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Internship for BSc, Internship for MSc, Internship at Bangalore, Science Internship Available

Archives at the National Centre for Biological Sciences (NCBS)
Tata Institute for Fundamental Research
GKVK Campus, Bellary Road, Bangalore – 560065. India.

Student Internship Call. Batch 2
Making sense of history

Duration: 4‐12 weeks
Period: Flexible, rolling
Contact: Venkat Srinivasan, Archives at NCBS. archives@ncbs.res.in

Institute and Archive Description:

The National Centre for Biological Sciences (NCBS) is a research facility dedicated to fundamental research at all levels of biology, from the study of single molecules to ecology and evolution. It is part of the Tata Institute of Fundamental Research, an autonomous institution under the Department of Atomic Energy. NCBS is located in Bangalore, India.

The National Centre for Biological Sciences (NCBS) Archives is a repository that is dedicated to holding institutional records that capture its organizational and scientific history. In addition, one of the broader goals for the Archives is to be a hub for research and dialogue on the history of biology in India. It aims to be open for research and public use by May 2018.

Through the records preserved in its collections, the Archives will assist in connecting the dots on scientific and organizational trajectories, and shed light on decisions regarding the course of biological research not just in the institute but also in the country. Through an active public history program and community outreach, the Archives aim to collect records from a diversity of voices.

Internship Description:

The NCBS Archives aims to be open for research and public use by May 2018. To facilitate in the setup of the Archives, NCBS is seeking student interns to work with the archiving team.

The NCBS Archives is in the possession of primary research material – administrative records, annotated manuscripts, maps, architectural drawings, lab notes, photographs, negatives, slides, oral histories and other electronic audio/visual material – that will serve as the seed for the Archives initial collections. These are broadly in the following categories: The papers and collections of Obaid Siddiqi (material starting from early 1950s); the papers and collections of KS Krishnan (material starting from the early 1970s); the historical records for the formation and development of NCBS (material starting from mid 1960s); and the papers and collections of Ravi Sankaran (material starting from the mid 1980s).

This is primary material that will be of value to researchers in the future, and the intern will be in the
unique position of helping set up a brand new science archive. Most of the physical material is still in the place of origin and yet to be moved to a sorting space. The intern will help set up a new biological sciences archive, and one with specific novel plans: to be embedded in a digital interconnected archive space. The NCBS digital archive aims to include an open source experiment in archival storytelling released by summer 2018. The platform will allow the public to pull material from interconnected science archives into stories with multiple interpretations, and connect personal stories to established records of a scientific process. A longer abstract of this work is available here: http://oralhistory.columbia.edu/calendar/People/mar‐20‐thirteen‐ways‐of‐looking‐

The archiving team is going to be involved in the following tasks. While the Archives will likely also hire an outside contractor for bulk processing jobs like digitization and binning of archival records, the intern is expected to help the archivist with some of these tasks, which depends on specific skills/interests and the timing of the internship:

(A) Archival Arrangement and Description:

a. sorting material to go either into the archive, the library, or to be recycled or
disposed of – applying archival judgment along with the team.
b. building an initial classification and organization structure for the Archives.
c. building an initial metadata glossary for the Archives.
d. digitizing the archival records.
e. cataloguing the archival material with accession numbers, classification hierarchy
and relevant metadata. This will be on an open source archives database
management system, likely on ArchivesSpace. This is a critical task, which lays the
foundation for the NCBS Digital Archive, which will be embedded into an
interconnected digital archive later in 2018.
f. labelling the boxes and folders with appropriate classification hierarchy.
g. writing extensive finding aids for the archival records.

(B) Archival Preservation

a. cleaning material under the guidance of the archiving team.
b. picking out archival records that need further preservation/conservation.
c. binning the physical material into archive‐grade sleeves, folders and boxes, with
appropriate interleaving acid‐free paper where necessary (such as in old

(C) Art and Writing

a. Publicity material for the archives: brochures, pamphlets, posters, postcards.
b. Development of exhibit narratives based on archival material: written/artistic work

(D) Law

a. Framing policies around open access to archival material in the sciences, aligning
with IT/digital copyright legal standards in India and abroad.


The task of setting up a new physical and digital archive is an opportunity to think about the links between journalism, storytelling using archival material, web annotations, scientific research, IT law and classification of information. This is also an opportunity to think of ways to spread awareness about the archival material, both through exhibits and publicity artwork.

If you are interested and think you’d be a good fit, you should apply. If you don’t think you are a good fit for the immediate tasks listed above but have ideas on other ways to contribute, you should apply. There are no specific requirements. That said, it will be great (not necessary) to have candidates with a degree or be enrolled in a degree‐programmes in history, library sciences, law, museum studies, design or archives. Science backgrounds help (including being enrolled in science degree programmes). Interns should be competent with most things digital (spreadsheets, word processing, database entry, web navigation, ability to figure out scanning and archiving cataloguing needs). They should have good organization and communication skills (English/Hindi/Kannada). Commitment to time, an eye for detail and an ability to self‐direct after initial training is critical. Also essential is an ability to maintain confidentiality of sensitive documents. A sense of humour and
being resourceful helps. Depending on the nature of the task, interns should expect to work both alone and as part of a larger team in hot, humid and dusty work environments at times.

Interested? Let us know: archives@ncbs.res.in.

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