Cinema Studies
For Students:

Rebecca Fraimow, New York Public Library - Library for the Performing Arts, Dance Division, Spring 2012

All of my experiences at the New York Public Library were incredibly valuable to me. I learned a great deal in practical terms about handling film and video materials, cataloging within the MARC standard, and negotiating different kinds of institutional and archival metadata. I assisted in processing complex donation projects, such as the Welland Lathrop Collection, a series of works generated throughout Welland Lathrop's career that had been preserved by the donor in some non-intuitive fashions, and the Charles Weidman Collection, a collection of production materials for the documentary On His Own, some of which were copies of material the library already possessed. These projects provided especially valuable problem-solving experiences in sorting through confusing or contradictory metadata to determine an appropriate course of action. Even more importantly, though, my experience also taught me about the way that a major archive such as the New York Public Library functions. I was able to observe and discuss the decisions that my supervisor made about the collections, sit in on staff meetings regarding topics such as patron requests and digitalization infrastructure, and grow comfortable with working my way through the various standards and systems that keep the institution running relatively smoothly.