When I was hired as a seasonal digital archivist for the South Florida Collections Management Center (SFCMC) at Everglades National Park, I must admit I was unsure of what to expect. In my previous work experiences, I had never worked at a national park nor had I even considered the possibility of working at one. Now that my time is over, I cannot imagine why I never considered it when looking for museum and archival positions. Working for the SFCMC has not only been an eye-opening look into the workings of the National Park Service, but has also been an incredibly rewarding experience.
As a seasonal employee of the National Park Service, I am limited in how many months I can work here. Despite this, throughout my six months, I have completed a number of projects for the archives. However, my favorite project is my last project. During my last two months here, I have been hard at work cataloging science permit deliverables for Biscayne National Park.
The process to do this was very straightforward. Using a spreadsheet and our Interior Collection Management System (ICMS), I made a list of all of the accessions that were permit deliverables. I recorded key information such as the study name, the researcher of the study, dates of the materials in the folders, permit numbers, and the study numbers, and indicated whether we had received materials. I also made notes if we had digital materials associated with the accession as well as the item counts both physical and digital. Then using the spreadsheet and the information I collected, I inputted the data into ICMS. Once this was completed, I rehoused all of the accessions into archival boxes so that they would be stored by proper archival standards and that the accessions were in numerical order.
The reason I enjoyed this project so much is because I love to catalog collections. Throughout my schooling and my previous archival experience, I would always jokingly tell people that cataloging was my one true love in life. When I catalog, I get the opportunity to get up close and personal with a collection. I also felt that with this project I truly began to understand the importance of the science research that is done here in the national parks in south Florida. Some studies are on plants, wildlife, and even the water at Biscayne National Park. I did not realize how much research goes on in a national park, and it was fascinating to see what types of studies were being done at Biscayne. It is clear that the south Florida national parks are committed to continuing to learning about the environment around them, but also the preservation of it.
Now that this collection is fully cataloged into ICMS, I have been able to ensure the preservation of these science permit deliverables. At any given time, the SFCMC team will be able to have access to them in the event they or a researcher needs to look over them. It is a great feeling to be a part of this type of process because I know that because of my work, these records will be accessible for years to come. This is the reason that I enjoy this type of work because I know that eventually the public will be able to use this information. For all I know, one day a science researcher will be working on a project and may find useful information from these deliverables for their own work. I will have made their life a little easier and put them in the direction they need to go. Knowing that could happen gives me so much satisfaction and continues to remind me why I am in this field.
Working at Everglades National Park for the past six months has reinforced this love so much. I know that work like this will continue to be done at SFCMC. I hope that the future seasonals will be reminded why they have chosen their career path and end up learning what makes the National Park Service such a unique place to work.
Last updated: December 4, 2018