We’re back!

Happy New Year, everyone! We’re revitalizing our online presence in 2016, so, with that in mind, we’re using our first blog post of the year to introduce our officers for the 2015-2016 school year. We’re really looking forward to the rest of this year, and to telling you about the events and tours that will be happening over the next few months!


Jamie BattagliaName: Jamie Battaglia

Year: Second

Originally From: Dayton, OH and Pittsburgh, PA (It’s complicated haha)

Hello friends! My name is Jamie Battaglia and I am currently an Archives track MLIS candidate, set to graduate in June 2016 (cross your fingers for me people). Within this past year, I have developed a love for tutoring in my spare time and learning more about Children’s literature and library services. Much of my research as an MLIS student revolves around tribal libraries, archives, and museums in terms of outreach, programming, and making exhibits and collections more inclusive and equitable. In my spare time, I spend time with the love of my life – my dog Nico – and my family here in Los Angeles. I am also obsessed with reading… no surprise there.

Fun fact: Tupac is my idol.

Elsie DoolanName: Elsie Doolan

Year: Second

Hello! I’m Elsie and am a second year here in the UCLA MLIS program on the Archives track. This year I am co-president of the UCLA student chapter of the Society of American Archivists. I am really looking forward to revitalizing our online presence for our wonderful student chapter and letting everyone know about all of the cool tours and events that we have been conducting.


Ashley VergaraName: Ashley Vergara

Year: First

Originally From: Sacramento, CA

I am a first year MLIS student specializing in Archives! Originally from Sacramento, I completed my undergraduate study at UC Santa Barbara and majored in Art History. After the completion of my MLIS, I hope to work as a museum archivist.

Fun facts: I’m a lefty and I think that’s rad, I’ve lived abroad on two separate occasions, and I’m a millennial without any tattoos.


Sabrine PonceName: Sabrina Ponce

Year: First

Originally From: South Gate, CA

I’m a first year in the MLIS program in the Archives track with an interest in Rare Books and Manuscripts. I studied medieval history as an undergrad at UCLA, but I have also studied Latin American history. I am still exploring career options, but am interested in museums and human rights organizations.

Fun facts: I like to travel and learn different languages. I’m a total Potterhead. I listen to a wide variety of music, but I’m mostly a metalhead. I’m also allergic to cinnamon-scented candles and eggplant.


Tori MachesName: Tori Maches

Year: First

Originally From: San Diego, CA

I’m a first-year MLIS student on the Archives track! As an undergraduate, I majored in English and minored in Conservation Biology at UCLA. I’m trying to narrow down what I want to do once I complete this program; everything looks so interesting that it’s hard to choose just one path.

Fun facts: I stress-bake, I started undergrad as an electrical engineering major, and I made lightsaber/blaster earrings to wear when I saw the new Star Wars.

Secretary/Records Manager

Dvorah LewisName: Dvorah Lewis

Year: Second

Originally From: I was born in Austin, TX but grew up half my life in Las Vegas and the other half in Davis, CA.

My name is Deborah, but I go by my Hebrew name Dvorah. I discovered my passion for the archives while completing my Humanities Honors thesis where I traced my family roots to an archives in Philadelphia. I earned my BA in English at UC Irvine. Zot, zot! Much of my graduate research has revolved around preservation, curation, and outreach of web archives. If I’m not catching up on coursework, then you can find me bingeing on Netflix; playing with my two cats, Asher and Tanis; or completing the latest installment to my fantasy novel. Keep Calm and Wait for Arelai!


UCLA Information Studies: Fields of Endeavor || Gloria Gonzalez (UCLA Library Special Collections)


SAA @ UCLA presents “UCLA Information Studies: Fields of Endeavor.” The Fields of Endeavor series introduces UCLA Library and Information Studies program graduates and current interns who are out in the field taking knowledge learned in the program and putting it to use! We are excited to feature Gloria Gonzalez.



Name: Gloria Gonzalez

Graduation Year: 2013

MLIS Focus: Archival Studies

Job Site: UCLA Library Special Collections

Title: Digital Archivist

Gloria at the 2014 Society of California Archivists Annual Meeting reception at Sunnylands Center and Gardens. The desert setting called for a white wine spritzer.

What do you do all day?

I manage digitization projects and digital archives in UCLA Library Special Collections. I report to Jillian Cuellar, the Head of Digital Initiatives and the Center for Primary Research and Training (CFPRT). Together we work to streamline digitization project management. We also create plans, policies, and procedures for digital archives (this includes anything received on or via digital media).

Most of my time is spent on the A-level of the Charles E. Young Research Library at UCLA, but I meet with colleagues and faculty all over campus. My calendar’s dynamic and my days are fast-paced, which I enjoy.When I’m not in a meeting, you can find me processing digital materials, teaching, researching, testing new tools, documenting projects, or working with the Digital Library’s new management system, Islandora.

I also oversee a group of students who work on a range of projects in the CFPRT. One MLIS grad student works to update finding-aids and draft processing guidelines for collections with digital media, and another is in the midst of a case-study for archiving Twitter accounts. A few graduate students select content for scanning and analyze copyright risk. I also teach undergrads how to scan materials and create metadata. I found my archival career path as undergrad scanning tech at the University of Mississippi, so that part of my job feels very “circle-of-life.”

Most interesting item, record, document, collection, etc. you have come across:

Some of the most intriguing material I’ve come across are digital audio files from collection of wire recordings. The wire recordings document Sacramento concerts during the first American tour of Japanese musicians after World War II. Without knowing what the wires contained, an A/V hobbyist in Canada purchased the recordings off of eBay in 2008. He digitized them, cleaned up the sound, and discovered the music. I love the elements of mystery and obsolescence, but my favorite part is the Tokyo Boogie Woogie!

First personal item that you put on your desk:

Si Se Puede

The “Si Si Puede” poster I got during a visit to Keene, California in October 2012 at President Obama’s dedication of the Cesar E. Chavez National Monument. I attended the dedication with a team of students that I worked with to create detailed plans for an archive at the National Chavez Center (as part of Anne Gilliland’s American Archives and Manuscripts class). The poster reminds me to enjoy the fruits of labor.

Si Se Puede | Yes We Can, a token from the Cesar E. Chavez National Monument Inauguration

Most frequent response when you tell people what you do:

Oh cool! My son/brother-in-law/niece/teacher/neighbor/dentist/grandfather/godmother/pastor’s daughter went to UCLA!

Most frequently asked question at work:

I’m most frequently asked about scanning, metadata, and copyright. It’s been interesting to see questions get more complex as our documentation develops.

Recommendation(s) for students who’d like your job:

If you fear the unknown, or the command line, you should probably look into other jobs.

One piece of advice for recent grads on the job hunt (having to do with networking, resume, cover letter, and/or interview):

Think of your resume as a sampler plate, instead of an all-you-can-eat buffet of accomplishments. Give a good taste of what you’ve got, but save the best parts for the cover letter and interview. Start preparing to negotiate salary and benefits while applying for positions, and keep the salary you want in mind (not a range of pay).

One archival intern commandment you would establish:

Watch, listen, and remember: it is management all the way down.

Favorite archive/library to visit:

The Library of Congress! I spent a magical summer working as a Junior Fellow there right before moving to LA for grad school. The behind-the-scenes access rocked my world. I tried to leave no stone unturned—from the poet laureate’s office, to the Packard Campus for Audio-Visual Conservation—but still left wanting more.

Job or internship site while in UCLA IS Program:

I worked at UCLA Library Special Collections (LSC) during my time in the program. I processed collections from the June L. Mazer lesbian archives in the Center for Primary Research and Training for the first year. Then I processed new accessions as an archival assistant for the Head of Collection Management, and served as an intern on the Digital LSC Committee. I also did a yearlong archival processing and rare book cataloging internship at the William Andrews Clark Memorial Library.

Course you wish you had taken/was offered at UCLA IS Program:

I think it would be in a prospective graduate students’ best interest if the IS Department still maintained a computer programming prerequisite. A basic understanding of the processes that underlie hardware and software is vital to our work. The last thing information professionals need to do is shy away from technology.

I also wish the program offered a more hands-on digital preservation course with a lab component, like the class UNC SLIS offers. I loved the theoretical focus of the digital preservation class, but I learned how to use suites of forensic tools like BitCurator by myself. To gain more practical experience I also took advantage of opportunities to learn on the job, and travel for workshops.

The abilities to access tools used in the field and experience new technologies are critical to marrying the theory and practice of digital stewardship, and essential to the professional success of future digital archivists. Plus, a digital forensics lab in the IS building would be awesome!

Favorite/Most memorable course from UCLA IS Program:

Definitely Professor Borgman’s Data Management courses! Some of my most rewarding collaborations happened in her classes, and I met some really supportive friends there too. We got into a few epic fights about “what data are” but it was a blast teaching professors and researchers how to mind their data. Now, it’s super exciting to see our cohort go separate ways to find our own adventures in digital stewardship. I picture us as the fluffy parts of an old dandelion, with Professor Borgman wishing for best data practices while blowing us into the wind.


UCLA Information Studies: Fields of Endeavor || Featuring Sara Seltzer (UC Irvine Special Collections and Archives)

SAA @ UCLA presents “UCLA Information Studies: Fields of Endeavor.” The Fields of Endeavor series introduces UCLA Library and Information Studies program graduates and current interns who are out in the field taking knowledge learned in the program and putting it to use! We are excited to feature Sara Seltzer.


Name: Sara Seltzer

Graduation Year: 2012

MLIS Focus: Archival Studies

Job Site: UC Irvine Special Collections and Archives

Title: Archivist


What do you do all day?

Broadly speaking, I’m responsible for accessioning and processing materials in all collecting areas and formats, as well as maintaining and updating policies and procedures for archival administration at UCI. Primary responsibilities include reviewing finding aids to ensure compliance with our procedures, editing EAD files, and uploading them to the Online Archive of California, accessioning new acquisitions and creating minimal finding aids to facilitate discovery, and integrating recommendations outlined in the Guidelines for Efficient Archival Processing in University of California Libraries with our accessioning and processing manuals. I also serve on the department’s reference desk four to six hours a week, contribute to our social media accounts (blogs, Twitter, and Pinterest), and supervise student workers and interns working on archival projects.


Most interesting item, record, document, etc. you have come across:

A (purported) fragment of the scarf that strangled Isadora Duncan.

First personal item that you put on your desk:

A print of Van Gogh’s Almond Blossoms.

Most frequent response when you tell people what you do:

Most people have no idea what an archivist is. I’ve tried a few different explanations, like “fancy librarian” or “person who works with historical documents.” The best response I’ve received after giving the longer-than-usual and most accurate definition of an archivist has to be, “Oh, like Indiana Jones!” It’s so hard to burst the bubble of someone who thinks you’re that cool.

Most frequently asked question at work:

“Can I take pictures of this?”

Recommendation(s) for students who’d like your job:

Be comfortable with being a well-rounded archivist and try to gain experience with different aspects of archival administration, including processing, reference, and outreach. Don’t be afraid to envision yourself outside your comfort zone when reading the description of a potential position. And if you don’t have experience with all the required responsibilities, be sure to express an interest in learning about and gaining experience with them.

One piece of advice for recent grads on the job hunt (having to do with networking, resume, cover letter, and/or interview):

I’ll give you two.

1) The degree is just the first step in landing an archival job. It will not get you a job on its own. Employers look at your experience; that’s what sets you apart from all the other people with the same credential. Intern/volunteer and/or work as many jobs in as many places as you can before graduating, or work furiously to get that experience post-graduation if you didn’t during school. Solid experience is essential to making it in the real world.

2) Let your passion show when you interview. I can’t stress enough how critical personality is to being successful in the job search. You aren’t just being evaluated on your archival merits during an interview. Interviewers are also considering how you would fit in with the institutional culture and existing team dynamic, and want to see that you are passionate about the profession and the position. Don’t let nerves stifle your enthusiasm when it counts most.

One archival intern commandment you would establish:

Though shalt not complain about working for free.

Favorite archive to visit:

The British Library’s Sir John Ritblat Gallery.

Favorite/Most memorable course from UCLA IS Program:

Luiz Mendes’ descriptive and subject cataloging courses. Luiz is wildly entertaining and is a walking AACR2 (and probably RDA) manual. You will gain a tremendous amount of practical experience in his classes and thoroughly enjoy yourself (you’d be surprised how fun cataloging can be!). If you’re at all interested in cataloging, Luiz is the master.


Job or internship site while in UCLA IS Program:

I completed internships at the Simon Wiesenthal Center, the Getty Institutional Records and Archives, and the Balch Art Research Library at LACMA.


Course you wish you had taken/was offered at UCLA IS Program:

Digital Preservation. This is a critical topic to learn about, and I wish I would have devoted time to it during graduate school.


UCLA Information Studies: Fields of Endeavor || Featuring Kelly A. Kolar (Middle Tennessee State University)

SAA @ UCLA presents “UCLA Information Studies: Fields of Endeavor.” The Fields of Endeavor series introduces UCLA Library and Information Studies program graduates and current interns who are out in the field taking knowledge learned in the program and putting it to use! We are excited to feature Kelly A. Kolar.


Name: Kelly A. Kolar

Graduation Year: 2004

MLIS Focus: Archival Studies

Job Site: Department of History, Middle Tennessee State University

Title: Assistant Professor, Archival Management and History


What do you do all day?

After finishing my MLIS I worked at The Wende Museum and Archive of the Cold War in Culver City, CA.  After a few years I returned to UCLA to pursue a PhD in Russian History with a research focus on Soviet archives.  Currently I work as a professor in the Public History program at MTSU, which trains students to work at historic and cultural institutions, including museums, historic sites, and archives.  As a professor may days vary widely, so what I do all week is:

I teach graduate seminars on archives and collections management to MA and PhD students pursuing degrees in Public History and undergraduate History courses, meet with students about their thesis or dissertation work, and work on my own research.


Most interesting item, record, document, etc. you have come across:

The most interesting item ever?  Off the top of my head, that is difficult to choose.  I’m sure the clear answer will come to me in a month or so.  Much of the collection at The Wende Museum documents everyday life in the Communist Bloc and my favorite items were usually those related to East German rock, LPs and magazine covers that highlighted the glory of officially approved “socialist” rock.


First personal item that you put on your desk:.

A six inch figure of “Misha,” the mascot of the 1980 Moscow Olympics.


Most frequent response when you tell people what you do:

People are usually very excited to hear that I teach in a public history program, more excited than if I tell them I teach history.  Several studies have indicated that Americans trust museums as sources of information above books, professors, and the media, so perhaps this reaction is a reflection of that sentiment.


Recommendation(s) for students who’d like your job:

Pursue a MA or PhD in History.  If you are interested in researching and teaching about archives, but also have a passion for history, then a public history program may be the place for you.


One piece of advice for recent grads on the job hunt: 

Use the relationships you have developed through your internships and professional association networking to seek advice about the hiring process, resume, cover letter, etc.  Your professors are excellent educational resources, but most are fairly removed from the hiring practices in the field.  If you can talk to someone who actually does hiring, he/she may give you insight into the process that will help you prepare.

My advice for students who still have coursework: Take advantage of UCLA courses outside of the Information Studies department.  When I started the MLIS program I noticed that many of the jobs I was interested in stated a preference for applicants with two Western European languages, which I did not have.  I enrolled in German courses while I completed my MLIS.  My first job after finishing the degree at The Wende Museum and Archive of the Cold War was only possible because I could read German.  Use undergraduate classes to diversify your skills, or build an area of specialty, be it additional languages, computer science, design, etc.    


Favorite archive to visit:

For my own research I have mostly visited archives in the former Soviet Union, especially in Moscow.  My favorite archive to work in is the Russian State Archive of Socio-Political History (the former Communist Party archive), which is just a couple of blocks from the Kremlin in Moscow. The reading room is on the top floor with lovely views of pre-revolutionary buildings and rooftops.  I have also rarely been given microfilm there!


Favorite/Most memorable course from UCLA IS Program:

My most memorable course was taking part in the UCLA – St. Petersburg State Academy of Culture Student Exchange.  I spent Winter quarter of my second year in St. Petersburg conducting research for my thesis on the founding of independent library associations in the Soviet Union in the perestroika/glasnost era.  Because library education is at the undergraduate level in Russia, I was able to guest lecture to some of the classes.


Job or internship site while in UCLA IS Program:

University of Southern California, Specialized Libraries & Archival Collection

I did two quarters of an internship at USC working on the Felix Guggenheim Papers, a collection of a Los Angeles based German-American literary, who had extensive ties to the German literary émigré community during the World War II era and on.


Course you wish you had taken/was offered at UCLA IS Program:

I wish I had taken subject cataloging!  I have many times been grateful that I took descriptive cataloging and wish I had taken both cataloging courses offered.  While I was in the MLIS program I did not anticipate doing much cataloging in my career, but it has actually popped up in nearly every job I’ve held.


UCLA Information Studies: Fields of Endeavor || Featuring Patricia Garcia (UCLA)

SAA @ UCLA presents “UCLA Information Studies: Fields of Endeavor.” The Fields of Endeavor series introduces UCLA Library and Information Studies program graduates and current interns who are out in the field taking knowledge learned in the program and putting it to use! We are pleased to feature UCLA IS PhD candidate, Patricia Garcia.

Name: Patricia Garcia

Graduation Year: 2015

MLIS Focus: Archival Studies

PhD Area of Research: My dissertation is an ethnographic study on the use of primary sources in elementary school classrooms to promote inquiry-based science education. I work with two teachers at the UCLA Lab School to collect data that I hope can be used by professional archivists to extend specialized reference services to teachers who are seeking primary sources for their classroom instruction.

Why did you choose to pursue a higher degree and why did you choose the UCLA IS Department?

As a first-generation college student, I decided that achieving a PhD would be a personal goal. I chose the UCLA IS Department because the program is service and social justice oriented. I wanted to be in a department that advocated for research with real-world effects. I’m glad that I have found a department that supports a dissertation project that is trying to bring two professions – teachers and archivists – into a productive collaboration.

Describe your daily schedule (or week if days vary):

Since I am completely done with course work, my schedule varies throughout the week. I alternate between gaining professional experience at the Clark Library and researching on campus for my dissertation. When I am on campus, I am usually collecting data at the UCLA Lab School for my dissertation. I spend the day observing two teachers conduct science lessons using primary sources.

Are you currently involved with a project or job? Please describe:

I work at the Clark Library as an intern where I am gaining experience is archival processing and rare book cataloging. Both of the projects at the Clark Library are associated with Ward Ritchie, a California fine printer who passed away in 1996. Ritchie bequeathed his personal library and papers to the Clark Library and now I am working with these materials to make them accessible to scholars. The internship is a year long, and I would definitely recommend the opportunity to any master’s student who is searching for an internship.

If applicable, how does your job or current project connect to your PhD research?

The internship at the Clark Library has been very beneficial to my dissertation research because I am learning about the everyday realities of the archival profession that you don’t necessarily learn from coursework. Since the aim of my research is to improve archival reference services for teachers, I believe having hands-on archival experience will help me make informed suggestions.

How does the doctoral student experience differ from that of the MLIS student?

The main difference is the classroom experience. There can be about 35 students enrolled in the required MLIS courses and the courses are usually taught in a lecture style. The doctoral seminars have way less students enrolled and are conducted more like discussion sections. However, I really enjoyed the MLIS courses because the larger class size meant that there was a greater variety of students who could contribute to the discussion.

Greatest experience so far as doctoral student (i.e., being published, attending conference, special reader work…):

I honestly really enjoy being a special reader for the Archives and Manuscripts course. The course is usually taken by first year MLIS students so I get to meet the new cohorts and learn about their interests. I also am able to undertake projects with the students. For instance, this past quarter I worked with a group of students to help build an archive at the National Chavez Center. Although we are still far from being done, I enjoyed working with the students to understand the fundamentals of building an archive from scratch.

Most challenging aspect: The most challenging aspect is definitely time management. As a doctoral student, I have to devote time to different responsibilities, such as dissertation research, special reader office hours, grading, academic publishing, and on-campus library jobs. Since I am no longer is courses, I have to stay self-motivated to meet deadlines.

Most frequent response when you tell people what you do:

“Soooo, you’re a librarian?” I’ve found that people don’t really differentiate between museum professionals, librarians, and archivists. My own mother tells our family that I’m a librarian even though I work in the field of archival studies and have never worked a reference desk.

Recommendation(s) for students who’d like to apply to the PhD program:

Prospective students should familiarize themselves with the research interests of the current students and faculty members to figure out if UCLA is the right fit. It would really stink to try to conduct research without any colleagues who could help you talk it out.

 One information studies doctoral student commandment you would establish (ex: “Thou shalt not _________”):

Thou shalt not provide long-winded answers to simple questions.

Favorite archive to visit: The Harry Ransom Center at UT-Austin.

Favorite/Most memorable course from UCLA IS Department: Ethnographic Methods with Professor Chris Kelty. We each were required to undertake a short ethnographic project where we observed human subjects. The students chose subjects like soccer moms and Santa Monica yoga practitioners. Needless to say, we had very interesting data to discuss every week.

Course you wish you had taken/was offered at UCLA IS Department: I wish I had taken descriptive metadata with Murtha Baca. She’s an adjunct professor from the Getty Research Institute, and I’ve heard she’s the queen of metadata!

SAA@UCLA Student: Ethnomusicology Tour 11/19/13

A reel-to-reel player
A reel-to-reel player

Our tour to the Ethnomusicology archive was a fascinating look at cultural music and technologies. We first began with a conversation with archivists Aaron M. Bittel and Maureen Russell about the multifaceted work an ethnomusicology archive, and what tasks are required. We looked at one of the first sound recording technologies ever patented by Thomas Edison. They demonstrated this early recording system, and then Aaron and Maureen displayed and explained various outdated forms of recording technology and how digitization occurs. Our hosts explained that many early audio recordings end up being lost due to deterioration in analogue formats, such as sticky shed syndrome.

An early Edison wax cylinder player
An early Edison wax cylinder player
A demonstration on how fragile cylinders were
A demonstration on how fragile cylinders were

After talking about the archive and the history of cultural music preservation, we took a tour of the Ethnomusicology Department and the various instrument rooms. We had a wonderful presentation by Professor Li who demonstrated a number of East Asian instruments including the Shamisen, Biwa, Gong set and Hulusi. She also informed us about her various performance ensembles and how UCLA acquired two Chinese parade dragons. We also were able to see UCLA’s famous Javanese and Balinese Gamelanset and a number of other traditional instruments on display. We ended the tour with a brief social where we had a chance to speak Aaron and Maureen in more detail.

A set of guzheng-a bridged Zither, in the Asian Instrument room
A set of guzheng-a bridged Zither,
in the Asian Instrument room
A variety of instruments in the Asian Instruments room
A variety of instruments in the Asian Instruments room


2013-2014 SAA@UCLA Board of Officers

We are proud to present this year’s slate of officers for the 2013-2014 UCLA Student Chapter of the Society of American Archivists. 
Congratulations to the new board members!


Manny Escamilla

Annie Tang

Vice President:

Caroline Yee


Emily Appleton 


Natalie de Almeida

Bruin Archives Chair:

Heather Nelson

Program Chair:

Julia Kim 

SAA Liaison:

Karie Jenkins


Nami Hatfield 

We look forward to organizing events for you all, especially those of the archival cohort. Additionally, we welcome help from those not in our officer ranks. If you have a suggestion for a lecture, workshop, tour, or trip, don’t hesitate to contact us. 
Excited for this new academic year!
SAA board 2013-2014