Field Experience at North Carolina Digital Heritage Center

Overall Role at the NCDHC

As a student working for the North Carolina Digital Heritage Center (NCDHC) I will be responsible for three main functions: digitization, metadata organization and creation, and outreach and publicity through social media. Most of the work will revolve around the digitization process, from working with digitization equipment, processing software, metadata creation and organization, organization of materials, and uploading content online.

NCDHC and Academic and Career Goals

As I entered SILS, I was interested in both archival work and public service. The NCDHC provides a little bit of both worlds. Although I will not have direct contact with patrons using the NCDHC digital products, the work I do will make rare and unique materials freely available to the public. At the NCDHC, I will have the opportunity to work with archival materials from collections around the state, digitizing and collecting metadata from various materials, such as newspapers, photographs, scrapbooks, and some three-dimensional objects. This field experience will help me to gain a better understanding of both the archival and digital worlds of libraries, and help prepare me for a potential future career in either field.

Learning objectives

1. To increase my experience with digitization equipment, processes and best practices.
2. To expand my knowledge of metadata rules and practices, and effectively organizing materials for ease of use and discovery of online content.
3. Analysis of analytics, looking especially at how usage is affected by social media outreach.

These objectives will be accomplished through daily tasks at the NCDHC. The NCDHC receives a variety of materials from numerous institutions across the state, all at various stages in the production process. For example, I may take a newspaper collection and digitize the paper materials, digitally process the files, collect metadata, and upload the collection online. Other collections, such as photograph collections, may already have some metadata available, and need only standardization and organization before being added to the online collections. I will use various digitization equipment and software in the Digital Production Center, and through practice and guidance from my supervisor, will learn more about metadata standardization and organization. The NCDHC uses Google analytics to monitor and assess use and access of their site. As a part of this experience, I will assist the NCDHC in analyzing their data, particularly in areas where social media is used to attract users.

At the end of the field experience, I will have accomplished these objectives by becoming a skilled user of digitization equipment and software. The NCDHC uses various types of equipment, which will expand my knowledge of general practices for different types of materials. Although I may not become an expert, I will be able to start a digitization project from beginning to end, creating high-quality images and metadata for the NCDHC collection. In addition, I will create a brief report or presentation for my supervisor concerning my findings and possible recommendations based on my research of site access and use concerning social media.

I intend to accomplish these goals with the help and collaboration of my coworkers and supervisors at the NCDHC. I will know I have accomplished these goals if my work is accepted and included on the NCDHC collections, and I am able to collaborate with my supervisors in some way based on my analysis of the use of the website.

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