Twitter Tools to Promote Archives Collections

A lot has been made of the importance of social media for archives and libraries.  In fact, I wrote a post about it here last October and, if anything, it becomes more and more important.  Along with the ability to promote your organization and collections while staying in touch with your audience, different social media platforms can lend themselves to new methods of outreach depending on a collection’s contents and strengths.  Interestingly enough, archives collections, especially those containing collections of individuals and families, lend themselves to some interesting projects using Twitter.

In my archives position at the American Swedish Institute, I’ve recently started a Twitter account dedicated to sharing one of our immigrant diaries with those interested in ASI, Sweden, or immigrant history.  Check it out at @OlofAnderson.  I’ll write a more in-depth post on that project later, but I thought it might be useful to comment on the tools I’ve found to be helpful supporting this kind of outreach project.

First of all, Twitter is an absolutely wonderful platform for archives for a few reasons.  It allows them to build a web of contacts including other organizations and patrons, which facilitates rich and equitable sharing of information and commentary about it.  Its short-form 140 character limit for posts really makes you crystallize your message, and is easy and quick both for archivists to write and for readers to digest and share.  And then there are the all-powerful #hashtags; tagging is more conducive to fostering conversations, connecting disparate groups and information, and allowing for serendipitous discovery by those who might not normally follow your posts.  Plus, those without Twitter accounts can still read posts on a Twitter feed and discover a feed through Google.

Some types of tweeting are best accomplished through Twitter itself (links, promotion, events, commentary, basically anything that is new and time-bound).  Archives can also use a web service like HootSuite to manage accounts.  HootSuite allows users to manage and schedule their tweets in advance.  This helps archivists provide content at times when archivists can’t tweet then and there, promote events regularly, remind patrons of regular services, and generally free up archivists who might only have an hour a week to sit down and type up some tweets.  The scheduler also has interesting uses for archives in particular.  The @OlofAnderson project, for example, shares diary entries written by a Swedish immigrant.  Traveling to America in 1855, he wrote short entries that are perfect for Twitter.  Using HootSuite, we can upload these tweets far in advance, since we have both the content and the date on which it should be published (the date it was written).  Here is a closeup of the advance scheduling feature:

One nice thing about HootSuite is that you can use the scheduling service with a free account, so the only cost is the staff time to type entries into the scheduler.  For a project like ASI’s, it’s easy to schedule-and-forget, which frees up time while also continually delivering content to patrons.  With an account already set up, it’s also a very easy project for a volunteer to do, especially one who is social media savvy.  It’s important to keep in mind that bulk scheduling capabilities are not available through a free account, though; for libraries and archives that have bigger budgets or fewer volunteers, the $10 a month fee for a Pro account may be worth it.  If an archives has more than one social media or Twitter account, the cost becomes more and more justified.

Along with HootSuite, another great tool both for professional and personal use is Bitly.  Bitly is one of many URL shorteners available for free use.  Because Twitter is short form, shorteners help you to say more and still share a link without exceeding your character limit.  You can also hook up your various accounts to Bitly to post directly from it.  You can read more in another post here.

There are also countless Twitter apps that can help archives hone their posts for maximum readership; this hashtags app seems especially useful for archives tweeting fixed content, in order to find those hashtags that will help them reach the broadest audience.  There are lots of potential practical uses for these apps, but a lot of them just look like a lot of fun too!  I’d recommend playing around a little if you have some time.

Are there any Twitter tools and apps you have found especially useful in your library or archives?  Please share them!

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TCART Newsletter

The latest newsletter for the Twin Cities Archives Round Table (TCART, the professional organization for archivists around the Metro area) is out, and it contains a short article about the Wallenberg Library & Archives at the American Swedish Institute and my role there.  You can check it out here, with the article on page 4.  Enjoy!

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An extended stay…

In my last post I gave a detailed account of the more theoretical aspects of my new position in the Corporate Records Management (CRM) department of Travelers Insurance.  When I accepted this position, it was as a summer intern with the department; as it was a paid internship, I was hired on through a temp agency.  In the past couple of weeks, however, one of the long-term temps in the department who did quality assurance work for the off-site storage system quit, leaving them short-handed.  Long story short, I will be working for Travelers in my previous capacity (various regular and special projects around the department and in the archives), plus the quality assurance work for the next year.

Downtown St. paul headquarters of Travelers Insurance.

Why did I accept a longer term position within records management when I want to do library and archives work?  Well, first of all, the job market for library and archives positions in the Twin Cities stinks big time right now and, to be frank, there’s the mortgage to consider.  Second, while part of me decries working for a giant corporation, the reality is that the experience is lending me new skills that could be of use in a future non-profit or public service position, and I think versatility is a good skill to have.  Third, this position allows me the flexibility to work slightly less than full time and continue working my regular hours as the librarian and archivist for the American Swedish Institute.  Since we’ve just written a grant to fund a year-long full time archives description project that we won’t hear back about until close to the end of this year, my CRM work will tide me over until I know whether I’ll be guaranteed that full time work for ASI through the next year.

So, while records management is not my dream field, and working for a corporation is less than ideal, with a little patience it will allow me to either take part in a great grant project with ASI or find a better fit next year without being under the gun in terms of job-searching on a short deadline.

Here’s to paying the bills!

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Corporate Records Management! Rah! Rah! Rah!

After spending the last two years concentrating primarily on archives and library topics, I’m taking a post-graduation foray into a somewhat related, yet different, world: the world of corporate records management.  For the next few months I will be working in the records management department at the St. Paul headquarters of Travelers Insurance.  I’ll be gaining some more knowledge about similarities and differences between the records management and archives spheres, broadening my skill set to include work with business records, and experiencing what the work of information professionals is like within a corporate environment.  Along with all the new material in terms of records management itself, this is also my first-ever job working in a cube…new experiences all around!

Archiving and records management can be considered central tasks of two very similar records lifecycles.  The Society of American Archivists defines records management as, “the systematic and administrative control of records throughout their life cycle to ensure efficiency and economy in their creation, use, handling, control, maintenance, and disposition.” The primary document of records management is the record*; within a business, these primary documents can be called business records*, or, “documents and other materials created or received by a commercial enterprise in the course of operations and preserved for future use.”   While archives are probably more commonly considered to be historical documents, archives as they exist in businesses are described as, “records created or received by a commercial enterprise in the course of operations and preserved for their enduring value.”  These definitions of business records and business archives are incredibly similar, but there also are some fundamental differences between the two as I understand them so far.

Business records and business archives are similar in that they are documents and materials that arise through normal business processes; for example, they might be individual insurance claims, training materials created for company employees, or emails sent between departments to address an issue.  All of these materials could be preserved by a corporation as documents that are integral to business operations.  However, when considering a corporation’s records management department and its archives, the timeline (or role in certain parts of a record’s lifecycle) becomes a key difference between the two.  Records are preserved “for future use,” not indefinitely.  Records management typically involves classification of records into different functional groups depending on what they might need to be consulted for in the business’s future operations; retention schedules are a fundamental component of this classification.

A retention schedule is “a document that identifies and describes an organization’s records, usually at the series level, provides instructions for the disposition of records throughout their life cycle.”  A large company such as Travelers has many hundreds of different records series, which each have their own retention rate.  For example, administrative records may be held for just a couple of years, whereas policies and other records may need to be held for longer.  Still others will be subject to certain government or legal holds (e.g. for court cases–I was told that, at any given time, Travelers is involved in thousands of cases, so this becomes a pretty important point!), which can extend their retention long past the typical retention period.  Still other documents may have retention rates as long as 99 years.  To boil this all down to a basic point, records management deals with records that facilitate daily business processes and to comply with outside regulation, the former often being much longer than the latter.  Once those needs have been met, records managers have the responsibility to ensure secure disposal (e.g. shredding, deletion) of expired records.  I say “responsibility” rather than “option” because, when you have over two million boxes and counting in offsite storage, and you’re paying for that storage, records purges become essential for keeping things in order and keeping costs down.

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Above: A ‘records’ coaster created as part of a company-wide records management training, complete with records management track list: 1. A little bit me, a little bit you (Responsibilities), 2. Hello, Goodbye (Retention), 3. Let it Be (Hold Orders), 4. Hit the Road Jack (Purge).  Also, RMO and RC stand for “records management officer” and “records coordinator,” which are employees from each department who act as liaisons to the records management department.

At the point of disposal it is clear that a record is a business record, not an archival document.  In contrast, archives have the distinction of being preserved “for their enduring value.”  This value is ongoing despite the passage of time, rather than ticking down to an expiration with the passage of time as business records do.  Their enduring value allows archives to often be preserved indefinitely (or as long as preservation efforts allow), and to skirt the disposal step of the records lifecycle altogether.

While a lot of the definitions related to archives and records seem extremely similar and, at times, differentiating them seems like splitting hairs, the two fields are remarkably different in practice.  Both deal with preserving evidence, but for different reasons: one for history and posterity, the other for legal compliance and good business functions.  Despite their differences, their functions do overlap; indeed, at Travelers the job of the corporate archivist falls within the scope of duties of one of the records management employees.

While I am finding interesting aspects to the records management world, I am always looking for ways to get involved in the archives if I can.  One of my special projects at Travelers will be to help out the archivist, who has no archives training (!), to put the company’s historical materials into order and work on some foundational preservation projects.  So, even with the foray into records management, it seems that I always find a way to get into the archives.

Thanks for reading, and stay tuned for more periodic insights into records management and reports on the archives and other special projects.

*Duh!

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Work, work…play??

Or: The Post-Graduation Summer

It’s been pretty quiet on this blog since early March…turns out finishing up a Master’s degree is a lot of work!  The last few months of work have culminated in graduation, and now I’m finally out of school and into the world.  Along with the sheer joy of reaching the post-grad school stage, there has been a lot going on in terms of work over the last few months, and there have been plenty of life changes in general.  First, let me touch on my two current work positions.

Right around the time of my last post I had started a job as the Librarian and Archivist for the American Swedish Institute.  I had been part of the cataloging project they’d undertaken with Legacy grant funding through November 2011, and was contacted about the position upon the resignation of the previous librarian.  Now I’m coming up on the completion of three months of work in my new position, and things are going well.  I’ve gotten the hang of my regular duties: performing reference on site and at a distance, working with patrons, assessing potential donations (and accepting and declining donations), working on special one-time library projects, giving public presentations about the Library and Archives, supervising and creating projects for a regular team of volunteers, recruiting new volunteers and interns, cataloging, writing website and blog content, and generally doing administrative work for a subject research collection.  I’m also working on a few special projects right now, including applying for grant funding for an archives project, starting up a social media project for the archives (check out @OlofAnderson on Twitter beginning June 1st), and setting up a small circulating collection project (the first in the library’s history).  To date, the position has been great, and I’ve gotten my feet wet with some new things in addition to really developing some of my librarian/archivist skills and abilities.  The position is part time, but that could change either with the availability of grant funding or through demonstrated need (which I’m working on demonstrating!), but either way it’s currently my main library/archives gig and the more engaging of my two jobs.

The American Swedish Institute Library and Archives reading room (i.e. my office)

My other position is working as a document control assistant in the Corporate Records Management (CRM) Department of Travelers Insurance, which has a headquarters in downtown St. Paul.  The position began in mid-May and will last into August, working slightly less than full time.  My position there was originally billed as an internship, and I’ll be working on quite a few varied projects throughout the next few months: updating records management training modules for the whole company, drafting communications for training projects, disposition of certain discontinued forms from the CRM’s own on-site documents, helping to create an inventory of records for Travelers of Canada, plus a few other odds-and-ends sorts of projects involving data cleanup and database work.  Records management is certainly not the most exciting of the information professions, at least for me.  I’d much rather be working in a library or archives, but for the time being it certainly is both a new work experience and one that is related to the archives world.  In the end, I think it will develop my skill set and broaden my view of the information world.  Watch for an upcoming post on records management.

Along with working two jobs…well, for once there’s nothing else to add to the list!  So far this is a welcome change from my last semester (working 2 jobs, an 8-hour a week internship, and taking two courses), and the working world is thus far less stressful than the world of graduate school.  Other than job searching, I’m trying to keep the summer pretty bare-bones, or as bare-bones as one can when job searching and planning a wedding.  Hopefully this will result in some relaxation, a lot of bike riding, rediscovery of some of my favorite pastimes (most notably spinning and dying yarn), and maybe even some more regular posts here.

In the meantime, congratulations to all the other library school graduates out there.  Here’s to our new-found freedom and all that’s yet to come!

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Ramsey County Historical Society

In January I started an internship at Ramsey County Historical Society.  I had volunteered at RCHS for a short time in the summer of 2011 cataloging textiles, but that unfortunately fell by the wayside once the fall semester started up.  Luckily, this semester I have another chance to reconnect with the organization and do some more work that will not only benefit them, but also help to add ever more practical experience into my own library school experience.  Not to mention the fact that the credits from this internship will bring me up to my credit requirement for graduation at the end of this semester!

So far this semester my supervisor Mollie and I have outlined three different projects: processing small archival collections, donation of deaccessioned library materials, and identification and condition assessment of audio-visual materials.  I’m about 65 hours into my 120 hour requirement, and have nearly completed the first and progressed a good way into the second project.  Here’s a little more about each of these projects, and the work I’m doing for them.

Processing Small Archival Collections

For my first 40-50 hours I spent my time working with some diverse small archival collections, including a collection with materials about Ramsey County district schools, one documenting two generations of a family in 20th century St. Paul, a collection of many scrapbooks created by high school girls in the late 1930s, the organizational papers of a short-lived West End Library Club that attempted to establish a branch library in 1924, and a collection of papers that documented the building and ownership of a house at 360 Sturgis Street in St. Paul, Minnesota.  The collections all required basic preservation work, such as removing staples and paperclips, interleaving with buffered paper, filing in acid-free folders, photocopying acidic newspaper clippings, and more.  Along with this sort of basic preservation processing, I put the collections in order; this entails creating meaningful divisions in the materials, such as series for each person in a family (e.g. the St. Paul family collection), or folders for various kinds of materials (e.g. correspondence, school materials, professional association materials, etc.).  After ordering according to series and folders, each division is ordered chronologically.

The last bit of putting these collections in order was to create a finding aid for each collection.  Often, finding aids vary from institution to institution, and RCHS has their own style of finding aid.  Here’s an example of the finding aid I created for the 360 Sturgis Street house collection:

Deaccessioned Library Materials

After finishing the bulk of my archives processing (though, I must admit, there are still a couple of loose ends to wrap up even now), I moved on to a project working with deaccessioned library materials.  Along with the archival materials held by RCHS, there is a research center that has extensive library materials.  There is also the Gibbs Museum of Pioneer and Dakota Life, an interpretive site that has a farmhouse, schoolhouse, and Dakota camp; this site has period books that are kept in the buildings to create an authentic historical experience for visitors.  Within the books from the research center and Gibbs there are occasionally books that are outdated or don’t fit the needs of researchers (for the research center), or are unsuitable in terms of topic or time period (for the Gibbs Museum).  These books go through a process of deaccessioning and are removed from the collections.

At RCHS, 253 books have been deaccessioned in the past several years, but they have not yet been disposed of–this is my task.  The books can be sold or donated to other institutions around Minnesota (the latter being the preferred action).  The challenge with this project is making connections with libraries, archives, historical societies, museums, interpretive sites, and other institutions, and finding out what we can donate to whom.  To date I have found homes for about 35 volumes, which just barely scratches the surface!

While it’s going to be a challenge to find good homes for all of these old books, the project itself is a great opportunity for a student in her final semester.  While I’m figuring out what to do with the deaccessioned books, I’m also contacting a lot of organizations and making connections with the people in charge of collections all around the Twin Cities.  This is providing a good chance to get some basic information about the collections and collecting activities of other organizations, which will help in my future work, and allowing me to network a bit, which will hopefully help me find some work in the first place!

Audio-Visual Materials

The last project for this internship will be going through the collections to identify audio-visual materials.  Along with documenting where various formats are in the archives collections, I will also be assessing the level of deterioration of the materials and, if necessary, making recommendations for materials which need more in-depth preservation care.  For these materials, actions range from rehousing in a safe container to prevent further deterioration, to reformatting the thing entirely (e.g. converting an old VHS tape to DVD or digital format, making multiple copies in a new format, etc.).

This project has yet to start, but I’m excited to dive in anyhow.  I think it will be a good time to put some of my knowledge from my archives preservation course last semester into practice, and to see how it all applies to the real work of audio-visual preservation.

All in all, I’m extremely happy with my internship to date.  I’m getting lots of experience with certain projects, and also learning how yet another organization operates and does its business, which is always helpful in the long run.

Keep your eyes peeled closer to the end of the spring for more on this internship, especially the final project, and for some lessons learned that I will be certain to pass along!

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The MPR gig lives on

I’ve been talking a little bit about the MPR archives inventory project that I’m working on recently.  In my last post I lamented the fact that we might not have funding for much longer, and the project would be stalled halfway through.  I’m happy to announce that the Corporation for Public Broadcasting has extended our window for using the funds we haven’t used up to date!  This means that all the extra unused man-hour funds that didn’t get used up when someone was out sick, or for a holiday, or other such absentee events, will now be able to be used past our original deadline of March 1st.

The new deadline is now April 10th.  For the next month we’ll be working on much more varied collections than we have been so far.  To date the vast majority has been news coverage, but from now on it will be news, music programming, classical, and other odd collections that are tucked away back in the archives room.

In the meantime, our project lead is working with the grants department on applying for various other funds.  Here’s hoping we get more good news before April 10th rolls around.  Until then, happy archiving to us!

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An update, plus something new!

The last month and a half have flown by, ushered on at break-neck speed by the exact things I mentioned in a post two months ago: working just shy of full time and filling my non-work hours with an internship, my last class of grad school, and copious job applications.

Work at Minnesota Public Radio has been great so far.  We spent until yesterday processing news reels (all 40 years’ worth), and we’ve just started to add Pipedreams programs into the inventory.  The news reels were an incredible primer on Minnesota history (read more here) and, well…let’s just say that now I’m learning so much more about pipe organs and organ music than I ever thought I would!  Over all, it’s been a good job, and has kept me very busy, but we’re coming down to the line.  The original grant funding window ends at the end of February (today!), and though we still have funds, we don’t know if we’ll be approved to use them.  We’ve applied for an extension through March, but have still not heard the official word from the Corporation for Public Broadcasting.  So we may not have jobs come Friday.  Cross your fingers for the MPR archives team.

In other news, my internship at Ramsey County Historical Society is going wonderfully.  I’ve finished a project wherein I processed a bunch of small archival collections and got the hang of basic preservation work and writing finding aids.  I’ve moved on to a library deaccession project.  There are some library materials at RCHS (books from the research center, books on display at the interpretive Gibbs Museum site), and within the past few years some of those have been deaccessioned, or permanently removed, from the collections for various reasons.  Now the task is to make connections with various museums, libraries and archives around the Twin Cities that might be interested in having these books for their own collections.  I’ve contacted some area historical societies, libraries, museums, archives, etc. and, hopefully within the next few weeks, will find homes for all 253 deaccessioned books.  Watch for more on this internship in an upcoming post!

Even with all this activity, life is about to get slightly busier.  Along with my class, internship, and MPR gig, I’ve just gotten a second job: archivist and librarian for the American Swedish Institute.  I worked for ASI for about 6 months last year during their library cataloging project (another grant funded project where the end was abrupt and final decisions were down to the wire–I’m sensing a pattern, here…) and worked quite closely with the then-librarian and archivist, Ann.  I guess I must have impressed the higher-ups, because when Ann tendered her resignation to move on to another position, effective March 1st, she strongly encouraged me to contact her boss about the position.  So here I am, starting Friday at ASI.  The job is a mere 12 hours a week, which covers the open hours of the reading room.  Despite the small amount of hours, I’m excited to start work: this will be my first permanent library or archives position, and the fact that it is as the head of the library and archives means I’ll have a lot of control and ability to help grow the program (the library has been officially open for less than 6 months).  In the meantime, I’ve ordered some archives books with the hope that the learning curve might be a little less arduous.

All in all, my final semester as a library school student is going better than I could have imagined.  I’m excited to be looking to the future, finding new opportunities, and getting ready for things to come.

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Living the 70s

Today marks the end of my second week of work at Minnesota Public Radio, where I’m acting as one of the lead archivists for a grant funded project to build a digital inventory of MPR’s audio assets.

The work itself is fairly straightforward: we pull a bunch of audio from the archival storage and each person in the team (there are 12 of us) takes a stack.  In the box of each audio item (e.g. the reel, DAT, etc.) there is a sheet or two which list its contents.  Though we’re working with several different formats, like audio reels of different sizes, DATs, cassettes, and CDs, the format (and, actually, the physical object as an item in and of itself) is inconsequential for our purposes.  Rather, the information sheet is our focus at this stage: the sheets list the individual news stories (the ‘assets’ for the project) and metadata associated with each one.  So when we open up a box containing an audio reel, we pull out the informational sheets and enter the segment’s title, reporter, length, date and information into our database.  Easy as pie!  Here’s an excerpt from 1982:

This may sound pretty boring; after all, what I’ve described is essentially data entry.  But, in reality, this is just where it gets interesting!  The MPR audio archive material dates back to 1971, and there are many hundreds of items containing material between then and the most current material.  Each individual news segment is 5 or fewer minutes long, on average; break down 40 years of coverage into 5-minute news stories and you can begin to imagine the vast amount of material we’re working with, as well as the incredible variety of topics covered.   The content falls under the all-encompassing ‘News’ label (it’s content that has been created for MPR’s talk station, as opposed to its classical and current music stations–those will come later), but within ‘News’ there is a great variety of topics, including Minnesota politics, social issues, education, economics, arts, events coverage, and general interest stories.  With titles like “Science Museum’s Omnitheater opens,” “Burnsville teachers’ strike continues,” “Decorah Nordic Fest,” “National Weather Service on ice storm” and “Governor Quie makes budget proposal” (not to mention some stranger stories like “Ducks” and “Laser show”), it’s easy to see both the variety and level of detail of the stories.

The effect of processing through several hundred stories a day is a sort of high-level overview of even the more pedestrian events of the times.  Not only do you see what kinds of news and issues are being talked about, but you also get a sense of timing; stories are introduced, then updates and changes are reported on, as well as commentary from various angles, and eventually the story fades away and others rise and fall in its stead.  We have just gotten through 1981, and I find myself reflecting on the events of the 70s.  It feels as though I’ve been able to ‘relive’ the decade (which I did not live in the first place, being a child of the 80s), and as if personal experience somehow links me to the stories.  Along with the value of gaining very detailed knowledge of local Minnesota news and culture in a historical sense, the fact that I am watching events unfold much in the same way someone of the day would have gives me a much more intimate sense of this historical news and culture.  And, of course, all of this has enriched my understanding of the world at large and of the events that form the basis for my own personal history and experience of the world.

Needless to say, so far, the project has been a great pleasure to take part in.  I think it will be especially interesting to come to the years I have actually lived through.  How will ‘reliving’ my own developmental years change or supplement my view of the world in which I grew up?  Will those events of my teenage and adult years (which, presumably, I remember more fully) appear any different the second time through?  How will ‘reliving’ these events alter my mindset or my understanding of my own experience?  These are questions for a future post.  The archives team has managed a decade in about a week and a half, so perhaps next week at this time I’ll have something to say about my first few years of life.  Stay tuned for more reports from Minnesota history!

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Spring 2012

Finally, my last semester of library school!  I guess I can’t say that it really feels that long since I started; the last year and a half have flown by, as I’m sure this last 4 months or so will, too.  Then it’s on to the world of work.  Honestly, I’m excited to be done with school and out working in earnest; not only have I had enough of school itself, but I’m really over changing jobs every few months, and being poor, and feeling unstable.  Classic grad school syndrome, no?

For this semester, the academic side of things promises to be a little lighter than usual.  Because I took four courses my first semester (which made me go crazy), I only need two more courses this spring to fulfill my credit requirement.  This will both let me stay a little saner through the end, and will mean extra time for job searching before I’m out on the job market with my Master’s in hand.

The first course I’m taking is Records Management, which is a distance course through the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee.  I’m excited for this one because, although it will be plenty of work, I’ve taken a course with the professor already (my beloved preservation course this past fall) and records management is a pretty valuable skill for an archives hopeful to add to her skill set.  My second course is a for-credit internship.  The internship requires a minimum of 120 hours throughout the semester, which equates to about 8 hours a week from now through the end of April.  So, for the next four months I’ll be spending every Friday working for the Ramsey County Historical Society in downtown St. Paul.  I’ve volunteered with them before, so I’m already familiar with the facilities, some of the people, the bus schedules, and all that basic stuff, which will make the experience a little easier.  Along with the work of the internship itself, I’ll only have a few extra things to complete to get credit: a journal of my experience, a final report, and a poster showing off the experience.  Pretty academically light, compared to past semesters.

This may sound awfully cushy; fear not, there’s more.  Along with the academics, I’ve found myself employed once again.  Throughout January and February I will be acting as a Lead Assistant Archivist (my first position with ‘archivist’ in the job title!) for an audio archives inventory project being done at Minnesota Public Radio.  The position is supported by a grant from the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, and the funds are currently only available through March 1st (though they’re working on trying to get the deadline extended through the rest of the semester), but I’ve been approved to work up to full time, which will likely translate into 30-40 hours of work a week.  So, though the academics are light, the practical experience this semester will be more serious than it has been in past semesters.  Especially considering the very short time frame, this is most certainly a good thing: getting a lot of practical archives experience with a special format in a short amount of time will supplement my education, let me remedy one aspect of classic grad student syndrome (being poor), help to build up my resume, and  let me focus on work at the beginning of the semester and academics at the end of it.

All things considered, I’m excited for the Spring 2012 semester, though classes don’t officially start until January 23rd.  However, my MPR position starts tomorrow, and my internship on Friday, so both academics and work will be starting off strong, and will give me a good head start on the semester itself.

Happy New Year, everyone, and I hope all my fellow library school students are resting up for now, but also gearing up for a happy and productive spring.

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