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Reparative and Inclusive Description (RID) Survey Scholar Internship

Gleeson Library | Geschke Center at the University of San Francisco, RID Survey Scholar Internship program description, syllabus, and related works.

The RID Survey Scholar program is a semester-long paid internship at Gleeson Library | Geschke Center at the University of San Francisco. During the program, the Scholar conducts a literature review, surveys existing collection records in both the Special Collections & University Archives and Metadata & Collection Management departments for harmful, racist, and biased language, and creates a final paper or presentation that outlines recommendations for integrating reparative and inclusive descriptive practices into the library’s workflows.

Background

Libraries, archives, and museums around the world have been critically examining their past practices and engaging with their communities and collections with an anti-racist, anti-oppressive lens. We know that our collections and the language used to describe them often present white, male dominant voices and structures. In one effort to make amends for these historic and current practices, librarians at Gleeson and Zief Libraries are joining our colleagues across the field in pursuing what we call “reparative and inclusive description.” Our desired outcome is to describe library materials in a manner that is informative, accurate, and respectful to the individuals and communities who create, use, and are represented in the collections. The Scholar works closely with the libraries’ Reparative and Inclusive Description (RID) Working Group, an interdepartmental group of library staff convened to gather concerns, initiatives, and reference material involving the description of resources at the library and engage with developing practices.

Program goals

The RID Survey Scholar uses our Harmful Language Statement and relevant literature as a framework for developing recommendations on descriptive practices that align with anti-racism, diversity, equity, and inclusion initiatives in the library and across campus. The Scholar critically examines systemic harm or inequities in library descriptive practices, identifies potential community partners for collaborative projects, and recommends solutions that are reparative, fostering an anti-oppressive approach to discovery and access. 

The Scholar experiences guided critical reflection throughout the project to make meaning of the intersections among academic knowledge, civic engagement, diversity, positionality, and power. We will customize the scope of the Scholar's work by employing the student’s interests and expertise, department priorities, and the size of the collections. Scholars may express interest in particular areas of the library collections, including archival finding aids, digital collections metadata (ContentDM), scholarship repository metadata (Digital Commons), rare books, and catalog metadata (Sierra). 

At the conclusion of the internship, the Scholar will have in-depth knowledge of current issues in reparative description work, skills in primary source research, and experience in professional writing and presentation. The Scholar will have the opportunity to continue their academic contributions after the internship by co-authoring publications and presentations with the supervising librarians.

This methodology is modeled after the successful UCLA Library Special Collections Center for Primary Research and Training (CFPRT) program that partners graduate students with archives and special collections projects relevant to their scholarly interests.

Potential applicants

The position is aimed at graduate students from any institution who have interests in social justice, anti-racism work, critical diversity studies, cataloging, indexing and taxonomies, history, or librarianship. Upper-division undergraduates and recent graduates will also be considered. The internship location can be remote or onsite at Gleeson Library.

Candidates from underrepresented groups and identities are encouraged to apply.

An ideal candidate will have:

  • Formal coursework or experience using archival or special collections for research.

  • Coursework or familiarity with social and transformative justice concepts and critical pedagogy.

  • Demonstrated commitment to promoting and enhancing diversity, equity, and inclusion.

  • Demonstrated ability to conduct a literature review, assess and organize information, and write clearly.

  • Demonstrated ability to work independently as well as a commitment to collaborative teamwork and significant partnerships with faculty, scholars, and community members.

  • Demonstrated problem solving skills in an environment requiring attention to detail, accuracy, and organizational skills.

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