Practicum Spotlight: Champaign County Historical Archives

Edward Gloor

MS/LIS student Edward Gloor discusses his practicum experience at the Champaign County Historical Archives.

What is your area of interest at the iSchool?

I am focusing on digital preservation, with a specific interest in preserving cultural heritage that forms in digital worlds.

Where did you work this summer, and what was your role?

I worked at the Champaign County Historical Archives to implement a digital preservation plan that was developed by my group in the Digital Preservation course (IS 586).

How did you find out about the practicum?

I pitched the idea to the Champaign County Historical Archives, and they were very enthusiastic about it.

What knowledge and skills did you acquire?

I now understand how hard it is to implement new systems, and I am more intimately aware of what challenges small institutions face because of their budgets. The practicum was full of growing pains in the best sense possible. I was the department's expert in digital preservation, but I am still very much a beginner in the wider world of preservation. There were many times I wasn't sure of what I was doing, so I had to explore on my own to find the answers. I was given the freedom to make mistakes and learn from them, for which I am very grateful. 

What did you like best about working at the organization?

My bosses trusted me to do the work, and they took my advice seriously. They challenged me when necessary, so that the practicum would produce the best outcome for the archives.

What advice do you have for students who are interested in a practicum?

For practicum students who end up in an "amateur-expert" position like I did, my advice is to set realistic work goals for yourself each day. It can be easy to get overwhelmed if you stay focused on the big picture, and a well-written to-do list can really help keep you focused.

What are your plans after you complete your degree?

Digital preservation is a really big field with a lot of opportunities that excite me. Ultimately, I want to end up working for Blizzard Entertainment, preserving the digital cultures that their worlds have created.