Cultural heritage is, by its very nature, ephemeral. Nothing lasts forever, least of all our memories and the artifacts that serve as reference points. However, these memories and artifacts are fundamental to what makes us human: our ability to use culture as a lens to interpret the world around us. In studying Cultural Heritage Preservation over the past two years, I have grown in my knowledge and appreciation for the carriers of our collective history.
My previous graduate work had focused on the content of history—exploring theories relating to structures and mechanisms through which history unfolds. While pursuing the Certificate of Advanced Studies in Cultural Heritage Preservation, I have taken a different perspective on historical materials. Working through methodologies for the preservation and presentation of artifactual evidence, I have begun to approach history as an applied profession, as opposed to a theoretical exercise.
Issues surrounding access to historical materials have had an especially profound impact on my perspective. Approaching collections from the vantage point of the user experience has the potential to reconfigure how cultural heritage resources are used. As I discussed in a post in the iSchool’s Information Space Blog, archives are silent on their own–it is the use of the materials that gives them a voice.
The postmodern perspective has filtered through from my previous historical studies to my work as a cultural heritage professional. Acknowledging relativism and contingency while considering the impact and meaning of our work, helps to keep us open to new ideas, perspectives, and uses for historical collections.
I have worked throughout the program to develop hard skills that will be helpful as I enter the professional world, in keeping with cultural heritage preservation as an applied field. My toolbox of skills relates to the stages of an object’s life cycle—as a result of my studies and internship experiences, I understand how to:
- Catalog and describe resources using metadata standards such as MARC, EAD, RDA, and Dublin Core
- Design and encode XML application profiles
- Develop bibliographic descriptions for monographs
- Digitize paper-based and audio-visual resources
- Perform basic repair treatments for paper-based items
- Organize archival and special collections
- Arrange and present resources
This online portfolio offers examples of the coursework and internship projects that I have worked on throughout the program. These examples can be browsed via thematic categories:
Or via the relevant courses I have taken:
- IST 511: Introduction to the Library & Information Science Profession
- IST 616: Information Resources: Organization and Access
- IST 622: Introduction to Preservation of Cultural Heritage
- IST 624: Preservation of Library and Archival Collections
- IST 628: Organization and Management of Archival Collections
- IST 632: Management and Organization of Special Collections
- IST 681: Metadata
- MUS 500: Museums, Memory, & Challenge of Interpreting Past
- MUS 506: Introduction to Curatorship