I have been interning here at the Congregational Library for the past two months as part of my internship requirement for my LIS 438 class at Simmons College. In those two months, I have had the wonderful opportunity to gain experience processing a small archival collection from start to finish.
The collection consisted of the personal papers of Edward Franklin Williams, a Congregational minister, lecturer, and writer from the mid-to-late-nineteenth century. I started out just taking an inventory of sorts to try to understand who this person was and what materials were in the collection. I think I probably spent more time than necessary doing research about Williams and his life. I really enjoyed working with his actual documents and trying to put together the pieces of his life. I felt like a sort of historical detective!
The arrangement and series I decided on reflect, I think, the most appropriate and logical organization of the materials. I really learned a lot about the various aspects of archival processing. There were a few bumps along the way. The fact that some of the series are split up between boxes wars with my desire to have everything fit exactly right and be 'just so'. Then there was the issue of how to number the folders when the series are split up. These 'bumps' were the instances where I learned the most. I was able to get real-world examples of things that were discussed in my classes.
I was also lucky enough to get experience or at least an exposure to aspects of archival processing that I didn’t really expect to. I heard a lot of talk about EAD and got to work a little bit with DACS. These are both concepts that, I'm told, I will be very familiar with after taking more classes. It was nice to get a little bit of an introduction and get to see how these concepts are applied in the real world. I was also able to get a little bit of preservation experience. Though it was only the basics, I'm glad that I was able to get some exposure to that aspect of archival processing.