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Doing a HAPI Internship Remotely

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.

HAPI Internship

Site Description:

The Hispanic American Periodicals Index (HAPI) is an award-winning online bibliographic database which provides access to information from and about Latin America, the Caribbean basin, the US-Mexico border region, and Latinos in the United States.  The index includes complete bibliographic citations and subject indexing for articles, book reviews, original literary works, documents, and other materials appearing in more than 590 leading scholarly journals in the social sciences and humanities published in 33 countries throughout the world.  HAPI Online contains more than 295,000 records dating from 1970 through the present and grows at the rate of about 6,500 records per year.  HAPI has been available on the Web since July 1997. Current staffing includes four FTE Librarians, one full-time programmer, one part-time editorial assistant, one part-time student assistant, and thirty-seven off-campus volunteer contributors who provide most of the raw indexing data, as well as the services of the Latin American Institute’s Administrative Assistant, and Distribution office. We are located on the University of California, Los Angeles campus, in Bunche Hall.

Internship Opportunities:

We are looking for an intern who can work independently and collaboratively on the following projects. Some of these projects might be one quarter long, but there is potential for a multi-quarter approach if some of these projects take longer.  We are also open to a candidate taking on these projects over a series of quarters. Scheduling of projects will be discussed with individual candidates. Under the general direction of one of the Associate Editors you might work on the following available projects 1) create a version of our website for mobile users with the help of our site programmer, 2) develop a marketing strategy for potential subscribers in the U.S., 3) develop a usage survey for subscribers in Latin America and the Caribbean and start developing a marketing strategy for the region, 4) assist us in analyzing our journal content through bibliometrics and data visualization tools.

This internship pays $12.00/hr. Spanish and/or Portuguese language skills might be helpful for some of these projects. For more information about HAPI visit:
www.hapi.ucla.edu

Contact: ssilva@international.ucla.edu or orchid@ucla.edu

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