Internships

Interns and practica students help Special Collections achieve fulfill it's mission by working on archival processing and description or  digital capture and metadata projects, and outreach initiatives including exhibitions and programming. Special Collections stresses a standards-based approach to digitization and description, and uses archival and digital asset management systems commonly adopted by galleries, libraries, archives, and museums (GLAMs) in the United States. Interns and practica students who successfully complete projects in Special Collections gain important transferrable skills and exposure to professional software applications that help prepare them for graduate studies or careers in archival administration and records management. 

Partners

Special Collections works with the following partners to provide unpaid, for credit internship and practicum experiences for undergraduate and graduate students. 

Duties and Qualifications

Internship duties may include: 

  • arranging and describing archival collections;
  • authoring biographical and historical notes that provide context for archival materials; 
  • creating finding aids;
  • conducting oral history interviews;
  • transcribing audio and video assets;
  • creating descriptive metadata in a spreadsheet; 
  • curating web and physical exhibitions;
  • using scanners and cameras to digitize archival materials and rare books; 
  • conducting research and writing narratives for grant applications;
  • and developing exhibitions, blog posts, and other outreach initiatives.

Required qualifications include:

  • ability to work independently and produce high quality, thorough, and accurate work;
  • ability to follow detailed written instructions;
  • strong organizational, analytical and problem-solving skills as well as demonstrated initiative and adaptability;
  • working knowledge of office productivity suites, such as Microsoft Office and Google Drive;
  • and effective written and oral communication skills.

Desired qualifications include:

  • demonstrated experience working or volunteering in a library or archival repository;
  • and demonstrated experience using complex data entry systems

Past Projects

Special Collections works closely with interns and volunteers to provide experiences tailored to meet the learning needs of individuals. Past projects assisted by interns and volunteers include the following:

Intern Perspectives

Read about past projects and experiences in our Intern Perspectives series on the UTC Library Blog!

Application

Interested parties should apply to intern in Special Collections by submitting resume, and application to the Director of Special Collections, Carolyn Runyon, using the UT Vault.

  • Log into UT Vault at vault.utk.edu using your alias address and UTC password. Every UTC student has an alias address. Example: abc123@mocs.utc.edu would enter her email address as ABC123@tennessee.edu.
  • Address the message to Carolyn Runyon at Carolyn-Runyon@utc.edu with the Subject: Student Assistant Application – Your Name. Compose your message and attach your cover letter, resume, and complete application.
  • Check the box “Send me verification when the message is received.”

The cover letter should provide a description of the applicant's relevant experience and expertise and address what the applicant hopes to gain from the internship, including learning objectives and how the internship would meet the applicant's career goals. The cover letter should also describe how they would like to positively contribute to the mission of Special Collections. We encourage all applicants to think broadly about what they hope to accomplish in their practical experiences and pitch projects such as curating exhibits, processing collections, authoring finding aids, drafting records management policies, creating a digital preservation plan, developing programming, or creating curriculum maps, lesson plans, and research guides.

Internship candidates must interview with the Director of Special Collections and must be willing work onsite during our regular hours of operation at least 10 hours a week for a minimum of 1 semester. Applicants are encouraged to consider working 2 semesters in Special Collections to gain more well-rounded experiences in archives and records management.

Assignments

In addition to their project-based work, interns seeking course credit must submit a formal proposal, submit an updated resume for review, and author an Intern Perspectives blog post.

Proposal

In addition to the application, all interns in Special Collections must submit a proposal within one week of their internship. The proposal is designed to help personnel in Special Collection identify projects that help interns meet their goals and help them in their professional or academic ambitions. Intern proposals should be 1-2 pages in length and address the following questions:

  • What do you expect to learn and apply?
  • How will you use your existing skills, knowledge, and course work to inform your internship?
  • What are your goals and anticipated outcomes for your internship?
  • How will your internship contribute to your professional and/or academic goals?

Resume

After working in Special Collections for at least 4 weeks, interns will submit an electronic copy of their updated resume or curriculum vitae (CV) by email to the Director of Special Collections for review. The Director of Special Collections will schedule a one-on-one meeting with each intern to provide feedback about improving their resume or CV to meet the goals stated in their proposals. This exercise is meant to impart interns will another tangible take-away to use in applications for jobs and/or graduate school.

Blog Post

All interns in Special Collections are expected to write a blog post summarizing their practical experiences. The posts are meant to give the interns an opportunity to describe their experiences and think critically about what they have learned, how the experience contributed to their stated goals, and what challenges they encountered. All blog posts should be 1-3 pages in length and include at least two images. They should be submitted to the Director of Special Collections by email before or on the last day of the internship. Interns may consider the following questions, in no particular order, when drafting their blog posts:

  • What did you do? What projects did you undertake?
  • What did you expect to learn? Did you learn what you expected to learn?
  • What were your goals at the outset of the internship? How did they change as the internship progressed?
  • How did your coursework, software competencies, or other skills inform your work?
  • What challenges did you face? How did you overcome these challenges?
  • How did your experience change your perspective or assumptions about archival work?

Interns who wish to receive feedback on their posts, may submit them to the Director of Special Collections at least one week before the end of their internship.

 Blog posts will be published in the UTC Library's blog Intern Perspectives series.

Communication

Special Collections communicates with interns and practica students through email and a Google calendar. Further, Special Collections uses Google Sheets to manage most projects. In order to engage with Special Collections, volunteers and interns must have a MocsMail or Gmail account.

Guidelines

Interns and practica students are subject to the Student Assistant, Intern, and Volunteer Guidelines for Working in Special Collections and are responsible for making their own parking arrangements. Parking information may be found on our Hours, Location and Facilities.