Wednesday, 2 May 2012

Term Two Tackled

As my second semester as a grad student comes to a close, I think it is time for some reflection on the past few months.  This term has definitely been busier and more taxing but that has been no surprise and a welcome challenge. 


613 - Planning, Managing and Assessing a Library Project

This class promised to offer some hands-on experience of working with a library on an actual, tanglible, project.  I must say that this was a challenging class but not in the ways I was hoping.  The difficulties lay more in tailoring our project to the syllabus and the teachers' ideas rather than in the actual project itself.  In the end, instead of having to choose between good grades and being helpful to the library, we decided to provide the host library with extra work that we had completed, which was more what they were looking for in the hope that they would gain something useful out of our project.

Project poster at the poster session with host libraries
(please note the matching vine)

614 - Management Principles for Information Professionals

There has been much discussion about this class this term and how it is taught and whether it should be more tailored for the library kids.  I did not feel the benefit of being in a class with students from other programs but I did find the course interesting since management is so far removed from anything I have studied before.  It would have helped, however, to have more dicussion of library and archive specific examples.  I enjoyed researching the final case study since I chose to compare UPS and FedEx and I just love all things mail (not male) related.

Not me!

624 - Preservation of Library and Archival Collections

This was a fantastic class with brilliant hands-on experience of book repair.  We all had to buy a toolkit and I have used several tools around the house and archives!  We also had a look at disaster planning, preservation planning and the role of conservators in libraries and archives.  There were also trips to Belfer Audio Archive and Bird.  If anyone hasn't had a look at the Belfer website then I advise that you do since they are involved in some great projects such as SoundBeats.  This also gave me an excuse to knock out a paper and presentation on the request for the repatriation of the Elgin Marbles.

Toolkit and 'repaired' book
(fair to say that it is in worse condition than when I started but it is a learning curve, right?!)

677 - Creating Digital Assets

This was the other online course that I took and it was quite thought-provoking.  It was interesting how much this class overlapped with 624 since one is digital libraries and the other cultural heritage.  We studied copyright, outsouring, metadata and many other topics related to digitisation.


It has been another term chockablock with fun outings and events with my friends and visiting family including trips to Ithaca, Michigan, Niagra Falls, York, Heid's, snow tubing, skiing and much much more.  A couple of important people will be leaving this term and Syracuse will be a very different place without them.


A look ahead

I have about three and a half months left in the US and will be filling it with a full-time internship at the Syracuse University Archives.  I will be working on a grant-funded project to process the records of the Genesee Wesleyan Seminary, create an EAD finding aid and identify items for conservation and digitisation.  I have already measured all of the bound volumes ready for their specially made enclosures (I just hope the boxes fit!). This will hopefully become a well-used geneaological resource and I am looking forward to getting my teeth into the project.

Bonafide Genesee Wesleyan Seminary books - you saw them here first!

I will also be undertaking one more core class and an independent study on archival documentation strategy (keep your eyes peeled for an update).  As ever, job applications will continue.  But, never fear, I have some trips up my sleeve to ensure that my time in the US is lived to the max (or as much as it can be for a full-time student, who is working full-time!).

1 comment:

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