Thursday, July 10, 2014

Geography & McIntyre Library team up on Cartographic Internships

A 1776 English map in the
UW-Eau Claire Archives.
One of our many cool maps
This past spring, UW-Eau Claire's McIntyre Library and the Department of Geography and Anthropology teamed up to develop an internship program for students interested in spending time with – and learning from – the University's map collection.  Under the guidance of Asst. Professor Greg Kocken, Head of Special Collections, Archives and Records Management, students can choose from between two internship alternatives, depending on what they want to learn and produce.

Both the Cartographic Cataloging and the Digital Curation internships make valuable contributions to the work of the Library and the Department of Geography and Anthropology as the students investigate and learn about maps, their histories, stories, ideas, purposes and perspectives.  The internships open up the worlds and histories of cartography to students and the students gain important practical experience in interpretation, presentation and information management. Details on the internships is provided at the bottom of this post.

Geography major Aaron Schroeder
UWEC's McIntyre Library,
Special Collections & Archives.
Junior geography student Aaron Schroeder immediately jumped on the opportunity to become to the first cartographic cataloging intern.  In addition to his summer job with UW-Eau Claire's Learning and Technology Services (LTS), Aaron is spending some of his summer on the fifth floor of the library looking at the map collection to see what all is among the hundreds of unorganized and undocumented maps in the archives. According to Aaron, they range from Wisconsin plat maps to French drawn territory maps of the East Coast. His goal is to have an up-to-date catalog records of all the maps and atlases which will people in the university and the community to utilize the maps.

According to Aaron, he is enjoying the internship very much. "It is very flexible which is great over summer. I am learning what makes a good map and what makes a great map. Looking at the different types and styles really opened my eyes and showed me what it takes to create a map that is worthy of archiving.  In addition, it provides a great opportunity to learn, to get to know more of the Library staff and resources and because  "investigating old maps, . . . is just cool." 

Emily Christenson, currently on a summer internship in Georgia (see past post from 23 April), is enrolled to be the first student to sign up for the Digital Curation internship this fall.  We look forward to hearing about her experiences and learning of her project.

To learn more about the Special Collections and Archives, go to their website. For any who are interested in this great internship opportunity, please email the Head Special Collections Librarian, Greg Kocken, at kockeng @ or call him at (715) 836-3873.  An application and the full range of internship expectations will be provided to prospective interns.  Following are a few of the tasks associated with each internship: 

Cartographic Cataloging Intern
·      Update and enhance existing database of information about the maps.  The database currently includes information about the date, title, geographic location, map number and storage location.
·      Conduct basic research to identify dates and appropriate geographic terms for each map.
·      Determine which maps have existing catalog records in the McIntyre Library Catalog and provide updated information when necessary.  Identify maps which do not have an existing catalog record and coordinate with technical services staff in the department to create new records.
UPDATE:  I have just learned from Greg that, since Aaron has done such an efficient job this summer, the Cataloging internship will probably not be offered again.  However, he would like to offer the Digital Curation internship beyond this fall, and it is possible that we can craft and offer other cartography-themed internships in the future.

Digital Curation Intern (Cartography Focus)
·      Select a minimum of twenty historic maps which are all connected through a common geographic theme for inclusion in a curated digital collection.
·      Conduct research into the significance of each map with an emphasis on how the maps are connected through a common theme or themes.
·      Develop a narrative description for each of the selected maps.
·      Coordinate with campus partners from LTS, Geography and Anthropology and McIntyre Library to develop a curated digital collection.  This includes digitization, uploading and developing a dedicated webpage for this digital collection.

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