Interning with the Smithsonian: Update 2

With several more weeks and several more trainings under my belt, things have started to ramp up for my internship work.

Over the last couple weeks, I’ve been focusing on learning more about how to organize the aforementioned edit-a-thon. While it might seem straightforward, this isn’t as easy of a task as I previously thought. I’ve created several documents to help me keep track of my tasks. Currently, I am working on compiling a list of potential contacts. Since the theme of this event is focusing on Wikipedia profiles for Native American women, we are interested in targeting Tribal organizations and communities to participate in the event. I have established connections to Native studies programs at The Evergreen State College and Northwest Indian College, so we’ve decide that we will reach out to these institutions to spread the word once we’re ready to start generating interest.

Through my association with other interns the National Museum of the American Indian (NMAI), we’ve also identified some additional channels of communication that might help us locate experienced “Wikipedians” to help train any of the new participants, these being the library listservs for several other major universities.

We’ve also started compiling a list of profiles we would like to target so our event can be as efficient as possible. Previous edit-a-thon events with similar themes have actually left behind lists of profiles that haven’t been created yet or are categorized as needing updates and these have been very helpful for building our list of profiles.

And the most recent accomplishment is the design of a digital postcard that we plan to use when advertising the event. Using a postcard/poster for a different edit-a-thon as a template, I’ve designed a postcard specific to the Native American women edit-a-thon, which can be seen as the featured image of this post! I’m definitely not a graphic designer, so this took me some time to do and I’m sure it can be improved in many ways, but I got the approval of my mentor, so I’m not going to challenge it.

There is still plenty of work to be done for the edit-a-thon, so I am currently still trying to wrap my head around the outreach portion of this, learning how to use Wikipedia myself, and how best to organize this event. My upcoming goals include creating the landing page for the event, continue improving my proficiency with Wikipedia, and to develop an outline of a communications plan to begin finding outside people to assist with the project, such as contacting the DC Wikimedia group and other internal Smithsonian persons who have experience with running edit-a-thons. I will also be focusing heavily on building the content for the identified profiles as my mentor and I will be having a meeting with the NMAI Librarian next week to discuss this very thing.

But there is more to cover. What I’m coming to learn about working at a place as dynamic as the Smithsonian Institute (SI) is that opportunity lurks around every corner. I took advantage of an online training being offered to employees, which is currently one of my favorite things about interning with SI, to learn more about an online platform known as ArcGIS StoryMaps. After getting set up with an account through SI, I’ve gotten the chance to look at the application and form some ideas. I’ve run these ideas by my internship mentor and, if all goes well, there are might be a future project in the works that I can work on during my internship utilizing this innovative and creative digital tool!

I look forward to providing more updates around the edit-a-thon come the next update and I hope to have a lot of this groundwork laid by the end of this year so I can make room to focus on future projects as well. So far, the internship is paying off and I feel like I’m getting to truly exercise what I’ve learned from the coursework of my program.

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