The Mary and Samuel Somit Preservation Internship at The University of Chicago Library

The University of Chicago Library is accepting applications for the 2014 Mary and Samuel Somit Preservation Internship. The Internship program has been made possible through the generosity of Dr. Albert Somit, AB ’41, PhD ’47, University of Chicago alumnus and past president of Southern Illinois University. Established to honor his parents’ legacy, the Internship serves the needs of the Library’s collection, and prepares individuals for the important work of preserving library resources for research and teaching.

Internship – Summer 2014

The six-week Internship is intended to provide students with an opportunity to learn about a comprehensive program for the care of collections and to apply their skills and knowledge in a research library setting. Under the guidance of the Preservation Librarian and other Library staff, the Intern will learn about Preservation Department operations and undertake a project based on the needs of the collection and the priorities of the Library.


The Mary & Samuel Somit Internship provides a $4,000 stipend.  Applicants must commit to six consecutive weeks of full-time work to occur betweenJune 1st and August 30th


Internship Project:

For the summer 2014 Internship, the Internship project will focus on the care and digitization of photographs of the Middle East including collections of albumen prints and stereoscopic cards dating from the mid-19th to the early 20th century.  These photographs were intended for the burgeoning tourist trade and served as an important method of entertainment, education, and virtual travel.  Images include landscapes, monuments of the Middle East’s medieval and ancient past, as well as scenes of daily life.  Since the 19th century, much has been altered or transformed so that in some cases the images are the only surviving records of the Middle East’s history.  This project will involve collaboration with the Preservation Department’s Digitization and Conservation Units, the Digital Library Development Center, Technical Services, and Subject Bibliographers.


Aspects of the project may include:

  • ·         High-resolution scanning of photographs; testing on various types of scanners to determine the optimum equipment for capture
  • ·         Creating metadata records for preservation and access based on imaging technology, printed and handwritten captions, catalog records, finding aids, a legacy website, and other printed and online sources
  • ·         Determining derivative file specifications for optimal online presentation
  • ·         Evaluating the collection’s physical condition and preservation needs; recommending rehousing options

Eligibility and Requirements:

The Internship is open to recent graduates and currently enrolled students of a conservation program or library program with a specialization in preservation or digitization; or students with equivalent experience and preservation or conservation training. Experience with the application of digitization standards and metadata for images is desirable.
To apply for the Internship individuals must electronically submit a letter of application, a resume, and the names and e-mail addresses of three professional references.  Graduates or currently enrolled students in a graduate program should also provide a list of completed preservation and other relevant courses.  To be considered an applicant, individuals must be eligible to work in the United States and be able to work six consecutive weeks of full-time work between June 1stand August 30th.  The University of Chicago is an Affirmative Action/Equal Opportunity Employer.


The deadline for applications is March 1st, 2014.

Submit electronic applications to:


For more information please see our Somit Preservation Internship website ( or contact:

Sherry Byrne, Preservation Librarian

University of Chicago Library

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