In the digital age one can obtain a college degree, work, and yes even do an internship from home. Many professional, economic, and lifestyle options exist today that were unimaginable a decade ago. Indeed, long distance collaboration, both synchronous and asynchronous, is becoming an increasingly commonplace feature of work and learning.
A HAPI internship can be completed remotely and designed with considerable flexibility. I chose to do mine over the Fall 2012 semester so that I could obtain 3 credit hours toward my MSLS degree at the University of Kentucky. The professional knowledge I gained was invaluable, and the compensation I earned paid for the college credit and then some.
The purpose of my internship was to help HAPI director, Orchid Mazurkiewicz, evaluate the quality of the journals indexed by HAPI and help her devise more objective criteria for selecting and deselecting titles. A bibliometric analysis was undertaken to explore how HAPI’s content “measured up” in the universe of Latin American serials, its content representing about 3% of known Latin American titles. This task was a tall order. It involved considerable fact finding that taught us about the strengths and weaknesses of various Latin American databases (Latindex, BIBLAT, SciELO, Redalyc, and SCImago). We also discovered the strengths and weaknesses, uses and misuses, of different bibliometric measures (impact factors, use measures, etc.). In addition, we got a good sense of the challenges involved in soliciting qualitative information from the SALALM membership. In the end, we learned important things about HAPI, about the global imbalance of scholarly literature, and about judging the worth of journals. In essence, we laid the groundwork for developing a systematic approach to improving and ensuring the intellectual caliber of HAPI’s indexed content.
Elements that contributed to the success of the project were: (1) weekly Skype meetings with Orchid, (2) coordination of all project tasks using a project management software, BaseCamp, that was accessed online with a password, (3) open source software for designing surveys, (4) my past experience with database design, data analysis, and statistics, and (5) free online access to the bibliometric data of Latin American databases. Abilities to work independently, communicate effectively in writing, as well as set and meet deadlines were also important.
Factors that affect the success of an online internship are similar to those that would impact an in-person one. Clarifying expectations at the outset along with the nature/content of deliverables is of paramount importance. Integrity, that is, following through on what you say you are going to do is also critical. Flexibility and understanding on the part of both mentor and mentee are also necessary to accommodate life’s inevitable unexpected events. Dedication to a quality outcome, as exhibited through hard work and creativity, is also a big plus.
The most rewarding aspects of my internship may be yet to come. There’s no telling where the new friendships and professional associations will lead. Orchid and I plan to share the results of our bibliometric project at SALALM Miami as a prelude to publishing them in an academic journal. No matter who you are or where you reside, a HAPI internship could be a valuable step in your professional development.
Bruce Bachand received a B.A. in Anthropology and minor in Spanish from the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth 19 ago before setting out to become a Mesoamerican archaeologist. At UMass, he worked as a shelver, serials assistant, and overall book worm for three years in the library to defray college expenses. After graduating, he taught English in Japan for the JET Program and upon returning spent a year or so haunting the Tozzer Library while moonlighting as a clerk at the Harvard Coop bookstore. In subsequent years, he obtained anthropology degrees from Brigham Young University (MA) and the University of Arizona (PhD). He was a Fulbright Scholar in Chiapas, Mexico during the 2009-2010 academic year and is currently a Pre-Columbian reader at the Dumbarton Oaks Library in Washington, DC. Bruce’s scholarly activities have placed him in Mexico and Guatemala for periods totalling about five years. He’s looking for a stable career where his research skills and love of books will transfer, and would like to become a subject specialist librarian. Bruce is completing an MSLS at the University of Kentucky and will be an intern at the Library of Congress next spring. He’s also a new HAPI indexer, and look forward to collaborating with Orchid and the other SALALMistas.
- Jill Baron
Jill Baron is an archivist for Latin American literary manuscript collections at Princeton University. In this position, which she has held since September 2011, she has processed the personal and working papers of writers such as Mario Vargas Llosa, Lorenzo García Vega, Saúl Yurkievich, Alejandro Rossi, and the nineteenth-century letters of Gabriel Iturri (friend and character study for Marcel Proust). She has a B.A. in French and Comparative Literature from Bryn Mawr College, and spent many years working as a chef, including a long sojourn in kitchens in Andalucía, before moving to New York to pursue an MFA in fiction and poetry at The New School. She received her MLIS from Rutgers University in December 2011, where she gained invaluable mentoring from Melissa Gasparotto and other Rutgers librarians. At Princeton she takes great pleasure in working with manuscript materials, participating in the vibrant Latin American studies community, and working for Fernando Acosta-Rodríguez, fellow SALALMista.
- Daria Carson-Dussán | Photo by Evie Hemphil
Daria Carson-Dussán joined the WU Libraries staff this year as the new Romance Languages & Literatures / Latin American Studies Librarian. Daria graduated from the University of Cincinnati with a B.A. in English Literature and a fine arts certificate in art history from UC’s College of Design, Architecture, Art and Planning. In 2005, she received her M.L.S. from the School of Library and Information Science at Indiana University. She began her professional career as a reference librarian at Indiana State University and worked at Franklin College as a reference/instruction librarian.
Lisa Gardinier is the new Latin American & Iberian Studies Librarian at the University of Iowa. She recently finished a M.A. in Latin American studies at the University of Arizona, including an internship at the CEPAL headquarters library in Santiago, Chile. She completed her M.L.S. at Indiana University, including an internship with Luis González. Her first post-M.L.S. job was as the technical services & information literacy librarian at Cochise College in Douglas, AZ. Most of her experiences and academic interests in Latin America are in Chile and the Southern Cone or the U.S.-Mexico border. She is looking forward to participating in SALALM and being a part of a great professional community.
Sara Levinson joined the Resources Description and Management section at UNC Chapel Hill as an original cataloger in 2009, working mostly on Spanish and Portuguese language materials both in the main collection and, more recently, in the Rare Books Collection. Sara graduated from Middlebury College with a B.A. in Spanish and Anthropology. She received her M.L.S. from the Palmer School in 2000 and began her professional career at the New York Historical Society cataloging some of their massive backlog. She later cataloged at Touro College while working part-time cataloging serials in the special collections in the Tamiment Library at NYU.
- Berlin Loa
Berlin Loa is a graduate of the Knowledge River Program at the University of Arizona School of Information Resources and Library Science. Her professional background is in non-profit management, fundraising and program development. Her undergraduate degree is in English Literature with a thematic minor in anthropology, folklore and Africana studies. Berlin is currently participating in an internship as a Museum/Archives Technician and looks forward to developing a career in collections that represent Latino, Native American or Africana cultures.
- José Ignacio Padilla
José Ignacio Padilla received his B.A. in Latin American Literature at the Universidad de San Marcos in Lima. He then moved to Princeton, where he completed a Ph.D. in the Spanish Department. His research has always focused on Latin American Poetry and Visual Arts. Three years ago he moved to Spain and started working at Iberoamericana Vervuert where he collaborates in editorial projects, but mostly works as the manager of the bookstore.
- Deb Raftus | Photo by John Pai
Deb Raftus is the Romance Languages & Literatures Librarian and Assistant Instruction Coordinator at the University of Washington Libraries in Seattle. She serves as liaison to the divisions of French & Italian Studies, Spanish & Portuguese Studies, and the Center for European Studies. Her interests include the role of libraries in digital humanities scholarship, 21st century reference services, mentoring, and learning communities.
Tad Suzuki has been an academic librarian at University of Victoria (Victoria, British Columbia, Canada) for the last 17 years and was only recently appointed to Hispanic & Italian Studies. His academic backgrounds are anthropology/linguistics, theology, and biblical studies. A practicing artist specialized in highly realistic acrylic canvas, his other subject area for the library is Fine Arts. Tad has been teaching himself Spanish off and on for the last several years, and just recently spent two weeks in Quetzaltenango (Xela), Guatemala for language training. While there, he also spent a weekend with a Q’anjob’al Mayan family in Santa Eulalia in the north-western region of Huehuetenango.