The Ronald Raven Annual Award: Devin Erlandson

Devin Erlandson was the fourth recipient of the Ronald Raven Annual Award, a scholarship providing a tuition stipend and a semester-long internship in the Wayne State University Archives. At the end of her internship, Devin wrote this summary of her experience.

I first learned about the Ronald Raven Annual Award from Dr. Louis Jones in his archival administration class. I applied in December 2013 and was honored to accept the award for the Spring/Summer semester of 2014. I am lucky to have had three previous years of experience working as a student assistant at the Western Michigan University Archives as an undergraduate, and I know that archival work is something I greatly enjoy doing. It is something I missed during my first two semesters here at Wayne State University, where I am working on my MLIS and Graduate Certificate in Archival Administration. I have two more semesters until graduation and I know that the work I have done here adds to, and expands upon, my previous archival experience.

In my time here at the Reuther I have processed 20 collections, scanned a few hundred objects, helped to answer reference questions, written a blog post about Nisei students at Wayne State University during World War II, and helped assess and pack the records of a Distinguished Professor of the School of Medicine. I was also given the opportunity to get some hands-on experience with ArchivesSpace and was able to create electronic records based on the finding aids I wrote during my internship. I am grateful to Casey Westerman for giving me opportunities to learn something new and build upon my previous knowledge. Prior to my internship I had done mostly in-depth processing, and at the Reuther I learned to process collections according to "More Product, Less Process" guidelines. I am now able to say I have experience doing both types of processing, which I know will be very beneficial as I enter the profession. I also mentioned to Casey I’d like to get some experience with digitization, and so I was able to work on a collection scanning a few hundred notes and letters—a project likely to be ongoing with other Raven Award interns.

I worked on several small collections, but the largest collection I worked on was the Wayne State University School of Medicine Information Office Records. This collection consisted of 18 linear feet of biographical files from the School of Medicine, from 1980-2008. While I did very minimal processing on this collection, it can now serve as a potential resource for researchers needing biographical information from the School of Medicine.

It has been an excellent experience working at the Reuther this summer. I am very grateful to Mr. Raven for making this experience possible for both myself and other students interested in archival work. The opportunity to enhance my professional and practical skills has been extremely valuable to me, and I have enjoyed being able to do this work. Thanks also to the Reuther Library as a whole, and Dr. Jones because I might not have been here at all it he hadn’t urged his class to apply. And of course thank you to Casey Westerman for enabling me to expand my archival knowledge and build upon my previous experience.