Tomorrow I will embark upon my last semester in library school. I find myself in a familiar state, the state I find myself in the day before the start of any semester: Excited about the classes I have chosen and the new things I will learn, and anxious about pummeling in head first yet again to a life where the “free time” I have enjoyed for weeks will suddenly disappear. The not-so-desirable aspects aside, I must say that from this end, anyway, the approaching semester certainly seems as though it will be a good one.
At the end of the Archives Management program at Simmons GSLIS, each student must complete a 130-hr internship. I’m thrilled to report that my internship is with the Leveraging Encoded Archival Description Skills (LEADS) Project at Simmons College. Under the leadership of Kathy Wisser and Jason Wood, the LEADS project offers student volunteers a chance to develop their EAD encoding skills by encoding finding aids that are already part of the Simmons College Archives. I began serving as a student volunteer for the LEADS project in October 2012, and I am honored to have this opportunity to get more involved in the project.
As the LEADS Project Intern, I will be developing an EAD template and documentation for Phase II of the LEADS Project, which will involve encoding the Simmons College Archives institutional records finding aids in EAD. I will do this by surveying the existing finding aids, seeking out consistencies and inconsistencies in description, normalizing description, and developing the EAD template in XML based on normalization decisions. I will then test my template by encoding a few finding aids and adjusting it as may be needed. Throughout the entire process, I will be consulting with the College Archives staff to ensure that the final product aligns with their ideas about the institutional records’ descriptive needs.
The other two courses I am taking this semester—Metadata and Records Management—sit nicely around the work involved in my internship and will surely inform my work on the LEADS Project in valuable ways. I am always on the lookout for those moments of enlightenment where everything clicks and comes together, and I am optimistic that I will have at least a few of those moments in these last three courses of library school.