Well this blogpost is up a little later than I wanted it to, but a lot has been going on.
Most of you will already know this, but since I wrote my last post I also got a job in the UK. I have been hired as a Graduate Trainee Digital Archivist and will be working at what I believe is one of the coolest places ever: The Bodleian Libraries! I feel like I owe you guys a small trip report as I had to go all the way to Oxford for my job interview, so grab some coffee, tea or plain water (whatever works for you), because it’s going to be a lengthy blog.
On July 11 I was invited for an interview in Oxford. My interview was to take place on Thursday July 19th at 9.10, so I decided to fly in on Wednesday. It would be my first trip abroad by myself in about 6 years. Honestly, that prospect made me a little nervous, especially since I did not have the best time ever the last time I went on a solo trip. Ironically the trip was to a conference in Birmingham and I just ended up feeling a bit lonely. This might just have been nerves though. As it kind of was my first time flying alone, my first time staying in a hotel on my own and my first ever conference… Perhaps the accumulation of first times kind of ruined it a bit. Who knows?
This time was quite different. Though I still prefer going on a trip with others – it’s just more fun that way -, I had a pretty good time exploring Oxford and doing some shopping at Cath Kidston and Uniqlo. If you have not yet heard of Uniqlo I highly, highly recommend you pay that store a visit. It is a Japanese brand, known for its simplicity, but amazing quality. It of course also helps that they aren’t crazy expensive. For my Dutch readers: there’s a store coming to Amsterdam this autumn, so be sure to check it out. I for one look forward to stopping by there once every so often in Oxford.
The room I booked very much had a dorm room kind of feel. Probably because it was actually a dorm room rented out to tourists over the summer.. They did try really hard to make the room feel a bit more special, with the little soaps and even a chocolate on my pillow.
As I hate being late, I of course arrived at the library for my interview a little early. So I used this time to take some epic pictures of some really cool buildings right across the street from where I will work.
Before the interview commenced I was asked to take two tests and was subsequently interviewed for about 45 minutes. I had a pretty good feeling about the interview. You know, the kind of feeling that you really couldn’t have done or said more than you did. And if they didn’t hire you, it was simply because it wasn’t meant to be. After the interview I was given a small tour of my potential new workplace, just to give me a bit of a feel what it would be like working at the Weston Library (which is home to the Bodleian Library’s special collections).
The Weston Library
Once the tour was over and my really sweet guide had dropped me off at the entrance I, of course, could not resist perusing the giftshop. I have made it a habit to pick up a magnet of every place I go to, so I made sure to pick up a nice one of the Old Bodleian Library (at this point, I wasn’t quite sure if I would be getting the job, so I bought one just in case). By this time, though it was time to get my luggage and to head to the bus that would take me to the airport. I would have loved to stay in Oxford a little longer, but alas that was not in the cards.
Check-in at the airport was fairly swift and I decided to sit myself down at a Starbucks in the hopes of being able to do some writing. Cue the hipster picture of a Chai Tea Late and a laptop lol.
Thankfully my flight was pretty on time and I was able to board the airplane swiftly. About 1,5 hours later, the plan landed on Schiphol and the crew gave us permission to switch our phones back on we were still taxying.
I was eager to let my parents and fiancé know that I had landed safely, so I immediately turned off flight-mode. As it usually takes my phone a while to pick up any type of signal, I let it rest of my leg for a bit. The moment the device picked up a signal though it started ringing. It was a number from the UK and more specifically from Oxford… My heart leaped a little as I answered the phone. It was the Bodleian library offering me the job! Whoot!
So now I am sure some of you are wondering: what on earth does a graduate trainee digital archivist do? Well they will teach me to do a variety of jobs, such as how to digitize old documents and how to archive them, how to archive digital born media (such as websites, blogs and e-mails), how to set up these archives and how to manipulate XML, which is the language used to enter information in to the library’s databases. On the other hand, I will also be working at the library’s reading rooms, so I will also be trained as a librarian.
Whilst being trained on the job, I will also be studying with the University of Aberystwyth (yep… that’s going to be a fun one to pronounce). There I will be taking a distance learning course in Digital Curation. Amongst others will be taking modules in “Archive collection development and Description”, “Knowledge and Information Architecture” and “Management Information Systems”. You would probably think that I would be pretty through with learning seeing that I have done a Bachelors, Masters and am about to complete a PhD, but nothing could be further from the truth. I actually look forward to start this new study. Though it definitely is a bonus that the essays never have to exceed 3000 words and don’t have to consist of 100% new and original ideas. Hopefully this is going to be piece of cake since have been producing 14,000 word chapters that are (hopefully) filled with new insights and ideas.
As I am writing this I only have two days left at my current job. I cannot believe we are already leaving for England next week. Time sure flies when you are packing!
Unfortunately, I once more had to admit to myself that I am not superwoman. I discovered that I cannot finish everything at my current job up nicely, pack the entire house and emigrate, finish my PhD on time and lose weight. Something had to give, and I am sad to say my eating has been a bit all over the place… Over the past month or so I have gained 2 kilo’s. Yikes. Needless to say I am going to try to keep that under control since I do not want to gain any more. Ambitious? Hell yes, but apparently, that’s just how I roll.
As always, thank you for reading my dear reader. I am not sure if the next post will be before or after the move, but just in case I post it after: see you on the other side of the pond!