New Harvard Library internship program for UMSI students

Three University of Michigan School of Information master’s students are the first to participate in a new summer internship program offered by the Harvard University Library. In addition to a stipend, the students will earn up to six credit hours toward their Master of Science in Information (MSI) degree.

The three interns -- Lauren Seroka, Garrett Morton, and Sophia McFadden-Keesling (left to right above) -- are working in the Digital Strategies and Innovation unit at Harvard Library, under the direction of Claire DeMarco. Their projects include working on a digital collections platform, the creation of online exhibits, and content creation for the Library’s new website. They are also learning about digital preservation, experience planning, metadata use, and treating digitized objects as data in the Library’s Digital Imaging Lab.

Sophia McFadden-Keesling is passionate about creating equitable access to archival material. “I believe Harvard's digitization focus really shows their efforts to create more access around the world,” she said. “Harvard University is one of the leaders in the digitization movement.”

Her favorite aspect of the internship is how personalized it is. “Because our boss knows I'm interested in reference, she suggested I take an extra ticket that turned up for the Social Science Librarians Boot Camp at Tufts University. This was a wonderful opportunity for professional development.”

Fellow intern Garrett Morton agrees. “Claire DeMarco, our mentor, is very invested in this internship being a valuable learning experience for us. [The internship] helps me see how those principles and practices we learn about in class are played out in the field.”

Garrett applied for the internship because “working with the Digital Strategies and Innovation unit of Harvard Library sounded really exciting... a wonderful opportunity to be exposed to the internal workings of a large academic library system and to learn from the many talented and experienced people who work in it.” He is gaining hands-on experience, he says, “interacting with many different librarians at the top of their field, learning from their experience and expertise.”

With a concentration in archives, Lauren Seroka applied for the internship because she was curious about how one of the largest academic libraries in the world works to make its vast digital collections more accessible and knew the internship would expose her to the technical work, steps, and many players involved in creating digital archives and libraries.

Lauren is working on UX and archival for the Library’s new websites and digital collections. “Although I do not come from a UX background, I am learning how to apply UX-centered design to archives,” she says. “Prior to the internship, I had not greatly considered working in an academic library, but now that I am learning more about the various roles, projects, and advantages of working in this type of library, I am reconsidering my future!”

Associate professor of Information Paul Conway was instrumental in establishing the internship program. "I am grateful to Harvard University Libraries for creating this exciting opportunity for a team of UMSI students to learn how digital strategy and innovation happen in practice,” he said. “We hope that this summer is just the beginning of a fruitful collaboration on training the next generation of digital archivists and librarians." 

Harvard plans to continue the summer internship program for the next three to four years.

Brooke White, Editorial Assistant

Posted June 20, 2018