|Facade, Smithsonian's National Museum of Natural History|
|Mammal Hall, Smithsonian's National Museum of Natural History|
Being able to work with the Smithsonian Libraries was an amazing experience. I was able to spend the last six weeks working with the Biodiversity Heritage Library as part of the Professional Development Internship Program. Those weeks flew by as I worked on a number of different projects. One of the main projects I worked on had to do with BHL’s issue tracking system, called Gemini. With digital libraries comes an even bigger audience which can lead to even more input. BHL users are able to note problems, questions, or requests that they have with items in the library which are then sent through to the issue tracking system. I was able to help unravel some of the difficult bibliographic questions which were anchored in the age old “what were the publishers thinking?” Bibliographic leg work made me feel as though my librarian skills were taking me down the path of a detective. Except instead of a dark alley I was making my way through the cyber-shelves of OCLC, wandering through different countries’ books to add to my collective knowledge about a title.
|Mariah Lewis, BHL Professional Development Intern|
Working with BHL was a big change from my previous library work. It was my first time in a library setting not working with books. The transition from working with books and documents in a digitization setting to never seeing a book was not as difficult as I was expecting. I was given first-hand experience working with digital surrogates or- as some would say- totally new digital objects. Beyond this, it was really interesting to see how you can work with people all over the country and world with technology. While that seems obvious, BHL takes this to a different level and really works at having clear communication lines. The collaborative effort was probably the most inspiring part of the internship. I saw how BHL’s work can be used in other aspects of librarianship which complements my library and information science education and gives me hope and ideas for the future of librarianship.
BHL Professional Development Intern