Welcome to the Delaware Valley Archivists’ Group guide to internships. These questions are intended for archivists and archives staff to ask themselves as they create new and evaluate ongoing internship programs. We also encourage anyone applying for internships to keep these things in mind during the application and interview process.This is a living document. We always appreciate feedback and suggested revisions at email@example.com.
- Has an internship agreement been written to clarify the terms of the internship to the repository, the intern, and the academic supervisor (if applicable)? Are evaluation procedures in place to provide feedback both to the intern and to the repository?
- Will the intern be supervised by a professional archivist and have the opportunity to meet and communicate with this supervisor regularly?
- Are there clear learning objectives and defined project parameters for the internship?
- Will interns learn specific tools and skills they can add to their resume?
- Will the intern be able to demonstrate these tools and skills by referring to a discrete accomplishment or role on their resume?
- Are you providing a stipend for the intern? If your current budget cannot support paying interns…
- Are there other forms of compensation that are within your institution’s means to provide, such as travel reimbursements, museum guest passes or store/restaurant discounts, or access to library resources such as subscription databases?
- Will you explore alternative funding possibilities, such as adding a budget line in future grant proposals to pay interns, or seeking out private funders?
- Will the intern be acknowledged for their contributions in project credits and/or announcements?
- Have you considered whether the skills and experiences gained in this internship match those sought by employers in the current job market? If not, are there ways of supplementing the base internship with training in more marketable areas?
- Is the intern expected to only learn and observe the operations of your institution, or will you encourage the intern to think critically and make suggestions, and will you be open to accepting this feedback?
- Will you talk to your intern about their interests and career goals? Will you use these to tailor the internship and/or to identify staff members the intern might wish to meet?
- Will you explore possibilities for accommodating the intern’s personal schedule? Can some parts of the intern’s work be completed remotely or on evenings or weekends?
- Will the intern be introduced to other staff members and allowed to see other aspects of the institution outside of their specific project? Will they be invited to attend staff meetings where appropriate?
- Will you offer the intern the opportunity to write blog posts and/or contribute to your institution’s social media outlets? Will you consider whether there are opportunities for the intern to give a presentation about their work if they would like to, perhaps at a staff meeting if not a public event?
- Will you seek out and encourage professional networking and growth opportunities for the intern?
- Will the intern be informed about, welcomed to, and possibly funded to attend, professional development events such as DVAG meetings or local workshops?
- When attending an event where the intern is also present, will repository staff make an effort to introduce the intern to other area professionals?
- Will the institution show gratitude for the intern’s contributions? At the conclusion of the internship, will staff sign a farewell card, hold a snack break, or otherwise mark the intern’s departure?
- Society of American Archivists, “Best Practices for Internships as a Component of Graduate Archival Education,” accepted by SAA Council as an approved standard in January 2014, http://www2.archivists.org/standards/best-practices-for-internships-as-a-component-of-graduate-archival-education.
- Jeannette A. Bastian and Donna Webber, Archival Internships: A Guide for Faculty, Supervisors, and Students, Society of American Archivists: 2008, http://saa.archivists.org/store/archival-internships-a-guide-for-faculty-supervisors-and-students/774/
About this guide:
This guide was inspired by, and borrowed many suggestions from, a presentation given by Rebecca Goldman at a May 11, 2016 Delaware Valley Archivists’ Group meeting entitled, “Sea Change: A Community Approach to Archives Internships.” The queries were drafted by a working group of the Delaware Valley Archivists’ Group Planning Committee (Celia Caust-Ellenbogen, Sarah Newhouse, and Hoang Tran), with invaluable input by Taylor Barrett, Rebecca Goldman, and Peter D. Savedge. This document was endorsed by the Delaware Valley Archivists’ Group Planning Committee on September 1, 2016.
Last updated: August 31, 2016
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