K12 Web Archiving Program: Confessions of a virtual intern

July 17th, 2015


 K12 Web Archiving Summer Intern JoyEllen Freeman

K12 Web Archiving Summer Intern JoyEllen Freeman

The following is a guest post by the K12 Web Archiving Program Summer Intern and Clayton State graduate student, JoyEllen Freeman @joygirl91


I am convinced I have the best summer internship in the whole world. Thanks to one unexpected email, the generosity of some amazing people at the Internet Archive and Archive-It, and of course, a healthy internet connection, I am learning and exploring digital archives in a way I didn’t know was possible. My days are never boring, and even though my daily companion is generally my computer, I get to meet so many wonderful people during the course of this internship. Come along, let me give you a glimpse into the life of a virtual intern…

How it all began

One of the things I love about graduate school is that your professors know you. This aspect of grad school served me well in August 2014, when Richard Pearce-Moses, one of my wonderful professors, sent me an unexpected email. He told me he’d been talking to some friends over at the Internet Archive in San Francisco. He said they were contemplating the possibility of an intern to help work with the Archive-It K-12 Web Archiving Program, and since he knew I was interested in the use of archives in K-12 education, he immediately thought of me. “Wow, that sounds super interesting,” I replied (yes, those were my exact words…I still have the email). Fast forward a few months and I found myself on a conference call with two Internet Archive team members: Jefferson Bailey, Director of Web Archiving Programs and Lori Donovan, Senior Program Manager, Archive-It. Fast forward a little more and I’ve got an internship workplan in hand and a starting date. Needless to say, I was beyond excited.

What do you mean you’re a “virtual intern?”

Being a virtual intern basically means I am not based in San Francisco, where the Internet Archive is located. After all, my internship is all about web archiving, digital archives, and digital preservation, so most of my work, naturally, takes place in a digital environment. My mom always jokes with me that I have different “offices.” I can take my work to Starbucks, Panera, my church, or right upstairs to my little home office—anywhere with WiFi becomes my office for the day. I am “virtually” at work wherever I choose to go. When it comes to communicating with others, my virtual existence allows me to connect with colleagues and partners via social media, blogs, email, Skype, phone calls, and conference calls. I’ve used every one of these mediums throughout my internship thus far. In a sense, my internship is an example of virtual reality because while I am not physically next to my colleagues and co-workers, my presence is made possible via computer software and the Internet. Cool, isn’t it?

So…what do you do each day?

My day-to-day work varies. Working with Archive-It involves a little bit of everything—research, interviews, social media, emails, brainstorming, strategizing, marketing, outreach, and yes, a little bit of my own web archiving. Here’s a little breakdown of the main tasks I do as a virtual intern with Archive-It:


Research is a key aspect of my internship. In a field like digital preservation that is still emerging and constantly changing before our eyes, it is imperative to keep up with what others are studying, writing, and learning about it. This involves subscribing to and following the right blogs, following archivists and information science gurus on Twitter, reading scholarly articles in the archival and digital humanities fields, creating bibliographies, and bouncing ideas off of other scholars through email chats, tweets, blog comments, whatever it takes. Since I am trying to learn how web archiving can fit into the K-12 environment, I also spend a lot of time reaching out to educators and researching educational standards like the Common Core. To top it all off, I am using this research as the basis for a directed research course I am taking this summer as a part of my grad program.


Blogging is everything. It is one of the main ways I promote the student web archiving programs. Each week, I feature a blog post highlighting specific K-12 web archive collections, or I focus on a general topic relevant to web archiving and digital preservation. My blog helps me learn, and it helps my audience learn. Now, for my necessary self-promotional line:

Check out my blog! https://thejoyofarchives.wordpress.com/


The best way to understand and promote the Archive-It K-12 program is to first talk with educators who have actually been involved in the program. So far, I’ve had the pleasure of conversing with Cheryl Lederle, an Educational Resource Specialist from the Library of Congress; Patricia Carlton, a media specialist at Mount Dora High School in Florida; and Neme Alperstein, a teacher at P.S. 174 William Sidney Mount in New York. I feature highlights from these interviews on my blog. Currently, I am branching out and getting undergraduate educators’ perspectives on student web archiving as well.

Promotional materials and curriculum guides

My major deliverables for this internship include helping research and develop informational materials and curriculum guides for the K-12 Web Archiving Program. The materials I create are meant to be new, fresh tools that the Archive-It staff can reference and use in the future to help raise awareness about the K-12 Web Archiving Program. I am also responsible for helping create an adaptable curriculum guide that will help educators better incorporate web archiving into classroom curricula.

Training and collaboration

A big part of this internship involves learning from others at Archive-It. So far, I have attended two Archive-It Informational webinars hosted by Archive-It team members, which really helped me learn more about the organization and how it works. I also took an application training that taught me how to do web archiving the Archive-It way. I thoroughly enjoyed creating my own web archive collection! In addition, I have bi-weekly conference calls with my wonderful internship supervisors, Lori and Jefferson. They keep me on track and give me great insight into my work and how I can improve it.

Well, there you have it. A true confession of a virtual intern at Archive-It!