Winter term 2017 I had the opportunity to fulfill my MLIS internship at the Special Collections and Archives Research Center (SCARC). I decided that instead of focusing my time in one particular area, I would do more of a general overview, to get the full experience of how an academic special collections and archives department operates. I did, however, spend much of my time working with the Oregon Multicultural Archives, under the guidance of Natalia Fernandez. We met before my internship began, and compiled a list of seven objectives we thought would be feasible within the 150-hour time frame.
For several weeks of my internship, I edited transcriptions and added timestamps to oral history interviews from the Oregon Multicultural Archives, utilizing the Oral History Metadata Synchronizer (OHMS) tool. I was also invited to attend an archival literacy meeting to discuss a book regarding teaching with primary sources. For one shift a week I worked at the reference desk, assisting patrons and staff as needed, while gaining a basic understanding of ALMA, the records management system, and Archon, the collections management system.
Moving forward, the majority of my internship focused on labeling, weeding and processing materials from the Women’s Center collection. I organized Women’s Center scrapbooks and posters, reordered the collection after incorporating more recent accessions, and initiated the new finding aid in Archon. Unfortunately, I ran out of time before I was able to complete the finding aid, but was able to transition the work before I left. Towards the completion of my internship I conducted short interviews with several staff members regarding records retention schedules and the preparation process for oral history interviews, and helped set up and take down displays and exhibits.
Throughout my time at SCARC, Natalia and I touched base several times to ensure I was on track with my objectives. While I felt that her guidance was available when needed, I was also given the freedom to work independently. I deliberately chose an internship for the hands-on experience, which allowed the opportunity to apply the knowledge acquired from my graduate program through Kent State University. I feel that my experience was a comprehensive overview regarding the role of archives in an academic library setting, and am grateful that Natalia and everyone else at SCARC is willing to provide a learning environment not only for students from Oregon State University, but also for students coming from other academic institutions.
Thanks so much,
Karen Tockman, M.L.I.S.