One Month In to my Burke Internship

I’m about a month into my internship at Burke, and have already learned so much, including how to navigate to Columbia from Brooklyn when the 1 train isn’t work and it’s once again snowing (answer: any way you can, and be ready to walk).  I’ve also learned so much about archiving, preservation, collections, and Union Theological Seminary as a whole.

For the past month I’ve been working on a collection involving the founding of the Bureau of Missions in 1902. The letters of the original secretary Dr. Edwin Bliss and his predecessor Dr. Henry Otis Dwight have provided great insight into the origin and original mission of this organization, and its impact on missionaries around the world. I hope that after I am done with this collection, researchers will be able to use the material to establish a better understanding of the Bureau of Missions.

I’ve also taken part in a conference on digital preservation, which was useful to understanding the process and the meaning behind archiving in a technological age. It goes much further than backing up on an off-site computer. It involves understanding the file you’re working with, attributing metadata and other information to it, storing multiple copies, and allowing access in a way that won’t corrupt originals. Thanks to JTS for letting me attend this interesting conference, one that has already carried into my work at Burke and my studies at Pratt.

Finally I’ve learned about the inner workings of both Burke and UTS. They both serve the same purpose: to educate the students who walk their halls. Yet they do it in such different ways. The education in UTS is supplemented and bolstered by the staff, books, archives, and collections at Burke. UTS provides the groundwork for ideas, Burke gives the tools to bring them to reality. I have enjoyed walking around both the library and seminary and seeing what they have to offer. Now I can’t wait until it’s warm to check out the garden areas!

I can’t believe how fast time is going by; it’s been a great ride so far. I’m looking forward to sharing more with you about the collections, what I’m learning, and the seminary at large!

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