One month down and 5 weeks to go at my internship with the Smithsonian National Museum of the American Indian, and I’m really starting to feel the time constraints. I am in the process of compiling a report for the Repatriation Committee Chair of the Board of Trustees that creates a history of Board discussions and actions regarding repatriation since the enabling legislation of 1989 through the present day. I’ve been given access to a lot of confidential information, and I’ve also been given the opportunity to browse through some collections at the Smithsonian Institution’s Archives on the mall!
In the middle of all this, I’ve also been assisting the repatriation staff in digitizing and organizing documents in their information management system, Client Profiles. It’s interesting because it’s intended for legal use, but it works really well for their purposes. It’s also capable of syncing Word and Outlook email, so you can link information from multiple points of origin. (You can even upload audio files.) I haven’t really been on the information creation side of things before, so it’s a really enlightening perspective. Frustrated, at times, with the lack of organization of the information I’ve been trying to find, I’ve spent some time reviewing the Smithsonian’s information management and archival policies and schedules, which are not always put into practice. Luckily, the people I work with are really receptive to ideas about how better to organize their personal files and information, and we’ve really been able to learn a lot from each other.
Looking forward, I’ve conducted a lot of the research I need to begin drafting the actual report, which leaves me pretty intimidated. I’ve unearthed a pretty large and dense amount of information, so trying to turn that into a coherent document is going to take some time.
Aside from work, though, I’ve been having a great time in D.C. I went to a live action parody of Jurassic Park by Old Murder House Theatre (which was hilarious), and on the Fourth of July, I went to a Nationals baseball game! It’s hard to get much more patriotic than that. Next week, I’m looking forward to attending the huge Wikimania conference, and I’ll probably blog all about that once it’s done! Now if only the weather would stop being so abysmal.