My Busiest Semester?

It’s been quite a while since I posted to this blog, which makes it appear that I haven’t done much since SAA in August. That’s definitely not the case, thoughin fact, this is my busiest semester!

I’m still taking three classes and working 20 hours per week at the Ransom Center. In addition to my continuing public services duties, I am now working on several exciting digitization projects, including acting as the Center’s digital processor for the Browning Letters Project, a collaboration headed by the Armstrong Browning Library at Baylor University involving four other university repositories with major Browning collections. This project is especially interesting because I am doing every aspect of the digitization, from identification and scanning to metadata and ingestion into ContentDM. In the process, I’m building upon my undergraduate coursework in Victorian literature to learn a great deal about the Brownings and their circle. It’s really fun!

Meanwhile, I’m also finishing up my research on the history of West Campus and Austin neighborhoods to include in an exhibition for the Neill-Cochran House Museum, where I’m also still interning. I’m fortunate to be working during their upcoming gala, which should be a fun night, as well as attending the Greek Revival Symposium, When Modern Meant Classical: The Greek Revival in Nineteenth Century Architecture and Decorative Arts: A Symposium Marking the 200th Anniversary of Abner Cook’s Birth, next week.

I’m also finishing up my year as president of the UT student chapter of the Society of American Archivists. We recently celebrated our 21st annual Archives Week events series in October, which included several informative and enjoyable talks and tours. This process gave us valuable experience in securing funding; we successfully applied for funds from both UT Student Government and the Graduate Student Assembly, which required submitting project plans and budgets well in advance, as well as attending a series of interviews and funding workshops. The end result was well worth it, thoughwe even got these cool pins to spread the word!

Archives Week Pin

We just registered for the spring semester; I can’t believe it! I only have a month to complete my papers and projects for this semester, and then my cohort is nearly done! I recently decided upon a capstone, the final project all MSIS students are required to complete, totaling approximately 125 hours of work on a discrete project relevant to our professional interests. My assignment will focus on various aspects of crowd-soured metadata for certain community-based special collections, including the possibility of using crowd-sourcing as a tool to increase metadata literacy among users. I think this will have some very interesting and relevant applications to my ongoing work archiving graffiti.

Not only is it time to submit proposals for spring and summer conferences, but I am also getting really close to the part of my student career when I can start applying for jobs in earnest. This is both exciting and intimidating, of course; though it’s been a real slog, I’m finding it difficult to really believe my academic schedule will ever come to an end. People keep telling me variations of, “If you think you’re busy now, just wait!” This doesn’t really help. I cannot imagine being any busier than I am currently. But perhaps that’s because I’m guilty of having over-committed during my program. So I’m looking forward to starting my career and having at least some weeknights and Sunday afternoons free of school-related work! Meanwhile, I’m gearing up for my final semester, when I will be taking two more courses, working on the capstone project, continuing my Ransom Center internship, andhopefullynothing else! Aside from applying for jobs, of course.

Right now, I’m working on a (to me!) really fascinating study of Confederate monuments, completing a research methods group project, and cramming for my upcoming Old English final exam (éalá!). Better get back to work.