UCLA Information Studies: Fields of Endeavor || Featuring Shannon O’Neill (Barnard College)

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 archivist extraordinaire, Shannon O’Neill.

Name: Shannon O’Neill
Graduation Year: 2008
MLIS Focus: Archives
Title and Site: Associate Director of Research & Instruction Services –
College Archivist, Barnard College | New York, NY | http://barnard.edu/archives |
Twitter: @BarnardArchives

What do you do all day?
Right now I’m working through a bit of an accessions backlog and developing a strategy for how we want to move forward with our approach to processing collections and making them accessible. Along those same lines: I’m currently writing a multi-year strategic plan for the archives and am developing a records management program for the college. When I’m not building policies and documentation, I do a number of things: I teach students, both in the classroom and in one-on-one consultations, how to utilize primary resource documents in their research; I handle reference questions for the collection; I assist on a number of different college-wide committees; I meet with donors both on and off campus to acquire new materials for the archives. In the two months that I’ve been here, I’ve acquired two new collections, and I have three more that should be arriving soon. Most importantly, on Fridays, I tweet a joke on the Barnard Archives twitter. There’s been some real zingers so far. I highly recommend that you follow.

Most interesting item, record, document, etc. you have come across:
We have the most amazing zine collection at Barnard. One copy of each zine is an access copy and becomes part of our circulating collection upstairs, and another copy is preserved in the archives. If you’re ever in New York City and are interested in checking out one of the most comprehensive collections of zines written by women and female-identified persons, then stop by Barnard. Recently, I’ve been super excited to discover that we have an awesome Suffragist banner and an original, 1967 copy of Valerie Solanas’ SCUM Manifesto.

First personal item that you put on your desk:
My Doc Box & B. Fresh cassette tape. It includes hits such as “Time to Get Smart.” http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=B4vS5dxxfNw I’m interested in forming a Doc Box & B. Fresh cover band, but I call dibs on being Doc Box.

Most frequently asked question when you tell people what you do:
I thought you were really allergic to dust?

Most frequently asked question at work:
Do you want this?

Recommendation(s) for students who’d like your job:
Don’t be shy. Talk to people at conferences and at workshops. Conferences and workshops can seem intimidating, but most everyone in our profession is kind and excited to share ideas so don’t be afraid to share yours too.

One archival professional commandment you would establish:
Thou shalt not be a whiner.

Favorite archive to visit:
The Interference Archive in Brooklyn. http://interferencearchive.org/

Favorite/Most memorable course from UCLA IS Department:
Murtha Baca’s Metadata, Kristin St. John’s Preservation of Heritage Materials, or Anne Gilliland’s Community-Based Archival Practices

Course you wish you had taken/was offered at UCLA IS Department:
I wish there had been more classes directly related to the creation and curation of digital collections. I hear Johanna Drucker now offers a Letterpress Lab! I would have loved to take that course.

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About Society of American Archivists at UCLA

Welcome to the Society of American Archivists student chapter at the University of California, Los Angeles! The Chapter is open to all students interested in any aspect of archival management and preservation ranging from traditional materials such as manuscripts, personal papers, and business records to electronic and digital media in all formats.
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