If you missed the 2017 Career Fair presentation panel, entitled “A Library and Information Science Show and Tell,” it’s now available to view on the Career Services webpage.
The panel of four outstanding library professionals shared their current projects, tips for job seekers, and ideas for professional development.
This two-hour video offers lots of great information that you can use whether you’re a student or an alum! You can view the video here. It’s a large file and may take a moment to load – but it’s worth the wait!
By Natalie Piernak, MLIS Student
Though staying close to home for Alternative Spring Break, I had the chance to learn about the National Archives and Records Administration network by interning at the Gerald Ford Presidential Library in Ann Arbor. Many of my classmates traveled much farther than I, but the snow gave me no less trouble on my first day. A normal 45 minute commute turned into a snowy nightmare! Luckily, this is spring in Michigan so the weather the rest of the week was fairly mild and sunny…until Friday afternoon when it proceeded to think it was winter again.
Our gracious host, archivist Stacey Davis, gave us the chance to help process a variety of collections during the week which let me see first hand the damage rubber bands, staples, and newspaper can do in 40 years. Among those collections was bulk mail addressed to President Ford in opposition to the Nixon pardon, letters to Mrs. Ford supporting her comments to personal questions on 60 Minutes and white house congressional papers. A highlight for me was coming across a letter addressed to Mrs. Ford from Norman Lear, producer of several TV shows of the era including All in the Family. Though familiar with his shows, I did not recognize Mr. Lear’s name. Stacey peeked over my shoulder at exactly the right time to notice it!
Mrs. Ford had created some controversy speaking out on what she might hypothetically do if her teenage daughter had a premarital affair… keep a dialog open and counsel her through it. Most of the letters my fellow interns and I came across were pro. Yet, the occasional con mixed in our bunches seemed to be more upset not on Mrs. Ford’s approach to the possible scenario, but that she said it publicly. The library already has a disapproving letter on display from the real Maria Von Trap. Hopefully, Mr. Lear’s letter can join it as a contrasting view of the time advocating for more openness about real issues in families.
Throughout the week the rest of the archivists were kind enough to share with us about their specialties such as: AV, reference and declassification. A common thread for most of them was that they learned the collection overtime and were able to learn their specialties through the archivists before them. They were very encouraging to us and I appreciate them sharing their stories! Overall, it was a great week and I hope to participate in Alternative Spring Break again!
Social Media Manager/Webmaster
Society of American Archivists- WSU Chapter
By LaTeesa James, Diversity Graduate Student Assistant
Hello! My name is LaTeesa James and I am the Diversity Graduate Student Assistant at Wayne State University’s School of Library and Information Science. I wanted to encourage you to apply for the Initiative to Recruit a Diverse Workforce (IRDW) Scholarship (see below), which is offered through the Association of Research Libraries. This scholarship provides underrepresented Library and Information Science students with great opportunities; I know because I am an IRDW Scholar.
I applied for the scholarship as soon as I received my acceptance letter to the MLIS program at WSU. I thought that it would be a great funding opportunity, but it turned out to be so much more than that. Yes, the $2500 stipend for 4 semesters has been incredibly helpful…but I have gained so much more out of the experience. As a scholar, I was given the opportunity to attend the Leadership Conference that takes place during the ALA Midwinter Conference. This allowed me to be able to speak one-on-one with research library directors from all over the country. I was able to attend a site visit to Michigan State University (an ARL library), which also put me in contact with research librarians (some of whom I will be interviewing with for a position in the near future). In addition, after writing a short proposal, I was allotted $2500 to attend a workshop that would further equip me with knowledge in the area of librarianship that I am interested in. Finally, I was assigned a mentor who is practicing librarianship in the area of my interest.
To say the least, this scholarship has added invaluable richness to my time as a MLIS student. I highly recommend that you apply if you are interested in working in a research library after attaining your MLIS. You will find it to be a priceless experience.
If you have questions about the scholarship application process, or would like assistance with writing your personal statement, please let me know. I would be happy to assist you!
Diversity & Outreach Graduate Student Assistant
Wayne State University
School of Library Information Science
Phone: (313) 577-1825
By Veronica Johnson, MLIS Student
During Alternative Spring Break, which took place March 13-17, I completed a weeklong internship at the Smithsonian National Museum of American History in their Archives Center in Washington, D.C.
I was assigned to the project “Organize It and Link It: Sharing Digital Content Using Archivists’ Toolkit” in which I helped to provide more access to the archive’s digital content through using the archival software Archivists’ Toolkit (AT). I was exposed to and gained hands-on experience with several new systems including AT, DAMS, MARC, and Adobe Bridge. I worked with archivists Alison Oswald and Kay Peterson, who served as my hosts/supervisors during the internship.
After learning how to use the systems from Kay, I was responsible for adding scanned images to a number of the museum’s online collections which are located on the Smithsonian Online Virtual Archives website. Some of the online collections did not have images added to its online finding aids, so I used AT to find the collection, then went into Bridge to find the collection’s images in order to upload them to the collection as a slideshow. At the end of the week, I had added hundreds of images to over 30 collections.
In addition to working on the digital collections, I also got the opportunity to help set up a small exhibit for an event which took place at the museum called “Innovative Lives: A Dialogue on Healthcare Innovation. This event was a part of Women’s History Month and it highlighted female inventors in the healthcare field. The exhibit I helped Alison set up included healthcare inventions from women around the world and the exhibit was displayed during the event for people to look at.
On top of my work responsibilities, I also got the chance to tour the museum and check out some of its exhibits including the First Ladies, American Stories and The Star-Spangled Banner: The Flag That Inspired the National Anthem, all of which were amazing. The last day of my internship was a treat as well because I got to witness a performance by the Spelman College Glee Club at the museum.
This was definitely a life-changing experience that I will never forget and I was so fortunate to work at such a prestigious and world renowned institution as the Smithsonian. As an incoming MLIS student, I had no idea I would have an opportunity to intern at the Smithsonian, which is a place I have always aspired to work for. Adding this accomplishment to my resume will only enhance my professional opportunities as a future archivist. I look forward to using the skills I learned at the museum in the institution that I will eventually work for after graduating from Wayne State, which is just a month away. I made some great connections with staff at the Smithsonian which I plan to use while exploring the job market.
By Connie Harrison, MLIS Student
My Alternate Spring Break with OCLC was an exclusive opportunity to engage with the people and the work of the Metadata Quality Control team that serves Worldcat and all its incumbent products and services. I had the delight to team with Laura Ramsey who is the Section Manager. Laura was so very generous and hospitable to me as were her team members.
As an ASB intern, our hosts graciously toured us through the entire Kilgour Building which is on the OCLC campus in Dublin, Ohio. I settled in a cubicle space with a refreshing view of the man-made lake and now dormant vegetable garden seen below.
The Metadata Quality Control team members provided an overview of each area of their specialization and oriented me around sample catalog records which touched just a tiny fraction of the +390 million bibliographic records they maintain in Worldcat.
The team underwent year-long training and testing to apply the new RDA (Resource Description Access) catalog standard. And they are busy hybridizing MARC records using AACR2 rules with RDA rules, by way of macros. Additionally, everyone on the team is responsible for record maintenance that present as exception records that don’t pass validation after the new rules are applied.
I learned from each of the 5 Quality Control members in a specific area of specialization pertaining to the Program for Cooperative Cataloging (PCC). Those included half day long sessions on MARC, BIBCO (monograph), CONSER (serials), NACO (name authority), and SACO (subject authority). As a result, I was able to take home a new appreciation for RDA and the massive responsibility it takes to upgrade from one standard to the new standard. I was also fortunate to get a lesson on the documentation contained in Bibliographic Formats and Standards (BFAS) which is a suite that I will use as a primary resource for cataloging questions in the future. And conforming the training to my specific area of interest, I received a session on serials record management to punctuate the week. It was a fantastic learning experience about the campus, the people, the work, and the culture of OCLC in Library & Information Science.
By Margie Wade, MLIS student
During spring break, I participated in WSU’s School of Library and Information Science Alternative Spring Break program and was given the opportunity to work for the week at OCLC in Dublin, Ohio. While I was there I met for sessions with metadata quality control team members and learned about the finer points of bibliographic record management and how they improve hundreds of thousands of records a day. Using Connextion, OCLC experts walked me through the processing of requests like record corrections dealing with name authority issues and the merging of duplicate records. I was also shown how they utilize quality control macros to correct patterns in records and to create hybrid MARC/RDA records. Resources were shared with me that included a guide to documentation and training materials broken down by topic for future cataloging reference.
I also received direct instruction from the two OCLC librarians who manage the OCLC Library, Archive & Museum. During an in-depth tour of CONTENTdm I was shown controls for customizing the formatting of the web page, how to control collections that are internal only or public, and I was guided through the details of setting up collections with records including objects and compound objects. They walked me through the workflow for managing their digital collections giving me valuable insight about processing digital collections which included cataloging in WorldCat, digitizing & preparing content for ingest into CONTENTdm and the actual ingest for both batch and single records—with the final test being whether the items were discoverable in WorldShare.
Finally, I was given a demonstration of data sync (formerly known as batch load) which allows libraries who join to have their collection of catalog records transferred, examined for matching and then processed for viewing in WorldCat. Through a dashboard OCLC staff can view incoming projects and view reports of non-matching records that show what field numbers contain problems to resolve things like records that are too sparse, have no dates or other issues.
In addition to the knowledge I gained, I met and got to spend time with three other students in the SLIS program which was a great bonus!
From the warm email welcome to the afternoon of my departure, the program director Nancy Lensenmayer was a gracious hostess. She is truly gifted in creating positive and meaningful experiences. The managers and team members were very generous with their time fitting training sessions, lunch meetings and tours into their busy schedules. Overall the week was fantastic and I am very grateful that I had the opportunity to go to OCLC!
By Stephanie Marshall, MLIS Student
During spring break, I had to the opportunity to intern at OCLC and it was a wonderful experience. My internship focused around QuestionPoint (an OCLC product), which is a virtual reference platform. Specifically, I read through reference transcripts and categorized them per the READ Scale (readscale.org). After the categorization was complete I analyzed that information to determine where on the READ Scale most the questions fell and drew some implications for even further analysis.
Throughout my time at OCLC I worked side-by-side with Tom Haney who is the product manager for QuestionPoint and he was an incredible mentor for the week. What made my spring break internship at OCLC such an enjoyable experience was the flexibility and generosity of all the staff there. Although my internship was primarily supposed to be focused around QuesitonPoint, Tom made sure to include other activities that would give me a broader view of everything OCLC is involved in. This included meeting various OCLC employees who were involved in different aspects of OCLC products and getting to sit in on a webinar that OCLC was hosting.
Probably the thing I found most interesting about my time at OCLC was how it was a different realm within the library world. It was neat to see how a corporate environment has a place within the library world. I appreciated the time my mentor Tom took to shed light on some of the aspects of the corporate environment and how it differs from the more traditional library environment I’ve been around. Aside from the 9-5 internship work I did, the OCLC staff organized several “off campus” activities after hours to complement our internships and have some fun while working on spring break. Overall, the alternative spring break program is a neat experience and a great way to explore career options and meet people in the field!
By Shatha Baydoun, MLIS Student
From March 13 to March 17, I took part in OCLC’s Alternative Spring Break (ASB) program that was organized by Kimberly Schroeder (SLIS) and Nancy Lensenmayer (OCLC Program Director). Each intern was assigned a supervisor and mine was Karen Hinton. She is a wonderful person who was very nurturing and supportive. I was initially nervous but she made me feel right at home. This was also true for the other supervisors with whom we interacted with several times. I truly enjoyed the experience both at a professional level and a personal one. As an intern, I was given the responsibilities of a project manager. I reviewed the training and support documentation for an OCLC product known as World Record Manager. At the end of the week my fellow interns (Stephanie Marshall, Connie Harrison, Margie Wade) and I presented our respective findings to members of OCLC’s staff. It was a low-key affair during which we sampled delicious desserts from OCLC’s cafeteria and socialized with the staff. At the end of our presentations, each intern received a certificate of recognition.
At a personal level, it was wonderful to see and meet my SLIS colleagues. In fact, I am currently taking a class with one of the interns (Stephanie Marshall) without which I would never have met. Since this was a break, Nancy Lensenmayer was a great hostess that organized several tours including the OSU Thompson Library, the Columbus Metropolitan Library, and the OSU’s Book Depository which has around 3.2 million books. I should admit however my favorite was OCLC’s data depository where only a select few get to see and were the WorldCat’s data is stored. This really was a great opportunity and I encourage my SLIS colleagues to apply. Not only do you get the chance to network and meet people, you also get to expand your LIS knowledge beyond the realm of the classroom.”
By Sarah Conrad, MLIS Student
To many students, spring break is that blessed week off of school where they can relax and go on vacation. To me, spring break was all about working hard and gaining valuable work experience. This year I was fortunate enough to participate in the SLIS Alternative Spring Break program and was placed in a weeklong internship at the Gerald R. Ford Presidential Library in Ann Arbor. I was also lucky to have two other SLIS students joining me at the Ford Library, Natalie Piernak and Nathaniel Arndts. It was nice to have some familiar faces joining me on this project, but I was still pretty nervous going into the first day of the internship; I had never worked in a government archive before and wasn’t sure what to expect. However, by the end of the week I was wishing the internship would never end.
Throughout the week we were assigned to work on three different collections: The Ford Congressional Papers, bulk mail sent to President Ford regarding the Nixon pardon, and mail sent to Betty Ford supporting her “60 Minutes” television interview. Our task with these collections was to rehouse and organize the records as well as do some basic preservation such as removing rusty staples and separating acidic newspaper clippings. Letters about the Nixon pardon and Betty Ford’s interview were also further organized into pro or con sections. This required us to read through the letters to determine their opinions, which turned out to be very entertaining.
There were many letters with very strong opinions, especially regarding the Nixon pardon, and it was great to read about what people were feeling during such a tumultuous time in American history. Working on these collections also turned out to be very helpful in understanding some of the topics we have been discussing in the MLIS program. Both the bulk mail collections were so large, it limited the amount of arrangement that could be applied to them. The letters within each folder were not given much organization mainly because there were so many and any further organization would be too time consuming. In class, we have talked about the difference between detailed arrangement and faster processes like More Product Less Process (MPLP), but at the Ford Library we were able to see these concepts in action and further understand that sometimes the best way to make collections accessible is to limit the amount of arrangement.
Every day during the week we would take a break from working on the collections to meet with different archivists and staff to learn about the various functions of the Ford Library. We toured the Audio/Visual Collections, learned about the Reading Room and policies the library has in place for researchers, and learned about some of the functions that makes the Ford Library unique. While the library is a part of the National Archives and Records Administration, it is the only Presidential Library to still use PresNet, a database originally created in the 1980’s that searches the collection by folder titles. While an older system, many of the archivists we talked to said PresNet provides more detailed results for researchers than newer database systems, which is why they still use it at the library.
All of the tours we had during the week were great and very informative, but the most interesting for me was when we spoke with the declassification archivists. Never having worked in a government archive, this was a completely new aspect of archival work and the most interesting to learn about. Because the library is a Presidential Library, the collections often contain records that are confidential or secret in nature. It is the job of the declassification archivists to review these documents and determine if they can be opened to the public or need to remain closed for security reasons. The process goes well beyond protecting records from copyright issues and we were only allowed to see a small part of what the declassification team does, but it was an amazing experience nonetheless.
By the end of the week not only had I had gained valuable hands-on experience but I also had the chance to work alongside and learn from archivists in the field. Everyone we met at the Ford Presidential Library was very welcoming and willing to share their knowledge with us as we prepare for a career in archives. I enjoyed my time so much that I hope to volunteer this summer and continue working with the amazing team at the Ford Presidential Library. In the end, it wasn’t the relaxing spring break many students probably hope for; I worked hard every day and learned a lot along the way, and I wouldn’t have asked for any other way to spend my spring break.
By Hannah Sabal, MLIS Student
For my alternative spring break internship, I spent the week at the Harry S. Truman Presidential Library in Independence, Missouri. The project was advertised as description and digitization of a collection I was intrigued by: the efforts of the federal government to fire gay employees in the 1950s. I thought it would be a great project for me—as I wanted experience in description and wanted to view the collection—and it was, though for many more reasons.
My duties during the week effectively fell into one of three categories: digitization, description/cataloging, and education. I worked with three groups of documents while there. The first, as advertised, was a folder titled “Sex perversion [Investigations into federal employees].” I first digitized the collection following the Truman Library’s standards and naming conventions then created catalog descriptions using the National Archives’ Description and Authority Services (DAS). As I was describing on the item level, as opposed to folder or collection level, the bare minimum descriptions were included. I performed the same functions on a series consisting of correspondence regarding immigration cases in World War II. Moreover, I digitized and described a series of color photographic prints from Truman’s funeral in 1972.
The educational task consisted of assisting the archivist with selecting items from a collection regarding an immigration bill that Truman veto but was ultimately passed. The Truman library holds a conference every summer with Kansas and Missouri teachers to provide primary sources that the teachers can add into their lesson plans. This summer’s conference is on immigration, so it was my task to select a sample of constituent mail sent to Truman to gauge public reaction to the bill that will be digitized and cataloged for the teachers.
This experience was important to me on both a personal level and a much broader level. Personally, this internship gave me experience in areas of archives I had not previously received—while also providing a refresher on previous experiences—therefore better preparing me for graduation and my entrance into the professional field.
However, this work is much more important for a much more important reason than my own experiences. Making these items available—specifically the “Sex perversion” folder and the immigration cases—is of the utmost importance because they are incredibly relevant to current events. The persecution of gays in the 1950s was a precursor to the persecution faced by today’s LGBT community, most especially Trans individuals.
The immigration cases focused on Truman’s efforts as Missouri Senator to aid his constituents in their attempts to obtain visas for their European family members who were Jewish refugees. It was heartbreaking to read denial letters and to imagine the family’s grief. I do not know if these people survived World War II or the Nazis, but what is even more heartbreaking is that I can see these same events occurring today with the Syrian Refugee Crisis.
When I was in high school, my ninth-grade world history teacher explained that history is important so you don’t make the same mistake twice, citing Hitler’s failed attempt to invade and take control of Russia as an example. To me, the work I did over spring break is my contribution to history, to prevent some of the terrible events of the past from happening again.