Alternative Spring Break

If you have ever wondered what it was like to work at a State Archive, a Presidential Library, or even the Smithsonian, then please apply for the Alternative Spring Break Program (ASB). SIS is happy to announce several virtual projects at these iconic institutions during the 2021 Spring Break, March 15-19.

Current students can network professionally, build their résumés, and short cut the job hunting process with this program. Students with at least two archival or DCM courses, preferred. Experience in the field is also desirable.

We have not only expanded our projects but also our funding.  Students will be expected to work 40 hours during spring break week and will receive a $500 gross payment as a WSU employee (hiring paperwork will be required).

Submission Requirements:

  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.

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.

Applications are due at 11:59pm on February 21st, 2021. Students will be notified on or about March 1, 2021 of acceptance to the program. 

2021 Project Descriptions

  1. Herbert Hoover Presidential Archive, NARA (Two different projects)
    • Creating item level indexes to several of our Hoover family albums compiled by Lou Henry Hoover.  
    • Compile a subject guide (on a mutually agreeable topic) to our holdings compiled from our finding aids. 
    • Number of Students: 2 
  2. Anacostia Community Museum, Smithsonian 
    • Description of images into ASpace from the  Community Documentation collection. 
      • This collection includes documentary images of DC residents and their activities, neighborhood events and landmarks, foodways, festivals, and public spaces. 
    • Number of Students:  2
  3. Gerald R. Ford Library, NARA 
    • Listening to audio created by the President Ford Committee (President Ford's 1976 campaign organization) and adding/updating descriptions.  
    • Number of Students: 1 
  4. Smithsonian Garden Archive 
    • Metadata clean-up project in Smithsonian's Online Virtual Archives that would take about 40 hours to complete.  
      • The work involves removing legacy slideshows from Archives Space and applying the correct EAD Ref IDs to assets in the DAMS to build dynamic DAMS slideshows. Includes ArchivesSpace and OpenText digital asset management training.
    • Number of Students: 1 
  5. State Archives of Maryland
    • State Highway Administration Plats Indexing Project 

      The Maryland State Archives receives on a monthly basis a variety of plats from all jurisdictions in the state. In addition to these jurisdictions, the Archives receives plats from the State Highway Administration documenting changes in roadways and the properties that lie adjacent to them. While the Archives receives some indexing data associated with these records, a more robust version is desirable to further assist the needs of our patrons. The goal of this project is to "fill in" the gaps in the indexing we receive about these records and to identify any errors in our existing indexing data at the same time.  

      A volunteer/intern is assigned a selection of these plats to review online and then enter the requested information into a spreadsheet for later use.  

    •  Index Image Review Project 

      Over the years the Maryland State Archives has scanned and placed on line thousands of index volumes from various record collections to assist  with the research needs of our patrons. Also over time our imaging quality and standards have changed and improved as well. The goal of this project is to review the image quality and useability of the existing images online. 

      Each volunteer/intern assigned to this project will be given a particular set of digitized index records to review online and an associated spreadsheet to identify any issues that they may find. These issues will vary from legibility, completeness of the record and functionality of the image file (pdf).

    •  Record Transcription Project 

      The Maryland State Archives receives requests for a variety of record types over the course of our daily business. Of all of these types that are requested, one of the largest are what we call "vital" records. These records include birth, death, marriage and divorce records. For most inquiries into these records, research starts with looking up the assigned ID number to a record using an index. Usually there is an index available to cross reference the name of the person in question to the ID number assigned to the record that is associated with them. However, there are some instances where the indexes for a particular subset of these records are lost either to destruction or misplacement before they could be transferred to the Archives. In these instances, tracking a record down is a very time consuming process.

      In order to resolve this issue, the Archives has begun scanning these records and placing digital copies of them online on a transcription website called, "FromThePage". Volunteers login to this website, select a particular set of records to transcribe and using the scan of a record, fills in a preset forma with the information needed to help the Archives create a virtual index for public use. 

      Volunteers in this project would have two options in terms of work to perform. The first is to perform the transcription side of this project. The second is to review the transcription work already done by other volunteers in order to identify and correct any errors found 

    • Number of Students: 4 
  6. Reuther Library, Wayne State University 
    • Auditing and formatting pandemic oral history interviews. 
    • Number of Students: 4 
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 About ASB

The projects developed during Alternative Spring Break give participating students unique hands-on experience and have brought nationwide visibility to Wayne State's School of Information Sciences.

Started in 2013 by SIS faculty member Kim Schroeder, Alternative Spring Break is a competitive program in which chosen applicants are paired with one of the country's premiere information organizations for an intensive week-long internship that aligns with the student's area of interest. Travel support is provided to selected students.

Since the program's inception, participating students have worked at a variety of institutions, including the Smithsonian, Library of Congress, National Archives and Records Administration, the Freer Gallery and several presidential libraries throughout the country.

The program aims to give students the opportunity to take their classroom theory into cultural institutions and develop essential skills related to the profession.

SIS funding for Alternative Spring Break is only available to currently registered, degree-seeking SIS students. To learn more about how you can participate as a student or host, please contact Kim Schroeder at