The first few weeks of the semester have flown by, and, in terms of my work for ROHA, I feel like I don’t have much to show for the passage of time.
CMS training was to be one of my first orders of business. CMS stands for content management system; this is the system that will allow me to access ROHA’s online spaces in order to edit, add, and/or delete content. I need to be CMS trained before I can start working on one of my biggest projects of the semester: standardizing the keywords linked to each oral history in the archive. As it stands now, there are misspellings and duplications among the keywords–and, more importantly, some keywords are linked to inapplicable histories. Although I began listening to all of the histories to get a better feel for which keywords would be appropriate for each, I have to wait to be CMS trained before I can really delve into the project.
I was, however, successful in reworking ROHA’s Wikipedia page (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rochester_Oral_History_Archive). Another intern for ROHA, Danielle Sautter, started the page last semester and I went in and edited it, adding a reference and an outside link in the process. In editing ROHA’s Wikipedia page, I realized how much I still don’t know about ROHA and therefore can’t write about from firsthand experience. For example, I have yet to record an oral history, so I’m not really familiar with the steps; I have to trust Danielle’s written account rather than being knowledgeable myself. After I do record a history, though, I plan to go back and look at the Wikipedia page again to make sure that everything is concise and accurate regarding the recording process.
Since the work I’ve done thus far has been done from home, this internship feels somewhat less ‘real’ to me than it might if I had a physical workplace to go to. It’s an interesting conundrum, that I’m free to work on ROHA’s Wikipedia page, for example, from anywhere I want–but therefore feel like I’m not really ‘working.’ I hope that that feeling will dissipate once I’ve been CMS trained and have access to ROHA’s database.
Other than all that, I might be able to attend an oral history conference next month in Denver. Hearing from oral historians might help me better understand my place in ROHA as well as ROHA’s place in the community. I don’t know yet whether I’ll be attending, but I’ll definitely update everyone once I know. Since this whole internship is about me learning things I don’t know and pushing myself outside of my comfort zone, the conference would add another dimension–I’ve never been to a conference, and I’ve only been to Denver once. Part of my willingness to take on the unfamiliar is the desire to show myself that I’m capable of doing things that I’m afraid of. After all, if I can do these things now, as an undergrad, I should be able to do them in grad school or for a career.