Strengthening Skills & Capabilities: Chelsea Smith-Antonides

Chelsea Smith-Antonides is a recent graduate with a degree in history and Russian. She has been working in OU Libraries Digitization Lab since spring 2018 and will complete an internship working with our digital scholarship lab next month. She shares how her work experience and the skills learned at OU Libraries has influenced her education and makes her more competitive for an advanced degree.

“It’s a kind-of non-traditional look at how to research and present information. Not just to other scholars, but to everyone in the public."

As part of the photography team in the Digitization Lab, Chelsea Smith-Antonides is responsible for taking high-quality, hands-on photography of rare and unique books from OU Libraries special collections.
“I help photograph the old books and documents…(We) do all of the color correcting, metadata and then put it back up to transfer,” says Smith-Antonides. “As a historian, I really love working with primary documents and books and getting to look through things. So, it’s really fun. Between my job and my internship, I’ve really learned to love digital scholarship and the digitization process.”
Her internship in the Digital Scholarship Lab (DSL) involves designing a project using new digital tools.­
Sarah Pugachev, OU Libraries digital scholarship specialist, says, “we provide guidance on project scoping and help the interns learn new skills. We also have regular check-ins to ensure they stay on track. After completing their projects, the students then update or create tutorials, write blogs, or do a presentation.”
“I picked my history project, which is on Stalin’s ethnic cleansing in the Soviet Union,” said Smith-Antonides. “I started doing research online, through different journals and then I got to do some tutorials from different websites for scholarship…We just started building my webpage and researching old Soviet photos and different media. I’m also learning to code with Python.”
“For her project, Chelsea used ArcGIS story maps to showcase her research on Soviet Gulags,” said Pugachev. “She learned how to create maps, make data visualizations, and optimize the ArcGIS story maps platform. She used the tutorials created by the DSL to get started with some of the skills, and then worked with us to learn more advanced uses and to troubleshoot when problems arose. We also spent some time talking about how she can continue to learn technology and use it for her future career.”
Smith-Antonides says the DSL has introduced her to new forms of scholarship and the opportunities created by digital scholarship methodologies.
“It’s a kind-of non-traditional look at how to research and present information. Not just to other scholars, but to everyone in the public, which I think is really cool,” said Smith-Antonides. “Learning how to do that and to formulate my own projects, and share them and talk about them has been really beneficial, and learning how to do some coding has been really beneficial. Especially with Python since it’s used in so many different places, so I think that will give me a leg-up.”
Chelsea plans to present her project at the end of the internship and is excited about beginning future projects. She encourages current students to apply for internships and jobs at the libraries.
“You learn a lot of new technology, and it can help you with your studies,” says Smith-Antonides. “It can help you meet a lot of really interesting people, and it really gives you a leg-up with your career and your future. It’s a lot of fun too, so I definitely recommend it.”

View her project ​site Soviet Deportation: The Forced Deportations and Ethnic Cleansing Under Stalin.
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