Professional Development

During November 2007...

Vicki at NCPC’s annual Conference

Tuesday, November 20, 2007 12:13 pm

On Friday, Nov. 2nd, Sharon and I attended the annual conference of the North Carolina Preservation Consortium at the Friday Center in Chapel Hill. The topic of the conference was The Great Migration: Audio Preservation in the Digital Age. The keynote speakers addressed many aspects of preserving audio materials in a time that there are more materials out there than a typical repository can juggle.

Sam Brylawsaki, from the Donald C. Davidson Library at UCSB, gave some practical guidelines for audio preservation, including how to store records and cassettes; they should be put on the shelves vertically instead of horizontally to avoid cracking and breakage from the weight of other materials on top of them. He also stressed to SAVE THE ORIGINALS! Don’t dump them to make shelf space after they’ve been reformatted. Why, you ask? We want to preserve the imperfections which don’t always transfer to the new medium, and more importantly, because most CD’s and DVD’s today are NOT good preservation mediums. They are an interim choice at best, until a better way is developed.

Sam knows his stuff, since he worked for many years at the Library of Congress as head of the Recorded Sound Section in its Motion Picture, Broadcasting and Recorded Sound Division. He is also editor of UCSB’s Encyclopedic Discography of Victor Recordings. He had slides that vividly showed the damage that can be caused by improper storage of materials, as well as the proper types of facilities and storage areas to make sure that originals are well protected.

George Blood, from Safe Sound Archive, gave a very technical talk about Magnetic Tape and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance: The Science and Psychology of Audio Preservation for Archivists and Librarians. Mr. Blood has documented over 4000 live events and has recorded and edited som 600 nationally-syndicated radio programs, most of the Philadelphia Orchestra. He has recorded or produced over 100 CD’s, 2 of which were nominated for Grammy Awards.

He discussed the types of originals that need reformatting, such as LPs, 78’s, CD’s, CDR’s, and analog reel-to-reel tapes. He also went into great detail about the scientific structure of sound waves, and how they transfer from originals to new mediums. The reformatted copy usually misses some of the sounds from the originals, which means that we want to save the original as well, for as long as it will last.

Mr. Blood had some audio clips that he played for us, to demonstrated the importance of having a professional recording engineer do the transfer to the new medium, vs. having a grad student undertake the same project. The difference was amazing! The student captured the basics of the audio, but it was clear that much was missing from the final product when he played a piece that had been professionally transferred. Alas, the cost of hiring a professional is many times cost-prohibitive to most institutions.

Some additional resources that were offered were these links:

NCPC Basic Book Repair Workshop

Saturday, November 17, 2007 10:36 am

On Wednesday, November 14, I taught a book repair workshop for the NCSLMA (North Carolina School Library Media Association). This workshop was sponsored by the North Carolina Preservation Consortium (NCPC). The workshop was a pre-conference offering for the NCSLMA Annual conference held at the Benton Convention Center in Winston-Salem. I had 22 media coordinators in my class to teach repair techniques. The day flew by as I tried in vain to keep up with these teachers-no matter what I did, they always went ahead of where I was in the teaching process. Teachers are often on their own and have to solve problems with no outside help-so during this workshop, they just did what they thought most natural—-forge ahead! Meanwhile, I was trotting behind calling-“hey Wild Bill, wait for me!” We covered spine replacement, torn pages, tipping in pages, tightening hinges and many other things. It was a good day spent helping these media coordinators who don’t really have any resources for book repair in their home schools.

NHPRC-Electronic Records Research Fellowships Symposium

Friday, November 16, 2007 3:39 pm

On Friday, November 16, I attended a symposium on electronic records storage at the Wilson Library at UNC-Chapel Hill. Once inside, I had the pleasure of listening to the always intriguing Helen Tibbo, UNC-CH-SILS, and also saw colleagues Kathy Wisser, of NCEcho and Elizabeth Hull, UNC Photo Archivist and NCPC Board member.

The keynote was The Evolution of Data Creation: Towards a Policy Driven Collection Management by Richard Marciano and Reagan Moore.

The basic idea these two guys have is to automate a data grid which administers a digitial repository. Erik would’ve loved these guys. They have developed a system called iRODS or integrated Rule based Data system. They feel that preservation is management of communication from the past. iRODS attempts to make assertions about authenticity, integrity, and chain of custody about this information from the past and carry it into the future. The iRODS data system implements data curation processes as micro-services that can be migrated to new storage systems over time. In short, you save a digital file, and as policy create a replica of that file. Micro-services can automate this process as well as periodically check to see if these files are corrupt, and if so, a curator will be notified. This system can be finely calibrated to fit each institution’s management policies and also enforces periodic validations of assertions about collection properties.

Towards a Global XML Data Model-New Mexico Public Records
By Daphne DeLeon

DeLeon examined New Mexico state records to calculate what common information was needed for each group who needed the state data. This project looked at several data models to arrive at the final model – “Global Justice XML Data Model. GJXML enables the effective exchange of information between sources. DeLeon identified needs for public records in New Mexico and mapped to GJXML and identified any gaps. A comparison between the identified information needs of the general records and data elements of Global Justice XML helped establish data structure. This is needed because all records in New Mexico have a retention schedule. DeLeon used PREMIS-Preservation Metadata Implementation Strategies as a guideline.

Developing Processing Practices and Workflows for Electronic Archival Records
by Don Chalfant and Kathy Jordan, The Library of Virginia

The Library of Virginia developed a digital archive to hold the records of Gov. Mark Warner: email from the Governor and cabinet secretaries, and individual files. The Library of Virginia is mandated to preserve these public records-and is supported in creating a digital archive by the governor. The State Library of Virginia used DigiTool as the library’s digital asset management system. The idea was to develop workflows that would facilitate the processing and management of archival electronic records collected by state departments. This project allowed the planning of how the archive would be constructed and managed using pre-determined preservation, administrative and descriptive metadata criteria. A relational database was created which allowed access and examination of individual electronic records in the State Library holdings.

Lunch discussion with Kathy Wisser-
I mentioned to Kathy we were investigating an institutional repsoitory of some kind. She said many faculty do not trust this concept of placing their intellectual contributions out there for anyone to access. Wisser said there is no incentive for them to do this-because they live in a world where they are continually judged by this output. If its out there for free, someone else could rob them of one of their most valuable assets. This is something to consider as we are thinking about including faculty intellectual content in our repository in whatever form it takes.

A Recordkeeping Framework for Social Scientists Conducting Data-Intensive Research
by Erin O’Meara, University of Oregon Libraries

This project was initiated because of the volume of data being created at research institutions, and because social scientists are not always thinking about resources for record keeping when conducting research. Social scientists were interviewed about the data intensive research they were conducting. The project attempted to create connections between researchers so their work did not just stand alone, but was interconnected. This project has not been implemented yet at Oregon, but an institutional repository will be pursued in the future. This is the project website.

Implications of the Bioterrorism Act of 2002 on Electronic Record Keeping in the Wine and Grape Industries
By Kari Smith, University of Michigan

What?? The Bioterrorism Act of 2002 is administered by the FDA and is designed to protect the public health by requiring growers to keep electronic records. Sales and production information on virtually every aspect of the business is now required by this act, as of 2006. Using a case study methodology, Smith created a survey and recommendations for the grape and wine industry. Her findings were that record keeping in the wine industry is minimal. Most wine producers feel the cost if too high to implement the requirement of the act and the chances of being caught are low. This is the same issue that involved e- coli and bagged spinach problem last year.

As the afternoon lingered on, the number of people in the room dwindled from 70 to 20.

Afternoon presenters discussed past successes from grants:

  • William Wallach, Univeristy of Michigan-Bentley Fellowship ProgramThis program continued for 15 years and hired fellows to look at electronic records issues, such as best practices, appraisal, description and administration of electronic records.
  • Joan Krizack, Northeastern University- NHPRC Electronic Fellowships in BostonThis program had 9 fellows over the years who looked at electronic records issues.
  • Paul Conway, University of Michigan School of Information- NHPRC Electronic Fellowships at UNC-CH. NHPRC works for basic and applied research regarding all aspects of electronic records.

Charleston Conference with Carol

Tuesday, November 13, 2007 7:16 pm

My notes from the Charleston Conference:

Two speakers mentioned The World is Flat as a must-read. It’s checked out right now, so I’ll have to tell you later if it’s any good!

I attended two sessions where ProQuest presented the results of their research into student research behavior. In a plenary session, Jane Burke suggested that The Answer for easy library research is a single search box that is combines all formats, such as multisearch and the catalog. While I will definitely advocate for such a box as the default option when we redesign our website, I still think we’ll need tabs for cases when users know they have a format condition. In the 2nd session on this topic, John Law discussed the research further. He did not provide The Answer for building a perfect database discovery utility. Indeed, he indicated that there is no easy way to provide both the quick access that a multisearch format provides AND perfectly categorized information for users who know they have a specific need.

Some marketing info that I gleaned from Mr. Law’s session:

  • 95% of the students they studied at least attempted to use the library while doing their research.
  • Many students have some brand awareness (e.g. JSTOR, LexisNexis), but they don’t always understand correctly what each brand provides.
  • The vast majority of students put the library ahead of Google on quality, but behind Google in ease of use.
  • General library messages (e.g. “come here for high quality information”) had more impact than BI classes that emphasize search techniques.
  • Links in courseware (Blackboard) might have a high impact since students generally start their research there. (They have to confirm the details of the assignment, if nothing else.)

I have asked Mr. Law for his complete report. Once I get it, I’ll share with Marketing, Team Info, and the Web group.

The second part of the same presentation was by Susan Gibbons from the University of Rochester. I will repeat Lynn’s recommendation to download their book. One immediate takeaway for me was reaching out to parents. Most freshmen contact their parents at some point during the research process. We already do some parent outreach during the annual Campus Info Day, but we should brainstorm ways to do more. Another idea was plasma screens in the coffee shop for people to view while they wait for their lattes. We could probably re-purpose askzakfacts and the Events calendar for this pretty easily.

John C. Calhoun from behind

Here’s my photo contribution. Thankfully my culinary experiences weren’t as exciting as Lynn’s! However I did notice that — from behind — John C. Calhoun looks like a sketchy character. Is he selling watches or what?

Charleston Conference with Lynn

Thursday, November 8, 2007 7:57 am

Charleston is just about the sweetest place for a library conference ever. Bill and I drove down Tuesday and I read a really interesting book in the car, Studying Students: The Undergraduate Research Project at the University of Rochester. Members of the Coffee Shop Group and 4th floor Renovation Team will want to read Chapter 4 on recruiting students to design their own spaces. The ethnographic methods in the book are similar to those I used in my dissertation research so they made a lot of sense to me. Check it out: (it’s fully downloadable from the ACRL website). I had the morning free on Wednesday to do some walking, trying to get in shape to walk the half-marathon at Kiawah on December 7. Trying to ignore that it was once a slave market, the Charleston Market is now a source of livelihood for many local women. I bought a Gullah basket here last year and have it in my office.

Charleston Market

The Great Southern Drought is very much in evidence along the Charleston waterfront.

Charleston Waterfront

Continuing on to Battery Park where the Civil War began (or the War of Northern Aggression, depending on your point of view), one has to ask, “What were they thinking?”

Battery Park

In the afternoon, I visited the Vendor Showcase. The two best booths were Alibris (of course) and Cambria Press, where I met Toni Tan for the first time. Toni and I became good friends over email during the publication of my book. When she learned I was a librarian, she picked my brain on how to market books to academic libraries. I told her if Cambria only went to one library conference, it should be Charleston, so she took my advice and came down from Buffalo, NY. Here is a picture of Toni and me (My eyes are closed in about 80% of the photos ever taken of me).

At the Cambria Press booth

After Bill’s Juried Product Development presentation, we went to dinner at an unnamed Irish Pub. All went well until I reached for my water glass after dinner and found a cockroach (euphemistically called a Palmetto Bug down here) floating there.

Cockroach at dinner

Yuck! The manager kindly did not charge us for dinner, but I don’t think we will be returning there at future Charleston conferences… Lynn

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