After years of resisting the pull due to the abysmal state of the job market, I'm considering going back to school for an MLIS, preferably with a focus on digital librarianship or curation. If I do this, I want to go in strong in order to maximize my chances at employment. I'm considering Pratt's program in Digital Management for Cultural Heritage
, because it's closely in line with the kind of work I am currently doing and would like to be doing at a higher level. (I'd also possibly be able to remain in New York and continue doing this work if I attended Pratt.) I've also been alerted to UNC's Digital Curation certificate
. What other strong programs are out there that are doing great work in digital librarianship or digital humanities?
Some background info:
As an undergrad I was a student worker in the preservation department of my university, followed up by time working the circ desk in the music library. My senior year I worked in our ethnomusicology center's collections on a particular set of sound recordings, essentially verifying a bunch of metadata and creating a searchable spreadsheet of information on it. I also wrote my senior thesis on this collection.
This work led to an interest in archives when I went to grad school for anthropology. I took two information science classes in the School of Information where I did my MA- Organizing Information and Understanding the User Experience. I loved Organizing, and hated UX, but I think about the principles I learned in UX on an almost weekly basis and I've used what I learned in Organizing in a variety of contexts and really enjoyed applying that knowledge.
I graduated in 2010 with an MA in Anthropology, having decided not to finish my PhD. I'm currently back at my undergrad university working as a temp research assistant in the same center as my undergrad work. We're working on digitizing our collection and I'm in particular involved with a project involving an indigenous community where we plan to eventually build a website (essentially a digital archive) that will be used by this community. This will function as a cultural heritage resource for them and but will also eventually be public facing in various ways.
Despite the fact that I am essentially a grunt uploading photos and adding basic metadata, I really love this work. It combines my love of organizing information, my background in anthropology and my interest in what digital humanities can do for the spread of information. I would really love to have much higher level tech skills (and archive skills and metadata skills, you get the picture) in order to contribute to the construction of this website/archive or any others that we build in the future. I am particularly interested in being able to do sort of community based digital work that helps indigenous or other communities create their own archives (but that might be a pipe dream). Currently my web skills are not too advanced, but one of the genuine appeals of a program like this is getting some really solid computer and web dev skills which would be useful on their own.
I want to go into this with eyes wide open, so I am happy to hear come to Jesus talks about the value of an MLIS in today's economy, but I'd also love to have some information about how to do it right and what program would best set me up to do so. Just as a data point, I have excellent GPAs from both my undergraduate and graduate programs, which were from strong schools.
Also, I'm familiar with THATcamp, and D-Lib Magazine, but other resources would be very welcome.