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

Archives

Working in an Archive

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

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!

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

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

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

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

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…


Massachusetts State Archives Field Trip

Another guest blog by current student, Sarah Nafis. Sarah is in her final year of the dual Archives/History (MS/MA) program. Since moving to Boston, she’s exploring the city one restaurant at a time and has learned to embrace the quirks of public transportation. This semester I’m taking Government Archives as one of my electives. The class focuses on government archives at the local, state, and national levels and covers topics such as legal responsibilities, relationship between the different branches of government, accessibility, and challenges facing government archives. In addition to the course readings and discussion, we also have the opportunity to meet with guest speakers and visit a couple of government archives. And field trips are just as much fun in graduate school as they were in elementary school. Our class was fortunate enough to be given a personal tour of the Massachusetts State Archives (located just around the corner from the JFK Library and Museum) by the Executive Director, Michael Comeau. We spent just under 3 hours on site and I probably could have…


Living the Dream

WHOA it’s been a crazy week! So crazy, in fact, I’m going to have to break it down with a numbered list. Here are the important announcements/news items from this week: 1. I started my internship at the Fairfield University archives!                 This internship is a big deal for me. I haven’t worked since I had my son almost five years ago, so I need all the professional experience I can get. Also, I’ve never done any actual archives work before. I have some library experience and some museum experience, and here I am in grad school claiming I want to be an archivist with only a foggy idea of what that actually means. So YAY FOR INTERNSHIPS! Can you tell I’m excited? I’m super excited. This internship is perfect for me. It’s not too far from my home and it’s a small university archives, which frankly is exactly the kind of institution I see myself in some day. 2. I visited an archives for my field study.                 This would be only the second…


On Being Ambassadors

I think I can safely say now that this will be one tough semester, characterized with lots of work outside the home. My first semester I had to drive to class every Saturday but all of the work and the assignments could be completed at home, on my own time. Not so this semester. This week I will go interview a reference librarian. Next week I will be visiting an archival repository as a researcher. And any day now my archives internship will start up, requiring 60 hours of work over the course of the semester. As an avowed introvert and homebody, I do not relish the thought of all the running around I’ll be doing. But I also feel confident that once the stress of setting up appointments and making arrangements is over, I am going to love getting out into the field, talking to archivists and librarians, and getting the hands-on experience. The museum internship I had so many years ago right out of college was such a formative experience for me and…