Reflections from an ʻUluʻulu Intern

Keahiahi Long, Library & Information Science Intern, Fall 2014

Keahiahi Long, Library & Information Science Intern, Fall 2014

Over this past fall semester, we welcomed Keahiahi Long as an intern here at ʻUluʻulu. Keahiahi’s internship structure was designed in a way that would build on her knowledge of archival practices and introduce her to the various roles of archive staff. She shares some reflections from her final internship report below.

But first, a friendly reminder that INTERNSHIPS ARE AVAILABLE FOR SPRING 2015! 😉

Keahiahi writes… For the Fall 2014 semester, as part of the Internship class at the Library and Information Science Program at the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa, I completed 150 hours of work at ʻUluʻulu.  There were four objectives that I set out to accomplish during my time at ʻUluʻulu:

  1. Further my experience with digitization workflows and tools
  2. Further my experience with content/digital asset management systems
  3. Understand better the roles of all staff members working at a small archive
  4. Expand my knowledge of Hawaiʻi’s archival materials

To meet Objective #1, I worked with Robbie Omura, the Digitization Technician at ʻUluʻulu.  I spent approximately 30 hours with Robbie throughout the semester, and in that time, Robbie had me help him with a variety of tasks related to ʻUluʻulu’s digital content.  I was even able to clean, prep, and digitize a tape using the SAMMA migration system.

To meet Objective #2, I worked with Koa Luke, the Assistant Archivist / Cataloger.  ʻUluʻulu is using MAVIS (Merged Audio Visual Information System) to catalog all of the archive’s materials and processes.  MAVIS is a proprietary software developed in Australia that allows its users to catalog a multitude of descriptive, structural, and administrative metadata.  The software also allows users to take that data and export / map it into various metadata schema, such as PBCore and METS.  In working with Koa, I was able to create MAVIS records for a few tapes from the ʻUluʻulu collection.

To meet Objective #3, I observed and participated in a variety of functions at ʻUluʻulu.  In addition to Cultural Collections Specialist / Producer Heather Guigni, the archive has four dedicated, full-time staff members, and each of them have clearly defined roles.  My internship was structured so that I spent time with each of those four staff members: Janel Quirante (Head Archivist), Shavonn Matsuda (Assistant Archivist / Reference & Outreach), Robbie, and Koa.  This structure allowed me to participate in the duties and responsibilities of each staff member, while also allowing me to see how each staff member and his or her work contributed to the overall success of the archive.

ʻUluʻulu is the official moving image archive of the State of Hawaiʻi, so to meet Objective #4, I worked with the archive’s materials in a number of different ways.  First, searching through the archive’s content management system allowed me to discover materials, as well as understand their intellectual order.  Second, inspecting and processing incoming materials to the archive allowed me hands-on interaction with the materials, and I was able to learn their formats and conditions.  Third, completing preliminary inventories of collections also allowed me hands-on interaction with the materials, and from that process I was able to learn the titles of the materials and the descriptions of their contents.

There were several valuable aspects to my internship at ʻUluʻulu, and the one that was most impactful for me was learning how to handle and care for audiovisual materials.  At ʻUluʻulu, I was exposed to a wide range of film and tape formats, and I learned so much about their physical make-up.  In regards to their physical condition, one of the things I saw a lot of was deterioration.  Two of my major tasks for this internship were completing the initial inspections of both the Bob Johnson and Naomi Sodetani Collections.  One of the purposes of the initial inspection is to determine whether or not the materials are safe to enter the processing and storage sections of the archive.  If it is deemed that the materials are unsafe, then they are kept in the quarantine room.  Unsafe materials include those that have mold on them.  Here in Hawaiʻi, mold on videotapes and films is common because of our warm temperatures and high humidity.  Mold is detrimental to film and videotapes because mold can eat into the film or tape, causing damage to the object and loss of information/data.  So, here is my public service announcement: if you have personal collections of films or videotapes, DO NOT KEEP THEM IN A BOX IN THE GARAGE!  You need to store them in an area that is cool, dry, and with little fluctuation in temperature or humidity.

In summary, my experience at ʻUluʻulu was absolutely wonderful.  The staff are so welcoming, knowledgeable, and competent, and the collection is unique and priceless.  I feel so fortunate that I was able to spend the last several months at ʻUluʻulu, and I hope to continue my learning of Hawaiʻi’s moving image history.

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