Internship at Dublin City Libraries and Archives

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My internship in the web department at Dublin City Libraries started on Monday the 18th of June 2018 and ended on Friday the 24th of August 2018. This means that by the end of this period I will have spent 10 weeks working in the web unit. I was appointed three different tasks: create twitter content, write guides and reports on Google and Twitter analytics and to work on the Jacob’s Biscuit Factory project.
#thingstodoinDUBLINwhenyoureDEAD

For the first task I had to create content for the Dublin City Libraries Twitter account. As you might know, Ireland, specifically Dublin, has a long history connected with horror and mysteries. This long past gave rise to the creation of tales, legends, traditions, books and monuments. The idea was that I would create tweets related to this gothic past as the Dublin City libraries distribute a large variety of books and collections (Bram Stoker Collection, Gothic Literature Collection, Ghost Town Image Collection…) related to that theme. My mentor also created a hashtag  “#thingstodoinDUBLINwhenyoureDEAD” which would be in every tweet I would post. I started tweeting on 16/07/2018. I would tweet once or twice a day depending on how relevant it was to post two tweets a day. In order to tweet in coherent way, I decided to tweet about one specific topic a week. In total I tweeted for six weeks. The first tweet (image below) introduced the coming tweets.

Intern's First tweet I then started with the topic. In the first week, I posted several tweets on the three main Irish gothic authors (Maturin, Le Fanu and Stoker), then I tweeted on Trinity College as all these authors studied there. I also tweeted about Oscar Wilde for two reasons. First, he knew all the three authors mentioned previously to some extent. And second, Wilde also wrote a gothic Novel “The Picture of Dorian Gray” which I tweeted about in the fourth week. Then I went on with executions spots and prisons in Dublin  and ended with the death of Maturin, Le Fanu, Stoker and Wilde.

Trinity Tweet
 

As I tweeted I noticed that tweets with pictures were the most successful. Successful tweets were the ones on Trinity College, Oscar Wilde and “The Picture of Dorian Gray” as there is a huge community on Twitter interested in both Wilde and Trinity. Among all the tweets I posted, the most successful was one I tweeted on BookLoversDay (09/08/2018). The idea was to show one of a first edition of one of the books of an author I had already tweeted about. The tweet was about the first edition of Dracula which contains a letter he wrote in 1895. I think there are several reasons that could account for its success. First there was a trending hashtag. Second, I also included two pictures. And third, I added a relatively personal comment on how it felt to open the 1897 book edition letter.

Oscar Wilde Tweet

Dracula First Edition
 

 

Having a closer look at the impact of each tweet enabled me to have more understanding as to who liked, followed and retweeted the tweets on gothic Dublin. The tweets were successful with librarians, archivists, archeologists, historians and booklovers. Several institutional Twitter accounts also liked the tweets: Sligo Walking Tours, Dublin 1 City 1 Book, TCD Library, Trinity Business School, TCD Research Collection, Dublin Literature Award, Old Dublin Town, Dublin Unesco, Iowa City of Literature, Richmond Barracks, Wallace (Italian Restaurant), …  The tweets were often retweeted by institutional Twitter accounts: TCD Library, Trinity College Dublin, Irish Archives, Dublin 1 City 1 Book, Festival of History, French Embassy in Ireland, Swan River Press (Irish publishing house dedicated to literature of the gothic). Historians, people interested in history and gothic stories also often retweeted. Twitter pages that seem to have regularly reacted to these tweets are Cervantes Dublin, Sligo Walking Tours, Irish Archives, Swan River Press, Old Dublin Town, Wallace’s Asti (Italian restaurant), French Embassy in Dublin, Irish Embassy in Belgium. Personal pages of archivists, librarians, genealogists also seemed to regularly react to the tweets.

Tweet about Kilmainham Jail

Twitter and Google Analytics reports and guides
My mentor wanted to get more insight about the audience engagement on Dublin City Libraries Twitter account and about the traffic coming to our websites from Twitter. He therefore asked me to write a small guide explaining how to get access to this information on Google and Twitter analytics. In these two guides, I also included a report on audience engagement and the traffic coming from Twitter for the month of June 2018. I compared these data with the data of July 2018.  Audience engagement seems to be doing a lot better in July than in June. I started tweeting on the 16th of July together with another employee. That means that the number of tweets per day increased and more tweets means more impressions (= times a user is served a tweet in timeline or search results). More impressions often mean more engagement. At the end of each guide I added a glossary as the vocabulary used can sometimes be very specific. I also had a look at Google analytics data as to be able to see if the tweets I posted had an impact on the traffic coming to our websites from twitter. As I mostly used links giving access to our image galleries, it was more relevant to analyse data only related to the image galleries website. These data show that the tweets on Wilde and Trinity triggered followers to click on the included links.
 

Jacob’s
The third and last task was to work on the Jacob’s biscuits project. Last year, several former employees of Jacob’s biscuit company were interviewed by a historian. Each interview was recorded and filmed. My task was to transcribe four or five videos of these interviews. These videos are to be put online on the Libraries website. My task, after the video transcription, was to find relevant photographs and/or documents (available in the Jacob’s collection) that could be used together with the videos on the website.

 

Conclusion
An internship is an experience through which you learn and develop new skills. But before that you need to set goals in order to have an idea of where you want to go. My goals were to improve my English while working in an English speaking organisation whose aim is to promote culture. Through this experience here I also wanted to discover and learn more about a new culture. Now that my internship has come to an end, I can really say that I have achieved these goals. I used English on a daily basis. I worked in the Dublin City Libraries, an organisation the aim of which is of course to promote culture. I also learned new skills. I discovered the Twitter world and learned about Twitter and Google Analytics. I also learned more about Bitly and Asana which are very useful tools. Working on creating content for Twitter involved a lot of reading, which I really enjoyed. I found that reading about Irish history was fascinating. In short, to me, this experience was more than successful. I believe that working with friendly colleagues who were always available to answer any questions I had or advise me was a key to making this experience so successful.

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