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MLIS Practicum at Eastern Michigan University
By: Samuel Schmaltz
time with Eastern Michigan University gave my valuable experience with handling
collections that expanded on what I had learned through my masters program by
giving me practical examples of archival principles and gave me a chance to
provide access to a large collection of archival materials. Working with Eastern also helped me work to
achieve a personal goal of making sure that valuable information is not lost
and is made available to a public that can make use of it. The experiences I gained from my time with
Eastern will surely be valuable for many years to come.
collection that I was managing, a collection of materials from Eastern's
communication division, contained a vast array of materials in several
different formats and containing footage of many different subjects. Creating a finding aid for a collection like
this that houses thousands of items gave me a valuable real world experience of
the implementation of the More Product, Less Process approach. Often working by myself meant that I often
had to make independent choices in categorizing material when information
regarding where it belonged was scarce.
Material would occasional have a very simple label, such as an
individuals name and nothing more.
Cataloging material like that required me to learn to make difficult
choices regarding arranging items on my own, increasing my ability to work
independently. On a more personal level,
I found value in being able to work with a collection containing such a diverse
range of formats, some of which I had never seen before. Working in this collection has given me a
better look into the history of a/v materials and how many diverse types of
material were created throughout that history.
was also given a first hand experience of how many steps are required to
complete arrangement of a collection.
Physical arrangement and descriptions via A Space were both required,
occasionally putting me in positions were multitasking was necessary. If I had focused on arranging material first
and only then began describing the materials, I would have quickly run out of
space to work with. Working with EMU's
collection gave me experience with being able to work in a flexible manner in
order to produce an optimal workflow.
practical experience was extremely valuable for me, but finishing the
collection was worth it in it's own right.
The collection contained material on athletics, speeches, events,
lectures, Eastern original programing and more.
The vast array of subjects held in the collection mean that the material
could be found and used by a wide variety of different people for a wide
variety of different purposes. Sports
enthusiasts could look up noteworthy games from Eastern's past while those
looking up the history of person who was influential to Eastern for academic
purposes could find lectures made by that person, or events that person
participated it. The varied nature of
collection makes it a valuable resource and something that was important to make
motivations for joining the MLIS program were to make sure that valuable
information could be protected from being lost to time, and my work with
Eastern gave me a practical example of working towards that goal. The lessons that I learned while working on
the Collection for the division of communication will be helpful to me in my
future endeavors and help me preserve and make available other collections of
valuable information in the years to come.
Working with EMU was not only valuable on a personal level, but helped
me feel like I was contributing to a bigger picture in the field of information
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