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Post ASB - Library of Congress Article

The Site Coordinator at the Library of Congress for SI-ASB 2008 provided me with this article that is going to be published in their employee magazine!


The Library of Congress has hosted interns from the University of Michigan School of Information during their Alternative Spring Break since 2005. The University has linked with a number of institutions to provide work experience for future information brokers. This February, ten graduate students chose the Library to work on week-long projects offered by various divisions. Judging by the many enthusiastic accounts, the experience was very positive on both sides. Associate Librarian for Library Services, Deanna Marcum, both welcomed and “debriefed? the interns during their stay. The many mentors did a superb job providing among other things a behind-the-scenes view of the stacks and visit to the Members Dining Room in the Capitol.

Tiffany Chao’s most memorable experience was the scanning and processing of a rare Chinese atlas from the Ming Dynasty (Da ming yi tong shan he tu). She worked with the Digital Team at the Geography and Map Division whose Chief, John Hébert, noted that Tiffany was also responsible for 225 images on the American Memory display, JumboScanner and Digibook Scanner training, creation, entry, and maintenance of Microsoft Access databases, caption texts for use in the American Memory display, as well as learning and using G&M Safe Handling practices. See Tiffany's project.

Other interns were equally busy. Prints and Photographs as well as the Science, Technology and Business Division hosted two interns each: Megan Cooney and Katherine Goodwin at P&P, Angelique M. Richardson and Cheryl Whitfield at ST&B. According to Megan, P&P staff made her feel like “employees for the week? while she was learning about the Library’s Name Authority File and the Thesaurus for Graphic Materials.

Being able to view such diverse items as “photographic prints by Edward Steichen, engravings by Albrecht Durer, and Japanese woodblock prints, was extremely rewarding.? Katherine Goodwin enjoyed her access to the National Photo Company Collection.

Angelique Richardson said: “I loved working on my project in the Business Reference Section. The staff in my section and in the entire Library have been nothing but helpful and friendly. Everyone is always willing to help you find your way or to answer your questions. This experience has definitely made me more interested in business reference and in the Library of Congress as a place to work one day.? Among other things, Cheryl Whitfield created a question for the Everyday Mysteries in the Science Reference Services and then researched and answered the question suggested to her by her ten-year-old son. The answer, “your heart does not stop beating when you sneeze.?

The papers of Albrecht Weber, a prominent 19th century German orientalist, received intense scrutiny from Jennifer Henderson who worked in the Asian Division on archiving the collection and creating a finding aid. “This project was my first real hands-on processing project. Allen [Thrasher] gave me permission to decide my own method of organizing everything, which was great (and at times slightly overwhelming). I tried to organize the materials so they would be easy to use as a researcher based on various research interests. This opportunity was amazing, and throughout my future career I know I will look back on this internship with fondness,? said Jennifer whose German skills came in handy for the task.

Rebecca Welzenbach received many thanks for her survey of the uncataloged volumes from the Berman Haggadah Collection Project. The collection consists of a wide variety of Passover Haggadahs from a number of sources.

“After losing my way in the LoC corridors multiple times this week, finally, on the last day of my internship here, I found the AMED offices with no problem!? said Rachael Dreyer w ho spent her time with the African Section Pamphlet Collection.

Katherine Swart updated one or two of the Read More About It booklists, compiled a new list to accompany the Abraham Lincoln papers, and began work on the Thomas Jefferson list. Additionally, she answered two online reference questions and learned about the chat reference system.

Wenbo Wang is not a library major, but now after working with Judith Cannan and IDTD staff, “as an inspired semi-librarian,? he is thinking of switching his major to library information services.
“Energy, Library of Congress is full of energy,? he says.

More information about the University of Michigan School of Information Alternative Spring Break may be found at http://asb.si.umich.edu/2008/index.shtml.

by Taru Spiegel, (program coordinator)

Posted by kkowatch at March 18, 2008 09:07 AM


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