I was one of six first-year interns and was able to learn how a large, multi-institutional digital project is built from the ground up. For eight months I spent one day per week in the Morgue (the affectionately named sub-terranean archival storage and digital lab space at the BPL) digitizing historic photographs (circa 1920s-1970s), conducting research on best practices for digitization and archival storage, comparing web repository platforms, reviewing OAI-PMH compliance criteria, creating metadata for digitized images and crosswalks for metadata conversions, generating comprehensive procedure documents and project workflows, and sitting in on planning meetings with the Brooklyn Collection Staff and BPL IT team. I also had the opportunity to work with some really awesome, knowledgeable people who I continue to look to for guidance and encouragement.
Concurrent with the internship, I started taking classes within the new digital management curriculum at Pratt, attending workshops, conferences, and lectures sponsored or facilitated by Project CHART, and most importantly, I began to realize what kind of librarian I wanted to be. While not every MLIS student will get an opportunity like Project CHART, every lib school student should advocate for themselves to get the skills and applicable experience they will need to hit the ground running after graduation.
Extra – here’s a brief slideshow and another digital portfolio from Marina Kastan, also a Pratt student, who interned for Project CHART at the Brooklyn Museum at the same time that Nora was at Brooklyn Public Library.
Editors Note: In the interest of full disclosure, I met Nora when I was working as the Project Coordinator on CHART, and I supervised her in this internship. I was (and am still) very excited about the project, especially the partnership of a library, archive and museum and a library school, and I think the website Nora developed as a culmination of her internship is a really great example of the sorts of things students can do to exhibit their skills and experience. — Micah