Now that I’ve had some time to reflect, I can see how my work with the Archives’ has helped. When I’m looking for something for class, or even on my own, I don’t limit myself to one type of document. Knowing that there may be a photo or artwork associated with a particular thing has allowed my research to be more dynamic. This stems from delving into the online database and seeing the wide range of items that comes from a simple one or two word search.
The thing I enjoyed the most was this search, and seeing the depth the Archives has in their collection. It was an exploration into things that I had little exposure to in the past. By contrast, some of the searches became tedious as I ran into roadblocks with my keywords. Having a large collection can be daunting if there is no specific thing I’m looking for. This will help me in the future, as I have more of an idea of how to navigate large collections.
Creating the content calendar reinforced the idea that there is so much work that goes on behind the scenes with any Digital Humanities work. My previous experience taught me that there is a great deal of work that needs to be done before anyone in the outside world sees anything. This proved to me that this applies in most aspects of DH work.
The work I have done for the Archives finished a few weeks ago, and I do feel that it has helped them. I have seen a few of my suggestions within the calendar I created posted to their social media, so I know that they are looking through it and generating ideas from my spreadsheet. My mentor said was pleased during our final video conference as well. The only real challenge I had was to pass along where I left off in creating the calendar. I was well beyond the materials they had at the beginning, so I had to gather all the various links and web searches I was pulling information from and write out where I had left off. All in all, I enjoyed the work and am sad to see it end.
My time at the Archives of American Art is nearing its end. I have continued to build their social media calendar using feedback from the work group at the Archive and additional sources I have found. Through this interaction with the work group, I have a better understanding of what types of posts are popular and helpful for the people. I have had more contact with people within the institution, so I feel that the work I have done can be beneficial for them in the long run.
Over the last few months I have worked on creating a detailed calendar for social media posts, where staff can find suggestions for specific items to post. The social media team at the archives have used a number of different calendars that had one specific purpose, such as a calendar of artist birthdays or a general calendar sent out by the Smithsonian Institution. My task is to use these as a basis for my own calendar, and adding anything the archive has already digitized and made available on their public website. While tedious at times, I am enjoying the search through the digital collections for the items. There is already so much online that I find myself looking at items that appear even if they are not related to what I am looking for.
I have worked with the Archives of American Art for a few months with their social media accounts, and my experience has been interesting. Since I do not have a background in art, my main challenge has been familiarizing myself with the institution and their collection. This was not particularly difficult because they have already digitized a large amount of their collection All I really needed to do was peruse their website and various social media accounts to get an idea of what they have and the types of posts they distribute.
One of the things that I have enjoyed is going through a series of oral history transcripts for quotes to create posts for social media. Most of the interviews discuss an artist or photographers’ life story, how they started in the art field, and some of the reasoning that went into the creation of their art. I am fascinated by some of the stories these artists tell. Some days I get so engrossed that I spend too much time with the one project.
Since all of my projects are done via the Web, I feel that I am connected to them even though my role is virtual. The only real concern I have is ensuring that I am completing everything in a timely manner. My mentor has had a Trello board set up with my tasks from the beginning, so keeping track of what to work on during a given period is completely on my end. Communication between the department and myself is quick and everyone is open for email, so I don’t have any issues there.