Monthly Archives: July 2013

A Picture is Worth a Thousand Words, soo…

I found ittt!!

I found ittt!!

Taking notes on materials to include as representative images

Taking notes on materials to include as representative images

Found a folder labeled "Smithsonian Institution"

Just doing my job

My work station, where I stay very busy. At the time the photograph was taken, I was researching photographic processes and imputing metadata for item level cataloging.

My work station, where I stay very busy. At the time the photograph was taken, I was researching photographic processes and inputting metadata for item level cataloging.

It’s almost August 1st and I find myself with a little over two weeks left in my internship and summer term. Just today I was thinking that time is moving sooo slooowly. Apparently, that changed while I wasn’t looking. So what will I be doing with my remaining two weeks? Let’s see…

This past Friday, I had the opportunity to meet the president of the foundation that gifted AAA with the collection I have been processing.  In working with the collection, I did a great deal of research trying to identify photographs of family members. I managed to identify most of them, but there was an additional folder containing photographs that I could not verify. The man was kind enough to come and assist in identifying individuals, for the purpose of the finding aid (and researchers everywhere). I was pleased to find that I had been right on the mark with the individuals I had identified and he was impressed by my efforts and how much knowledge I had garnered on the family. Didn’t you know? Genealogy is my thing, 🙂 When he came, the president of the foundation left another stack of papers to be integrated into the collection. So I will be spending time editing the finding aid and collection organization to make sure these papers have a home.

As I mentioned, I have been assisting the Digital Librarian with item level cataloging. I completed the initial stage last week. This week, she (the librarian) looked over my work and supervised me as I finalized a few catalog entries and approved them to be posted online. Satisfied that I was on the right track, she left me to finish the remainder on my own. It’s exciting to see your work go live. You can see a sample record I worked on here. I will be finishing the remainder of the item level catalog records this week.

Also (I know, I know, you’re probably thinking: how many projects is she working on??), I have been assisting the Information Systems Manager with developing some ideas/brainstorming for an institution-wide transcription project. Over the past week, I have been collecting feedback on crowdsourced transcription platforms, as well as trying them myself and compiling my own reflections. I sent that information to her this morning and will likely meet with her to determine the next step sometime this week.

Lastly, I was invited to write a blog post for the AAA blog, focusing on my experiences in processing. So I need to be thinking about my approach…in the two weeks I have left. I guess I should get on that.

Until next time…Cheers!

Halfway Through


I am now halfway through both my internship and my summer classes. I completed LSC 551 Organization of Information and am in the middle of LSC 553 Information Sources and Services, which deals with providing reference services within the library. As part of an assignment, I observed librarian and patron interactions in a public library special collection division. I am a people watcher, so naturally, I enjoyed that portion of the assignment. I also enjoyed interacting with the librarians and finding out how they got into their present careers. There is no one way to become a librarian or archivist.

Now for an update on the internship. I’ve been privileged to gain more than one perspective on archival work. A few weeks ago, I finished fully processing the McCrindle collection. Using Archivist’s Toolkit, I created an EAD compatible finding aid and submitted it for review to my supervisor. She gave me some preliminary feedback and I made a few corrections. Now, my finding aid is in the review portion of the workflow.

Showing off the yacht blueprints I found in the McCrindle papers. Photo courtesy of Smithsonian Archives of American Art Facebook Page (

Project #2 involved getting a taste of converting legacy finding aids into EAD finding aids, using MS Excel to create spreadsheets, which through STEADY turns the data into EAD component levels. The resulting XML file allows the archivist to tweak whatever needs fixing, using coding. It is then ingested into Archivist’s Toolkit (AT). My job was to enter data from the legacy finding aids into Excel, according to the specified fields. Once the information had been ingested into AT, I went back and edited information as requested by the EAD Coordinator.

Currently, I’ve begun a new project involving item level cataloging. The practice at AAA is to include representative images with each collection that has online finding aids. In most cases, the representative image record also forms the backbone of cataloging for the collection, as the processing archivists (and I) add metadata. I will be involved in working on new accessions, locating and pulling the collections, selecting a representative image (an items that reflects the contents of the collections, could be a photograph of the creator, a piece of correspondence, etc.), filling out a removal notice (which doubles as the backbone cataloging record) and providing item level metadata, delivering the item(s) to the digitization staff, receiving it upon scanning, and replacing the item in the stacks. I’m excited because it gives me an excuse to browse the collections.  🙂

Until next time!