What’s it like to be a trainee? Marjolein Platjee, Graduate Trainee Digital Archivist, 2018-2020

Having now worked as a trainee with the Bodleian Libraries for a little over a month, I can honestly say that the job was 100% worth the move from The Netherlands to the UK. As my predecessors have written, the job is incredibly varied, interesting and very rewarding.

Like the majority of my fellow trainees I do not have a background in libraries or archives. However, I do have a background in research and using archives from work on my PhD focussing on British Popular Literature. Whilst writing my dissertation I was also working as an Information and Process coordinator. In this role I managed a number of IT related projects, including the implementation of a knowledge management base. It was this project that got me interested in knowledge and records management. So when I stumbled upon this traineeship with the Bodleian it seemed the ideal combination of my love for technology and research. As it turns out, it is indeed.

Although I have only been working at the Bodleian for a short while I have already been given the opportunity to do and learn so much. I have already been taught how to manipulate XML files, how to archive websites and how to digitize cassette tapes and other media. I am currently also being trained to assist in the reading rooms and I have been assigned my very own cataloguing project. Working on the latter has been especially exciting and surprising, as next to documents and books I have also been cataloguing merchandise which includes such ‘exotic’ items as t-shirts, jackets, corkscrews – they come in five different colours and have even been engraved – and temporary tattoos.

The distance study at Aberystwyth really prepares me for the tasks that I face in my work and therewith helps me to gain a better understanding of my job, its importance and the history behind it. It does take some self-discipline to keep up with the course work whilst working 4.5 days a week, but if you manage your time wisely it really is doable.

I look forward to learning even more over the course of the coming two years, and I am sure I will look back upon my decision to apply for this job as one of the best ones I could have made.

Marjolein Platjee, Nov 2018

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