Tag Archives: Interns and Volunteers

So the summer comes to an end, and I leave VC saddled with much more knowledge than I came here with. My ten weeks here flew by, and words cannot express enough how grateful I am to have gotten this experience. Not only did I learn so much about archives, I got to meet amazing people, including my fellow summer interns, Helen, and the rest of the staff.

I worked on so many different projects this summer that I feel like I truly got a well-rounded introduction to archives. I started out by learning the basics about metadata and archival practices before I got to apply those learnings to my work. I got to handle several types of audiovisual formats, something that I was really eager to do. I got to work with materials such as 3/4″ U-matic tapes, mini-DVs, cassette tapes, and VHS tapes. I even got a chance to go through the digitization process with the U-matic tapes to help complete the Amerasians: Media and the Arts collection that a previous intern worked on. For my final project, I got to encode two finding aids for the Willie Funakoshi Collection and the Little Tokyo Redevelopment Collection, which allowed me to contribute to the Online Archive of California! In addition to the archives experience, I was exposed to the valuable work a non-profit like VC does within the Asian American community.


After all this excitement, I have to leave and return to the world outside of VC, where I’ll be preparing for grad school (in information studies), returning to my work at the Special Collections Department at UCLA, and hopefully relaxing before school starts up again. No matter where I end up in the future, I know that my experiences will have a lasting impact on my life. Thanks for everything, Visual Communications! Let’s hope that this experience isn’t our last.


picture_robinHello to everyone! My name is Robin Chang, and I’m fortunate enough to join Visual Communications this summer as an archival intern with the Getty Multicultural Program. I currently attend UCLA, where I am pursuing two degrees in Asian American Studies and Asian Studies. Some of my interests include Korean diaspora studies, Korean folklore, and integrating what I’ve learned into my fiction writing. I’m presently looking into graduate school to work towards becoming an archivist, and hopefully one day, an author.

For quite a few years now, I’ve been actively pursuing ways to contribute to equitable portrayals of Asian American people in different forms of media. However, it was only when I started working at UCLA’s Department of Special Collections that I realized what a precious resource archives are—not only to researchers and scholars, but also to anyone and everyone who’s utilized information services. Like many people, it had never fully occurred to me that someone was organizing the information neatly stacked in the library catalogs. Unfortunately, I also came to the realization that there are very few collections dedicated to Asian American experiences. Hearing that VC had collections on Asian American histories, I knew that I couldn’t miss out on this opportunity.

During my time here, I would like most to learn the practices and knowledge required for sustainable preservation of materials regarding Asian Pacific American Experiences. The archival knowledge that I have so far has only barely scratched the surface and has largely been in an academic, research-oriented setting, so I look forward to working with Helen, VC’s own archivist, to gain a perspective on the value of archives in grassroots organizations like VC. I really appreciate the opportunity that’s been afforded to me, and plan on making the most of the experience with Helen and the rest of the staff and interns this summer. Keep an eye out for more things to come!

MarieHi!  I’m Marie Barrera and I’ve been interning at VC for a month.  I’m an alumna of Loyola Marymount University (LMU) and the University of Edinburgh, where I majored in European Studies and Art History respectively.  I miss school so much (and have a clearer idea of what I want to do with my life) that I’m thinking of returning to get my MLIS (Library and Information Science).

My interest in archives developed from working in archives and special collections throughout my undergraduate years.  This is my first time dealing with audio materials — the majority of objects that I have handled are paper so yay, something different!  Currently, I am working on the cassette tape holdings:  I listen to them and take notes, or metadata, on their content.   Since many of the tapes aren’t labeled and there isn’t any other data about them, I never know what gem of information I’ll hear next.

As a Filipino-American, it is especially exciting to find tapes about Filipinos and Filipino-Americans.  One of my favorite finds so far is a seven-part radio drama about Filipino farmworkers in central California. The voice acting might be cheesy, but the subject matter is enlightening.  The series captures the struggles of Filipino immigrants during the Great Depression in California, including discrimination and poor working conditions.  It also demonstrates their determination and spirit through the establishment of a printing press and organization of a strike.  I remember learning about this time period in my middle and high school U.S. history classes but I don’t remember Asian Pacific immigrants being mentioned.  I wonder what else is left out of textbooks.  Processing this collection of cassette tapes has made me realize how clueless I am about the community I come from, as well as why archives such as VC’s are crucial to understanding the contributions and history of Asian Pacific Americans.

Hello-hello! My name is Arthur Arciniega and I am this summer’s new archives intern at Visual Communications. I currently attend East Los Angeles College majoring in photography with plans to transfer in the spring. I first picked up a camera when I was 17 and since then, I haven’t been able to put it down. I’m more of a traditional black and white photographer and the majority of my work is shot in film.

For the past six years now I have been shooting a series about the life of my grandfather, Martin Montes. In 2008, I moved into his home off of 4th street in Boyle Heights. It’s been an interesting experience for me living and growing with this man, so I wanted document the life of my grandpa and how he interacts with the world around him. I’m fortunate to attend one of the few colleges to have a running darkroom and to be honest, there is something truly rewarding about producing an image in the darkroom versus printing out something digitally. Most importantly, film reveals a ‘truthfulness’ within its contents, a kind of authenticity that isn’t as obtainable with digital photography which tends to have a plastic-synthetic look to the final product of the print.

Arthur with a photo of his grandfather, which won a prize at the Vincent Price Art Museum's juried art competition.

Arthur with a photo of his grandfather, which won a prize at the Vincent Price Art Museum’s juried art competition.

My interest in photography is expanding to include the history of photography and the preservation of the older processes that date back to the early 19th century.  My interest in archives sparked when I took an internship at the Chicano Studies Research Center on UCLA, where I worked closely with CSRC’s resident Librarian/Archivist, Lizette Guerra, and Archives Manager, Michael Stone. During my time as a intern, I handled a variety of tasks including preparing materials for public access, collection processing and development, caring and describing photographs and negatives. I had the pleasure of processing a handful of collections like the Uliises Diaz of Adobe L.A. Papers, the Maria Acosta Duran Papers, the James & Margarita Mendez Papers, and the Edward Roybal Collection.

What I would like to gain most from this internship are the skills and knowledge needed to effectively achieve the best archival permanence to VC’s photography and video collections and utilize what I’ve learned from my previous internship. With the direction of Helen Kim, VC’s archivist, I hope to make the very most of my experience here. Over the course of my time at VC, I will be busy working on various projects such as digitizing 35mm negatives and 3/4″ tapes, and contribute my background in photography to the group summer intern project (yet to be announced). I am grateful for the opportunity of working with Helen, my fellow interns, and rest of the VC staff. I look forward to what’s to come in the seven weeks we have together. Thank you!

Hello everyone! My name is Judy Chou and I am currently one of the new archives interns here at Visual Communications. I graduated from UC Irvine in 2010 with a B.A. in History with a Minor in Native American Studies. Two years later, I decided to enroll myself into San Jose State University’s Library and Information Science Graduate program. I have just completed my first year, focusing my studies on archival and preservation topics.

Welcome to VC, Judy!

Welcome to VC, Judy!

It was during my spring semester that had changed my perspective of what it truly means to preserve archival materials–both in digital and analog forms–when I chose to take a class on the topic of preservation management. There was a field work assignment that we had to complete for the class as a final project: writing a digital preservation policy for an organization. The hardest part of this assignment was finding an institution to allow me, an outsider, to write a policy for them. In the end, I got got permission from the Japanese American National Museum (JANM) and the Chinese Historical Society of Southern California (CHSSC), both located in Los Angeles. I only needed to write and submit one policy for the assignment, but I felt that I would learn and gain more experience in writing two policies catered to each organization instead of one broad policy.

After gaining the approval from the institutions, I conducted a need assessment from the people in charge: John Esaki from JANM and Steven Ng from CHSSC. I asked questions pertaining about their current digital assets, their preservation and backup systems, their expectation of the outcome from the policy, and so forth. I completed writing the policy for JANM, but I am still in the midst of trying to complete the policy for CHSSC.

Working on these two policies is helping me at VC since Helen Kim–the archivist–has asked me to write a digital preservation policy for Visual Communications. I am currently gathering as much information about its digital assets from its staff as possible. After I am done writing the policy, my future projects will be focused on the digitization, preservation, and management of Umatic tapes and other digital assets. I am thrilled to intern at VC to obtain hands-on experience working with Helen and the VC staff as well as being able to implement what I learned from my library science classes into physical practices.

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