Student Snippets A Window Into The Daily Life & Thoughts of SLIS Students

Archives

First Weeks

crouchw

Hey everyone. The current semester is rolling along just fine despite it being an unusual one compared to a typical SLIS semester. As I’ve been taking more archives focused classes, I’m starting to gain a better grasp of the fundamentals of the profession. In my class LIS440 or Archival Access, I’ve learned about many of the key principles of being an archivist. Some of them are ones that are building off of concepts I learned in previous classes about describing metadata and how you describe items within your archives. In addition, I’ve been learning about how to categorize items within an archive by series or collection level which builds off of previous librarian concepts like Work, Expression, Manifestation, or Item levels. It’s going to be a pretty important class for understanding how to use an archive as both an archivist and a user.  In another class, LIS 441, Archival Appraisal, I’ve been learning about how to best conduct appraisal within an archive. Appraisal is such an important part of the profession because it has to…


Fall 2020 and Welcome Week

crouchw

It’s pretty crazy to think about how different the start to this fall semester is compared to last year. At this time last year, I was moving to Boston and now the whole world is somewhat frozen with the pandemic while Simmons is not having anything on campus this fall. But that hasn’t stopped us from trying to establish a community for our SLIS students as at the beginning of the month we had a series of digital welcome events for our new students. We had students talk with professors about the upcoming year, meeting with our Simmons librarians to help with research, a meeting for students to get to know each other and chat, and we even had a drawing for SLIS clothing at the end of the week. It was a lot of fun and if any incoming students are hesitant about attending these events the next time we have them, hopefully in person next fall, I would highly recommend going to help establish connections with professors and fellow students before your grad…


A Great Group Project

Amie Grosshans

I completed my group project for Metadata and honestly it was one of the most enlightening group projects that I’ve done.  Each group was assigned a different metadata schema.  This is usually how it goes for a group project, but what was different here was that the schemas were for unusual items like Tweets (Tweet Object Records), music (Music Encoding Initiative), cultural heritage objects (MIDAS Heritage), biological records (Darwin Core) and even math (MathML)!  I watched all the presentations and learned a ton about how metadata is used.  I did not know that you could create metadata for a math formula or that metadata for a simple Tweet contains huge amount of information, including the number of followers the person had at that time, the number of likes the tweet got, and how many times it was re-tweeted.  It was so interesting to learn how each schema described its resources.       My group was assigned PBCore, which is used to create metadata for audio and visual resources, like tv episodes or radio shows.  I enjoyed…


Working in an Archive

crouchw

For LIS 438-Intro to Archival Methods, one of the required aspects is a 60-hour internship with an archive. For the class, Simmons helps you find an archive that will work well for your own situation based on your interests, transportation options, and where you live. I was assigned to work in the City of Boston Archives and Records Management Division with SLIS alum, Marta Crilly. For my internship, I was introduced to all of the other archivists within the office and they were all Simmons alumni which was really cool because it made me see just how big the alumni network is for SLIS. The City of Boston Archives has all the governmental records for the various divisions within the government like the fire department, police, and obviously the mayor’s office. My project for this semester will be going through boxes of photos from Mayor Raymond Flynn’s administration from 1984 to 1993 which had previously had been digitized onto a Flickr account. Over the course of the 60 hours I’ll be working there, I’ll be…


Spring 2020 Classes

crouchw

I figured it was probably time for me to post about what classes I’m taking next semester considering the fall semester is more or less done. I’ll actually be taking four classes over the Spring semester. One of my weekly classes will LIS 438 Intro to Archives. It will be my first archives course and it includes a 60 hour internship so I’m pretty excited to start it and learn more about what will hopefully be my eventual career. Another weekly class will be LIS 407 Information Services. It’s one of the required courses for the LIS program and sounds similar to LIS 415 which I enjoyed. My last weekly course will be HIST 574 Modern US History. I’m a big US history buff and am mostly interested in modern history so this class will be one that I hope to take the methods that I learned from my current history course and be able to apply them. Finally, my last course is actually not weekly. Instead it will take place entirely over spring break…


If the Shoe Fits!

Katie Carlson

This past Friday, I had the awesome experience of touring both the Reebok archives and America’s Test Kitchen. Check out next week’s blog for ATK! At Reebok I was given a fun looking ID badge that identified me as a guest of Stephanie Schaff, Archive Coordinator, who graduated from Simmons in 2015. She showed us around Reebok’s new digs in the Innovative and Design Building on Drydock Ave. The work area was entirely encased in glass, and we were told that desks are first come, first served. After touring the general building, we entered the actual archive. The space was decked out in white, with sketches displayed across the tables, cases of brightly colored shoes, and a fair amount of moveable stacks. I was very excited to be able to hold the oldest shoe in the collection (forgive me, Stephanie, but I forgot the exact date) which featured spikes that were caked with century old dirt — which is a testament to how well the archive treats its items! I ALSO was able to hold…


Experience in an Archive

ShanTil Yell

In my Introduction to Archival Methods & Services class, we were charged to write an overview of our experience using an archives, and part of that assignment meant coming up with our own research question and doing some digging into the resources we found.  I chose to use the local history room at the Somerville Public Library. I chatted with a fellow librarian about some popular topics people come to research there, and one he mentioned was the Ursuline convent riots that took place in the summer of 1834. This really peaked my interest, and even though I don’t have the space to go into all the details, I’d still like to give a brief run-through of what happened and the impression it left on me.  Riding the wave of an increasingly anti-Catholic feeling in the community, a Protestant mob rallied and destroyed the convent over the course of two nights, everything from furniture, books, and religious items to the surrounding gardens. In their frenzy, they even desecrated the tombs of nuns buried on the…


Explaining Archives to the Layperson

Megan Ondricek

I’ve recently returned to Connecticut from a wonderful Christmas vacation with my family in southwestern Virginia. We were there for about two and a half weeks and I was able to meet up with a lot of old friends and family connections. With this came the opportunity to explain what archives is to people outside of the library community. Most importantly, I wanted people to understand why I find archives so fascinating, and why I consider it such a relevant and necessary profession in our modern age. As you can imagine, this can be challenging. Archives isn’t the only profession that is largely misunderstood and difficult to explain to outsiders. Even my husband has a hard time explaining to people exactly what it is he does at his job. During my vacation, I feel like I came up with a strategy that was fairly successful. It would have been easy enough to just give the usual spiel about documenting society, preserving history, connecting people with information, etc. and move on. But I wanted to engage…


Ethics in the Library and the Archives

Megan Ondricek

I’ve been enjoying some very engaging readings and discussion in both of my classes the past few weeks, as our units on ethics happened to coincide. According to my professors, the ethics lesson is always everyone’s favorite, and I soon found out why. Believe it or not, the archives and library professions are veritable minefields of fascinating ethical quandaries! As we discussed these topics in class on Saturday, I realized that library ethics are essentially about protecting and enabling people’s right and freedom of choice. We believe that everyone has the right to choose what to read, what to think, what to do, and what to say. We might not agree with their choice, and other people in the library or the community might not agree with their choice, but it is not our place to restrict or pass judgement on that choice. It is important to remember that we cannot know what use a patron intends for a particular book, or what reaction they may have to any given piece of information. Of course,…


Thinking Like an Archivist

Megan Ondricek

We are more than halfway through the semester and with a few days off for holidays this month, I think I can safely say we are in the home stretch. There is a light at the end of the tunnel. Woo! With my archives internship wrapping up, I thought I’d share some of my observations. First of all, this internship required some serious time management. It is built right into the Intro to Archives course (LIS 438) on top of a typical load of coursework, and it’s a lot. I actually advised a classmate the other day not to take it, unless she was serious about archives. Because unless you’ve got all kinds of free time and not many daytime commitments, it will require some major sacrifices beyond the typical course. That being said, I have loved all the course material (not so much the online format) and the work I’ve been doing for my internship. I have finally gotten some hands-on experience in an archive. It really is essential. I’ve heard several times now…