Day 2: Three Things I Learned Today at ICHSTM

Just to make this blog post tolerably shorter than the previous, I decided to crop my words into a moderate three points listed below. As today’s discussion on the symposium S002 was firmly related to the science museums, I will try to observe these five points through “my” library project and its institutional surroundings at the National Library of Finland.

1 ) INTERNSHIP IS GOOD FOR YOU

Today, there were plenty of talks around the internships (of PhD candidates/students/postgraduates) at the museums and their importance for the both partners, specialists and museums. Already the first speakers of the day, Helmuth Trischler of Deutsches Museum, focus on this matter and he said that they have joint appointments, research programs and shared training for some of the students between some German universities and museums. According to the Mr. Trischler, this path leads to a better training of a new generation of curators. Thanks to collaboration with between the museums and universities, the outcomes have been richer and the media attention of the collections has increased. In addition to the German model of training future experts for that branch, we heard the experiences of three British CDAs, and we heard how they have combined their research and working at the museums. (Collaborative Doctoral Awards, CDAs are intended to encourage and develop collaboration and partnerships between Higher Education Institution (HEI) departments and non-academic organisations).

In my home Finland, the situation is somewhat different and I am reluctant to go into details how it works over there, but we have benefitted a lot on Trainee program for the students. For instance, the Slavonic Library of the National Library of Finland has had at least one trainee a year for three months. Usually, the chosen person is a student of Russian (or in some cases Slavonic) languages and cultures. We have noticed that the traineeship has been beneficial for the library and for the trainees – for instance, I managed to employ of one of the past trainees to work in F-U project in this summer and we didn’t need to start with this person from a scratch as one was aware of the house, the people, the working methods based on the trainee period etc. For this person, the last year’s traineeship and this summer’s part-time assignment could create a fantastic career pathway in this branch of humanities.

2) TAKE CARE OF YOUR PARTNER

The commentator of the symposium, Jean-Francois Gauvin, spoke briefly, but he pointed out that any relationship needs to be pampered from time to time. Respect your partner, listen to her, bring the flowers, prepare a dinner, talk, talk, talk.

This is very true. What we have done in during the pilot phase of the Digitization Project of Kindred Languages is that I meet the researchers more than often over a cup of tea. From the very beginning it was crystal clear to me that I need to be interested in the research what the linguists (to whom we are providing the digitized content) are doing in their research. It is not wise to hand in the business card, e-mail address or phone number and ask the researcher to contact you – no, one must be proactive and pay a visit at the office of your partner. It is hard to measure the profit of my coffee hours with the researchers involved, but I can tell you that this has made the things easier and all the partners have sensed that they are doing one and same project. Together.

3) LIBRARIES DO NOT SEIZE THE DAY

It is a pity that there aren’t that many delegates from libraries at this congress – the whole GLAM (galleries, libraries, archives, museums) sector would have benefitted from these discussions, I am sure, since many topics which were covered in these past two days are easily transferrable to our world too. One must remember that the scientific (research) libraries are a part of science, but never the science alone. And it seems that, at least here in Manchester, the archives and museums are discussing more openly with the research than we are doing.

This could be changed in future congresses, don’t you think?

Good night and see you tomorrow again.

Yours &c.,

Jussi-Pekka

Writer is a project manager of the Digitization Project of Kindred (Finno-Ugric) Languages at the National Library of Finland and will give a paper at ICHSTM 2013 on Friday. Follow @Hakkarainen on Twitter for iCHSTM comments.

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