A Summer Intern's Reflection
Jack Beemsterboer, an Augustana College senior from Towanda, Illinois, just finished his summer internship at the Center. As a history major, Jack is exploring history-related careers to pursue following graduation.
After reading some archival theory literature and reviewing the Center's archival processing manual, Jack got to work improving existing archival records. “My role at the SSIRC as an intern first involved cleaning up older collections that were not up to archival standards...so that they would be more accessible to researchers in the future," says Jack.
His first major accomplishment was improving the description of I/O:53 Northwestern Illinois Rebekah Lodge records. He then followed the Society of American Archivists' Describing Archives: A Content Standard (DACS) description guidelines to improve collection description.
Jack's second project was to completely arrange and describe an archival collection from scratch. He was tasked with making sense of two large, jumbled boxes of materials related to Swedish diplomat Manne Lindholm. "Eventually, I was given the opportunity to organize a collection for the SSIRC. This was the most important project I completed over the summer. I was given several boxes of papers, and was tasked with creating a sensible, organized collection using DACS archival standards. It was a time-consuming process, but [it] was incredibly fulfilling for me and I am immensely grateful to have been given this project," says Jack.
The Center uses PastPerfect software to host collection descriptions online. Jack learned to use this software during his internship to make these archival descriptions accessible to researchers on the web. This final project led to the completion of the collection MSS P:354 Victor Emmanuel "Manne" Lindholm papers.
Jack reflects on his internship, "It was this final project in particular which gave me the best glimpse of the discipline I was now immersed in. In order to organize this collection, I had to understand the purposes of archival studies in general. I needed to make the final product accessible to researchers of both the present and future; the preservation of the information and documentation that I handled was now my responsibility. I found that I have an aptitude for this kind of work, and that my natural curiosity and disposition towards learning greatly assisted my research. At the beginning of this summer, I had no idea what a career in archival research entailed. Now I have a much more nuanced interpretation of the field.
At the beginning of this summer, I had no idea what a career in archival research entailed. Now I have a much more nuanced interpretation of the field.
"It’s difficult to describe the impact this internship has had on me. At the beginning of this summer, I was a confused former education major with no solid plans for the future. However, my time here has left me with concrete career goals and a whole plethora of possibilities for me in this field. I found that I have a natural love for this kind of work, and that my personal dispositions are greatly suited for archival research. Thinking about the next couple of years used to agonize me, but I leave this internship feeling energized and excited for my life after graduation.
Thinking about the next couple of years used to agonize me, but I leave this internship feeling energized and excited for my life after graduation.
"My next steps in pursuing a career in this field are starting to come together. I’m planning on pursuing a master’s degree in either library studies or museum studies. If at all possible, I’d like to find myself in a respected institution in some sort of fellowship or teaching assistant position. Following grad school, who knows - the job market for this field is very tight, but not impossible to negotiate. I have faith in my abilities, and am excited for what the future holds for me."
Thanks for all your hard work, Jack. We are confident you have a promising career ahead of you, whatever you decide to pursue!