Second semester plans and projects

Apollo Families, Life Magazine, photo by Ralph Morse

This is one of the images I came across today in the archives. I want that red and white dress!

Second semester of my LIS program is well under way, and with two weeks to go until midterms, I feel like I’ve finally got a plate full enough to feast off of. For the past month, I’ve only been working about 10 hours each week in my digital library position. I’ve had more free time than I’m used to and wasn’t entirely happy about it. This week I was able to fill more of that time with a temporary job photocopying primary sources to assist with a journalist’s research in the Iowa Women’s Archives. I find myself at the intersection of two of my loves, journalism and libraries, and redundant and tedious though my part of the work might be, I am thrilled to be assisting with a historian’s research.

My hidden agenda is that I’ve been brainstorming a way to get more experience in an analog archive since before the semester started. Most of my work happens with files at a computer, and they leave less of an impression on my imagination than carbon paper drafts of a woman’s early writings. And the hidden agenda behind *that* hidden agenda is that I believe spending time in an archive might lead me to perform original research of my own. It’s hard to stumble into something without browsing in the right place. The idea is that doing this kind of primary source research will lead to publishing.

This temp job will last for about two or three weeks. My other ambitions for this semester include writing a grant or assisting with a grant for digital library work, building a MySQL database for a (hopefully) public project, and conducting some other content analysis work that has yet to be finalized. There is a potential project I could work on with a professor, which would be another excellent opportunity for me, seeing that I could shadow her in her work while contributing my own take on things. If left to my own devices, there is another CA project that I have in mind, a continuation of some research I started in the fall.

I am a little worried that having all these goals this semester will leave me scattered and of divided attention–potentially seeing none of them through to fruition. At this point, I’m going for the more-is-more strategy, casting the net wide and hoping something bites (enough mixed metaphors for ya?).

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