End of the Open Content Curation Internship

I regret to say that my internship is now coming to an end. It is incredibly bitter-sweet, and I am feeling a lovely mix of joy and pride over the things I have accomplished and wistfulness regarding the projects I didn’t even find the time to start. It’s been interesting writing these blogs as a record of my time here, I keep an art journal in my spare time and this feels sort of like a professional extension of that. It’s definitely made me consider the merits of creating an academic extension of my journaling practice, an idea completely ripped-off from my manager Lorna Campbell. I thoroughly enjoy the concept of “conversational scholarship” (Deborah Lupton citing Melissa Gregg in “Research on academic blogging”). One of the highlights of my time in Argyle House has definitely been exchanging thoughts and ideas with my peers here, most often either Mayu or Eden. Together, we’ve spent breaks applying our academic knowledge to everything from Christopher Nolan to internet fandoms, and I’ll sorely miss our conversations.

Working here has been an intensely creative process. While my title is ‘Open Content Curator’, I would make the argument that these past months have been just as much about creation as curation. I have created a collection of writings, most of them documented on this site, two major Open Education Resources, video content documenting and reflecting upon my work, a colouring book illustration, and more emails than I can count. I will be sure to add ‘Expert Email Writer’ to my CV from now on.

For more on the Archaeology OER, it finally went up last week, with its own Open.Ed post now available. The reactions have been great so far, and Kay Douglas of the Geoscience department continues being our biggest cheerleader. She has been such a gem for both Mayu and I, and I’m keeping my fingers crossed that our goodbyes are merely temporary.
This OER was a slow burner, it’s wild how long that final 1% of the work actually feels. The days after publishing largely consisted on disseminating the resource, and we’ve reached out to every relevant contact we can find, asking around the office and beyond for anyone who might be interested. It really is a community coming together, everyone wants to see each other to succeed so badly. This was also the case before publishing, our colleague Fiona Buckland (who is our second colleague with a background in archaeology, can you believe it?) brought along a stack of journals for us to use for final fact-checking. I’m taking this as my chance to remind you of the Wikipedia stats from my first blog post, and how 70% of Geoscience sources are locked off behind paywalls. Contacts and community really are the most important resources we have, and I want to continue encouraging the University’s efforts to create a more open relationship between our institution and the rest of the world.

I feel like every conversation I have these days eventually prompts me to start talking about Open Education. It has genuinely become a passion of mine, and I am sure it won’t take long before I bring it up in a tutorial or seminar once term starts again. I have actually just wrapped up my work on a resource for students working with Open Education. The resource on accessibility and inclusivity for the Geoscience Outreach Course student projects from my previous blog post is now uploaded and available as “Accessible and Inclusive Resource Publishing” on Open.Ed. It has been quite a different process from the Archaeology OER, something along the lines of a speed-run-version. This is perhaps largely because I know what I am doing now, it’s not as foreign of a process. I hope the blog posts Mayu and I have put out about the Archaeology OER have not made open-access publishing appear too daunting, I really don’t wish to deter anyone. It does not have to be that big, and it does not have to be that complicated. And if you’re concerned about the quality of your resource, maybe my accessibility video can help you. While it is made with Geoscience students in mind, I really am hoping others can find it useful and take it on – students and staff alike. Coming into university, there is always so much talk about plagiarism and good academic conduct/practice. Should not accessibility and inclusivity also be part of standard good academic practice?

If you wish to hear me blether on more about my internship, you can now do so in video format! Mayu and I sat down for an interview in our local media studio earlier this week, and I am absolutely giddy having these clips to share with friends and family. I will embed the video at the bottom of this post. For other fun updates, I won the colouring book contest, and Ally Mckay with the colouring book team gave me such a lovely prize. The best part was honestly the personalised wrapping paper, I let out a positively undignified noise when I spotted it on my desk after a meeting. Feast your eyes upon it below.

A photo showing August's prize wrapped in paper with his illustration of Jessie MacLaren MacGregor printed on it.

“August’s prize from Ally Mckay”, August Enger, 2023, CC BY-SA 4.0

While I have created a lot of stuff while working here, Wednesday last week was my first day doing any serious form of public speaking during my internship. It was a really positive experience, essentially getting to have a wee show-and-tell for our senior management. An estimated 20 interns participated, and it was fascinating hearing about what everyone else have been working on. A large amount of us have been working on accessibility in some form or another, which was a fun surprise. A lot of personal reflection was conveyed, and it has left me pondering how I will bring my new-found experience into the rest of my time as a student. I did briefly mention impostor-syndrome in my previous post, and I think that is something worth expanding on a bit more. With the work I have produced here, I am listed as a co-author on multiple resources published by the University of Edinburgh. Does that mean I am a published academic? Even if not, academic work has been largely demystified for me over the summer. Don’t get me wrong, it is still amazing and daunting and all the things, but it’s not unachievable. I really do hope to return to this work next summer, there are still so many projects I wish to undertake.

Kind wishes, and until next time,


Header image attribution: “screenshot of August Enger being interviewed” by Juan Martos Diaz, 2023, CC BY-SA 4.0