The Mary and Samuel Somit Preservation Internship Program at the University of Chicago Library offers an annual six-week internship in library preservation, conservation or digitization. The Program has been made possible through the generosity of Dr. Albert Somit, AB’41, PhD’47, University of Chicago alumnus and past president of Southern Illinois University. Established to honor his parents’ legacy, the internships support the needs of the Library and its collections and prepare students for the important work of preserving library resources for research and teaching.
The internship is intended to give current graduate students or recent graduates of a preservation or conservation program an opportunity to apply their skills and knowledge in a research library setting. Students will gain experience in a preservation program for the care of collections and undertake and complete a project based on the needs of the Library. Interns will work in the Library Preservation Department under the guidance of the Preservation Librarian and other library staff.
The posting for each annual internship is made in late January, with applications due at the beginning of March. More information on the Mary and Samuel Somit Preservation Internship including application requirements and deadlines, please see the Program Description. Applications for the 2016 Mary and Samuel Somit Preservation Internship are now being accepted through March 1, 2016.
Heather Hughes, the 2015 Somit Intern, undertook analysis and planning for a preservation project to digitize microforms of rarely held Middle Eastern serials. The University of Chicago Library acquired extensive collections of rarely held materials and in partnership with the University's Middle East Documentation Center filmed these collections beginning in the 1970's and continuing until 2009. The reformatting was done primarily for the purpose of making rarely held titles more accessible. Although this collection is an area of distinction within the Library's larger Middle Eastern, obsolete technology and incomplete cataloging of many titles hinder access to the collection. Together with Librarians in the Preservation Department and the Middle East Bibliographer, Heather researched a group of titles to identify eligibility for digitization, developed a copyright policy, explored possibilities for online presentation and developed a pilot study to test proof of concept. Heather wrote a report with recommendations for the processing and presentation of these titles. This work will enable planning for a larger digitization project of the Middle Eastern Microform Collection.
Heather is a recent graduate of the University of Texas at Austin's School of Information, where she focused on academic librarianship and digitization. She also holds an M.A. in Middle Eastern Studies from the University of Washington and a B.A. in French Studies from Smith College.