Thursday, June 13, 2013

Whatcamp? THATCamp? Oh.

Several months ago, I attended a monthly meeting of digital historians (translation: nerds) here in DC. Among the attendees were several programmers, developers, and contributors to George Mason University's Center for History and New Media (CHNM). These wonderful people develop the incredible platform called Omeka, an online repository designed for digital archivists, cultural heritage specialists, and digital historians. I became fascinated with this platform, and I intend to use it in order to  publish the project I was working on in Kansas over Christmas break.

Being a somewhat cautious tech nerd, I didn't want to dive in and mess up anything within the program, so I thought I'd be intelligent and ask some questions and get some advice before I did anything. After a conversation with one of the developers, I walked away with some very valuable insight: "Just get in there and mess around a bit. Have fun." So I did. I created a short and sweet site with a few items, but I was still a little confused by it all. As my archives class continued, so did my knowledge and understanding of how archives work - and how Omeka complemented that structure (or lackthereof).

THATCamp Prime

The same developer suggested that I look into attending a THATCamp, which I cannot recommend highly enough. Last weekend, I followed my flock of digital archivists to CHNM for THATCamp Prime. The best way to describe THATCamp is a sort of tech retreat for nerds. Space camp, but with code and concept-heavy discussions rather than gravity walks or any sort of physical exertion.

Look! We went outside!

The entire weekend was full of a strange balance of technobabble and abstract discussions on the future of the digital world. It was incredible. Rather than try to explain in detail about what I learned or did, I'm just going to share some links and hopefully you'll see the fruits of my labor some time in the future. :)

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

A long overdue update

Hello, friends! Things here have been wonderfully crazy in the best way possible. I have graduated with my bachelors degree and plan on continuing on to graduate school at Catholic University of America! The acceptance letter came in mid-April, and I'm hurriedly applying to programs and scholarships which will allow me to pay for a graduate degree from a private school (oof). At the moment, I'm looking at Catholic's Graduate Library Preprofessional (GLP) program, which would give me hands-on experience in the library (35hrs/week) as well as pay for my tuition (6cr/semester). It's an extremely competitive program, but I hope that given my bachelors in Library Science as well as my current internship at a library in the same consortium, I'll have a fighting chance.

This brings me to my current job! I've landed a fantastic summer internship at Trinity University (Trinity DC) here in DC. I'm working mostly evenings, which gives me times to work on projects and learn the systems as well as practice my reference skills - which are extremely rusty, but getting some use. Fortunately for me, many of the staff members are MLS-grads who are happy to share their experiences and learned advice with me. The library workers here are experienced and passionate as well as intelligent and kind, and I couldn't be more grateful for their example and teaching moments. The library (and campus) are small yet powerful, and the same can be said of the staff.

The Rare Books Room
The library itself often feels as if it came straight from the 1970s and somehow got ahold of 21st century technology. It's beautiful and it smells of books - just like the library of which every new library student dreams. It's also so full of the smell of books that it borders on the musty. The lights flicker, the doors slam, and the air conditioning doesn't work. For all of that, the technology is current and the library resources which are most often used are the electronic ones. To some degree, I feel as if the only truly old things about the library are the building and the books - and even those are getting some new friends. All the other resources are shiny and new.
Looking out over campus
While I haven't been blogging as much as I should have, I'll try to remedy that. It's certainly true that I have a lot to write about. This past week alone is worthy of several entries. Next up: WHY THIS WEEK WAS EXCITING!