Recent Alumna Extends Her Preservation Skillbase as a Public Broadcasting Preservation Fellow

Community Profile

“The best part about the program is being able to go to school remotely in order to continue earning an income as well as being able to actually have an internship or a fellowship to gain hands-on experience. So much of the information field is online at this point that I don’t feel like I am missing anything by not being in a classroom. If anything, it has taught me how to better interact in digital forum [and] deal with time zones and different technology interfaces.”

Tanya Yule
MLIS Graduate 2018
San Francisco, CA

Originally, San José State University School of Information alumna Tanya Yule (MLIS ’18) was strictly interested in photography preservation. She has a BFA in photography and has been a darkroom photographer for over 20 years. Preserving photographic materials and the methods in which photos are produced has been a passion of hers for all of those years. Only two schools in North America, however, focus on those areas of study, so Yule had to re-evaluate her path forward. “I decided to look into other options,” Yule says. “My sister-in-law was an archivist at the Frick and suggested looking into getting my MLIS as an alternative. She described her own work with photographic materials and that piqued my interest.” From there, it was a matter of deciding where to go for her Master’s of Library Information Sciences.

Yule selected the iSchool at San José State University for her MLIS studies for a few reasons, chief among them being the comprehensive catalog of classes in archives and preservation and classes specifically focused on photography preservation and collections management like photo identification taught by iSchool faculty member Gawain Weaver. Yule also highlighted the iSchool’s flexibility and menu of additional opportunities outside the classroom. “The best part about the program is being able to go to school remotely in order to continue earning an income,” says Yule, “as well as being able to actually have an internship or a fellowship to gain hands-on experience.” Yule doesn’t feel like she’s missing anything by not being in a traditional classroom. If anything, taking the non-traditional path has taught Yule how to better interact in digital forums, adjust to time zone differences and engage with various technology interfaces.  

PBPF Preservation

Yule had been working as an intern at the Hoover Archives at Stanford University when she saw the posting for the Public Broadcasting Preservation Fellowship (PBPF), a fellowship designed to support students interested in digital preservation and its practices. Yule contacted Alyce Scott, the iSchool mentor for the PBPF, right away. “At the time,” Yule recalls, “I didn’t exactly meet the requirements listed, but I explained my focus and direction, and described valuable aspects of other classes that did fulfill levels of the requirements.” Yule made a deep commitment to herself when she entered graduate school that if she wanted something, she would at the very least try to put herself out there. “Fortunately,” she says, “I think my eagerness and willingness to just ask has benefitted me greatly.”

As a PBPF fellow, Yule’s responsibilities are akin to those of an independent project archivist. She is harvesting, cataloging and curating a special collection and making digitization judgments based on a variety of factors. “I am also acting as a vendor for the Bay Area Video Coalition,” Yule reveals, “in which I am learning [about] their entire workflow for processing and digitizing magnetic media. I have learned an enormous amount of information that will help me evaluate vendor returns and digitized projects, as well as establishing digitization projects.” Further, she creates descriptive metadata for films she’s capturing for use on the America Archive of Public Broadcasting’s website. She does this fellowship work in addition to her part-time position at the Hoover Archives where she processes collections, assists with circulation and works with preservation materials daily.

Confidence in Her Future

Yule readily acknowledges the impact the iSchool has had on her professional path forward in life. “I have to thank the iSchool and Linda Main for helping guide me in the direction I wanted,” Yule says, “especially the areas I didn’t even know I wanted to be in. I wanted to work with photographs—I have [since] been able to work with such a cascade of materials that I don’t think I could ever just be interested in working with one format.” Thanks to her MLIS from the iSchool and the connections the institution continues to provide her through internships, fellowships and professional relationships, Yule is feeling confident in her abilities to obtain the career she wants.

To read more about Yule’s experiences as a PBPF fellow, take a look at her guest post on the PBPF blog right here.