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As I was completing my internships in library school, I always found it useful to keep track of my progress and accomplishments with an internship journal.  Often this is part of the requirement for credit, but I think I would have done it regardless.  Otherwise I’m not sure that I would remember all the projects I worked on.  I decided to do the same kind of thing with my research assistantship, though on a weekly rather than daily basis.  I probably won’t post it every week, but here are the highlights from week 1:

1. Logged into the Bunting catalog (VISIC), learned how the database operates and compared the cataloging view and public view

2. Compared the metadata in the catalog to metadata in the VIRCONA database

3. Explored the functionality of VIRCONA

4. Compared images in ARTstor to what is in the catalog

5. Cataloged image sets from Universal Art Images (Abstract Expressionism and Picasso)

All of these things were useful and helped to familiarize me with the database and the procedures of the department.  The most satisfying was the process of cataloging – so nice to get back in a workflow state.

Obviously the last few months of 2010 became a more time-consuming phase than expected.  Grading, office hours, editing the departmental journal, publishing a new ARLIS book review….combined with an intensive research project on Teotihuacan iconography and continuing the Santa Fe gallery commute twice a week combined to throw me into a whirlwind.

The new year brings a new semester and new opportunities.  Likely a new whirlwind as well, though I am resolved to chart the process more often.  The most exciting change is starting my research assistantship this week at the Bunting Visual Resources Library, where I will be cataloging for the VIRCONA (Visual Resources Catalog of Native American Artists) database.  This is a great chance for me to get back in a library and get some new experience. 

This spring also brings my first symposium.  I will have to determine a research project suitable to present to my colleagues, which is somewhat daunting.  Luckily I am taking two courses in Native American art with two of the professors I would like on my committee, so their input will be valuable.

It’s fall break at UNM, which theoretically means a chance to catch up on everything that has fallen through the cracks.  Of course the reality is that I have been frantically grading stack after stack of student papers and midterms while pulling together my semiotics presentation.  To add to general frisson in the air, this is the week GA/TA/RA announcements were set to be announced.  It’s not easy to relax knowing our funding could be ripped out of our hands next semester.  This is especially hard on the out of state (and out of country) students.  They made the decision to attend UNM based upon a funding situation that has changed dramatically with the budget.  We’ve all been holding meetings and writing letters, but for the next semester at least the situation is pretty dire.

I lucked out in the end.  Not only did I get funding, I got my first choice assignment to work in the Bunting Visual Resources Library.  Some of my friends were not so lucky, and I can only hope they can find a way to finance their educations.