This blog post was authored by Jaycee Giles, an intern in the Library’s Special Collections unit from the University of Tennessee School of Information Science in Fall 2022.
I enrolled in the Practicum at UTC to gain practical experience in the library field and to fulfill credits for my graduate degree in the Information Sciences program at UTK. Previously, I had no experience in academic libraries or archives, but through my practicum, I have gained invaluable skills that are transferrable to any future career I may have. I selected the collection of Ku Klux Klan photographs primarily due to my interest in history, as my undergraduate degree was in English with a minor in history.
My project was to create a finding aid for a physical collection of 37 Ku Klux Klan photographs. Being able to work with an actual historical photograph collection was one of the most satisfying things about the practicum. To create the finding aids for the photographs, I entered the metadata into a spreadsheet that would later be transferred to ArchivesSpace and CONTENTdm. I used the Getty AAT, DACS, and LCSH as reference points to help me develop the finding aids for this collection. After filling out much of the spreadsheet, I went into the stacks to search for newspapers corresponding with the dates on the photographs in hopes of finding additional information. Through microfilm, I found a few articles that would help me identify the location of a couple of the photographs. Once I collected as much information as possible, I began to identify photos to select for digitization. Following the Collection Development Policy, I selected the photographs that were taken in the Tennessee Valley area.
Once uploaded to CONTENTdm and all the finishing touches were added, it was incredibly satisfying to see the project I have been working on all this semester come to fruition. I was very satisfied with the quality as well as the whole process and experience of working with Special Collections at the UTC library. The Information Sciences field and my Practicum experience has allowed me to bring my passions together and apply them in a way that benefits others.