Time is the 4th dimension. Lately, I've longed for the ability to press pause.
This semester, I've been working part time in my student assistant position in the UHM Pacific Collection, and interning at JABSOM Health Sciences Library where the staff is amazing, and I am going to deeply miss working with them. I am also taking 2 LIS courses: Database Searching, and Resources in Hawaiian & Pacific Librarianship; as well as working towards a Library Juice Academy certificate in XML and RDF-based Systems which requires me to take (6) 1-month-long classes. I just finished class 3: Introduction to the Semantic Web. I'm digging the courses and the instructor. In November, I flew to Hilo on the Big Island, for the Hawaii Library Association (my first ever professional conference) Conference. I also presented my first-ever academic poster. All that being said... I've been super busy this semester.
On Saturday, September 24th, I had the wonderful opportunity to help community members learn how to preserve their family treasures. The Association of Hawaiʻi Archivists partnered with the Society of American Archivists student chapter to invite students to be presenters at this vital workshop on the west side of Oʻahu. Hawaiʻi is famous for its amazing weather. We live in paradise, however, with our subtropical climate there are unique challenges for community members wishing to preserve their papers, books, photos, and other cultural artifacts.
I was fortunate to team with three fellow classmates and SAAsc members who I have ginormous amounts of respect for: Jennifer Magdaloyo, Keala Richard, and Ellie Seaton. Together, we tackled the content of Session 1: Mālama Palapala, which covered physical environment, pests, the care of papers, books, photos, and other artifacts such as feathers, kapa, and ʻumeke/calabash. As aspiring archivists we had all studied under the wise and skillful tutelage of Deborah Dunn in LIS 619 - Preservation Management. (Keala and I were lucky enough to have Debbie for LIS 620 - Conservation Management, as well). Each of us parsed out the topics comprising our 90-minute presentation, and created all the content for our topics. The topics I selected were: pest identification and prevention, identification of types of books in the home one might preserve, and types of books commonly sold today, and photo preservation and storage. Debbie graciously agreed to help us run through the presentation, made suggestions, and then (bless her heart) she sat through it again! She was very happy with it the 2nd time around, and so was I. Having her give feedback was integral to the success of our portion of the workshop.
The audience was a mixture of different ethnicities from all over the island. They were primarily middle-aged to senior citizen, and actively took notes and asked questions throughout. It was a pleasure to be speaking at Leeward Community College, which is the CC I lived closest to (and where I started my college endeavors) back in the day! I felt really comfortable speaking to the crowd because they were really interested in learning what they could do with their possessions at home.
I found the entire experience to be very meaningful and special. We were flattered to have people ask us if we'd consider doing another workshop. Some members thanked us and let us know the community really needs workshops like these. By far, this service event required many hours of preparation, far beyond previous volunteer activities I've participated in. It was partially for that reason that this was also one of the most enjoyable, however, being told we were able to help the people who came was the best part. It was so cool to see people motivated to start preserving their own collections. Mahalo to AHA and the SAAsc for allowing me to present, and Mahalo to the community members for spending their Saturday with us and being such an awesome crowd!
I said I'd tell you what I did this summer at Smithsonian Libraries, and here it is in the blog post they asked me to write for them. :)
I finally learned how it feels to be "on cloud 9" when I got the notification from the Smithsonian Institution (SI) that I'd been appointed to an internship with Smithsonian Libraries this summer; and would be working under the direction of their head of Web Services, Joel Richard. Through the SI Minority Awards Program (MAP), I was awarded a paid, 10-week internship this summer. While the application process did not allow me to choose my project I felt the project I was given fit my background given my previous career working in IT.
The project I'm assigned to is: "Applying Standardized Identifiers to Library Data" which is much of what I've been doing on a couple of my projects. I'm currently serving-out the last 4 weeks of my time here and it's definitely been an amazing experience. I've worked on 3 different projects so far, and will write more about them in a separate post. My 4th, and final project hasn't started yet.
In my last weeks here I'll be required to give a presentation to both Smithsonian Libraries and the SI OFI along with the other 13 MAP recipients. I'll also be doing some blog posts for Unbound--the Library's blog--and writing an essay for the OFI's MAP.
Time has been flying by and I'm bittersweet about leaving here. I'm going to miss the lifestyle and all the attractions DC holds with its museums, monuments, architecture, and events. I've been grateful for the wonderful staff members, special tours and activities, and the entire experience of living in a place very different from home. Currently, I reside in Silver Spring, MD, and commute on the WMATA Metro, (taking over an hour each way). I actually enjoy riding the metro and the large amounts of walking I'm doing up here (where I hit about 200K steps in a week).
I've discovered I truly am comfortable with myself and enjoy doing things alone as much as I do when in good company. I've had fun with Travis, who moved up here a year ago, and try to hang out on Fridays for pau hana with Keala--my classmate who also got a MAP internship and is up here working with Freer | Sackler. My office is located in the National Museum of Natural History. It's pretty wild!
One of the inspirations for enrolling in library school came about in the summer of 2014 when I realized how much I wanted to somehow work in a place like the Smithsonian. A very awesome friend recommended library science to me and I seriously started to consider it. Then, I had a chance encounter I with the screenwriter who co-wrote "Life" and "Intolerable Cruelty." He was super cool and told me about his archivist friend who had an MLIS degree and was the archivist for the Baseball Hall of Fame. I came back to Hawaii and immediately applied to the LIS program at UH. It was my dream then to intern with the Smithsonian before graduating, and this summer my dream came true. It's certainly been a life-changing experience and I'm so happy and thankful for this amazing opportunity!
Soulful Eyes: The Identification of Kalaupapa Residents in Photographs Taken by Fr. Joseph Julliote, SS.CC., 1901-1907
This afternoon I attended a public talk which shared the details of a special program sponsored by Congregation of the Sacred Hearts U.S. Province, the Hawaii Council for the Humanities, Damien and Marianne Foundation, Ka ʻOhana O' Kalaupapa and IDEA Center for the Voices of Humanity. The program entailed taking archival photographs of residents in Kalaupapa, and attempting to identify them. The Kalaupapa peninsula, located on the island of Molokaʻi, was where people afflicted with Hansen's disease were sent to live out their days. Through outreach with the community, author Anwei Law and archivist Stuart Ching, have worked through 800+ glass plate negatives, of which approximately 300 involve people. This project attempts to identify the residents captured in the images taken by Fr. Joseph Julliote, SS.CC., between 1901-1907. In addition to its cultural and historical value, the project is also a service to the residents themselves, as well as their desendants who (in some instances) had never seen a photo of their relatives before. The photos were superb, and showed residents of many different ages in an assortment of beautiful clothing poised with dignity and grace. It was unlike anything I would have imagined about Kalaupapa from the limited knowledge I had going into this.
I enjoyed hearing about the sleuthing being done -- comparing facial features as well as expressions, and knowing some of the subjects were aging in the photos, or had changes in appearance due to their illness. Anwei remarked it was easier at times to distinguish women due to their unique hairstyles, or manner of dress. She also mentioned trying to examine writing seen in a photo on a blackboard with other documented handwritings as a means of trying to identify one man, which I thought was really neat.
Access issues: Allowing glass plate negatives to be digitized: The act of digitization itself allowed access, and also made it easier to examine photos without having to handle originals. Further, the images will be catalogued and input into a database. There are questions about how much of this should be publicly accessible, and those issues are still being examined from the sound of it. I really enjoyed this talk today.
On Saturday, April 2nd, I had the pleasure of working at the Hawaiian Historical Society again. I'm grateful to both the UHM Society of American Archivists student chapter, as well as the HHS for organizing these service projects for us. We worked with books from the John Plews Estate, which were donated. These were volumes of Cook's Voyages. We carefully brushed each page of the previously frozen volumes, and used microfiber cloths dipped in isopropyl alcohol to remove any remaining mold. Holding the pages in the sun even briefly dried the alcohol in seconds. It was a nice time, and I have to mahalo Nicki Garces, and Jennifer Higa at the Hawaiian Historical Society!
Chromebooks have been out for a while now, and I finally found myself purchasing one last week at Best Buy since my (not-so-trusty) macbook pro retina is, once again, in the shop.
Enter the Samsung Chromebook 2. Limited by choice (we only have Best Buy and WalMart in Honolulu), and finances (broke college student), I found myself in need of a backup laptop that was: affordable, portable, and reliable. Best Buy had a display table with 6 chromebooks on it. After putting my grubby little hands on all of them, and comparing the specs across them, I felt like the only one that wouldn't drive me insane was the 11.6" Samsung Chromebook 2. ($199). The rest of the Chromebooks felt really cheaply/shoddily constructed. Yes, my display kind of sucks, but it's good for what I need, which is note-taking and Internet browsing. Thankfully, I have a Best Buy credit card from the old days (when I worked full time) so I could easily purchase it with the option to pay it interest-free in 6 months. (As a note they do price-matching with Amazon.com if the product is sold by Amazon and not a third-party seller.)
One of my hobbies is lifelong learning. I'm currently enrolled as a full time graduate student in the LIS program at UH Manoa, and also tackling an Intro to Drawing, studio art course at Kapiolani Community College, with Professor Kloe Kang. It's a lot of work -- taking about 8-10 hours out of my schedule each week. We're trying to draw in a very realistic style in this course. We've been working on a still life for two classes this week, and I have about 2 or 3 more hours I think I need to sink into it. I'm finding drawing to be very analytical, and it feels like new neurons truly are being created as I strain my brain on some of my pieces. One reason I want to be an academic librarian in the UH system someday, is so I can take classes for free, and earn a second advanced degree.
Dropping Mad Library Science!
Here is where I write about everything library and archives related going on.