Tag Archives: archivist

Job Analysis for Archival positions

As a first year MLIS student at Wayne State, my main focus as of now has been adjusting to the program and tackling the large amount of assignments from my classes.

However, I know that it is never too late to start looking for potential jobs that I would like to obtain after graduation. I follow job lists such as Indeed and Careerbuilder on a regular basis for jobs relating to the Communications field, which is what I received my Bachelors degree in. But in the MLIS field, I found a few other job related sources that provide job postings for a number of various LIS professions.

My particular concentration for MLIS is archival administration so I have been following job sources that include jobs relating to the archival field. I found a great job listserv called Archives Gig, which posts at least five job opportunities per day. They also post opportunities for archival internships as well, which is mainly what I’m looking to obtain within the next year.

I have been following this listserv since January and have reviewed at least 20 jobs that I would be interested in applying for once I graduate.There is one position I found that I completely fell in love with and it is the ideal job I would like to have once I graduate and have worked in entry level positions for a few years. The position is for an archivist in the music division at the Library of Congress. My ultimate goal as an archivist has always been to work at a museum or an educational institution that specializes in music collections, so this position would be perfect for me. The purpose of this position is to process and describe multi-format collections relating to the areas of music and dance. In addition to processing collections, the archivist assists in providing reference services associated with the collections; participates in the development and implementation of preservation and digitization policies and procedures relevant to the collections; implements and prescribes up-to-date archival practices; assists in collections development; and performs other duties in support of the Music Division and Library Services, as assigned (Library of Congress, 2015).

Library of Congress

The qualifications for the position include the following:

Knowledge of Dance and/or Music Subject Areas of the Archival Collections.**
Ability to Analyze and Organize Archival Materials.**
Knowledge of the Principles, Concepts, and Techniques of Professional Library and/or Archival Work.
Knowledge of a Variety of Automated Tools and Technologies such as Integrated Library Systems and Web Applications used to Support Archival Functions.
Ability to Communicate in Writing.
Ability to Provide Consultation and/or Liaison Duties.
Ability to Communicate Orally. (Library of Congress, 2015).

Getting there

I already have extensive experience in music history and received a minor in music from UM-Dearborn, so I know I would already have at least one of the qualifications for the position. I’ve also had music research published in a journal and am a part of multiple music organizations including the Detroit Sound Conservancy and the E. Azalia Hackley Board. I also have a background in Communications and advanced writing skills having received a bachelors degree in Communications, so I already possess another skill-set needed for the position.

In order to fully pursue my future career as an archivist, I plan to obtain a certificate in Archival Administration from Wayne State. This certificate will allow me to compete for specific archival positions in any industry and will give me the training needed to learn the specific techniques needed to perform other archival tasks. I also plan to get a certificate in Digital Content management. Specializing in digital content management will allow me the opportunity to learn more about creating digital collections for various institutions such as schools, museums and libraries.

After looking back at my previous goals as an MLIS graduate, I believe I am right on target for the kind of training I will need to obtain a job as a music archivist down the line. I do plan to intern at more establishments than music collections so that I can acquire broader skills in the archival field and know more about other collections than music. However, with the experience I’m getting now, I would be well qualified to work with a music collection once I graduate.

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Exploring professional LIS Blogs: ArchivesNext and Mr. Library Dude

blog

Blogging has become one of the best, most efficient ways for people to express their personal opinions about various topics. This tactic especially comes in handy for professionals in a given field who want to share their views about the industry with their colleagues and enlighten the public about what makes their industry so special. In the LIS profession, for instance, there are tons of blogs dedicated to specific areas of interest, and many libraries and well as companies host blogs on their websites to further engage their audience.

Two blogs that I have chosen to explore are ArchivesNext and Mr. Library Dude. I chose these blogs particularly for their vast exploration and candidness about two LIS areas, one of which deals with libraries and the other with archives.

ArchivesNext is written by Kate Theimer, a very experienced archivist, teacher, editor and writer who worked at the National Archives and Records Administration for six years. Her blog discusses issues facing archives, including technology, evolving business models, professional identity, professional organizations, and news and issues from other related professions.

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Since the beginning of the year, the main topic of discussion has been this new project that Theimer is planning to launch this year in which she will be sharing her experience and knowledge of archives with the general public. In reading the blog posts, it seems that Theimer is really trying to break archival administration out of this secret box that it seems to be in and explain the basics of the profession and what it is that archivists actually do on a daily basis. For instance, in her post on “the role of “the professional discipline” in archives and digital archives,” she explained exactly what an “archive” and “digital archive” is because in various professions the meaning of the words can be different from how professional archivists classify them.

This post was in reference to a news story she saw about the failed BBC project and the article referenced digital archives, but it was not used in the correct context. She noted that “archives and digital archives—collections, organizations, and places—that are administered in a manner that adheres to the professional discipline of archives are different than those that do not.” While the word archive can be used in a broader sense, there does need to be more of a clarification of the context it is being used in as to not confuse people who think they may be referring to various collections. I found Theimer’s goal of bringing the archival profession to the masses to be very inspirational and is a similar goal that I share. Oftentimes I find myself having to go into specific detail about the archival profession and what it is that archivists actually do.

Many times, when people hear the word “archive,” they may think of dusty old materials with little or no relevance to today’s society. But, this term has varied meanings and is not just limited to old, unimportant materials. According to Adrian Cunningham, archives take different forms, pursue different strategies and different combinations of objectives (2009, pg 203). Additionally, records are made as a means of conducting and/or remembering activities. They are created for pragmatic or symbolic purposes—as enablers and evidence of experience and activity, as aids to memory and/or as artifacts.” (2009, pg 192). So, I think for people to have a more well-rounded perspective of an archives and archivists’ purpose, they need to be educated whether it be through blog posts, workshops, or seminars so that the profession can establish a better re-pore with its core audience.

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Mr. Library Dude is a bit similar to to ArchivesNext in its bluntness about the LIS profession, but this blog focuses solely on the librarian and LIS students studying to become librarians. The blog is written by Joe Hardenbrook, who is currently a reference and instruction librarian at Carroll University in Waukesha, Wisconsin. What drew me to this blog is its very candid subject matters regarding the LIS profession and the great advice he gives to LIS student preparing to enter the workforce. His first post for 2015, for instance, dealt with interviewing for a library job. In what Hardenbrook calls “Library Interviewee’s Bill of Rights” he spells out some major issues library staff tend to have when interviewing candidates for jobs and the overall hiring process.

Having been a professional librarian for over ten years, Hardenbrook has had his fair share of library interviews, so he mentions some tips that staff should follow such as giving the candidate time to prepare for a presentation, sending over interview schedule ahead of time and reimburses the candidates for expenses they accrue when they have to travel out of town to come to the interview. I believe these tips are helpful for any profession and it’s good that he is relaying these facts for future librarians so they know what to expect. Hardenbrook also brought up an issue that seems to prevalent in the LIS profession, which is workforce planning as well as hiring issues that have yet to be fixed.

” Workforce planning has never been a strength of the American library profession in general, or higher education for librarianship in particular. The field has rarely secured a dependable assessment of supply and demand for professional positions.… As a result, national, professional, and institutional strategies have not been developed to guide the preparation, advancement, and replacement of librarians” (Mika and Matarazzo,2004, pg. 115 ).

Another issue Hardenbrook tackles in his blog is the American Library Association and his disappointment with the organization. While you would think that any librarian would be fully endorsing the major library organization, Hardenbrook points out how a librarian can still be engaged in professional service without being a part of ALA and that there are a benefits that one can receive from ALA without paying for a full membership. This was a two part post where he discussed just why he doesn’t intend on renewing his membership and why the membership cost is so expensive. He brings up an issue that seems to be the case with a lot of organizations and how they encourage you to join, but don’t specify what you will actually get out of the membership besides access to newsletters and publication, and maybe a discount on the annual conferences.

Both ArchivesNext and Mr. Library Dude are blogs that LIS professionals and LIS students should check out because they offer very interesting perspectives on the field.

SOURCES

James, M., & Joseph, M. (2004). Workforce planning for library and information science.Library & Information Science Research, 26(2), 115-120.

Cunningham, Adrian.(2009). Archives. In Encyclopedia of Library and Information Sciences, (pp. 192-207). New York: Taylor and Francis.

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Future goals as an MLIS graduate

One of my goals has always been to pursue a master’s degree in a discipline which I have a personal curiosity in. Having worked in the professional world for a few years, I am now pursuing a master’s degree in Library Science with a focus on archival administration. Archivists, in my opinion, have one of most important responsibilities ever, and that is to establish and maintain control, both physical and intellectual, over records of enduring value. (So You Want to Be an Archivist: An Overview of the Archives Profession. (n.d.). Retrieved from http://www2.archivists.org/profession)

This field will allow me the opportunity to research music from a more historical perspective while helping to uncover and preserve rare objects within music’s past. I minored in Music History in college and am interested in researching music on a professional level and collecting more information about the subject that may be of use to researchers.

My ultimate goal is to work as an archivist at a museum or an educational institution that specializes in music collections like the National Jazz Museum in Harlem or The Center for Black Music Research at Columbia College Chicago. I am an avid jazz fan, and knowing that I could possibly help preserve historical items such as Louis Armstrong’s trumpet or drum sticks by drummer Max Roach is very fascinating. I also want to educate young people about how much of a role music plays in society. Through working at an educational facility such as a museum, I want to create programs for kids that will allow them to learn more about music history at a young age. I didn’t even take a music history class until I was in college, so I want kids to be able to be educated about this history at an early age so that will hopefully increase their appreciation for good music when they are older.

In order to fully pursue my future career as an archivist, I plan to obtain a certificate in Archival Administration from Wayne State. This certificate will allow me to compete for specific archival positions in any industry.

The information agency has definitely evolved throughout the years and many institutions are transitioning to digital formats and utilizing online avenues more in order to engage patrons. The role of information professionals has also changed, and archivists, for instance, are delving more into digitization when it comes to preserving projects. In order to equip myself with the sufficient skills needed to navigate in the field, I also intend to specialize in digital content management. Specializing in digital content management will allow me the opportunity to learn more about creating digital collections for various institutions such as schools, museums and libraries.

I have already begun the process of engaging myself in archival projects. As a member of the Detroit Sound Conservancy, which is a local organization dedicated to preserving Detroit music, I’ve been able to particularly dig up historical facts about a historical ballroom in Detroit and a museum that was connected to the venue. I spoke with an archivist who used to work for the museum and my research aided in the recovery of the museum’s collection. I co-wrote a paper about the Graystone Museum, which I presented at the DSC Sound Conference last year. I also joined the WSU student chapter of the Society of American Archivists and plan to become heavily involved with the organization so I can learn as much as I can from professionals in the field of archival administration.

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Personal Introduction: Working my way through MLIS

The title of this blog “My Journey Through MLIS” may seem pretty self-explanatory or even simple, but deciding to pursue a career in the library profession definitely took a lot of thought and consideration. From the time I was 10 up until around the age of 21, my main goal was to become a print journalist and to work for The Detroit Free Press or New York Times. I completely immersed myself in the field of journalism and took on multiple editorial positions in high school and college. 

My ambitions of becoming an archivist and obtaining a masters degree in the field of library science developed later on when I was nearing the end of my undergraduate studies at the University of Michigan-Dearborn. I took a job as a student circulation assistant and some of my responsibilities included checking out books for patrons, and helping students, faculty and staff find library materials. I also worked with the school archivist.

At the time, I didn’t know much about the field of archival administration, only that archivists were responsible for preserving historical items. In working with the school archivist, I learned more about the technical aspects of the field and the important role archivists play in keeping history alive and allowing the world to learn about the roots of a particular subject.

After graduating college, however, I still had every intention to follow my original goal of becoming a journalist and working in the Communications field, which I am currently doing. However, the archival itch I developed in college never seemed to stop. After working for two years in the professional world, and seriously contemplating the idea of pursuing a career as an archivist, I decided to return to school.

This is just a bit of background about my professional career transition, and there will be much more information to come as I learn more about LIS and explore various topics in my blog. Some of the topics I’ll be discussing include an overview of some LIS professional organizations that I plan on joining such as the Society of American Archivists. I’ll also be analyzing various LIS positions and will be discussing some professional journals that pertain to the LIS field.

My intent for this blog is to enhance my understanding of Library and Information Science and to gain more insight regarding the perceptions I have about the field. Although the LIS profession has been around for a long time, many people still have no idea what this subject area is about and how broad it is in terms of the career paths one can take when they have an MLIS degree. Many times when I tell people that I will be getting my degree in Library Science, they automatically assume that I want to become a librarian.

I also believe that the LIS profession will become a more sought after field since it has such a strong connection to technology. With everyone and everything moving more into the digital realm, there is more of a need for professionals to work with technology and have an understanding of how technology influences everyday life. I also believe that LIS professionals, particularly librarians and archivists are jobs that will always been needed and there will never be a replacement for their importance to society. Even as technology creeps into various job settings and it seems there is less of a need for human knowledge, librarians and archivists are gatekeepers of the past and are responsible for children and adults learning more about every subject possible.

 

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