The main insight I have learned from working in digital public humanities as a result of this experience is that it is truly a collaborative team-focused field through interesting projects. My work as an intern with the Smithsonian NPG has consisted of cropping photographs through Adobe photoshop to eventually work on larger projects such as ingesting the full pages of the Ledger Book of William Bache into the Digital Asset Management System, DAMS, and describing derivatives through Dublin Core Metadata.
The project that I am currently working on is analyzing derivative archival photographs from the Out Of Many Exhibit, OOM. The work is similar to when I began cropping and ingesting photographs into the DAMS. The OOM Exhibit contains several hundred objects, portraits, and photographs and I am proud to be a part of analyzing past derivatives and cropping new photographs as necessary. This internship is instrumental in making photographs available for the general public to view without traveling to the Smithsonian National Portrait Gallery. I am also interested in learning more about data visualizations within museums and hope to incorporate that into my internship before it concludes in May.
One specific question I have as a result of this internship is how do my obtained skills fit within the work of a federal museum such as, how do they translate to a future career, how to think about the next steps as I continue to apply for positions through USAJobs, and how to think broadly about my abilities and interests to expand my job opportunities? This contract has allowed me to observe the process of submitting a government contract/quote for work and how digitization is essential to educate the public on various mediums such as portraits and photographs.
A second question I have is how do metadata and digitization experience translate to broader roles within a museum or within the Digital Humanities field as a whole? Are there contracts, research opportunities, or full-time roles that can digitize large amounts of information? I have heard in the past that the ability to digitize large amounts of information is crucial because of object or artifact deterioration. My work preserving photographs to be uploaded to the Smithsonian NPG website has helped to preserve collections and promote history to the public.
I have decided to create an Omeka site that showcases my work through this internship. I hope it will display my work as well as promote the Smithsonian NPG Open Access Initiative to the public. When I finish the Omeka site I will only include photographs or resources within the public domain after having obtained permission from the Smithsonian NPG.