Reflections on a Summer with George Blood Audio/Visual/Film/Data


Hello, readers of the George Blood LP blog! This is Elisabeth Graham, the Summer Intern, writing to you for the last time at GBA. Today being the final day of my internship, I thought I would take some time to reflect on my summer working at GBA.

Over the past eight weeks, I have learned about current events that affect archives, philosophies of preservation, different video file types, properly packing media, and so much more.  Before I started this internship, the most experience I had in archives came through doing research at my university. And so a lot of this learning proved to be daunting, and I was never quite sure if I was succeeding at any given task. After interning at GBA, I feel so much more confident in my abilities to navigate archives and I feel as if I have a much better grasp of an archive’s purpose.

At GBA, we take the time to distinguish the difference between Quality Assurance and Quality Control; I think that these distinctions have helped me shape my internship. Quality Assurance essentially means that before we start projects, we take the time to plan out the workflows and process. Before I jumped into my role writing blog posts and posting on social media, I took the time to plan out a Statement of Work (SOW) for my internship, highlighting my goals. In doing so, I created specific, measurable, and -- most importantly -- repeatable goals. This way, even after I depart from GBA, my duties can be easily carried out by anyone who takes the time to read my SOW.

After Quality Assurance comes Quality Control; Quality Control happens when others take the time to observe techniques and activities to ensure that everything is running smoothly. During my internship, I could not have reached all of my goals had it not been for the excellent staff members at GBA. Folks took the time to edit my blog posts, fact check my information, and teach me about the processes behind running an archive. As it goes with most operations, there is no success without relying on others. Any level of success I achieved at GBA has only been made possible through the efforts of my peers and mentors showing me the ropes, and I assure you, they are some quality people.

Starting somewhere new can be overwhelming, but rather than getting upset or frustrated, it is best to embrace the feeling. These feelings are often brought on by our own lack of knowledge and ability to maneuver a new space; when I find myself feeling confused at a new place, I find it helpful to accept what I do not know. I do this by keeping in mind an Italian saying: “Ancora imparo” or “I am still learning.” Often misattributed to an elderly Michelangelo, the saying is meant to remind us that learning is not a finite process. Learning continues well past any degrees or experience we accumulate, and I am so excited for what my future in archives may hold. There is still so much to learn, and I am still learning.

Thank you to everyone who has taken the time to read these blogs and learn a little more with me. I hope you have gained a bit more knowledge and insight into the world of archives, and I hope you, too, never stop learning.