What’s it like to be a trainee? Kelly Burchmore, Graduate Trainee Digital Archivist 2017-2019

I feel incredibly lucky to be taking part in a traineeship here that combines both full time work and funded distance learning with Aberystwyth University. There is no time as trainee digital archivists when we are not busy- but I love this and thrive on it! Special collections staff are so supportive, and we all have a personal tutor at Aberystwyth, too.

I have a Bachelor of Arts in Ancient History from Royal Holloway University of London. During my degree I undertook some work experience in the United States at a National Historic site in Kansas, engaging with materials and culture linked to the site and its history. I was so engaged with the work there, but knew little about working towards a career in archives until I returned home and began to research.

Not having a STEM background, I have surprised myself at how much I enjoy the technology related aspects of the traineeship such as assisting in an XML conversion project which will contribute to improved access for all of our users. I have also massively appreciated mastering web-archiving related terminology and functions; in my first month I have learnt so much about the entire process of the BLWA from nomination of a site through to quality assuring its ‘crawls’. In the months to come I am excited to raise awareness of the web archiving here at the Bodleian and the wider importance of preserving sites.

No two consecutive days are the same as a trainee, and the varied experience means I am building up a rounded skill set. It’s difficult to choose an aspect I enjoy the most, but currently I would say it is assisting with enquiries. I love gaining insights into the collections from more experienced staff members, visiting the stacks and working to find an item that a reader specifically needs for their research. The scope and extent of the Bodleian’s collections are so exciting and it is a joy to work with them.

Kelly Burchmore, May 2017

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