The Special Collections Research Center’s full time staff forms the core of our workforce, but we would not be able to efficiently arrange and describe collections and make them available to our users without the dedicated service of our student wage workers and interns. The processing team, which turns boxes of (sometimes chaotic) materials that we receive from donors into neatly foldered, well-labelled, inventoried collections with searchable finding aids, currently has two student wage employees and two student interns who work on a variety of processing and digitization projects.
Student assistants are not fully-fledged edged processing archivists, but they perform many of the tasks required to make collections available to researchers (under careful supervision of the Manuscripts and Archives Librarian and Processing Coordinator, of course!) Processing students survey the collections that they are assigned in order to gauge what they contain and what kind of work they will require. They then create processing plans for collections and confer with the Manuscripts and Archives Librarian about their ideas. Then comes foldering the materials contained in the collections and writing descriptive but concise titles and dates on the folders, creating inventories of these folders in excel spreadsheets, and combing these spreadsheets with collection level data that they enter into our collection management system, Archivists’ Toolkit. Finally, they edit the Encoded Archival Description (EAD) finding aids that the Manuscripts and Archives Librarian uploads online so that researchers can access collections. Other students work on digitization projects, creating the metadata for digital images and scanning the materials that get uploaded to LUNA, our digital asset management system.
While we benefit greatly from the work that students do in Special Collections, a big part of our mission is to make sure that the students have an educational experience and gain useful skills from their work with us. Several of our student workers have decided to pursue careers in archives after working with us, and two former student assistants are now our Records Management Specialist and Research Services Coordinator. We are fortunate to have such enthusiastic and talented students, and this Thanksgiving, we’re grateful for all that they do!
Follow Special Collections Research Center on Social Media at our Facebook, Instagram,and Twitter accounts. To search the collections held at Special Collections Research Center, go to our website and browse the finding aids by subject or title. You may also e-mail us or call if you would like to schedule an appointment, request materials, or if you have questions. Appointments are not necessary to request and view collections.