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JSPP Interns Reports

JSPP Interns Reports

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Published by Scott Nielson

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Published by: Scott Nielson on Sep 02, 2012
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City, is an ability toquickly understandand summarize eventsand material that canbe used to provide anunderstanding of theshort entries in the journal of JosephSmith. I have alsohad the opportunity todo extra research be-yond the materialprovided by Dr. Rog-ers and to find re-sources which helpadd to the infor-mation available.In the rest of this newsletter youwill hear from otherInterns as they relatetheir experiences aspart of the JosephSmith Papers Project.I have had thewonderful opportuni-ty to be a part of theJoseph Smith PapersProject this semesterworking on the thirdvolume of the Jour-nals Project under thedirection of Dr. BrentRogers. The focus of my work has been onthe last few months of the Prophet JosephSmith’s Life from theend of March 1844until his death in Car-thage on June 27th of that year. During histime in Nauvoo Jo-seph was involved inmultiple court casesmany of which hereferred to briefly inhis journals withoutproviding much de-tail. It has been partof my responsibilityto research these cas-es and summarizethem for review bymy supervisors forpublication.I have had thewonderful opportuni-ty to see into the lifeof the prophet and thetrials he faced fromapostates, enemiesoutside of the church,and pressures fromwithin the church ashe was brought tocourt, sat as a judgeon municipal cases,or had to go to courtagainst others to de-fend his name beforethe public.Of the skillsthat I have acquiredduring my time as anintern in Salt Lake
Matt Cox, Editor.
Brigham Young History Department
Joseph Smith PapersIntern Review
Student Contributors: pg.
Matt Cox
Scott Nielson
Elsie Smith
Angela White
Tyler Herbst
Justin Haslem
Kaitlyn Bourne
30 March 2012Volume 1, Issue 1
My work with the Joseph Smith Papers Project has consisted of two principalresponsibilities. The first has been to update bibliographies to be used by Jo-seph Smith Papers researchers over the next several years and that will con-tribute to the bibliographies used in upcoming volumes. The bibliographies Istarted with came from circa 1992, so my historiographical research has cov-ered the last twenty years of scholarly contributions. My se-cond responsibility has been to work on context files which form the basis forglossary entries in the JSPP volumes. These context files are one of the mosttheologically interesting (and challenging) parts of the Joseph Smith PapersProject.My experience has been both intellectually compelling and professionally con-structive. Early in the semester I had the opportunity to read several scholarlyarticles that explained the context and mission of the project and in some cas-es covered the specific area I researched in my bibliographic work. I also hadthe opportunity to hear a presentation by Professor Royal Skousen on his Bookof Mormon research—definitely one of the highlights of my experience this se-mester. Working with Mark Ashhurt-McGee has been quite valuable to mewhen it comes to being precise and organized in my research. My experiencehere has given me the benefit of learning a concise methodological approachto history, especially when it comes to citations, and organization and digitiza-tion of historical sources.
Working under the direction of Robin Jensen, the head archivist on theJoseph Smith Papers Project, has helped me to develop analytical and writingskills. Working in this office setting was intimidating at first which allowed me toface my fears by experiencing something new and exciting to prepare me for otherlarger job opportunities in the future. In the internship I have received varioustraining such as working with websites, handling documents, formatting docu-ments using x-metal pub-man and primo and understanding and using microfilm. Ihave had the opportunity to work with many documents such as the Newel K.Whitney store day book, the William Law account book, the Nauvoo Land book and Joseph Smith’s journals. I have gone through each of these documents to rec-ord and connect the sources that indicate Joseph Smith’s activities. This was donein order to keep a record and complete with fact checking so that the Joseph Smithpapers can be accurately published. I was assigned a cubicle where I worked at acomputer in order to complete these various assignments given to me by RobinJensen and his assistant Sharalyn Howcroft, who gave me one on one training.As I worked on these assignments I learned the correct procedures of han-dling and preserving documents while keeping a proper record. This will benefitme in the future as I am considering a career in archival studies. While participat-ing in this project I learned about the operations of a long term project and the im-mense time and care taken to publish an adequate work. I understand the im-portance of tracking details and then making them available to the public. I havelearned much about the life and legacy of Joseph Smith and his associates and Ifeel closer to them. I have learned about the Joseph Smith papers with the 20 vol-umes the project intends to publish with various series and how I can benefit fromthis. Working on the Joseph Smith papers was educational and spiritual and I feelmore confidence to face the future.
Scott Nielson Elsie Smith 
Page 2 
Elsie in herCubicle
Scott With hisSupervisor
Since I am the first Family History student to ever participate in this internship forcredit, this has been quite a unique experience. I have to start out by saying that I am by nomeans a computer- or web-savvy person. The Joseph Smith Papers Project just happened tobe looking for a few people willing to work on the web development side of their project,and I was one of those willing to do it! And even though I am about to graduate, I had noidea that this web developing internship could apply so well to family history!Pretty much, a web developer helps to prepare documents to enter the web andalso helps control problems with the Joseph Smith website (www.josephsmithpapers.org).Before web content is released to the public, the interns go through each new page of thewebsite to make sure the text and images are correct and that there are no major problems.For my part of this internship, I am constantly working on one big project or another. Asidefrom checking web content, the major projects I have participated in so far include: work-ing with document transcriptions in an XML program, text verification, comparing biog-raphies of family members to make sure there are no discrepancies, and preparing a list ofless-common names to provide a starting point for their biographies.And how does this all apply to family history? Here’s how. Right now I am alsotaking Hist 434 – Computers in Family Historical Research and Publication. In this class,we are learning how to use computer programs and the web to publish our research; andthis is exactly what I am helping the JSPP do! This is a huge church history project that haseverything to do with family history. Because of this internship, I am learning great andinteresting ways to create, publish, and maintain a family history website! That is how thisinternship applies to my major! This internship is a great experience that every history andfamily history major should want to participate in.
When I first get to the Church History Center I would check in with JosephDarowski, my coordinator to see what he had planned for the day. I would then gosee Julia Woodbury to get folders that contained biographies or geographical biog-raphies, usually called bios and geos.On these I would generally be doing a few different things with. At first Iwas just seeing if we could find better primary or secondary sources for the infor-mation. This called on looking at the sources that the secondary and compiledsources used that we then used. After a little while I was also taking the bios andgeos from Pubman, their site that holds all the data, sources, writings, etc. and put-ting them in XMetal and then putting links and sources to show up on the websiteonce ready.At some point in the day I would also stop by Larry Morris and see if heneeded any proof reading for Docs 1, the upcoming book to be published. This usu-ally entailed looking at the historical introduction.In the afternoon I would do second level verifying with Joseph, which hasbeen reading from the actual document or the pictures of it while the other wouldcheck the format and wording in XMetal.
Angela White
Tyler Herbst 
Page 3 
Angela: Our first Family His-tory Intern!Caption describing picture orgraphic.

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