INFORMATION & ITS ORGANIZATION
The artifacts discussed represent my understanding of the principles and concepts taught throughout the span of the LIS 271: Archival Representation course. They also signify how I have met one of the ALA’a Core Competences of Librarianship - Organization of Recorded Knowledge and Information. During this semester we were assigned many readings in which we learned the basic principles involved in the organization and representation of recorded knowledge and information. By familiarizing ourselves with DACS and Arranging and Describing Archives and Manuscripts we were able to meet certain objectives such as understanding the relationship between Arrangement and Description, understand the principle of respect des fonds, the concept of provenance among many other core ideas. Understanding these basic principles prepared me to complete assignments such as the Finding Aid exercise, MARC Record exercise, and the corresponding EAD Crosswalk.
The purpose of completing said assignments was to learn how to organize information objects typically found within the archival environment, understand the basic elements in coding records for online retrieval as well as to gain a better understanding of the different descriptive tools and systems necessary to evaluate competing approaches for providing access to those resources. After completing the finding aid of my assigned collection I used the Library of Congress’ MARC formats in order to assign appropriate descriptions to my collection. This gave me a better understanding of how to create sustainable digital collections within a digital environment. Crosswalking the MARC record with EAD allowed me to see the differences between these two metadata standards and how they each can be incredibly descriptive in some areas yet lack in other areas. This leaves me confident in my skills as an archivist because I am better equipped with the intellectual skill-set needed to organize archival collections.
A lot of these principles were also engrained in me by completing the required Academic Service-Learning requirement for this course. AS-L directly influences how we learn by putting the theories and ideas that are read about and discussed to practical use while servicing many different outlets of the community. None of this would have been possible without the experience I gained at the New York Public Library’s Map Division.
When I first began working on my finding aid I was surprised to find out how much research had to be done in order to gather information about the collection. Once that task was completed I was able to approach my MARC record exercise with more confidence because I was essentially using the same information but applying new ideas to it. That same concept was applied when completing the MARC/EAD crosswalk exercise.
Prior to this course and my AS-L requirement I had a limited understanding of what an archivist’s job description consisted of but now that I am reaching the completion of both the course and AS-L assignment, I feel better prepared to approach jobs within this field and adequately equipped to face the many different challenges that may arise. In this case, however, I do feel that practice makes perfect. I look forward to working on many more collections and gaining more experience as I progress though this program. I also look forward to participating in more Academic Service-Learning projects. As a person who is deeply connected to her own community I take great interest in anything that can help boost my career as a future archivist as well as give back to the community. Most people don’t know that there are many other ways to serve ones community. Service learning has taught me that I can take the skills that I already possess and apply them in a way that will positively impact the community.
INFORMATION & ITS ORGANIZATION
Academic Service-Learning, much like an internship, is a great way to get a real world, hands on experience so that students exit the DLIS program with a better understanding of what it is to be an information professional. For LIS 203: Organization of Information, I was paired with Marymount Manhattan College to complete various tasks within that organization. This experience along with the many assignments completed throughout the course has allowed me to meet one of the ALA’a Core Competences of Librarianship - Organization of Recorded Knowledge and Information as well as complete the learning objectives laid out by the course instructor, Dr. Christine Angel.
There are many skills that are essential in this field and upon the completion of this course and my AS-L requirement, I have been given the tools to move forward professionally with tenacity. Throughout the duration of this course we have learned about the different standards in data structure, data content, and data values. With assignments such as the Cataloging with RDA and MARC and the Cataloging with Dublin Core, I have a profound knowledge and respect for using these standards but more specifically MARC (Machine-Readable Cataloging formats) and DCMES (Dublin Core Metadata Element Sets). My ability to properly organize and describe information objects using the various types of metadata have afforded a better understanding of controlled vocabularies.
Our final project, The Hidden Heritage Collections Blog Post and corresponding Poster Presentation, required us to choose one information object from our assigned AS-L partner’s collections, research this object and write an academic blog post. The purpose of this assignment was to demonstrate our ability to successfully conduct research within an archival environment while also tying in AS-L core values such as: providing a voice for the under and misrepresented while making sure the narrative increases awareness surrounding social justice issues associated with said object. After working on this assignment, I have a newfound respect for the time and research effort that archivists and librarians dedicate to acquiring information for their patrons and the various sources used to do so.
Alongside absorbing the concepts that are vital to the field, it was the practical experience that I gained through my partnership with Marymount Manhattan College that holds a significant, personal weight. While at MMC I worked predominantly with the William Harris Papers collection, sorting through the physical collection and inputting metadata into the Archivists’ Toolkit. I also scanned and digitized several newspaper clippings, interview transcripts and photographs from another collection housed by Marymount: The Niles-Busch Papers.
I chose Marymount Manhattan College as my AS-L partner because of their extensive collection of theater ephemera such as scripts, programs and newspaper clippings amassed and donated by several different professionals in the theater world. AS-L introduced me to a different type of organization and information profession. Because of my background in a large corporate environment I was able to develop a different perspective on how other information environments perform, as well as, utilize the Archivists’ Toolkit, which I have never worked with before and would otherwise not have had an opportunity to. Working at a smaller institution allowed me to see the different ways a collection can be managed and what metadata schemas are used and why. I have always been interested in theater so having the opportunity to view items of this collection intimately was personally gratifying and overall, fueled the drive to develop my skill-set and validated my decision to partner with MMC.