Since August, the Dalhousie Libraries have been hosting Michelle Bentzon, a graduate student at Aalborg University in Denmark, on a twenty-week internship required as part of her studies in information management. She has been working in the Archives, focused on the archival appraisal of the records of non-profit cultural organizations. She has also been conducting research on acquisition and appraisal strategies for this kind of material, performing supervised archival appraisals, creating forensic images of digital storage devices, and working on the reference desk in the Archives and Special Collections Reading Room. She is registered with the Faculty of Graduate Studies as a “Visiting Research Student”: https://www.dal.ca/faculty/gradstudies/programs/vsgs.html
What drew you to the internship at the Dal Libraries?
As a part of my university program at Aalborg University, Denmark, you have to get an internship in your ninth semester. They generally encourage students in my program to go abroad. I chose to apply to an internship at the Dalhousie University Archives because of its academic reputation and because my partner of four years is from Halifax. I always knew this would be a good opportunity to spend time with him and to experience the Canadian culture I had fallen in love with during my visits here. Dalhousie University has a very professional work environment which was what I was looking for. I was drawn to Dalhousie because I wanted an internship that could provide me with the opportunity to work full-time in an archival setting and to obtain on-the-job experience in all the core activities of archives. My internship at Dalhousie gives me plenty of opportunity to learn from the very experienced archivists and records managers in the Archives.
What’s your educational background?
I have a bachelor’s degree in history from Aalborg University. Now, I’m taking the Informationsforvaltning program which is comparable to archival science/information management/records management in Canada. It’s basically a mix of history and archives and it gives you a lot of career opportunities. In Denmark, we usually refer to it as the “archives branch.”
What have you been doing during your internship?
I have been working on a few projects supervised by Michael Moosberger and Creighton Barrett. So far during this internship I have conducted archival appraisals of personal archives and of material acquired from non-profit cultural organizations, and prepared appraisal reports and processing plans. This encompasses making the decision to keep or discard records. I needed to learn about the process the records go through before the archivist can make a decision which is an important part of my main task here.
Creighton and I are now working on a strategy for Archives around acquisitions and appraisals of material from non-profit organizations. All the work I am doing at the Archives will end up in a final report where I use the knowledge I have gained by doing appraisals and literature reviews of archival appraisal methods, by looking at what the Archives has in its possession and what it doesn’t have, and by reviewing the Archives’ current appraisal policies and practices. It is so exciting to be a part of this project and to be able to come up with new ideas for the Archives. It has so far been very rewarding to be able to use theoretical knowledge and to discuss what approach we should have towards the different strategies.
Fun and interesting facts about you:
A fun fact about me is that I love potatoes, Danish rye bread, salty black licorice, and pastries. Danish pastry is actually called wienerbrød or Viennese bread in Denmark. So I find it quite funny that the rest of the world calls it Danishes.
In Denmark we have a term, hygge (close to the English concept of coziness), which seems to have become popular worldwide. My favourite way to spend the day is to either watch geeky movies/series or to read any book by Philippa Gregory while I drink hot chocolate or tea. If it rains or snows it’s even better! To me that’s hygge.
Things I love about Canada include: poutine, saltwater taffys, root beer, eggnog, Tim’s, Valley apples, Nova Scotian seafood, and the very friendly people! I also love hiking and Nova Scotia is full of great hiking spots! My favourite museums here are the Immigration Museum at Pier 21 and Sherbrooke Village.
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