was to become a librarian. I’ve never worked anywhere, but in a library. And throughout my 45-year career I have held almost every position available in a library; page, circulation assistant, children’s librarian, reference librarian, and director. Libraries are part of who I am.
America’s libraries are continually challenged with underfunded budgets, emerging technologies, threats to patron privacy, and expanding responsibilities and demands on library professionals. It is imperative that the American Library Association inspire, empower and support librarians so that the profession can continue to lead in our democratic society.
Our libraries are not obsolete, they are not just nice to have, they are essential. You know that and I know that and together we will aggressively advocate this message to policy makers, stakeholders, funders and the users that needs us.
As ALA President, I will champion the cause of libraries. I want to see ALA in the Lead working for libraries nationally and internationally, developing and influencing information policy, creating partnerships to enhance resources for libraries and developing leaders for the future.
My pledge is to work in an open, inclusive and collaborative manner to advance the Association’s strategic directions so it can lead the way in areas that impact all libraries, including:
- Integrate advocacy into the daily work of every librarian, trustee and vendor partner
- Develop strategies that advance the public’s understanding of the value and impact libraries of all types have on the communities they serve
- Information Policy
Build effective coalitions to address information policy issues
- Advocate for copyright policy that promotes user rights and access to information, specifically the digital first sale doctrine
- Develop networks of experts and innovative thinkers to help address emerging issues libraries face
Professional and Leadership Development
- Focus on recruitment that increases diversity across the profession
- Provide high-quality professional development opportunities for librarians, library workers and trustees
During my 45 years as an ALA member, I have served as president of the Public Library Association and as president of United for Libraries. I have served on the ALA Council for twelve years and have had leadership roles on numerous committees and task forces within ALA, its divisions and offices.
I understand the value that librarians, library employees, trustees and libraries contribute to society. Our profession and the resources we collect, manage and make available to the communities we serve are essential in the Information Age. Libraries and library professionals are important gateways and guides to myriad resources. Our potential to help people – from the most humble to the most powerful – is limitless.
As your president I will represent the Association in all forums. My extensive experience and leadership at the local, national and international levels will allow me to effectively serve as the voice of the Association on a full spectrum of issues. ALA is fortunate to have an active and committed membership. As president, I would listen to, value and work with the diverse expertise, vision and energy of our membership to put ALA in the Lead. I ask for your vote for president of the American Library Association. Thank you.
Christine Lind Hage
2016 Candidate for President-Elect of ALA
Director, Rochester Hills Public Library
500 Olde Towne Road
Rochester, MI 48307-2043
As a recipient of the Initiative to Recruit a Diverse Workforce (IRDW) Scholarship, I had the pleasure of participating in the 12th Annual Leadership Symposium. The leadership symposium took place January 7th-10th in Boston, Massachusetts this year. It was designed to address relevant topics surrounding the ARL and to provide the IRDW scholars with career networking opportunities. Since the symposium takes place in the same location and during the same time as the American Library Association’s Midwinter Meeting, we had the benefit of networking with many library directors within the ARL.
The best part of the symposium, for me, was the last day when I was able to meet with a library director who had previously reviewed a copy of my resume, and get feedback on how to improve my resume so that it is ready to submit for library and information positions. This provided a great opportunity for me to get a clear idea of the skills that I want to acquire while completing my MLIS, in order to get the type of position I am looking for.
We even had the pleasure of keeping company with our own Dean of Libraries, Dean Yee.
Besides having the pleasure of attending the symposium, the IRDW scholarship recipients receive:
• A stipend of up to $10,000 distributed over two years to help defray the cost of graduate school education
• A hosted visit to an ARL research library to learn more about the advanced operations of a research library;
• Mentoring from an ARL librarian or an alumnus of either ARL’s Leadership and Career Development Program or the Initiative to Recruit a Diverse Workforce;
• Paid membership in a major professional association or in one of the American Library Association’s five ethnic caucuses; and an additional $2,500 per person in support of one-time training and skills development.
This scholarship really seeks to promote diversity within the field of library and information science. I encourage everyone to apply for this scholarship.
If you need assistance filling out the application or if you have any questions about this scholarship, please feel free to contact me!
Diversity & Outreach Graduate Student Assistant
Wayne State University
School of Library Information Science
Phone: (313) 577-1825
This Week in NDSA, Digital Liaison Mike Dutkewych continued work on an audio digitization project for the Detroit Public Library’s Burton Historical Collection. For the last several weeks, Mike and two other volunteers from the WSU School of Library & Information Science have been utilizing the school’s Digital Media Projects Lab to assess and digitize a box of reel-to-reel tapes from the Burton’s Ernie Harwell Collection. Although some tapes show signs of degradation, most are in fine shape and offer a unique (and fantastic sounding) glimpse into the early years of one of America’s most storied sports broadcasters. The students are using the SLIS DMPL’s Ampex ATR-100 reel-to-reel tape machine and Audacity 2.1.1 open-source audio editing software to digitize the half-a-century-old recordings.
SLIS student, Mara Powell, has been a volunteer at the Rabbi Leo M. Franklin archives at Temple Beth El for almost a year. She first started as part of a mini-practicum for LIS 7730, Administration of Visual Collections. After the project was over the archivist asked Powell to stay on as a student volunteer and she has contributed her time since.
Powell has worked on digitizing the fragile scrapbooks of the granddaughter of the Rabbi Leo Franklin (for whom the archive is named), providing rich historical context to some of their prevalent congregation members. She has assisted the Temple archivist in her research activities for her lecture about discovering the life stories of the people buried at Temple Beth El’s Lafayette Cemetery through headstone inscriptions. Through this project, some forgotten congregation members were remembered again. Powell says, “It was great to be able to contribute to this cultural history.”
She has also processed a collection from the Hebrew organization, NA’Amat, formerly Pioneer Women. NA’Amat is an organization that strives to enhance the quality of life for women, children and families in Israel, the U.S. and around the world. By organizing and creating a finding aid on PastPerfect software for this collection, she has been able to provide access for the community to research this group.
Currently, Powell is assisting in preliminary research for next year’s Jewish History Lecture.
The Wayne State Alumni Spring 2015 magazine has a great feature story on the Burton Historical Collection at Detroit Public Library, which recently turned 100. Burton director and SLIS alum Mark Bowden, MLIS ’96, is interviewed, along with current SLIS student Devin Erlandson and SLIS faculty member and coordinator of the Archival Administration certificate program, Kim Schroeder.
The piece can be viewed here: http://mydigimag.rrd.com/publication/?i=258480, pages 40-48.
By Jennifer Wright, WSU MLIS Candidate
In the rush to fix electronic outages as swiftly as possible, it can be easy to miss connections and overall trends in favor of focusing on the immediate concern: restoring access to users. This represents a missed opportunity to address overarching themes and longstanding issues with particular resources. This presentation provided an overview of the newly-implemented tracking process for electronic resources at the University of Michigan, which allows for greater and more detailed data than they had previously collected on which vendors’ products are failing to perform, how often, and in what ways. While the resulting data are well-placed to inform future purchasing decisions, they do raise questions about where responsibility lies when it comes to long-term issues that all parties (publishers, content providers, and institutions) are aware of, yet which none of them has fixed. Of particular note are issues regarding faulty metadata distributed widely across the purchasing environment, holdings and their maintenance as ownership of resources changes hands, and the functioning (or lack thereof) of OpenURL link resolvers with open-access content and bundled abstracts and reviews.
After several months of testing, implementation rolled out in spring of 2013, and served to support many of the initial decisions made regarding vendors and outage types tracked. Tweaks made during the learning curve phase involved deciding whether to adopt a priority system, the extent to which to utilize the timer, how do rationalize the policy decisions of other workspaces within the outages workspace, and when to enact dynamic vs. static linking. Having a programmer well-versed in the creation of Footprints implementations across the Library greatly aided both the planning stages as well as the few months of growing pains prior to the production phase.
Initial findings provided a number of surprises, ranging from the fact that, while memorably thorny to resolve, problems regarding the proxy server makeup the merest fraction of total outages. Additionally, those vendors or outage types anecdote might have ranked as occurring quite often, did not always come across that way in the statistics. Because of the inability to fix, for example, bundled content issues, tracking them and providing the appropriate response does not take long, and they do not loom large in the troubleshooters’ consciousness. However, bundled content problems account for a great number of outages experienced, though they remain unfixed either by content providers or link resolver vendors. Additionally, a number of outage types previously undistinguished from each other in the “Other” free-text problem type field have been highlighted for separate categories of their own in the future. These include User Error (where there is in fact no outage), Temporary Glitch (where the outage was momentary and unable to be reproduced by the time troubleshooters came to fix it), and Concurrent User Limits (where users are unable to access a resource because the maximum number of users are already viewing the resource). All in all, the case study serves to highlight access issues both prominent and insidious with regard to electronic resources in large institutional libraries.