Since the start of 2015, several new staff members have joined the Digital Services Section. All of us will be making regular blog posts on History For All the People, so we thought it would be nice for each of us to introduce ourselves, describe our roles in DSS, and preview the projects we’re working on. The new staff mini-series starts today!
Introducing Kat Milbrodt: Metadata and Digitization Assistant in the Digital Services Section
I was very excited to start work here at the State Archives in mid-March. Spring is a time for new beginnings and for renewal, for housecleaning and for clouds of pine pollen (a new experience for this Ohio native), for beautiful flowers and for dramatically changing weather conditions. For me, working with archives is like perpetual springtime: I enjoy engaging with new people and new collections, reflecting on my past work experiences, and applying the skills I already possess to new tasks; no matter how many items I digitize and how much metadata I collect, there is always much more to do; and in spite of my cultivated competencies, there are always evolving methodologies and technologies that must be learned.
Before coming to the State Archives, I have had nearly eight years of experience working with the digitization, preservation, conservation, and description of library and archival collections. Most recently I worked as a Digitization and Preservation Assistant at the Niels Bohr Library and Archives (NBLA) at the American Institute of Physics in College Park, Maryland. The NBLA has specialized text, image, and archival collections that focus on physics, physicists, and the history of physics. It was gratifying working with the relatively small collections at NBLA where I could immediately see the results of my efforts.
The bulk of my experience was gained working as a Digital Scanning Technician in the University Library System at the University of Pittsburgh in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. I had the opportunity to work with an astonishing variety of library, special collections, and archival materials, and also to pursue independent research into digital color management and non-damaging scanning techniques for fragile items. Additionally, I was able to attend graduate classes in archives and records management at Pitt’s School of Information Sciences.
At the State Archives of NC I have jumped headlong into two digitization projects already underway: correspondence from the Governors’ Papers and World War I correspondence from the Military Collection. I’m eager to make the images and transcripts of these letters widely available to the public – as primary research sources, personal correspondence can provide an engaging inroad to learning about historical events, reveal insights into everyday cultural practices of bygone eras, and present intimate portraits of historical figures.
In addition to digitization and metadata activities, I will be writing occasional blog posts for History for All the People, and assisting with web edits on the State Archives of North Carolina website. I know I have a lot of interesting and challenging work ahead of me, and I feel right at home.