Behind the Curtain: Tyler Davis, Summer Intern

Role: Intern at the Indiana University Archives

Educational Background: Tyler received his bachelor’s degree in English Literature from Miami University, Ohio in 2015. He is currently entering his second year of the Master of Information and Library Science graduate program at IUB, where he is specializing in Archives and Records Management.

How he got here: This is Tyler’s first time working in an actual archives. Before he joined the MLS program, he spent a year volunteering for the special collections department of a library in Ohio, where he was able to process an amazing collection of memorabilia from a World War I aviation historian. He also worked for a digitization project in undergrad where he scanned and preserved photographic negatives from the 1940s-1960s. These experiences helped him to know that archival work was something that he wanted to pursue further.

He has been studying archives and records management in the MLS program and when it came time for an internship, Tyler wanted to get as much hands-on experience in these areas as possible. When he spoke to the staff at the IU Archives and learned that he would be able to work on some great projects with both an archivist and a records manager, he knew he’d found the right place!

Favorite Collection in the IU Archives: Tyler’s favorite item(s) that he has encountered in the Archives so far is the Kathleen Cavanaugh scrapbook collection (C617). Cavanaugh made these scrapbooks by hand as a student at IU in the early 1960s, and they are full of amazing memorabilia from that time – everything from photographs and cards to matchbooks and corsages from school dances. These scrapbooks are fun to flip through, and it is a very unique and personal way of interacting with the IU student experience of the 1960s.

Current Project: There are quite a few projects in the works! Tyler has been doing some web archiving work, including crawling and preserving all IU-affiliated social media accounts on Archive-it.org (see his previous post “Tweeting and Pinning: Archiving IU’s Social Media sites” on that project). He has also been processing a few incoming collections, as well as imaging born digital media in the Born Digital Preservation Lab. Recently, he began doing research into state laws and University policies to help compile a records retention schedule for the School of Informatics and Computing as they prepare to make the big move into Luddy Hall this winter.

Favorite experience in the IU Archives: Tyler’s favorite experience has been getting to know the staff, who are great to work with and are excellent at what they do. He is glad to have had the opportunity to learn from their example!

What he’s learned from working here: In addition to learning many useful archival practices, Tyler has also picked up some fun facts about IU history by working with the collections. For example, when he was processing the Institute for Urban Transportation records (C682), he learned that Bloomington’s first public transit system was established in 1973 by a collaboration between the institute’s founder, Dr. George Smerk, and a geography professor at IU, William R. Black. In the University’s early years, the city and the campus were obviously small enough for students to get around without automotive assistance, so he thinks this goes to show how much the University has steadily grown and expanded over the years.

Behind the Curtain: Sylva Osbourne, Summer Intern

Role: Summer Intern at the IU Archives

Educational Background: B.A. in Music from the University of Chicago. Current graduate student in the School of Informatics and Computing seeking a Master of Library Science (MLS) with a specialization in Archives and Records Management and interest in preservation/conservation.

How she got here: Before coming to IU, Sylva spent most of her undergraduate years working at the Regenstein Library, the University of Chicago’s main library. As a student assistant in circulation she became very familiar with the complexities of maintaining a large stacks collection. After graduation, she switched gears landing a part-time position in the technical services department of the law library for Sidley Austin LLP in downtown Chicago. It was here she decided to pursue a career in librarianship, leading her to IU and the MLS program.

This internship has been her first experience working in any kind of archival repository. Prior to this, her main work and library experience have been more on the technical services side of things. Her previous experience is what led her to decide that she wanted to do more hands-on work with library materials, sparking her interest in archives and preservation.

Favorite Collection in the IU Archives: Sylva’s favorite collection at IU is the collection of yearbooks housed in the archive reading room. Before the University became too big, the yearbooks contained pictures of all the students at IU each year. They also include pictures of all student organizations, sports teams, and faculty members, just like a traditional yearbook. Following the student population explosion after WWII, the yearbook however had to adapt. Rather than just pages of pictures of students, the yearbooks started to include interesting pieces on and photos of the various events and activities that happened around IU each year. At the end, you will still find portraits of the graduating class and student organizations but the majority of the books offer a fascinating glimpse of IU life as the years go on.

Current Project: Currently, Sylva is processing a recently acquired collection from the Commission on Multicultural Understanding (COMU). Despite the occasional papercut, she is enjoying being able to dive into the folders and get an in-depth look at the work COMU did for IU. She is also researching the story of a student at IU from the late 1910s who was accused of building “infernal devices” with various mechanical parts found in his room. He was an expert watchmaker who was cleared of all charges as all of the parts were found harmless. Using ancestry.com and different parts of the IU Archive collection, Sylva is trying to track documents relating to this man’s life to be used in a future active-learning exercise for instruction sessions at the archives.

Favorite experience in the IU Archives: Sylva’s favorite thing about being an intern at the archives is the chance to learn from some amazing people. Having had very little experience with archives before, she has gained a lot of practical knowledge.

What she’s learned from working here: Sylva has learned a great deal about some of the key figures in IU’s history from sifting through the papers of the president office, in particular President William Lowe Bryan (1902-1937). It’s nice to be able to connect buildings and things around town to the people for which they were named!

Behind the Curtain: Brad Cook, Curator of Photographs

Role: Curator of Photographs

Educational Background: B.A. in History from IU; MLS with a specialization in rare books and manuscripts from IU

How he got here: Brad was working on his history degree and decided to visit the Archives to see if they had any materials on is grandfather who graduated from IU in 1939.  He had not previously thought of archives as a potential career, but he knew that he wanted to pursue a career in the field after this visit.  He filled out an application and started working part-time as a student assistant.

 Favorite item in the collection: His favorite photograph is the one shown here of the IU football team in the locker room after winning IU’s only undisputed Big Ten football title in 1945.

1945 football team in locker room after beating Purdue
1945 football team in locker room after beating Purdue, IU Archives Imave no. P0023419

Current projects: Brad is helping the Athletic Dept. finish their branding of the newly-renovated Assembly Hall by locating and providing photographs.  He is also working with a producer who is putting together a documentary about IU’s 1975-1976 basketball team, the last team in college basketball history to go undefeated and win the national championship.

Favorite experience in the IU Archives: Acquiring the photograph collections of Will Counts and Dave Repp

What he’s learned from working here: Brad says everything he’s learned about IU’s history he’s learned from 24 years of working in the Archives.

Behind the Curtain: Heidi Kelly, Digital Preservation Librarian

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Title: IU Libraries Digital Preservation Librarian

Role: Heidi runs the Born Digital Preservation Lab (BDPL), which works to preserve born-digital media, like floppy disks, CDs, hard drives, and electronic file directories. She works regularly with the University Archives to transfer media from physical collections to create disk images and store exact copies of the original media in IU’s secure long-term storage, SDA (Scholarly Data Archive). SDA is managed by the UITS Research Storage team. She’s been working extensively with IU Archives Assistant Archivist Mary Mellon to set up basic procedures and workflows for preserving born-digital media in the IU Archives’ collections.

Educational Background: Heidi holds an MLIS from Wayne State University in Detroit and took part in the inaugural National Digital Stewardship Residency (NDSR) program at the Library of Congress in 2013. She does not have any archival training, which has been a challenge in some of her work with the BDPL because she’s not a digital archivist.

Previous Experience: Heidi’s first job out of library school was at Nazarbayev University in Kazakhstan, where she ran the Digitization Centre and acted as subject liaison for the School of Humanities and Social Sciences. She had some previous background in working abroad prior to that, so she was looking for a librarian position abroad and got lucky to find one that basically let her set up a whole department. From there she took part in the NDSR program- which involved surveying digital assets at  the Dumbarton Oaks Research Library and Collection, a small Harvard research collection for Byzantine, Pre-Columbian, and Garden and Landscape Studies.  She received training from the top experts in digital preservation, like Nancy McGovern and former IU faculty Jake Nadal. When that finished she moved to The Hague and worked at a Royal Dutch Academy of Arts and Sciences institute, Huygens, to try and figure out long-term sustainability of their digital scholarly editions. Heidi got homesick for the Midwest though, and ended up here at IU.

At IU, Heidi has taken part in open source development by taking over as the product owner on HydraDAM2, which is the preservation repository for all of the audiovisual content coming out of the large MDPI project.

Favorite items in the IU Archives: The collections that have really unique media and present digital preservation challenges are probably the most interesting.

Current project: It’s sort of ongoing and varied. She’s been imaging content from different collections as it comes, so it’s too broad to really say.

Favorite experience in the IU Archives: She got to plug in an old hard drive of Mike Pence’s last month, to figure out how to preserve the content on it. That was pretty timely, and reminded her of the relevance her work.

What she’s learned about IU: Dina Kellams gives a great presentation on the history of the IU Libraries, including the story behind the architectural design of the Herman B Wells Library. She stole Dina’s use of the term “triscuit architecture” when describing the building.

Behind the Curtain: Katie Martin, Processor

Behind the Curtain is a series highlighting IU Archives staff, partners from various departments of the IU Libraries, and students who make all of our work possible. Continue to follow over the coming months to read how and who make the magic happen!

Role: Processes collections within the IU Archives and Modern Political Papers Unit

Educational Background: BA in History and American Studies from Purdue University; Current MLS student with a specialization in archives and records management

How she got here: Katie’s favorite part of her undergraduate history classes was conducting research using primary materials. This interest led her to work at the Purdue University Archives and Special Collections as a student assistant. At Purdue, Katie assisted with the Purdue Oral History Project, inventoried 16mm film reels, and worked on a variety of digital projects. Because she enjoyed working with the amazing people and collections at Purdue, including the George Palmer Putnam Collection of Amelia Earhart Papers, she decided to pursue an MLS at IU (although she remains a Boilermaker at heart).

Katie started working in the IU Archives as an Encoder for the Indiana University Faculty Council, but she switched to processing collections in January 2016. In the summer of 2016, Katie served as an Art Deco Trade Literature Research Intern with the Smithsonian Libraries at the National Museum of American History. At IU, Katie also worked for the Department of Information and Library as a special projects assistant and worked as a processor on the Richard G. Lugar Senatorial Papers team.

Favorite Collection in the IU Archives: Katie processed the Indiana University Folklore Archives records and collections. She considers it be one of the most amazing collections she will ever have the opportunity to work with. The collection is 32 boxes of folklore material collected over several decades from around the Midwest. There are files related to legends and stories from every county in Indiana, inappropriate college songs, multiple varients of modern horror legends, and jokes on almost every topic imaginable.

Current Project: Katie just finished processing the Indiana University Department of Folklore and Ethnomusicology records and is now working on various folklore refiling projects.

Favorite experience in the IU Archives: Katie loved processing the John D. Alexander papers, a collection of Civil War letters. Alexander graduated from IU in 1861 and enlisted as a private in Company E 97th Regiment of the Indiana Volunteers in 1862. It is moving to read the letters he wrote home to his family during Sherman’s March to the Sea from November – December 1865. The collection has been digitized and is accessible online.

Katie also enjoys working with the fantastic IU Archives staff who serve as such great mentors!

What she’s learned from working here: Katie has learned quite a bit about the field of folklore from processing the Indiana University Folklore Archives records and collections, the Roger Mitchell collection of Micronesian folktales, and the Department of Folklore and Ethnomusicology records. Before working with these collections, she did not realize there was an entire system for organizing and classifying folktales, the Aarne–Thompson classification systems. The system was partly developed by Dr. Stith Thompson, a folklorist who taught at IU. Also, if the stories are to be believed, there are quite a few ghosts on IU’s campus!