Slow start

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 ( 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.


4 thoughts on “Slow start

  1. ggiberson says:

    You might consider putting an application in for a student research travel grant if you are interested in traveling to Denver for the conference. Go to the follow URL to find info.–Dr. G


    The deadline is in Nov. which would be after the conference, I believe, but we can check to see if the award can be granted retroactively.

  2. jmdembsey says:

    Hi, Rachel,

    We have a lot in common with our internships. I am working from home as well, and I am often worried about getting in all of my hours by the end of the semester! The amount of hours I can put in per week depends on the work she gives me and how long it takes me to complete it. I don’t know if your position will be similar once your training is out of the way. I am also writing outside of my area of knowledge. Whenever she gives me an assignment, I feel overwhelmed at first because I don’t exactly how to complete it. A lot of questions need to be answered: I don’t want to do the work incorrectly.

    And getting outside of your comfort zone is never easy. I’m not a fan of it either. There have been times where the experience has been great and times where the experience has been pointless and I wish I never started. Just know, if the experience isn’t going well, it won’t last forever.

  3. troyintern says:

    The conference in Denver sounds like it would be a fantastic opportunity. I didn’t realize that there were grants for student research…It seems like it would be a good way to get the most out of your internship and since you are “off to a slow start” then I am sure it will make you feel like you are accomplishing more.

    You mentioned that you began working on the wiki site, will you eventually be able to manage and maintain the regular website once you are CMS certified? What does the certification entail? I will have the opportunity to edit and update a website for our “Green Team” at Beaumont and will be learning how to do some basic HTML coding, something that I am unfamiliar with.

    Does Project ROHA have any means of digital promotion? I never actually knew what ROHA was until you and Danielle began talking about it last semester. To this day I have still never seen the website or heard about it from anyone other than you. I guess to ask a familiar question, is there an online presence on facebook or other social networking sites? You had asked a similar question on my last blog…For my role at Beaumont, there is not any social networking involved. However, there are people responsible for media scanning at the Royal Oak campus who search social networking sites and the media for negative comments pertaining to the hospital system. I wonder if they have found my blog yet…

    Sounds like your internship will shape up to be a good experience. You have already completed one task and are in the process of learning a new one. Plus, the opportunity to travel to Denver and learn more about what you will be doing with the internship seems worthwhile.


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