New Library website coming in mid-summer.   Learn more.

Mary and Samuel Somit Preservation Interns

With the generous gift of Dr. Albert Somit, the Mary and Samuel Somit Preservation Internship was first offered in the summer of 2006, in 2008, and in 2013. The Mary and Samuel Somit Preservation Internship will now be offered annually.

A brief summary and project description follows for each past Somit Preservation Intern.  

2014 Somit Intern: Kathleen Adrienne Conn 2014 Somit Intern: Kathleen Adrienne Conn

Kathleen Adrienne Conn, the current Somit Intern, is working within the University of Chicago Library's Digitization Unit to establish a model workflow for the digitization of image collections in order to promote the interoperability of the Library's holdings with other image collections. Using the Middle East Photograph Archive, one of the first collections to be digitized and made available on the web in the mid-1990s, Adrienne has inventoried approximately 400 prints in order to provide standardized and up-to-date metadata as outlined by the Visual Resources Association's Core Schema. After being scanned at a high resolution and in full color, the resultant digital surrogates will be made available through an interface that allows for easy exploration of the collection by students, faculty, and researchers. In addition to determining procedures to be used for future efforts, this project explores the ways in which preservation activities can support information access and promote the Library's holdings.

Adrienne is a recent graduate of the University of Texas at Austin's School of Information, where she adopted preservation of the cultural record as the focus of her studies. Before pursuing her graduate degree Adrienne received a BA from Notre Dame of Maryland University in creative writing and English literature.


William Schlaack

2013 Somit Intern: William Schlaack

William Schlaack came to the Library in the summer of 2013 from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, where he had just completed his first year as a graduate student in the School of Library and Information Science. William received his BA in German and Religion from Kalamazoo College. He was also a Preservation Unit Graduate Assistant at UIUC Libraries, where he worked on a variety of preservation-related projects and activities. During his Internship at the University of Chicago Library, William developed a Disaster Response and Recovery Plan for the Library. His work involved learning about the Library building, documenting existing procedures, interviewing potential recovery vendors, and meeting with staff from almost every collection and administrative department to gather information about salvage priorities. His final report included a draft plan that will form the basis of the Library's formal plan and includes contact information for staff, key building information, disaster response team responsibilities, recovery priorities, necessary supplies to have on hand, strategies for training, and recommendations to keep the plan current so that it continues to serve the Library over time.


Kathleen Fear

2008 Somit Intern: Kathleen Fear

Kathleen Fear came to the University of Chicago Library after completing her first year at the University of Michigan's School of Information, with a specialization in preservation of information. She received her BS in Physics from Yale University. Kathleen's project focused on issues involving the preservation of obsolete media–a growing concern, and a high priority topic for the Library. Her project was two-fold. Kathleen first developed a process and workflow to assist library subject specialists with decision-making about materials in the Library's floppy disk collection. She then investigated and analyzed current delivery options for audio/visual materials in academic and research institutions and compiled access policies, permissions management practices, and interfaces in use for restricted materials. In addition to Kathleen's final report, she produced a power-point presentation on floppy disk preservation that she presented to the Library's Collection Development Committee and, later at a poster session at Preservation and Reformatting Section of the American Library Association Midwinter meeting in 2009.

Kathleen received her PhD from the University of Michigan in 2013. Her special interest is in digital preservation of scientific and medical data.


Stephanie Gowler

2006 Somit Intern: Stephanie Gowler

Our first intern for the newly established Preservation Internship Program was Stephanie Gowler. Stephanie came to the Library from the University of Iowa where she had just received her MA from the School of Library and Information Science, with a focus in preservation. She finished a Certificate in Book Arts from Iowa's Center for the Book and as a graduate student she had worked in the Library's Conservation Department. During her Internship at the Library, Stephanie spent time with each of the Preservation Department Unit Heads learning about each operation and strategies employed to meet the preservation needs of collections. Her project focused on the preservation of and access to non-print media formats held in both circulating and archival collections. Her final report included a list of important resources for managing non-print media collections and a survey tool that she developed to assess the condition and document preservation needs of the Library's various obsolete media formats.

After completing her internship, Stephanie earned an Advanced Certificate in Conservation from the University of Texas at Austin and completed an eleven-month conservation internship at Northwestern University Library. After serving as Program Director of Conservation and Conservator at the Indiana State Library from 2010 – 2013, she is currently a Conservator in the Preservation Department at the Northwestern University Library.