DLIS Graduate Assistants Help Nassau County Library Association Archives Get Off the Ground

By Kevin Quinn, DLIS Graduate Assistant

A notable partnership has been established between the Nassau County Library Association (NCLA) and St. John’s University Department of Library and Information Science (DLIS). In an effort to organize and digitize parts of the NCLA’s archive, St. John’s University DLIS appointed members of its student body to partake in the burgeoning project. In 2016, Sara Alcorn, DLIS Graduate Assistant, was appointed the student lead for the project and has taken up the reigns with great initiative.

During her time on the project, Ms. Alcorn has worn many hats, which have made her invaluable to the early success of the endeavor. She has spent her time sifting through paper documents (correspondence, meeting minutes, newspaper clippings etc.), creating finding aids & metadata, weeding, digitization, organization, preservation, and she has been responsible for reporting the project’s progress to the joint NCLA/SJUDLIS Archives committee. When asked about her time working on the project, Ms. Alcorn’s response was genuinely positive, explaining “This project has provided me with some of the best experience for the ‘real world.’ I’ve been able to be a project manager, work with an overseeing committee, make presentations at the local and state level, and create connections to important people in the LIS field.”

The project first began to develop its digital identity in the Spring 2016 semester with the help of Maddy Vericker, Marilyn Diliberti, and Kevin Quinn (all three DLIS Graduate students). Ms. Vericker, Ms. Diliberti, and Mr. Quinn worked closely with Ms. Alcorn to select worthwhile material to spearhead the digitization process, and develop the NCLA Archives website (http://archives.ncla.info/). This Fall, Laura Dellova, assisted by Michael Bartolomeo (DLIS Graduate students), have picked up where the Spring 2016 group left off.

Ms. Dellova jumped right into the project, working to inventory and catalog the NCLA Archive materials. She has been working with Ms. Alcorn to input metadata from the objects into a Google spreadsheet, which Mr. Bartolomeo is using to develop a finding aid. Through her work on the project, Ms. Dellova has gained a better understanding of the time needed to develop a project of this magnitude, admitting, “I have learned patience, mostly, as well as to be honest in how long projects will take.”

Both Ms. Alcorn and Ms. Dellova share the sentiment that the value of this project benefits more than just the NCLA. The SJU team is encouraging the NCLA to join New York Heritage, a research portal for those looking to learn more about New York State. Through this partnership, the SJU students will gain valuable work experience, while the NCLA will hopefully be able to highlight the history of Nassau County, and expand their patronage in NYS, and maybe the US as well.

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