UCLA Information Studies: Fields of Endeavor || Featuring Courtney Dean (Pacifica Radio Archives)

CourtneySAA @ 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 begin the new year with intern and second year MLIS student, Courtney Dean!

*Note: Courtney is discussing her internship placement that took place Fall 2012.

Name: Courtney Dean
Graduation Year: 2013 (expected)
MLIS Focus: Archives
Internship Title and Site: Archival Intern, Pacifica Radio Archives | North Hollywood, CA |

What do you do all day?
Some of my main responsibilities included performing condition assessments and digitizing 1/4″ reel-to-reel audio recordings, creating catalog records for reels and digital surrogates for Pacifica’s Content Management System, and inventorying new acquisitions. I also re-foldered, inventoried, and created metadata for a sub-collection of paper folios, the printed program guides from Pacifica stations, for a digitization project with archive.org. Other small projects I worked on included editing streaming audio links for Pacifica’s blog postings and re-naming audio files for more consistent record management. Finally, I helped with the archives’ Annual Fund Drive which was broadcast on all five Pacifica stations.Equipment

Most interesting item, record, document, etc. you have come across:
Pacifica’s collection includes so many historically and culturally significant jewels- everything from Big Mama Thornton playing at the Museum of Modern Art to an interview with Judy Chicago and speeches by James Baldwin. A really great recording I helped to digitize was KPFK’s 1974 on air reading of “Anna Karenina” which featured folks like Henry Fonda, Patty Duke Astin, and Martin Sheen.

What new skills have you developed through this experience?
This was actually my first hands-on experience with reel-to-reel audio and playback equipment. I learned how to perform visual inspections of tapes, recognize issues during playback, splice, attach leader, and of course, how to digitize. It was also my first time utilizing PBCore, which is the public broadcasting audiovisual metadata standard. Probably the most valuable skills I gained though were in dealing with mold, which felt like some sort of archival right of passage, and working with volunteers in a community-oriented setting.

Tapes

Recommendations for students who’d like your internship:
Go for it! Audio collections are really different from traditional manuscript collections, but don’t let an unfamiliar media format deter you. Learning to work with new materials and equipment is a ton of fun.

One archival intern commandment you would establish:
Thou shalt not fear audiovisual materials!

Favorite archive to visit:
I just had an opportunity to visit Barnard’s zine collection, which was amazing. Closer to home, the Wende Museum and Archive of the Cold War in Culver City has a great collection featuring really unique items like East German furniture, LP’s, toys, and dissident artwork.

Favorite/Most memorable course from UCLA IS Department:
It’s probably a tie between Preservation of Heritage Materials with Snowden Becker and Community-Based Archiving with Anne Gilliland.

Course you wish you had taken at UCLA IS Department:
I’m still kicking myself for not taking the Audiovisual Archiving class offered by the Ethnomusicology Department. I also really wish I had taken Digital Preservation.

All photos courtesy of Courtney Dean

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Author: 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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