Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Friday, August 10, 2012


All day yesterday at the WLA I had no idea how to feel. Part of me wanted to be extremely happy, another wanted to cry. Part of me could not have asked for a better last day at a place that has become home to be this summer, but I didn't, and still don't, want it to end. It was an emotional day to say the least. And fair warning, there will be a lot of rambling, but just bare with me. 

Let's start at the beginning. When I began work yesterday I was so close to being done with the Virginia Broderick digital collection that I knew I had to finish before going to home. I was so close that I could count the number of pieces that needed metadata on my hands and toes (when you begin with 283 pieces, not including the compounded items when there are usually 4 to a single heading, the prospect of 20 is absolutely amazing!) It wasn't so much that I wanted to be done, it was that I wanted it to go online. I wanted everyone else to see the collection that I have grown so fondly of. I woke up everyday excited to go to work on it, and while I know others will not have that feeling, they can at least see how beautiful the work is and how lovely of a person Virginia is. I wanted everyone else to see what I have been seeing for about a month now. To be completely honest, I also want to go on the WLA website and see my work. I want that moment of looking through the collection while thinking to myself "I did that. I created this." I want that feeling of accomplishment. And here comes the contradictions. As much as I wanted to finish this project, I knew that it was my last project of the summer and that as soon as I finished I would be done with work. I knew the second I finalized everything and submitted it to Kristin, there was no need for me to come into work anymore. The day that I have been dreading since the second I started working there. 

I have never loved a job more than I have enjoyed working at the WLA. It's hard to explain. I honestly think that I am in denial that I'm not going back Monday morning. I can say without a doubt that it has become home to me and I will try to sneak up there as much as I can this semester. I mean I won't stalk the place don't worry I'm not that crazy of a former employee which I am sure I am about to come off as, but I will pop by and say hi. Everyone at the WLA has profoundly shaped my life in a way that I never could have imagined. Beth. I almost have no words to describe how much that woman means to me. First off, she has absolutely been the best boss I could have ever asked for and I feel honored to be able to say that she was my boss. She treated me as an equal and valued my opinions after so many other bosses saw me as "just an undergraduate student" aka I had the IQ of a five year old. But more than that, she was my mentor. She taught me the most impactful life lessons I have ever gotten without even knowing it. When we would sit around and just share life stories, she taught me so many things about life and how to truly be a good person. The way she views the world, and everyone around her, is inspiring. And her happiness, it's contagious. Again, I don't know to describe it. She is by far one of the most amazing women that I have ever met, and if I grow up to be half as intelligent, amazing, and a beautiful person inside and out, I will feel as though I succeeded in life. Then comes the grad students. I don't know how I could have gotten through the summer without them. They also taught me life lessons, but different ones. For example, Kristin is one of the most intellect people I have ever met, but she would never tell you that. She walks to the beat of her own drum and makes everyone else want to follow that drum as well. She was also there to help me with anything I asked, even asking her friends on my behalf if she did not know the answer, and always made me happy the second I walked into the door. I have no doubt she will be the best interim director possible until they find a replacement. Rachel is just as amazing. I knew if I had a question about applying to grad school she would give me the best advice. Without her's and Kristin's help, I would be incredibly lost in this whole process. But the thing about Rachel is that she sees the best in everyone no matter what. The way she looks at the world is amazing. She was always happy and it's hard not to be happy around her. I always loved the days when she was working at the same time as me. And Laura. While I didn't get to spend as much time with her as the others, she was still amazing. I gave me practical advice about being a teacher, and was brutally honest with me to a point that no one else was. And getting to know her at the going away party last night was absolutely amazing. She, also, is just a fantastic person. Anyone reading this please don't think I am doing this to suck up. Frankly, I doubt any of them will read this, and my grades are already in so I have nothing to "gain" from saying all this. I'm sharing this to show how special of a place the WLA is. It's a home and no where else in the world will you find somewhere as amazing as this place. It is not just the people that makes it amazing though. Their purpose also does. They want to highlight women who changed the world. Women that I hope to share this category with someday. They work to show what women can accomplish, even when it was the social norm to not let them. And as much as I have rambled on about this place, it does nothing to actually show how amazing it is. As I read this over, it comes off as flat, when it is anything but. There are no words that can accurately show my gratitude, love, and respect I have for the third floor of Piper Hall, and the women who occupy it. 

So there is the contradiction. I wanted to be done, but I desperately wanted to stay. I hate knowing that I won't be back there first thing Monday morning. And now more contradictions. Yesterday was Beth's last day as well. It was said last night "I am so happy for you for this opportunity and so happy you are taking it, but you're breaking my heart." Exactly. I couldn't be happier for Beth to be moving to Wayne State, but I want her to stay here. I know she will do absolutely amazing there, and it's a great career move, but I wanted to see her on campus. I realize that I am being selfish, but it happens. It does help that she is moving to where my boyfriend is from so I will get to see her whenever I go back to the Detroit suburbs. Last night's going away party was amazing. Having it in Piper was perfect. So while it was incredibly sad why we were there, it was perfect. Getting to hang out with Kristin, Beth, Rachel, and Laura one last time that way was fantastic. It was absolutely perfect. So while I am so unbelievably sad to watch it end, it was the perfect ending. It was one of those nights where I had to come home, stuff my face with Chinese food with my boyfriend while he constantly told me "don't be sad that it ended. Be happy it happened." The most cliché thing he could have said, but extremely appropriate at the same time. Those women, and this internship have impacted me so profoundly that I almost don't have words for it and I so incredibly grateful. They made it not just a job. They made it home. 

Friday, August 3, 2012

Another Successful Week

There isn't much to update again. I'm still putting info into CONTENTdm for the different pictures, but it is all starting to come together!!! After all this work it is really nice to see more filled in areas than blank ones. I am on box 12 out of 30, so a little more than half to go, but I can start to see the light at the end of the tunnel!! As much as it seems tedious at times, it has been really fun to do this project. I am learning so much and get to see a whole other side to history. I can't wait to feel that feeling of accomplishment when I am done though!!

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

What is a Mistake?

Part of me feels as though I have accomplished a lot in the past couple of days, but then part of me feels as though I have done nothing. It's a strange feeling. I have loaded everything that I scanned onto contentDM, and am starting to fill in the necessary information. That has been difficult in itself. Fun, but difficult. The first problem is that there are only so many times you can say "This is an article written about how awesome Virginia Broderick is and her rocking art skills." I mean more professional, but you know what I mean. Second, the way that I organized everything does not match exactly with how the collection is organized, so I have been going through so many boxes and at the same time that it's kind of hard to keep track. Not a big deal at all, just a little challenging. And honestly, it's nice to have a little challenges while I do this because if not, it would be a tad monotonous. I don't want to come off as complaining, because I don't intend to at all. I just wanted to show that there are different technical difficulties that I am experiencing that I never expected. These difficulties, however, are what makes the job fun. Without sound conceited, I know I am good at the historical aspect of this internship. I get that. I want something to challenge me though. I want something that throws curveballs at me that I never expected. Having to think practically for technical things is something I have not done within this context, so I appreciate the lessons it is teaching me. Like when I was processing my collection. At the end I could look back and name exactly what I could have done better, but without making the mistakes in the first place, I would have never learned. I am a HUGE proponent of making mistakes. I love mistakes. Yeah I'm not the happiest when it happens, but in the long run, mistakes are my best friend. I have made my fair share of mistakes at the WLA, but I also want to make mistakes. Not dire ones that is going to cause serious problems, but mistakes that I can look back and say "Well if I would have done blank, it would have saved time..." or something like that. Was it the best idea to upload all the pictures at once, and then go back through the entire collection, for the third time, to find who the creator is and the dimensions for specific pieces? Maybe. But I'm learning. I won't sit here and say I know everything, because I am far from it. But I do know enough to love my mistakes and grow from them. The WLA has been absolutely amazing for that. I cannot thank Beth, Kristen, and Rachel enough for giving me the room to figure things out on my own, but being there to help the second I ask. I am learning because of this internship in new and exciting ways, and that is the most important thing I could have ever asked for. Every day I realize more and more that this is the best internship that I could have ever asked for and am ridiculously grateful for it.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

It's Picture Time!

So I am still scanning, but I'm almost done!! Only 4 or 5 more boxes to go! I finally remembered to send myself some of the pictures to put on here too! This is only a tiny tiny part of what will be in the digital collection, and everything is either just as impressive or better than these! Not as good as in person, but still ridiculously impressive. I'm so glad I finally get to show the amazing work that I have been in awe of for weeks!

I clearly have a biased towards her flowers, but I think that just shows how wide of a range she can do. It is all absolutely amazing and I'm so happy that I have had this chance to to get to work with such an amazing collection!!

Photo Credit: Women and Leadership Archives, Loyola University Chicago.

This image is issued by the Women and Leadership Archives, Loyola University Chicago. Use of the image requires written permission from the Director of the Women and Leadership Archives. It may not be sold or redistributed, copied or distributed as a photograph, electronic file, or any other media. The image should not be significantly altered through conventional or electronic means. Images altered beyond standard cropping and resizing require further negotiation with the Director. The user is responsible for all issues of copyright. 

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Which One is Going to Take More Time?

So this week I began scanning everything!! It's really not as hard as I thought it would be. Once you have the settings the way you want, it becomes pretty standard on what to do: put a photo in, preview it, scan it, take the photo out, repeat. I generally work while listening to my iPod, and after a while I realized I was loading and scanning pictures to the rhythm of whatever song I was listening to, so I've made a game of which genre can make me go faster. The winner right now is between swing music and rap, which makes logically sense to me.

I was also trained on how to use Content DM, our program that takes the material that we uploaded onto it and put it on our digital collections website, which is also not as bad as I thought it would be. However, now I have to make the decision of whether to scan the pictures as a whole, and then load them onto Content DM, or do it one at a time. There are pros and cons to both. If I do it as a whole, then I can get into that rhythm and work faster. Also, I can look at the collection as a whole and then decide which object to upload. But to load them onto Content DM I need information that I can only get if I am still holding the object, like the dimensions or who the original creator is. So it's either slow the rhythm and potentially waste time by uploading material that I will later decide not to include, or scan everything and then have to go back through the collection again to get the information as I upload the material to CDM. I haven't decided on which one I want to do, but I have till Monday to decide and I'm sure either way will fine. It's just a matter of which one will take the least amount of time.

Besides that, I have nothing really to report. I can't wait to do a little bit more so that I can put some pictures on here of what I have been doing, though!

Friday, July 6, 2012

Did not see that one coming...

Another week at the WLA done! And I'm finished going through all 41 boxes of the Virginia Broderick collection and deciding which pieces I want to put online!!! I am so excited to start that process next week! The later boxes are full of copies of her work, whether through pictures, scans, publication covers, or sketches, and it was so incredibly cool to see those!! The sketches are absolutely remarkable! I am constantly amazed at her talent! It was getting to the point where I was writing on the excel sheet of what to include "Just put the whole folder in". They are that good! I have which folders and boxes to focus on, but my plan is to just go through each folder while scanning and decide which ones I want on the spot. They are so well done that I could pick any random piece to put online and it would still be incredibly impressive. Beth had mentioned that she thought it would be a 200 item collection. I have 297 on the excel sheet and a good portion is "whole folder" or a couple "whole box" entries. I feel like I will be doing a lot of scanning in the upcoming weeks!

But then I ran into a problem. We have a bunch of her actual work, and its beautiful! I thought the photos of the paintings were good, and I was blown away with the actual paintings. I was so excited going through the "oversized" boxes that were completely full with them, and pick the ones to go online. I know I talk about how incredible they are a lot, but they truly are. And seeing the actual painting, with the most magnificent colors and technique, it was a good day at work to say the least. So in the middle of looking through them and being extremely excited, I realized the problem. They are actual pieces of art, so they are huge. They won't fit in our scanner. It was a moment of utter defeat. It's upsetting that that happened, but at the same time, I doubt they would have come up as well on the computer as they do in real life so the smaller copies are just as good. Plus, this online collection is only a sample of what we have, so not everything needs to go into it. It was just kind of a let down. But what we can scan are going to still be absolutely amazing and I'm still so excited to put them up!! This is just a little speed bump but everything will still turn out great! I am still beyond excited to get started on this leg of the project. If everyone wants to see the amazing work, they just have to make a visit to the WLA now and see everything we have to offer!!