#HLSDITL: Day Two

30 Oct

This is part of Hack Library School’s Day in the Life (#HLSDITL), a project that encourages library students from all over to share what library school is really like. 

Well, another day has passed and I’m still very much behind this week! Work began at 8:30 am and I made it on time despite oversleeping. I had to dive in to things today. I only work four hours a day, Monday-Friday. It’s a pretty great schedule, but it puts a lot of pressure on me to get things done in a short amount of time. First up, I had to review some of our content to see where we had duplicated files. Today I focused on the Carl Sandburg Collection. It’s an amazing collection held by our Rare Books and Manuscript Library. The files contain over 2,700 images that were digitized, most of them personal photographs from the author. Since the collection is so important, it has been duplicated across many shared servers in the library. The files that I was concerned with today were the ones stored on our digital preservation servers. I had to determine whether the content contained in two seemingly identical folders was unique or duplicated. 

I also continued searching for the metadata for a collection of historic aerial photographs of Champaign, IL. The photographs were digitized in 2007, which is long enough for people to forget what happened to the metadata. I’m doing my best to get ahold of the people involved in the project–it was a pilot project funded with grant money–and determine whether the metadata files were stored externally. Clearly a lot of effort was put into describing the collection at the item level. One person involved in the project stated that providing metadata at the item level took nearly 45 minutes for each photograph! Obviously that kind of effort does not scale for large digital projects. However, we think it is important to capture the metadata in our digital repository since so much time was afforded to create it! The hunt will have to continue tomorrow. 

Before I left for the day, I contacted our IT department to see if I could get their help on installing a file packager developed in-house. This tool is meant to format files for ingest into the digital repository. Every person on our team was able to install the packager except me! Since I am the only GA working on the project, we assumed that the exception was caused by the permissions on my workstation. Someone from IT came down (of course the Preservation Unit is in the basement) to try and get this software installed. It was frustrating at first. I repeated the same actions that failed. He tried granting me administrative permissions, but that didn’t work either. Finally, he googled my error message and came up with a possible solution. We tried it after installing some additional software and it worked! Just in time for me to leave at 12:30 pm. We high-fived afterward, because how could you not?!

This was the really hopeful part of my day, where I was like, “I think I can get it all done!” I spent a lot of time responding to emails. We’re scheduling a meeting next week to finalize plans for our field trip to Chicago. I have a long list of things to do for that trip that will just have to wait for the weekend. I had to check off a few things for the pumpkin carving party tonight. I was only able to fit in two hours of reading for my class on metadata tomorrow. The pumpkin carving party was pretty great! Despite feeling overwhelmed this week, it was nice to take a break and hang out with warm cider and candy. We finished faster than I thought we would, which was actually awesome. I had time to come home and eat dinner with my roommates before getting back to homework. 

Homework has really fallen to the bottom of my list this week. I might be able to catch up on Thursday or Friday, so I’m trying not to stress about it before then. It’s hard for me to come to class unprepared! I’m taking care to read all the essential things and I have hastily scrawled some notes, but I just haven’t had the time to really delve into things this week. I’m sure other students would sacrifice sleep in order to spend more time studying, but I just can’t do that to myself. I know that I’m not any good at retaining information after midnight, so it’s really futile to try anyway. The good news is that I have 45 minutes before midnight AND I’m baking cookies. Sweet dreams, y’all. 

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