San Francisco State University Poetry Center and American Poetry Archives

Professional Experience: Archive Internship
Log 1, Septermber 30, 2011
Fall 2011


Approaching the four week mark of my internship at the Poetry Center and American Poetry Archives at San Francisco State University I feel confident in my ability to perform and accomplish the needs that the  Poetry Center and I have worked to establish.

The initial week was one of explicating the exact needs of the internship itself. This being only the second semester of The Poetry Center utilizing an MLIS student– the priorities were still rough and somewhat intangible. During this first week through on site meetings and email correspondence between Steve Dickison- the director, Elise Ficcara- the assistant director and Erin Wilson- my site supervisor, we created a core set of responsibilities and set perimeters for their priority level from which I then established my learning outcomes.Learning outcomes

  1. At the end of this internship I will be able to identify the “permissions process” and employ these processes to appraise that “good faith” efforts have been conducted to obtain appropriate permissions.
  2. At the end of my internship identify connections of social media and audience use to a digital archive.
  3. At the end of this internship I will be able to understand the metadata structures and vocabularies used in the digitally archiving sound recordings and ephemera.

The archives main  priority, approximately 60% of my internship effort, is attempting to obtain full “copyright use” of recorded material that is currently up for launch in the Fall 2011 semester, consisting of poetic readings that took place on the SFSU campus during the 1960s. There is a “permissions process” in place that should be followed, yet adjusted (with full consensus) as needed– as the process is still new to this archive. The “permissions process” includes obtaining use of all recorded material held by the Poetry Center for that particular author, not just the recording going online this Fall- or to prove we have attempted a “good faith” effort to obtain such permission.

The main portion of my work has revolved around obtaining these permissions. First I sought out existing contracts currently held by the center, checking and confirming dates in contracts to dates of recordings, verify contact information, and preparing them for revision. For the list of authors currently launching, these first steps in the “permissions process” have been completed. We are now about to send out the first batch of updated legal contracts including the “Assignment of Rights” form and the “Archive Permission” letter.

However not all the authors on the list have a preexisting contract and will require further research. This research is done using mostly Internet resources such as the US Copyright office and The Harry Ransom Center website at the University of Austin, Texas, but it also involves direct conversation and brain picking with Steve Dickison, who is personally connected to many authors and holds valuable relevant information in the file cabinet of his mind.

About 20% of work involved at the Poetry Center and American Poetry Archive includes the construction and implementation  of a Social Media plan as well as creating a structure for the next intern to follow concerning the use of Social Media in The Poetry Center.

Much of the weeks of September 13th and 19th were devoted to learning, educating and formulating the best way to use social network sites. As they should, The Poetry Center and Archive wants to proceeded with caution before implementing anything new, and have reservations about how to best use this technology.

On September 13th we had a meeting with SFSU Creative Arts about PR and their use of social medias in conjunction with the promotion of college events. It was great to get backing of another department about how constructive use of social media sites can be.

The following week Steve, Elise and I had a productive meeting about implementing these networks to aid in highlighting the valuable work being done at the center. I demonstrated Twitter, using the newly established account I have set up for them, under the handle of @ThePoetryCenter. I detailed how twitter works, what information I have been disseminating on behalf of the The Poetry Center,  how “following” can be used effectively and featured some applications that aid in maintaining their twitter account.

We also discussed their current Facebook situation and ideas on how to improve that, as well as looking at Tumblr, a combination of micro blogging and traditional blogging, in which the user can upload and display several different formats of information and ephemera.

The meeting was invaluable and resulted in a rough draft/outline of social media use involving The Poetry Center and American Poetry Archive which will be further developed for future use and for any upcoming interns to use as reference.  The meeting also culminated in The Poetry Center allowing me to establish a Tumblr site, that will initially be set to private viewing only until those concerned can assess the best use and practice, the aesthetics it presenting and that the content is what The Poetry Center is seeking to publicly represent.

The remaining 20% of  tasks involved at The Poetry Center is supposed to include the partcipation in digitization of an ephemera project in conjunction with our digital poetry reading recordings. This could include posters, pamphlets, printed catalogues from past events, photography, and could even include some video recordings held by The Poetry Center.  Thus far this work has not begun.

In conclusion, I feel the internship is going along well and that perhaps that quantifying the experience and task break down will not always be accurate to our initial plans, but that the priorities are being met and that this archive is embarking on remarkable work and embracing new technologies to make the information accessible. I feel that two of my three learning outcomes are being met and hope that in the remaining weeks I will get the opportunity to work with the digitization of The Poetry Center’s ephemera.


2 Comments Add yours

    1. Thanks, I am really digging the internship and being in academic setting, much different than my public service.

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