News and Announcements

Apply for Alternative Spring Break 2020!

January 10, 2020

If you have ever wondered what it was like to work at a State Archive, a Presidential Library, or even the Smithsonian, then please consider applying for the Alternative Spring Break Program (ASB). SIS is happy to announce several projects at these iconic institutions during the 2020 Spring Break, March 9-13.

Current students can network professionally, build their résumés, and short cut the job hunting process with this program. Those with archival or DCM courses or experience preferred.

Due to the on-going success of ASB, we have expanded to include Detroit-based projects for local students. This work will be conducted at the Reuther Library on Wayne State's campus.

We have not only expanded our projects but also our funding. For students that will be traveling out of state there are travel funds available (reimbursement up to $750 but more may be available if you participate in the crowdfunding program).

Submission Requirements:

Submit the online application by 11:59pm on January 16th, 2020:

  1. Résumé (be sure that it includes expected graduation date, niche' courses or projects and technology skills)
  2. Unofficial Transcript
  3. Contact information for one to two professional references
  4. A paragraph citing how you estimate this will help you professionally/why you are applying
  5. Clearly list the three projects that you are most interested in by institution and project name and number.
  6. An estimate of the budget support that you would need in order to attend each project.

Please note that submission is not a guarantee of being awarded a project and that not all projects may be assigned. Also, additional projects may be added over the next two weeks.

Students will be notified on or about January 30th, 2020 of acceptance to the program.

Alt Spring Break 2020 Projects



Number of Students

Freer Archives - Washington DC

We have several potential projects for them involving processing and rehousing, and the preparation of inventories and/or container lists.

Up to 2

National Archives of Chicago

The National Archives at Chicago has more than 140,000 cubic feet of historical records dating from 1800 to the 1990's, including textual records and non-textual records such as maps and photographs from Federal courts and some 85 Federal agencies in: Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Minnesota, Ohio, and Wisconsin. Federal law requires that agencies transfer permanently valuable, noncurrent records to the National Archives. Alternative Spring Break Students will have a choice to contribute to an ongoing processing project of 19th Century maritime records from Grand Rapids, Michigan, contribute to an ongoing processing project relating to the US District Court in Indianapolis, or to digitize records from commonly requested high profile cases heard by the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois in Chicago. Students will also receive an overview of functions performed at one of the National Archives facilities outside of the beltway area.

Up to 2

Archives Center, National Museum of American History, Washington DC

Digital asset metadata review and import

  • Project Description: The intern will assist Archives Center staff in preparing for import to the Smithsonian's Digital Asset Management System (SI DAMS), metadata for images previously scanned from the Duncan P. Schiedt Photograph Collection. The intern will use Adobe Photoshop and Bridge software in conjunction with excel spreadsheets to import metadata to the SI DAMS IPTC description and title metadata fields in bulk. Intern will work closely with supervisor on workflow steps and provide feedback on the process. Other project goals, provided there is time include: learning how images are uploaded to DAMS and linked in ArchivesSpace, the collections management system used by the Archives Center. Attention to detail and working knowledge of excel is required. Familiarity with Adobe Photoshop/Bridge preferred. Training provided.

  • Learning Objectives: Better understand metadata; Better understand digital curation; and learn about collections management systems (e.g. ArchivesSpace and SI DAMS)

  • 1

    State Archives of Maryland

    The intern will digitize archival materials. The entire process will have the intern scanning to archival standards, quality control of the images and creation of OCR'd pdf's. These images and pdf's will ultimately be uploaded to our archival repository and made accessible to patrons.

    Up to 2

    Reuther Library - Wayne State University, Detroit

    Students will have the opportunity to process a physical collection from start to finish, including reviewing a collection case file, creating a processing plan, processing the collection, and describing the collection through the creation of a finding aid in ArchivesSpace.

    Up to 2

    Hoover Presidential Library

    Possible projects:

  • Appraisal of audio-visual materials project

  • We have approximately 140 cf of assorted a/v material in a wide variety of formats (moving images, audio recordings, photographs, scrapbooks, laser discs, etc.). This material accumulated in our stacks over several decades without proper appraisal or attention. Recently, volunteers have created a rough inventory of the material. The student will consult with the supervisory and audiovisual archivists to establish practical appraisal criteria, review the holdings, and create a proposal for what material should be retained for our permanent holdings.I suspect this project is large enough that two students could address it as a team if desired.

  • Acquisition backlog project

  • Over the years a number of acquisitions were placed in nooks and crannies in our stacks without proper follow through. This project would involve consulting with two archivists and creating a detailed log of metadata for several dozen small acquisition to be entered into a spreadsheet to facilitate:

  • Initial attempts to reconnect with donors or heirs - if there is enough time, the student can help with people searches and initial attempts to contact them

  • Following NARA guidelines in order for our general counsel to make final disposition decisions regarding material for which we are unable to contact donors/heirs

  • Scanning project

  • We have a number of scanning projects that the student can work through the entire project: selection, scanning, compiling metadata, and if desired select a subset of material and write up a proposal for an online exhibit, or class exercise involving the material. Possible topics include: women's athletics 1920s-1930s, construction of Hoover Dam (or the naming controversy re Hoover Dam or Boulder Dam), 1930 Drought, 1927 Mississippi Flood, 1932 Bonus March on Washington, Atomic Energy Commission, Lou Henry Hoover's scrapbooks and albums of the Hoover's world travels circa 1898 to 1913, etc.

  • Up to 3

    Carter Presidential Library - Atlanta, GA

  • AV Item-Level Control

  • Project Description: Gaining physical and intellectual control of all audiovisual items to include (but not limited to) relocation, creation of stack lists, creation of metadata, and DAS entry.

  • WHCA/WHSP Digitization

  • Project Description: Digitization of the White House Staff Photographer Collection with DACS standard metadata.

  • SPH Item-Level Control

  • Project Description: Gaining physical and intellectual control of each item in the SPH closet to include (but not limited to) relocation, creation of stack lists, creation of metadata in the SPH database.

  • Up to 3