Skip to content Skip to main navigation Report an accessibility issue

Practicum: Vanderbilt University Special Collections and University Archives

Practicum Type

In Person

Semester, Number of Students, Duration

Spring 2020, available to multiple students, single semester


Nashville, TN

Work Site

Special Collections and University Archives is part of the Jean and Alexander Heard Library System at Vanderbilt University. While the department is primarily accessed at the main library building on campus, this practicum will take place at the offsite archival storage facility, about one mile from campus.

Student Tasks

Special Collections and University Archives is currently focused on gaining intellectual control over its 200+ collections of faculty papers. The practicum student(s) will work closely with the Curator for Special Collections to identify faculty papers, weed and appraise as appropriate, and create basic inventories of each collection. These inventories will then be entered into ArchivesSpace, Vanderbilt’s archival information management system.

Type of mentoring provided to student

  • Hands-on practice of basic arrangement and description skills integral to a professional archivist’s job
  • How to use ArchivesSpace to manage collections and create accurate inventories
  • Experience using elements of “More Product, Less Process” archival methods
  • General mentoring from a fellow UTK SIS graduate (2014) that has worked in archives for nearly 10 years.

Level of interaction the student will have with others in the organization

The student will have close interaction with the Curator of Special Collections. The student will also interact generally with the Rare Books Curator, the university archives manager, and two manuscript collection processors that work regularly at the offsite facility. There will be opportunity to talk to the department head when she comes to the facility.

Back to Practicum Opportunities Listings