Archives FAQ: An Interview with Dominique Luster

Name- Dominique LusterLuster, Dominique

Specialization- Archives and Information Management

What made you decide to go to Pitt? What about the program attracted you the most?

I started out with the USNews ranking for top Archival programs and narrowed my list of applications based mostly on location, then by program structure and faculty. Then my supervisor who is a PITT alum brought me into her office, sat me down and told me that I was going to PITT. After that I didn’t really bother applying to other places.

Did you have any previous experience in your field?

I worked in the Special Collections library at the University of Kentucky processing theatre collections.  It was part of a Learning Lab internship that was designed to introduce non-traditional majors to library science with the hope of encouraging ethnically diverse students to consider careers in the information profession. While a participant in the Learning Lab, I studied archival theory as well as processed a few smaller collections.  At the end of my time in the Special Collections, I was given the opportunity to curate an exhibit titled “Kentucky Hemp” which was featured as a part of the Learning Lab’s scholastic output presentation. From here I worked as a Collections Processer at the Archives of American Art as a Horowitz-Fraad Minority Intern. Here I learned most of the practical processing skills that built on my previous theoretical education.

How has your previous experience impacted your current studies?

I already knew a quite a bit about archiving coming into the program. Now I am learning more theoretical knowledge that impacts my understanding and approach to my work.

Are you currently working in an Archives related environment?

I am currently working in the Archives Service Center which is housed in the Library Resource Facility out on Thomas Blvd. Working while taking classes allows me to practically immediately apply what I am learning in the classroom for the greatest benefit.

Are your classes teaching practical skills? Or theory?

My classes last semester were all foundational theory classes but most of my classes this semester are mostly practical and very interesting.  One of my classes teaches archival access and reference services; another teaching digital preservation; and one teaches the ins and outs of non-profit management.

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