Please help us give a warm welcome to our first in-person intern in over two years, Jon Snyder! Jon has already been with us for about five weeks, but he has several more weeks to go and we would love to introduce him to you. He has agreed to do a brief interview with us to share a little bit about himself and his time with us so far. Welcome Jon! We’re happy to have you!
My name is Jon Snyder, I am pursuing my Bachelors Degree in English here at The University of Hawai’i West Oahu. I am the perfect example of that old saying “Jack of all trades, master of none,” as I have held many different jobs and hobbies. I enjoy attempting to create music and playing with sound editors. I also have a small book collection of about 400 books. At different points in my life I have been a courier for a local mortuary, a sign maker, and member of a punk band that opened for Blink-182 at the Blaisdell arena. Most recently I have been working at the Leeward Community College Library as a Reference Student Assistant.
What brought you here to ‘Ulu‘ulu? What are some of the things you’re hoping to learn during your internship with us?
The idea of doing an internship with an archive was planted in my mind when I began classes at UHWO in 2016 by Dr. Brenda Machosky. Through our conversations after class she realized that with my personal experiences and academic work ethic, that I would be a perfect match for something like this. When it came time to begin looking for an internship for the practicum, I wanted to find something that was not only interesting, but also on campus. ‘Ulu’ulu was the first and obvious choice. Aside from learning how an archive functions and what its purpose is, I would like to see how an archive, such as this one, can not only help to preserve the past but also service the future.
What projects are you working on at ‘Ulu‘ulu?
I have been working with Hōkū and just finished creating the preliminary inventory for the films and tapes that have come in for the 100th Infantry Battalion. I have also been involved with preparing ʻUluʻulu video clips for website migration with Robbie. Both projects are interesting in their own ways. For me, it is interesting to see how a collection is handled at the beginning phase of its inclusion to the collections here. The interesting part of the website clip migration has been seeing the clips from the past. At times I have to stop myself from trying to see where the clip might be from and seeing how the location has changed over time.
Is there anything about the items you are working with that is surprising or unexpected?
One aspect that surprised me was how much has to be done to a film or tape before a student or a researcher might even see it. It is not like archives are depicted in movies where someone just walks into the space and begins rummaging around. Everything has a name, number, and location. I really think working at Leewardʻs library has been an advantage for me in understanding how this aspect of an archive works.
One unexpected thing actually happened the other day. While I was being shown how to examine film that has been donated, we noticed that this particular film had sound on it. I remarked that the sound resembled what a waveform looks like on a computer. To my surprise, I was told that that is pretty much exactly what it is. A lot of little things from my personal interests have seemed to find a use while I am here. I really enjoy learning by doing, and thankfully everyone here has trusted me with being hands on.
Now, that you’ve been at the archive for a few weeks have you found a favorite aspect?
I think the thing that I like the most is that there does not seem to be a ton of pressure in the process, even though I know that everyplace has their own deadlines to meet. The preservation process can be time consuming, but since the focus is on making sure that what is coming in is usable and can eventually be digitized, it is understood why some things may take longer than others. I really like the emphasis on preservation here. It is almost the same reason why I like libraries. If you think of every book in a library as being an idea, the library is sort of a repository for ideas. That same feeling is present here at ʻUluʻulu, except the medium being preserved involves moving images. In both examples, the people working at a library and at this archive are working toward a common goal of preserving the past in order to inform the future.
Do you have any advice for future ‘Ulu’ulu Interns?
Since being a Humanities intern is not so typical for ʻUluʻulu, I would say that it is important to approach anything and everything with an open mind. I have found that even though my major is not typically associated with this kind of work, there is still a lot that I can relate from my schooling to this kind of archival work. If I had to use an analogy I would say, just try to be like a dry sponge and soak up all you can. You never know what may influence your direction in life.