Winter Issue 2001
     The Newsleter of the Association of Library & Information Science Students (ALISS)

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Directed Fieldwork & Work Study Experiences: Krista Undeberg
March 1, 2002

Krista Undeberg: Photograph by Heidi Andress

How did you learn about your directed fieldwork opportunity? How did you know what type of DFW you wanted?

I learned about my directed fieldwork during the course of research for an independent study project. I worked with Sandra Kroupa, Book Arts Librarian for the UW Libraries Manuscripts, Special Collections and University Archives Division, during winter quarter 2001 and researched websites on Women's History. A series of links led me to the site for the Chawton House Library, which I learned was in Redmond.

I approached Sandra with the idea of working there, she agreed that it was a great opportunity, and we were off.

I wanted to work at Chawton because it was a type of library experience that I had very little knowledge of. I knew that it would be my best opportunity for working with rare books and yet remaining in the state of Washington.

How did you go about setting up the DFW?

I left the initial contact up to Sandra; she had worked with Kate, the director of Chawton, on several previous occasions. Once Sandra had "cleared the way," so to speak, the three of us met to discuss the possibilities offered by the library and the parameters of the project.

How much interaction did you have with your supervisor?

I worked at Chawton for 1 day/week from the middle of June to the middle of September. During that time, I met with Kate at least once a day. I worked in person with Sandra, the "technical" supervisor of the project about once a month. We were also in frequent contact via email.

What kinds of things did you get to do?

My project was to complete a descriptive bibliography of the collection of 18th century fashion and costume books. I actually spent the entire summer composing this bibliography. I also did a little research into the production of fashion plates (VERY tiny!) and wrote an article on 18th century dress for publication in the archives newsletter.

What did you learn during the experience? What kind of training did you receive?

This was an invaluable experience. I thoroughly loved every minute of my time at Chawton, probably because it was such an escape from the real world! The books were so beautiful and it almost felt like a privilege to touch them. That said, I gained important technical skills. With so many archives and rare book collections moving their finding aids and inventories on-line (not to mention providing users with digital images of dubious quality), it is important to also provide them with a thorough descriptive bibliography. This provides them with the technical physical detailing of the book (size and condition, for example) but it also gives them a sense of the book's contents.

Do you feel that this experience has helped prepare you for work in a professional setting?

Without a doubt. I feel that this experience will be particularly useful if I seek work in an archives. It would also be useful for museums or for image repositories.

Did this experience make you want to take any additional coursework or seek additional training?

I have been looking at rare book schools and archival training programs ever since! I'm also currently enrolled in the Archives class (LIS 505) this quarter and will take Preservation (LIS 507) next quarter

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