iSchool Scholarship Supports Student Martina Podsklanova’s Studies in Digital Archiving

Community Profile

Student Martina Podsklanova, of Belfast, Ireland, is the 2012 recipient of the iSchool NewsBank Scholarship, which will help support Podsklanova during her upcoming virtual internship at Calisphere, an online portal of digitized images of historical artifacts from California repositories.

During her fall 2012 internship, Podsklanova will concentrate on improving user access and enhancing the online visibility of Calisphere through current strategies, including search engine optimization (SEO) and the analysis of web metrics.

“The web is the first place researchers go to find a repository or look for documents,” Podsklanova said. “Archivists need to create a solid metadata system so users can find the information online, and that’s what I’ll be doing in my internship.”

Born in Slovakia, Podsklanova became interested in reference and archival practices while working as a library assistant in the Slavic and East European Collections at Stanford, and then as an archival assistant in audiovisual services, visual collections, and as a processing specialist for Slovak, Hungarian, and Czech manuscript collections at the Hoover Institution Archives in Stanford, California.

“The Hoover Institution has extensive collections on the Cold War and Eastern Europe. I became fascinated by that topic. The more I worked with books and archival documents, the more I wanted to learn about best practices and standards for librarians and archivists,” said Podsklanova.

After a two week training session at the Western Archives Institute in Berkeley, California, sponsored by the Society of California Archivists, Podsklanova enrolled in our school’s MLIS program in spring 2011. She’s been choosing electives from the program’s career pathway that allows her to explore archival topics. “I chose the MLIS program because I didn’t want to limit the scope of my studies to archives only,” she explained.

Reflecting on her coursework, Podsklanova highlights INFO 240 Information Technology Tools and Applications with instructor Raymond Dean as one of her most helpful classes, because it enabled her to understand online presentation tools. She also appreciated INFO 282 Digital Asset Management, which taught her to systematically focus on the end user, copyright issues, and online publishing. Additionally, she found INFO 210 Reference and Information Services with Dr. Johanna Tunon an excellent course with its focus on online tools.

Although Podsklanova moved between continents while enrolled in our MLIS program, she hasn’t found her experience as a student to be much different from when she began the program in Greencastle, Indiana. “I started in Indiana, and then moved to Belfast, Northern Ireland. Over the summer I’ll be moving back to Indiana,” she said.

“The program is really flexible so I don’t need to make too many adjustments.” As with coursework, for her upcoming virtual internship at Calisphere, Podsklanova will attend meetings online and communicate with her supervisor through Skype and email.

For a touch of reality, Podsklanova recommends local volunteering. “I volunteer at archives wherever I live,” she said. “It’s important to have that practice. What we study is an applied science, so the focus is on skills, in addition to theory.”

The iSchool NewsBank Scholarship supports students interested in pursuing careers in information retrieval and digital information resources.