I have been exposed to the profession in different ways. First, as a library user and then as a graduate of the WSU LIS School I saw the skills needed for the work that we do. When I became a librarian and archivist myself and hired many of our graduates I better understood the customer service aspect. Now in providing Career Advising for the last few years, I see the struggle that most of us have with job hunting.
There seem to be certain trends in the way people apply for jobs:
- The Worrier – This is characterized by anxiety and a determination to research every possible circumstance in which they may be rejected. Typical comments are “I am probably not qualified for this but..”, “I have not heard anything from my application, I must need to re-do my resume.”, or “Why didn’t they call me for an interview? It must be my cover letter!” This method indicates a need to take time to better understand what you have to offer. From there you can develop your skillset to understand what you should be applying for and increase your chances of a perfect match.
- The Overconfident Blamer – “They obviously have overlooked my resume, I will call them.” “There must be something wrong with their email/phone/etc.”, “I don’t have the skills that they need but I can do the job. Why haven’t they called me?” In this economy, you need to be a “can-do” person that is agreeable, positive and skilled. You cannot shotgun job applications. Narrow your search to what you can match point by point. Overconfidence without proof of the ability will waste both your and the potential employers’ time.
- The Overachiever – This can be an asset to a certain level. Sometimes people use this as a way to paralyze their job search. They research institutions, employers and trends so thoroughly that they never feel done. They also might tweak their resume and cover letters so often it is hard for them to actually get to the step to send them.
Taking some workshops and meeting with mentors or Career Advisors can help to waylay your fears.
In order to move past a lack of confidence and/or knowledge, below are some thoughts about how to successfully sell yourself. There are some really key things to consider as you design your job hunt, cover letters, portfolios and resumes. Note that I did use the word “design”. This is the same activity as a corporation designing its communication message to sell it new product or service.
Think of yourself as a brand. What are your best selling points? What can you do? How would you accomplish tasks? What do you bring to the existing team?
Do not focus on the negative. How often have you seen a successful marketing campaign with the motto “Buy my product because the other one is worse?” Be sure to develop your communication in a manner that defines you as a positive force.
Many students and alum feel uncomfortable with “bragging” about their skills but this is a backwards perception. A potential employer is not psychic. They have not lived in your shoes and they know absolutely nothing about your abilities. You have to educate a potential employer about where you have been, what you learned, how you handled yourself and where you want to go. This is similar to the basics of journalism which is the how, what, why, when and where.
As mentioned in our Career Fair earlier in 2011, you can not “sell” yourself by issuing a boisterous line. It has to be backed up by concrete examples of how you tackled a problem, learned a new skill, resolved a patron complaint, etc. Think about how your life experiences have formed you as a potential employee. What value can you offer this institution? How can you give them examples of other situations that helped to develop your skills to achieve a goal?
Remember that a lot of your skills from other professions can be portable and of value. Customer service is very portable to archives and library science. We are a service profession. If you can masterfully deal with people, that is of great value. If you have management, education or technology experience that is all valued. If you look deep within your experiences you can develop a list of valuable skills that you offer.
The other advantage of examining your life experiences, is that it will increase your confidence. This will show in the execution of your cover letters, resumes and interview. It will help you to think about how you want to present yourself and define your message to answer “Why do I want to hire you?”
The Imaging Science and Technology (IS&T) Archiving Conference is annually held in various destinations throughout the world, bringing together “an international community of imaging experts and technicians as well as curators, managers, and researchers from libraries, archives, museums” (as cited in the Preliminary Program). This year, the National Archives hosted the conference in Washington, DC, and the program focused on aspects of the digitization of cultural heritage and archiving. The Preliminary Program also explains that, “The conference presents the latest research results on digitization and curation, provides a forum to explore new strategies and policies, and reports on successful projects that can serve as benchmarks in the field.”
I was given the opportunity to present a paper I wrote focusing on the Wellcome Library, located in London, UK, where I studied last summer. I was selected to be a part of the Interactive Paper presentations. Not only was this an outstanding professional experience, it was opportune timing to network and meet other information professionals as I was graduating this May and entering into the job market. I designed a poster for the conference and also gave a brief PowerPoint presentation to conference attendees.
The conference began with short courses on Tuesday, April 19th, which consisted of lectures, demonstrations, and discussions to provide a brief overview of topics such as computations photography techniques, scanner and camera imaging performance, program management of digitization and curation for cultural heritage professionals, fundamentals of image and video compression, special imaging capture and processing, assessing formats for preservation and use of web archives, and digital collection development.
On Wednesday, April 20th, I was scheduled to give my Interactive Paper presentation: Going Digital at the Wellcome Library: “The Evolution of Digital Imaging and Innovation.” I was one of twelve Interactive Paper presenters. Following the presentations, there was an Interactive Paper session and exhibition, where I stood by my poster, met other professionals, and explained my work. During this time, I was thrilled to meet Dave Thompson, head of digital projects at the Wellcome Library. He was appreciative of my research and emphasized that it is important to bring awareness of where the digital “evolution” began to better understand how best to direct it in the future. Other lectures were given after the paper exhibitions that covered advanced imaging techniques, asset management, and preservation formats and frameworks.
The following day, April 21st, additional lectures discussed imaging standards and quality assurance, strategies and workflows, and dissemination and use. In the afternoon, the conference organized behind-the-scenes tours. I had the opportunity to see the work that goes into the preservation department at the National Gallery of Art in order to make digital representations of paintings as close to the originals as technologically possible.
Finally, on Friday, April 22nd, the lectures in the morning were more closely related to my area of interest, covering metadata standards and implementation. The afternoon focused on image color science and analysis tools and the role of digital collections in scholarly communication. Other highlights from Friday include a job offer from the Defense Imagery Management Operations Center (USA). I was invited to lunch and spoke with Julia Hickey, an archivist from Defense Media Activity.
Overall, it was an overwhelmingly positive experience and I am profoundly grateful for Wayne State University’s generous support in making this trip a possibility.
This past March I participated in the School of Library and Information Science’s annual Alternative Spring Break program, which pairs LIS students with national institutions for week-long mini-internships. I was fortunate enough to be placed at the Smithsonian Archives Center in Washington, D.C., where I contributed to its recently launched project, Organize It and Link It: Sharing Digital Content Using Archivists’ Toolkit.
The Smithsonian Archives Center, located in the National Museum of American History, is home to more than 1,300 collections made up of a variety of physical and digital media formats. The Organize It and Link It project that I worked on was initiated to create a bridge between the Archives Center’s existing cache of digital assets and the institution’s online finding aids, which are publicly accessible through its website. To do this, the project utilized a number of software applications for first creating digital folder hierarchies that mirror the physical collections’ series, box, and folder arrangements, and then for disseminating the digital surrogates (which are predominantly scans of papers and photographs) through slideshows connected to the online finding aids.
During my time as a SLIS student, I’ve been very interested in the growing impact of technology on the archival field, and my week at the Smithsonian Archives Center provided me with a window into the opportunities and challenges that repositories are encountering when leveraging technology to achieve institutional goals. I gained hands-on experience with a number of software platforms, such as Archivists’ Toolkit 2.0.0 and the SirsiDynix Horizon 7.5.3 collection manager, as well as the Smithsonian’s D.A.M. system, OpenText Media Management. I also got work with more than 20 different collections, creating hierarchies for and links to over 5,000 digital objects.
The staff at the Smithsonian Archives Center was exceptionally generous with its time and guidance during my week there. Particularly hospitable were my two supervisors on the project, Alison Oswald and Kay Peterson. Though most of my days were spent working at a computer, Alison and Kay frequently coordinated additional activities and personal “behind-the-scenes” tours of the museum to supplement my experience.
When I decided to pursue my MLIS, I really didn’t think I’d someday find myself doing archival work for a prestigious institution like the Smithsonian—and certainly not while still a student. But that’s exactly what I got to do this spring break. Beyond providing valuable work experience and a flashy new line on my resume, my week at the Archives Center also gave me a fresh perspective on my own competencies as an archivist. I’m proud to say that I exceeded the expectations of my supervisors and delivered quantity and quality to the Organize It and Link It project. As I look forward to graduation later this year, I do so knowing that I’ve developed a skillset that will allow me to not only be a competitive candidate for employment, but also one who can contribute quickly and in a meaningful way, wherever I may land.
Thank you to the Wayne State University School of Library and Information Science for sponsoring my trip to Washington, D.C., and to my hosts at the Smithsonian Archives Center for an incredible experience.
For an example of Mike’s work on the Organize It and Link It project, click here to view the digital objects from the Kenneth M. Swezey Papers via the Smithsonian Online Virtual Archives (SOVA).
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.