#10 “Inside paper is very white & inside cover is bright white”

The title above is taken from The Overstreet Comic Book Price Guide (p. 952). It refers to how to identify a counterfeit copy of the first issue of “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles” – the counterfeit, as one might expect, holds no value. (In comparison we’ve got a first appearance of Pym as Ant Man that would go for thousands – if the cover wasn’t missing.)

My last week! It’s a mixture of finishing up pieces (I spent Monday morning filling out the historical notes that I’ve neglected, since those require a bit of research) and trying my hands at slightly new work, for the feel of it (brand-new cataloging! – before I was working off skeletal records and adding in relatively subjective values, now I’m at the baseline for processing comics into the collection).

My goals, during these final few days, are to make sure that my records are as complete as they can be at this time, to talk to my team members about the future of this project and help plan upcoming steps accordingly, and to finish my last bout of professional development with as much muster as I tried to maintain throughout my time here. It’s going to be hard to leave; something I’ve been considering – and I’ll discuss this in my last post here – is what I would change, if I had the chance to do it over again, and whether or not more time would be beneficial.

More on those reflections later, though. As I already mentioned, professional development continues, and I got several very new experiences to help conclude my time here.

Digital Collections Department Reflection (with Dean)

So as I discussed last post, JMU Libraries has its new dean as of July 1st. One of her goals, as she begins to explore her new workplace, has been (obviously) to get to know how the Libraries work. (I’ll be honest, guys, I’m not sure whether I’m treating JMU Libraries as a singular noun or a plural noun, and I think I’ve been varying it in each post, so this is my grammatical apology.) A bit ago, each “group” – department might be a more adequate word – met up to create a pseudo-SWOT analysis, focused on the strengths and weaknesses of that collective in the library. The intent is to use those papers as discussion points and springboards as Bethany officially meets with the groups. I had the fortune to be able to attend the second (I believe it was the second) one, with the Digital Collections department.

It was an incredibly enlightening experience; the Digital Collections team is small – four members – and relatively new, and I had the opportunity to see it uncovered among itself and before the dean. I don’t want to go into too much detail about the conversation itself, but something Bethany said toward the end of the meeting, after the team had discussed identity and its relationships among the organization, struck me as the first step that the department might continue along: redefining itself as leaders of digital collections frameworks, rather than maintaining its current role as a sort of technical-support position. I don’t know what taking on that enfranchising and determining role would look like; no one does, yet, that’s the excitement of it.

Interview with Grace Barth, Head of Digital Collections

My last one-on-one interview of the semester! I met with Grace Barth, whom I had seen earlier that day during the previous meeting, the Department Reflection (most of my questions proved unnecessary since they were answered at that previous meeting). It was great to unpack a bit of what Bethany and the team spoke of during the reflection, as well as to go more in-depth about the services Digital Collections offer and what some considerations are that Grace faces in her position, such as finding technologies for digital exhibits and her model for choosing the correct platform for different user needs.

Next post will be on my last few days, including my presentation to JMU Libraries about what I’ve done and learned; the last post (#12) will be a reflection of my time here and some connections back to my classes at Indiana University.

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