Looking back on my internship at LexBlog, I can’t help but feel grateful for the opportunity to be a part of something meaningful. Over the past six months, I have had the privilege of working as the Digital Archives Intern where I was in charge of ensuring the Open Legal Blog Archive’s growth and development. As my internship draws to a close, I wanted to reflect upon my time here and the wonderful strides we’ve made regarding the Archive’s growth.
One of the most rewarding aspects of my internship was the opportunity to revamp the platform’s taxonomy to categorize blogs more effectively. By creating a comprehensive and user-friendly system of classification, I aimed to ensure the navigation of the site was as seamless and simple as possible. One of the most important aspects of a research database or information archive is ease of navigation for the user, as there are very few people who actively want to sift through piles of unrelated information in order to locate the one piece that they are looking for. In order to facilitate this, we needed a specific and organized way of classifying blogs as they were added or submitted to the Archive. I was able to restructure the existing categories and add 40 new ones to allow for a better and more accurate search experience for the user. Now if someone wants to find a blog that pertains specifically to, say, Alcohol or Beverage law, they need only click on that category.
I also had the chance to add around 500 blogs from different parts of the world to the platform. It was incredible to see the wealth of knowledge and diverse perspectives housed on this archive grow in real time. By adding blogs to this platform, especially those which were on the verge of deletion, it truly felt like I was helping to expand a valuable digital library. By growing the Archive, we brought the site’s goal of being an open-access resource for preserving secondary law legal blogs all the closer.
Around two-thirds of the way through my internship, I realized that a great deal of blog posts from various sources were not being pulled into the archive in full. Instead, the RSS feed would load a sentence or two, and link right back to the original post on the original site. While this is a wonderful feature when you’re looking to showcase a blog’s feed on another site, it prevents us from archiving and preserving the blog posts in full. If the original site were to be deleted, we would only have preserved a handful of sentences from the posts housed on it. As soon as I discovered this, I decided to go through all of our existing blogs and ensure that they all housed complete posts; if they did not, I fixed the RSS pull criteria so that they did. Now that we know about this problem point within the system, we are able to ensure that all incoming blogs are pulled in full as well.
Overall, my time as an intern here at LexBlog has been a journey of learning and growth. I feel honored to have played a small part in the important work of preserving knowledge and making it accessible to those who seek it. This experience has reinforced my passion for information and archival management, and I look forward to seeing what the Open Legal Blog Archive does next!