2014: A Picture A Month

2014 was a pretty jam-packed year for me, work and non-work-wise, but I’m still pretty excited that it’s 2015 – I’m looking forward to another year filled with working long hours on projects I’m passionate about, traveling, writing things, trying new foods, etc etc. Here’s a picture from each month in 2014, as a sort of summary of how much work and fun can be packed into a single year:

January 2014: My first North Carolina snow!
January 2014: My first North Carolina snow!
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Year One

Last week marked my one year anniversary of moving to North Carolina and taking up my position as the Associate Archivist of Davidson College. I’ve written a bit in here before about all of the Big Life Changes that have occurred over the past year and half or so (completing two graduate degrees, moving 900 miles, etc.), but anniversaries always seem like particularly apropos times to reflect, so, here’s a few of the things I’ve done over the past year (get ready for a long-ish post!):


Probably the most enjoyable part of my job is that I get to work on a vast array of different projects and initiatives – there’s always something happening in the small (three FTE) Archives & Special Collections working group. We’re a constant hub of energy and ideas, and much of that is down to the amazing people I work with – the College Archivist & Records Management Coordinator (Jan) and the Special Collections Outreach Librarian (Sharon) have a combined 55 years of Davidson work experience, so their institutional memories and knowledge are invaluable. But even more important (to me, at least!) is their total willingness to try new things, play around with ideas, and listen to the new person in the room. Though I work most closely with Jan and Sharon, my larger department at the library (Discovery Systems) is similarly inventive and friendly, and I’ve met and begun collaborating with lots of amazing people around campus and around the state. I love working in such a supportive unit, AND they frequently bring in snacks to share – I’m living the dream, you guys.

When I came into work last Wednesday, Jan and Sharon had placed this incredibly heartwarming whiteboard in front of my office:

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Supervising Student Workers: Summer Blog Roundup

My duties in the Davidson College Archives & Special Collections include supervising student workers, and this summer we had a bevy of them – five total! I’ve been in supervisory roles before – I was in charge of an office as an undergrad, and I had an intern work under me for a summer when I served as the archivist of the Nichols House Museum. However, this summer was my first experience with student workers in an academic library/ archives setting, and my first time supervising so many at once.

All in all, I think the summer ended up being incredibly productive, and our student workers were all amazing! I learned a lot by working with them this summer – it was challenging (in a good way) for me to train a new corps of students, and although I tried to balance out work I knew would most likely be tedious (scanning for hours) with some more exciting or creative projects, I’m aware that some of the tasks might not have been enjoyable. However, these five women handled every assignment with good grace, and I enjoyed getting to know all of them (as did the rest of the archives staff!). All of our students did some digitization work (primarily scanning, uploading, and entering metadata for student publications), although each had a variety of projects and assignments.

Here’s a roundup of the blogs the students wrote to summarize their experiences:

Monica Nelson (class of 2015) –  My Role as a Student Assistant for the Davidson Archives: A Glimpse into Past Projects

Meredith Pintler (class of 2016) – Behind the Scenes: E.H. Little Library in the Summer

Ellyson Glance (class of 2016) – A Summer of Scripts ‘N Pranks

Emma Kenney (class of 2015) – My Final Week as a Student Assistant

Vera Shulman (class of 2015) – A Summer of Scanning, Editing, Uploading, and Researching

Digital Humanities at SAA 2014

In a week, I’ll be attending my first Society of American Archivists annual meeting – this year’s theme is “ARCHIVES * RECORDS: Ensuring Access.” In order to help sort out which sessions I want to attend, I thought I’d crib from my colleague Mark Sample’s Digital Humanities at MLA 2014, and compile a list of digital humanities-related sessions and events.

Obviously, this list will be biased as to what I consider “digitally-inflected” – for instance, I’m not including any of the pre-conference workshops, although these definitely include options that have a strong digital component, nor am I including sessions/ events that appear to be standards-based (if I did, the list would be almost entirely standards!). This list includes five of the 70 sessions, which means that 7.14% of this year’s sessions are DH-inflected; however, that does not account for day-long events (like the Research Forum or THATCamp SAA), posters, roundtables, or committee meetings, some of which I did include on this list.

Please do let me know if you think I’ve missed a session/ event, or included one that shouldn’t be on the list. As someone whose professional personal interests certainly cross the (perhaps occasionally siloed) archivist-librarian-digital humanist borders, I’m looking forward to discussing DH and plenty of other topics with the crowd at SAA’s largest meeting yet!

These descriptions are copied-and-pasted from the SAA’s online schedule.

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DH 2014 Thoughts & Wrap-Up

Note: Some great DH 2014 resources – dh+lib put up two great wrap-up posts (part one and part two), James Baker posted his (great) notes from DH 2014 on GitHub, and ADHO posted several Storify’s on their account.

Earlier this month, I attended DH 2014 in Lausanne, Switzerland. I got back to the states about a week ago after taking a bit of vacation, so now I have time to write about my experience!

This was my first time attending DH, and it was definitely one of the best/ most productive conferences I’ve been to in the last few years. So, here are some of my highlights from nearly a week in Lausanne:

“Methods for Library Staff Professional Development of Digital Humanities Skills” Workshop.

I found this full-day workshop really interesting – the facilitators (James Baker from The British Library, Chris Bourg and Jacque Hettel from Stanford, Alex Gil from Columbia, Purdom Lindblad and Laura Miller from University of Virginia’s Scholars’ Lab, and Padraic Stack from NIU Maynooth) all gave presentations on DH training initiatives at their organizations, followed by discussion and exercises aimed at helping participants draft their own plans for DH trainings. I loved hearing about the five ongoing initiatives, and I thought the exercises were really helpful in generating new ideas – I’ve never done a design-think before, and my interview partner (shoutout to James Baker!) gave a valuable outsiders perspective. A few patterns emerged as the workshop went on: subject librarians are the point people in the library/ archives world who seem to be engaging with DH, on a wide scale; and many of the facilitators and participants approached DH training through working on projects. Basically, I left the workshop with a bunch of new ideas and new acquaintances to ask for advice from. A+, would workshop again!

c/o Jacque Hettel - some of the post-its I was using to make point of view statements
Photo c/o Jacque Hettel – some of the post-its I was using to make point of view statements.
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Takeaways from Data Driven – Digital Humanities in the Library Conference

Note: this post was originally posted on Davidson College’s Archives & Special Collections blog, and then featured in dh+lib Review‘s “Data Driven Conference Wrap-Up” post, which you can read here.

This past weekend, Jan, Craig, and I attended (and presented at) Data Driven: Digital Humanities in the Library in Charleston, South Carolina. Similarly to when several team members attended the Society of North Carolina Archivists annual conference a few months ago, I thought it would be interesting to compare what the three of us thought of the conference. We each attended a different workshop, although we ended up in many of the same sessions over the course of the weekend.

We each attended a different workshop, although we ended up in many of the same sessions over the course of the weekend.

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Takeaways from SNCA

Note: this post was originally posted on Davidson College’s Archives & Special Collections blog. I also wrote about my experience at SNCA 2014 in my Day of DH 2014 blog.

Professional development is integral to all of the library staff here at Davidson College, so with that in mind, the Discovery Systems team sent three of its members to the Society of North Carolina Archivists (SNCA) annual conference last week – myself, Jan Blodgett, and Susan Kerr. While we all often attend meetings, conferences, and other trainings, we usually reserve our discussion of takeways, thoughts, and interesting ideas to in-person weekly departmental meetings. We thought that my first SNCA meeting would be a great opportunity to compare and contrast what the Davidson attendees got out of the meeting. So, first up: my takeaways!

To start off the morning, Jan moderated the “Publishing and Managing Digital Collections without CONTENTdm” session, which I presented at. The session was a great opportunity to talk about our ongoing development and roll-out of our institutional repository, as well as to hear about how two other institutions are dealing with increasingly larger and larger digital collections.

Moderator and presenters at the “Publishing and Managing Digital Collections without CONTENTdm” session. From left to right: Jan Blodgett, Caitlin Christian-Lamb, Chelcie Rowell (Wake Forest University), and Molly Bragg (Duke University). Photo via Craig Fansler (Wake Forest University); see his post on SNCA here. Molly Bragg also wrote a post about this session – read that here.
Moderator and presenters at the “Publishing and Managing Digital Collections without CONTENTdm” session. From left to right: Jan Blodgett, Caitlin Christian-Lamb, Chelcie Rowell (Wake Forest University), and Molly Bragg (Duke University). Photo via Craig Fansler (Wake Forest University); see his post on SNCA here. Molly Bragg also wrote a post about this session – read that here.

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Day of DH & SNCA 2014

Yesterday was both my first time participating in a Day in the Life of Digital Humanities (Day of DH) and in an annual meeting of the Society of North Carolina Archivists (SNCA).

Day of DH seeks to help define what digital humanists DO, since that’s an oft-asked question, by having people who work in DH document one day of their work-lives. I had meant to participate in the 2013 iteration of Day of DH, but last April 8th I was stuck deep into a full thesis draft hole (plus working on a deadline for my digital libraries class, and ended up feeling sick that day to boot), so the thought of blogging about how stressed I was didn’t appeal to me at all.

One year later, I realized that Day of DH would fall on the same day as the SNCA meeting, which was definitely a day I anticipated being very busy – attending a conference takes up a good deal of attention, plus I knew I was presenting on a panel first thing in the morning and was up for election to SNCA’s exceutive board (as member at large), which would be voted on during the lunch-time business meeting. Add driving across the state and back to all that, and I thought I had a pretty full plate – but that’s exactly what made it an interesting day to document, in my opinion. DH-ers do a lot of different things, and some us happen to be conference-ing while liveblogging, as it turns out!

Read my Day of DH blog here, complete with SNCA takeaways and pictures!

Year’s End

This is going to sound odd, but I just realized it’s a new year. As in, now that it’s 2014, I guess I can accurately reflect on what happened in 2013, which as it turns out, was quite a lot…

GRADUATION. I completed my MSLIS and MA in May of 2013, after three years of study at Simmons College. Grad school was one of the most simultaneously difficult and rewarding things I’ve ever done, and graduation was definitely bittersweet. My last semester was the only one that took place during 2013, and it was also without a doubt one of the hardest for me – I was working on my thesis, taking a demanding digital libraries class, and working at two amazing-but-time-consuming jobs (Adams Papers & metaLAB). I constantly miss taking classes with amazing professors, writing papers, seeing my old grad pals, and getting student discounts on everything. Of course, finishing my degrees means I also finished my…

THESIS. Completing MA History thesis was similarly a challenging and rewarding experience. “Going Down in History: The Collective Memory of the Titanic” ended up netting me a travel grant and a departmental award, and allowed me to (almost) fully explore a topic I’d casually thought about for years. I wouldn’t trade all those tortuously long reading and editing hours for anything (except perhaps for more reading/writing/editing hours – I’m still playing around with ideas of how I can delve further into Titanica…).


WORK. Perhaps the biggest change of my year was accepting a position at Davidson College and moving in North Carolina in October. It’s my first salaried, full-time gig and changing jobs and moving to an entirely new region has been a bit of a challenge, but overall, I’m very happy with my professional home and the things I get to work on there.


TRAVEL. I went to the UK (London, Southampton, Belfast), Ireland (Dublin, Cork, Cobh), and Canada (Halifax, Vancouver, Victoria). Stateside, I made lots of trips to Providence, NYC, DC, and Philly. I spent a weekend hiking in the Catskills, and a weekend work-ish trip on Cape Cod (Provincetown & Truro). Since moving to North Carolina, I’ve made weekends trips to Asheville, NC; Atlanta & Athens, GA; and Richmond, VA. I went to conferences/ workshops in: College Park, MD; Victoria, BC; Atlantic City, NJ; Cambridge, MA; and Durham, NC. I feel like I’ve gotten to travel plenty throughout 2013, and I’m hoping for similar/ new travels in 2014.

SNAP Student Experience Series

The Society of American Archivists (SAA)‘s Students and New Professionals (SNAP) Roundtable is a very active group that seeks to fill a void in SAA – namely, to provide a forum for those newly entering the field. One of the ways SNAP does that is by running a blog, including their Year in the Life, SAA 2014 Election Candidate Interviews, and Student Experience blogseries. As a new professional, I definitely appreciate both the SNAP blog and having an official group within SAA to advocate for my needs.

My reflections on the grad school experience was actually the first post in their Student Experience series (and the second was an old colleague of mine from my intern days at the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, Sami Norling) – check it out here!