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

Archives

Simmons Students Present at Boston College Conference

Over the weekend, the Boston College History Department hosted their first annual graduate student conference entitled “Grad Student Voices.” The student leadership team possessed a simple yet bold vision – a conference for graduate students by graduate students. Especially as a student just finishing her first year of her M.A. in History, I found it refreshing to attend an history conference that uplifted graduate voices rather than relegating their voices – and the students themselves – to the corner.  Since the dual degree Archives and History program here at Simmons pairs the M.A. in History as a complement to the M.S. in Archives Management, at times I have struggled to engage with my peers as fellow historians. The dominant attitude is that we are archivists first. And while I take my role as an archivist seriously because of the authority it invests in me in determining what records make it into the archives that future historians will rely on, sometimes I just want to dive deep into the theoretical frameworks and dizzying array of possible…


Future Plans

I feel like I blinked, and all of a sudden I’m registering for classes for my third and final year at Simmons! My graduate History thesis is right around the corner, and I can hardly believe it. I’m still deciding on my topic, but I think I’m starting to build a pretty good idea. It feels like the true adult world is coming quicker than ever. Speaking of, this past week I attended the annual Spring SLIS virtual career fair and got to meet with several awesome employers and get some ideas for my job prospects next spring. It’s exciting to hear about all the opportunities that are available for me when I graduate and all the places I can potentially work at.  Until then though, I’m happy to announce I got into all the classes that I wanted for next semester. I will be taking History 562 taught by the new faculty they hired, and LIS 442, one of the required archives courses. I did experience true senioritis though: I kept forgetting that my…


Spring Sprint

From the basket of laundry next to my bed, to the hundreds of unread and unorganized emails in my inbox, the evidence of this semester’s time crunch is everywhere I look.          The workload from my first semester at SLIS didn’t feel like a particularly far jump from the end of my undergraduate career. The reading was heavy, and the papers forced me to slow down and remember back to the kind of academic writing I hadn’t practiced in the year I took between my graduation from Syracuse and starting at Simmons. The three classes did keep me buzzing from one day to the next. But, in a mid-March reflection, I’m realizing now that this semester has been a whole other beast.             I run, often literally, from work, to class, to my LIS 438 field placement. Each of these pieces to my schedule is vital. I can’t miss class, or else then I’ll be behind in content and deadlines. Can’t afford to miss work and still be able to order the delicious food found…


Garden Archives

Sometimes, the semester is busy and the world is loud. The long and short of this week’s blog post is that I need a distraction…             Today’s particular break comes in the form of the Smithsonian Archive of American Gardens. According to their website, the Archive “Collects, preserves, and provides access to visual resources that document the history of gardens in America” and “Inspires new ways of interpreting garden history and design so that America’s rich garden heritage can be better understood, appreciated, and enjoyed today and in the future”. All of these are very noble and worthwhile causes. But really, I turn to this Archive to see some lush, green vignetted photography when Boston is feeling slushy and the rest of the world particularly smokey.            The collection seems to be entirely digitized, and can be browsed by state, garden structure/furniture/feature, or by type. Looking for the familiar flora of your home state? How about indulging your pastoral interests with some topiary or trellises? If you’re like me and dream about that herb garden you…


There You Are

            Lately when I am not in class at Simmons, it feels like I’m only ever at my job. It isn’t technically a bad feeling in itself. I work, essentially, as records management at a financial firm right off the Boston Commons. When you squint, my job responsibilities look like archival work. I am tasked with taking the old files from my office basement, some older than myself and all slightly funky with various degrees of water damage, and digitizing, organizing, then shredding them. My closest colleague is our network room printer. He is large and one of the more temperamental machines that I have had the pleasure of toiling beside. I don’t do much appraising, just checking that the tax returns are over seven years old before I send them to the document organizer where all files go to die.             The problem is that this feeling of constant work is paired with the second semester of graduate school conviction that I am terribly behind everyone else. My work does not have a museum…


Welcome New Blogger – Abbey

My name is Abbey and I am a first semester student in the Simmons History & Archives Management dual degree program. I grew up in a small town on the Mississippi river. From there, I went away to school at Syracuse University in upstate New York. At Syracuse I studied English Textual Studies and History, and learned to love a long, brutal winter. I got my introduction to archive work while studying abroad in Poland. When in Eastern Europe, I ate many pierogies and fell in love with working with book history materials. The Prohibited Library in Prague, and its collection of censored samizdat papers, inspired me to continue my education with a master’s in Library Science. I had realized that if we did not prioritize looking after the material evidence of history, then who would? I spend my time reading good books and watching bad television. I like stories about haunted houses, running during the fall when the wind is a little too cold, and Taylor Swift. Boston has been my dream city for…


End of the Semester and End of the Year

Hey everyone. It’s been a long time since I last posted a blog. My semester has been pretty crazy as I imagine everyone else’s has been. Trying to keep up with the election, the pandemic, and continuing classes fulltime has been pretty stressful so I began to limit the amount of time I am on social media each week to basically zero which has been pretty helpful I would say. In my Collective Memory course, our final project was a group presentation on a historical event, person, or group that our understanding of has been affected by the idea of collective memory. My group chose to do our project our Crispus Attucks, the first victim of the Boston Massacre, and how his identity as a runaway slave and martyr helped with the abolitionists and even in the Black Lives Matter protests. In Archival Access, our final project is to create a MARC record and Finding Aid for a collection. We’ve been learning about how to create Finding Aids with XML code and MARC records so…


First Weeks

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

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

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…