Professional Development

Author Archive

2014 Archives-Records: Ensuring Access COSA-NAGARA-SAA Joint Meeting

Thursday, August 21, 2014 2:08 pm

MLK Memorial
Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial

I attended the joint SAA conference in Washington, DC last week. The weather was great and so was the conference. In the opening plenary, Miriam Nisbet and David Cuillier discussed the “State of Access.” Nisbet, Director of NARA’s Office of Government Information Services, has worked with the Freedom of Information Act and openness during her entire career. She believes openness means a transparent and collaborative organization. Nisbet is involved with the Open Government Partnership, which tries to achieve transparency, including access to government information, passing laws and implementing them. She emphasized three ideas:

1. Records Management- This is a push in federal government to reform how records are maintained, including a push to make them electronic. She would like to build in access from the beginning of this process.

2. Open data- This is a push to pay attention to and promote information as a strategic asset and get this information out. Archivists and librarians are critically important in this push.

3. Freedom of information Act- This act provides an opportunity for the public to speak up.

David Cuillier, from the School of Journalism at the University of Arizona, made the point that one third of news stories rely on government data. Ciullier believes these stories make the world better, so it is important to get this information out. He believes this information can lead to greater public engagement. Cullier stated that Public Information officers in agencies are trying to control their message, and become very political which keeps some information from the public. Ciullier said that the Freedom of Information Act still does not work very well. Redacting is used by lawyers and others to prevent information from being available. This keeps many journalists from even using it.

people on the path
In DC, there are lots of people taking lots of photos. Usually, one politely pauses as they snap the image, before continuing down the sidewalk. I like to politely stop and also snap a photo-it makes them laugh!

Preventive Conservation in the Archives-Broad Approaches for a Big Impact

The recent idea of the “more product, less process” paradigm doesn’t usually include conservation. This session discussed using this idea in the preservation/conservation realm.

Fletcher Durant, New York University, believes risk management is at the heart of this issue. Different collections have different vulnerabilities, and every repository has its own risk portfolio. Durant analyzes risk and takes actions to manage risks and available resources. He advised getting a monitor and collecting environmental data. This helps you plan for the future. Durant also advised getting to know your facilities staff to set up a line of communication about your HVAC and any issues. He strongly advised setting an example with your food policy.

Priscilla Anderson, Harvard University Preservation, develops stakeholders across the institution to help with the difficult process of making policy and guidelines. The highest cause of damage to collections is caused by handling. So, for example, Harvard has a policy where they open rolled items only to the part you need to see. Additional strategies are removing only one folder at a time and keeping camera cords and straps away from collections. Anderson said to prepare for your next emergency by training staff.

Sarah Stauderman, Smithsonian Institution, uses surveys to plan and improve conditions. Benchmarking can be used to compare repositories, and make recommendations about care or training to try to improve the preservation IQ.

Laura McCann, New York University, believes hands-on work can be used to protect the object. At the Repository level- changing air filters, cleaning, and removing food can help. At the Collection level, avoid inappropriate housing or oversized containers. McCann built internal dividers and containers out of blue board for their collections for Item level protection (custom containers and supports using internal storage in standard archival boxes).

Persian book exhibit
Persian Book Exhibit at Library of Congress

I attended the Preservation Section Committee meeting, where we discussed trends in the preservation of AV materials. The speakers were Robert Horton, Associate Deputy Director for Library Services,IMLS; Karen Cariani, Director of the Media Library at WGBH in Boston; and Carl Fleischhauer, the American Memory Project at the Library of Congress.

I presented a poster on the Dolmen Press Collection at the conference, demonstrating the various ways we have used it at ZSR Library (LIB100, printing, research). I was really pleased with the response to the poster and met many people who knew of this collection and had great ideas to further promote its use.

SNCA-SAA-Dolmen-poster

Documenting the Epidemic:Preserving and making accessible HIV/AIDS History

A wonderful panel of experts presented on their attempts to document and preserve the history of the AIDS epidemic. Somehow, during the difficult times of the 1980′s, these individuals managed to realize that someone should try to preserve the history of the epidemic. Victoria Harden, National Institutes of Health, was very concerned that documentation may be lost about the epidemic, treatment and developing drugs to treat aids. Harden helped hold a conference and published a book on the proceedings called Aids and the Historian in 1989. She also helped with instituting an oral history archive on the AIDS epidemic called NIH SIDS Oral Histories.

Pauline Oliveira, University of California, San Francisco, discussed the Aids History Project at her library. They document news, activists and papers from clinicians and researchers because UCSF Hospital had Ward 86, which became the first AIDS clinic in the US.

Ginny Roth, National Library of Medicine described collecting four decades of material including posters, comics, books, pins and postcards.

Michael Oliveira, University of Southern California Libraries, discussed One National Gay and Lesbian archives and the good work they are doing to preserve the AIDS history. They collect periodicals, theatrical and art works, Act Up materials and newsletters.

This was an important and moving presentation.

Protecting Our Heritage: Holdings Protection Training for Your Institution

This presentation by staff from the National Archives at College Park, was great and covered strategies for preventing loss in your collections reading room. They covered how to approach suspicious individuals and tell them professionally you’ll be there if they need help. this lets them know you are watching them. If things seem very suspicious, you can perform a quality control audit to make sure nothing is missing. Bags, laptops, i-Pad covers, etc. are checked and a complete check is made to insure no original documents are missing. A fun and useful part of this presentation was an exercise where we got the chance to approach one of the presenters and question them.

The All conference reception at the Library of Congress in the Great Hall was spectacular!

Library of Congress dome

SNCA Conference in Raleigh

Friday, April 11, 2014 1:56 pm

On April 8, I attended the Society of North Carolina Archivists Conference at the McKimmon Center of NC State.
McKimmon Center, NC State

My first session was a panel discussion entitled: Publishing and Managing Digital Content without Content dm given by our own Chelcie Rowell, Molly Bragg, from Duke and Caitlin Christian-Lamb, of Davidson. Each of these three described customizing their institutional repository to meet their specific needs. Caitlin uses Lyrasis hosted Islandora, Chelcie described our customization of Dspace and Molly discussed their development of Tripod. A discussion afterwards discussed the costs of developing these stand alone systems and how much staff time costs to develop and maintain them.
Session about Institutional Repositories

Paging through History, Lessons Learned from a Scrapbook Digitization Project was a panel by Anna Kraft, David Gwynn and Kathelene Smith, of UNCG. They digitized a collection of 244 scrapbooks in their archives from 1906-2002 in a variety of conditions and contents. these scrapbooks were very compelling and the project is being used by students.

The takeaway from this session was a quote Kathelene read from Charles McIver, first President of UNCG:

“you educate a man, and you educate one person…you educate a woman, you educate a family”

I also enjoyed the Lunch Plenary by Sarah Koontz, before which I got to second a motion. Good times!

In the afternoon, I enjoyed a session by colleagues Rebecca Petersen and Vicki Johnson called
Connecting Community and Campus to the Arts. They the Secrest Series how we got that collection, created a finding aid, and the plan to create an online Bibliolabs exhibit with the visual content.

Following this session, I presented a poster on the Dolmen Press Collection.
SNCA-SAA-Dolmen-poster

I then heard a session by Tanya Zanish-Belcher and Erin Lawrimore on the Archives Leadeship institute held at Luther College. Great program.

I enjoyed the SNCA meeting this spring. Rebecca is the new VP!

Society of North Carolina Archivists Exhibits Workshop

Monday, April 7, 2014 8:57 pm

On Monday, April 7, I attended an exhibits workshop sponsored by the Society of North Carolina Archivists at the NC State Library in Raleigh. This workshop was led by three UNC-CH librarians: Linda Jacobson, Andrea Knowlton and Rachel Reynolds.

Sculpture at NC State Capitol
Sculpture at NC State Capitol

The day began with a group exercise where we took a variety of containers on our table (ceramic, wood, metal and plastic). My group decided to design an exhibit for children on recycling. The idea for this exercise was that you can design an exhibit using a theme. We came up with our theme, as did everyone else, by looking at an array of dissimilar objects on our table. After sharing our ideas with the group, we moved on. Advanced planning is often necessary as a way to get loaned artifacts in time, to allow time to write the copy and labels and give the opportunity to produce the individual exhibit elements.

The main point of Rachel’s discussion of exhibit labels was: exhibit labels should be written with the audience in mind, not an individual’s colleagues. Labels are best when they are easy to read, and written in simple, direct language. Rachel Reynolds emphasized you should know your key points and make them first in your text (in case the viewer stops reading after the first paragraph). One should avoid technical jargon or expect people to have prior knowledge of people, events or places (apparently the Air & Space Museum has found this out since many current visitors have no memory of the Apollo Space Program). Rachel said you should have one idea per sentence and one subject per paragraph.

Linda Jacobson followed with a short talk focusing on font size for good readability and best color contrasts. We all laughed as one of the following slides had really bad color contrast. Back in our groups, we used an English census record to think about designing an interactive exhibit. Following this discussion, we all designed an exhibit case on paper, complete with photos, text, and captions.

Polyester corners holding a document
Polyester corners hold this feline print on archival board

In the afternoon session, Andrea Knowlton spoke about the use of approved, acid free and archivally safe materials used in constructing the exhibit. Fact: did you know Mylar is no longer made and has been replaced by a product called Melinex? Believe it! Most exhibits designers now use polyester.

Cutting foamboard for labels

Trimming labels mounted on foam board

We looked at a number of materials used in exhibits such foam board, archival museum board, acrylic mounts, adhesives and polyester strapping. Andrea mentioned light exposure for most library materials is 5-10 foot candles and less for sensitive materials ( wood pulp papers, 19th century photos, watercolors, and colored ink or felt tip pen drawings). Mitigating light damage may be done by using UV sleeves over fluorescent bulbs and UV filters on exterior windows, and of course by using curtains and turning off any lights when possible. Andrea also discussed supports and book cradles. After which, we had an activity in which we made a book cradle and cut labels we put together on foam board. This was a super useful workshop.

Spring Training at Duke

Friday, April 4, 2014 10:42 am

Winter is over. It’s time to shake out the kinks: hit a few balls, scoop up a few grounders, run the bases and try to throw the ball from left field to home plate. That kind of thing is what I did this week on a visit to Duke University’s Conservation Services Lab. Thanks to Tanya Zanish-Belcher for encouraging me and to Beth Doyle, the Leona B. Carpenter Senior Conservator and Head, for arranging the training. I was fortunate to have an afternoon with Erin Hammeke, Conservator for Special Collections and the Conservation staff (Tedd Anderson, Rachel Penniman, and Mary Yordy). For me, the afternoon was wonderful and a time to talk turkey with like-minded people.

Erin Hammeke performs magic

Erin began with an overview of the types of leather encountered on books from various regions: sheep and calf for American and English bindings; calf and pig for German; goat for Spanish and Italian bindings. Erin advised us to consider the type of leather before attempting a repair as well as using a leather consolidant,like Klucel G (which is the one I use). She then demonstrated sharpening her lifting knife on a leather strop and proceeded to lift the leather from the spine of a book. We all the a chance to practice on discarded books.

Lifting leather

Erin demonstrated three techniques for joining loose boards to a leather bound book. These methods are the Etherington tissue hinge( Etherington 1995, 2006), which I have been using, and which employs Japanese tissue internally and externally to re-attach loose boards.

The second method, board tacketing (Espinosa and Barrios 1991) is a technique which involves drilling small holes through the shoulder and loose board of a book and joining them with linen thread.

Tackets

The third method is the Brock hinge (Brock 2001, 2006) which uses a piece of cloth, attached at the head and tail of a book to strengthen the board attachment.

Following this, Mary Yordy demonstrated a technique that she developed to reinforce the head or tail of a leather bound book. This technique, which uses L-shaped pieces of Japanese paper glued inside the spine, should be very useful when a book is in tact but has a partially damaged spine.

This was a very enlightening and useful training day. I learned some great techniques, discovered a few new tools and materials, and met new friends. Thank you Duke Conservation!

Book Repair Workshop at Mt. Olive College

Monday, March 10, 2014 12:49 pm

Important location in Mt. Olive, NC

On Thursday, March 6, 2014, I taught a Basic Book Repair Workshop at the Moye Library of Mt. Olive College in Mt. Olive, NC. The workshop was sponsored by the NC Preservation Consortium (NCPC). Mt. Olive College is a small, church-sponsored college and they have some of the same collection interests as does ZSR Special Collections and Archives Baptist Historical Collection. The school holds a collection of their religious newspaper, called the Free Will Baptist Advocate, which, like The Biblical Recorder, has roots in the 19th century.

Basic Book Repair Workshop

The workshop was attended by library staff from Campbell University, UNC Wilmington, Davidson, Forsyth County Public Library, ECU, and Mt. Olive College. I am always amazed at howe eager many libraries are for basic information and skills on how they can repair and maintain their collections. It is rewarding to teach these workshops and get this positive response.
We spent the day learning how to tip-in loose pages, use heat-set tissue to repair paper tears, tear and use Japanese paper to repair loose hinges, and replace damaged spines. At the end of the day, we repaired many of the books the attendees brought from their home libraries. This was a fun and useful wrap-up of the day. All-in-all, this was a great workshop.

Tri-State Archives Conference – Greenville, SC

Tuesday, October 22, 2013 12:17 pm

Furman entrance sign

Greenville, South Carolina was a busy spot this week as the Tri-State Archivists Conference opened with archivists from North and South Carolina and Georgia. The conference opened with an exciting talk about the Digital Public Library of America by Emily Gore. Emily, who formerly worked at NC Echo is now one of five individuals working for DPLA. This portal allows users to (as DPLA likes to say) search, browse and explore. DPLA hopes to have 5 million records when they roll it out in a week. Their content comes from partners such as the Smithsonian, Hathitrust, NYPL and Artstor. All the data that comes into the DPLA is free under Creative Commonslinked open data. Geonames uses uri streams to replace authority records and generate more exact description. One of the fun things Emily mentioned was Unglueit and she mentioned the book, So You Want to Be a Librarian, by our friend, Lauren Pressley.

Sculpture-reflection

One of the sub-themes of this conference was oral history. Several presenters spoke on this topic and how they were using the audio of oral histories in their institutions. Our lunch speaker was Cliff Kuhn of the Oral History Association. Cliff spoke about the resurgence of oral history as technology has made these projects viable on the web. Projects such as Storycorps have shown what the possibilities are for local oral history projects. Cliff spoke about the
ramifications for the archival community for oral history projects. The IMLS supported project at Michigan State University, Oral History in the Digital Age sought to create best practices and reach practitioners. This helped to rekindle an interest in sound and oral history. Cliff mentioned many projects worth exploring, such as, The Uprising of 34 which describes a strike in Georgia in 1934; Memoryscape which offers London/Thames walking tours and Serendip-omatic, a project that connects your sources to digital materials located in libraries, museums, and archives around the world.

At lunch, I met the folks from Spartanburg, SC Public Library who were about to present. I couldn’t resist going to their session which was about their oral history project called: Attics to Archives. Their library lost much of their photographic collections due to a management takeover in the past which caused much of their collections to be discarded. They partnered with local groups, organizations and used internships from Converse College and work with public history classes to do much of he work. At one point, they even handed out 3D glasses.

Spartanburg SC session using 3D glasses

I attended a great session next called: Pinning, Tweeting and Likes, or How We Learned to Stop Worrying and Love Social Media as an Outreach Tool. This session was given by Beth Doyle and Josh Hager of Duke University. Josh used a Facebook based outreach to conduct interviews with archivists across he country to see how they were using Facebook. Josh found that many fb pages were created for the simple reason that everyone was doing it. Other reasons for using fb were raising the profile of the institution, to raise money, and collection based outreach.
Josh mentioned several rules for using fb:
…think visually…fb is made for pictures.
…think collaboratively…interact with other institutions and share each others content or try to get them to share an archival item.
…think intrinsically …value is relative to your audience and what they are looking for.
…think narrowly.. create an identity for your page. He used this statement as an analogy for this ‘narrow’ idea: “think of us like a friend with a great record collection.”

Beth Doyle, Head of Conservation at Duke spoke on the topic: Conservation Goes Social. Beth uses all social media for her work. Some of her ideas are the “Quick pik series” which is a one-off way of showing conservation work. Also, Iowa State and Duke collaborate on the 1091 Project(1091 is the number of miles between Duke and Iowa State). In the 1091 Project, they both write about the same project from their perspective. The Devils Tale is a project about what’s being done in the conservation lab. Beth’s primary site is called Preservation Underground, and was nominated for the Salem Press Library Blog award for its innovative use of the blog to tell their story.
Beth’s Lessons:
…Be sure you have the time to maintain your site
…Post weekly
…Shorter is better eye catching title
…Limit acronyms
…You can push content to all your sites
…Have fun
…Be professional
…Read your post before you post

I would be remiss if I didn’t mention two ZSR-related events at the conference. Rebecca Petersen and I presented our poster on Clarence Herbert New: A Man of Extremes to a packed corridor!

CHNew-poster

Also- Vicki Johnson and Rebecca Petersen both presented. Rebecca spoke about Archives Week and Vicki spoke about our Documenting Diversity event lat year. Both of these stellar colleagues were excellent and well-received by the audience….so proud!

Craig at SAA, New Orleans

Wednesday, August 21, 2013 8:39 am

Joan of Arc Monument- NOLA
Joan of Arc Monument given by the people of France to the people of New Orleans

One of the most important reasons for attending a conference is hearing new voices and leaders in the field. Another advantage is making contacts with other professionals. SAA gave me that opportunity. I spent some real quality time with members of the Preservation Section, learning about them, their background and expertise. I enjoyed these discussions as much as any of the sessions and it will help me immensely in my work with the SAA Preservation Section and here at ZSR.

Web Archiving Roundtable
This is a new group in SAA, and it was an enlightening session because I really think Rebecca and I both realized that our web archiving is not only in good shape, but ahead of the curve. We heard short presentations from BYU, Stanford, Northwestern and Colby Sawyer College. One of the primary issues we discussed was: do you notify an institution or organization that you are archiving their site? BYU uses the ARL standard for fair use in web collecting , which suggests libraries have the right to collect web material for research value and as a continuation of their area of research interest. Some web archivists do ask permission to archive sites, but it is very early and there are really no established best practices yet. While some institutions archive sites on the web by seeing this as Fair Use, others follow the advice of their legal counsel. These institutions think they should ask permission for anyone who is not officially part of the university. Some attorneys also thought it may violate terms of service for social media sites if they archived the content without asking permission (to get around this, some institutions take screenshots or create pdf versions of sites.

Musicians on the street- NOLA Street Musicians

Plenary Session

I like the opening session for some reason. I guess it officially gets me in the groove at SAA. There was the usual stuff: new SAA Fellows were announced followed by an address by David Ferriero, Archivist of the United States. By far, the best part of the Plenary Session was the award given to the Georgia State Archives for advocacy. Most everyone read and was upset at the proposed closing of the Georgia State Archives last year. This group rallied support and kept the archives open. The place exploded with applause and cheers when the award was given. Moving!

Following this was a discussion of the revitalization of New Orleans following Katrina and Rita by Bob Brown and Helen Regis. They discussed the changes in New Orleans along with demographic changes like young kids with college degrees have moved into neighborhoods causing a unique mixing of cultures.

Hurricane Katrina: Disaster Recovery and Documentation on Archival Collections

This session featured a variety of archives and their experiences after Katrina. Lee McWhite described the affect to the Tulane Archives which were flooded. Tulane had 3000 documents affected by water. Belfor washed and cleaned their documents, but many of these collections were unprocessed and were returned from Belfor in mixed order. The archives also had some conflict with the librarians who were managing the recovery in order to maintain archival principles and order. Tulane lost some photographs which we’re not separated out for treatment. Lee’s best quote about Katrina: “There are some disasters that are so large that normal disaster plans do not apply.” Sheila Brennan, from the Roy Rosenzweig Center for History and New Media described their online collection of stories from Katrina.

Following this session, Rebecca Petersen and I gave a 5 minute “Poster Pitch” for our poster on Clarence Herbert New.

Protecting Our Heritage: Holdings Protection for Your Institution

This session was a sort of tale of loss, horrors and misfortune. Robert Dine, from the National Archives, stated that 90 per cent of NARA’s loss of materials come from insiders through theft or unintended damage. Every NARA staff member is responsible for securing holdings they are working with and must report the compromise of holdings storage areas or damaged or missing items.

Melissa Salazar, of the New Mexico Archives described their pre-colonial Spanish documents from 1521. Much of the archive was removed by territorial managers and later, the Library of Congress. Their records were eventually returned and they now have a modern records center with state of the art environmental monitoring, cameras in the reference room. They use a holdings protection team for their collections. One of their methods is to use colored copy paper to easily help identify originals from copies. Their patrons sign a document on handling materials.

Eben Davis, Maryland Historical Society, described the notorious theft at the Maryland Historical Society by Barry Landau and an accomplice. Their huge collection includes the original draft of Francis Scott Keys’ Star Spangled Banner. The thief, Landau, did enough research to know that volunteers worked Saturday with no staff present. He also brought in cupcakes and used various diversions to distract the staff. Fortunately, the Maryland Historical Society had a damn good volunteer, who noticed the suspicious activity and called the police and caught Landau with 79 documents. The FBI put 2.5 millions dollars on the amount of materials they found in Landau’s New York City apartment.

Rebecca and I presented our poster formally following this session and enjoyed meeting colleagues and hearing positive comments.

CHNew-poster

On Friday morning, I worked the sales desk selling our fundraiser item-a Grab and Go disaster Bag. the sales of these go to the SAA Disaster Relief Fund which was started after Hurricane Katrina.

The Web of Sites: Creating Effective Web Archiving Appraisal and Collection Development Policies

This web archiving session was a great follow up to my earlier one. Olga Virakhovskaya from University of Michigan Bentley Library discussed how they archive the web. They establish priority collection areas and archive areas of their historical interest, including: ethnic and religious sites. They look for sites with original content.

Jennifer Wright, Smithsonian Institution Archives discussed their web arching of the 19 museums in their organization. Archiving is governed by their archives policy and the social media policy. They consider a website the public face of their institution and think of it as a publication. They have a total of 257 websites, 89 blogs and 578 social media accounts to archive. The Smithsonian is worried about crawling social media because it is protected and they could lose their accounts. Their counsel is worried that social media may be considered private communication. Intranets are controlled because of individual content. Social media accounts are captured once to show how it looks and are not made available so as to not violate terms of service. Any social media capture must link to the Smithsonian terms of use.

Rachel Taketa, of the University of California, San Francisco, discussed web archiving of tobacco advertising for the California Tobacco Control Archive. They agressively grab web content because they feel the tobacco companies will try to hide this content. Some of the content they archive is used for a California cancer research project documenting local smoking restriction campaigns (Prop 29). They take everything the tobacco companies put out. They collect original or unique content…blogs, multi media, interviews, groups, and stop collecting a site after there are no updates for a year.

Preservation Section Meeting

Unfortunately, our chair was unable to attend because of sequestration. Gina Minks, Amigos and incoming chair, welcomed everyone for Aimee Primeaux. Gina mentioned the e-poster I designed for Preservation Week which was made available through the SAA web site.

Beth Joffrian remembered Jane Long

Our program was entitled: Preservation in the Cloud

Dennis Meisner, Minnesota Historical Society presented on Digital Preservation and Cloud Services. Dennis stated that escalating digital content of unique collection materials and insufficient storage space was driving cloud storage. He wanted to see how cloud storage could contribute to the Pservation strategy. They used Instrumental, a company in St. Paul. Instrumental used analysis to study their needs and requirements and decided to use Enterprise tape storage. Meisner felt that cloud storage provides an important level of preservation backup and redundancy

Mark Evans, Tessella Archival Solutions also presented on Digital Preservation in the Cloud. Evans defined digital preservation as providing continued access to an authentic electronic record in perpetuity. This is more than storage and backup…it is to provide continued access.The integrity of content and authenticity of a wide variety of formats is important to prevent the obsolescence of media, format and technologies.

Virtual Libraries and Digital Preservation in Alabama: The Role of Archives and Special Collections

This session provided the opposite view of preservation in the cloud. Folks in Alabama have banded together to create a low cost network that helps everyone.
It is called Alabama Mosaic. This digital repository of archival and cultural materials from Alabama is helping many institutions make they collections accessible and preserve them at the same time. Individual institutions join the Alabama Digital Preservation Network in order to have their materials hosted through Alabama Mosaic. These institutions want their electronic materials accessible as well as provide the long term preservation of historical records. This network does not depend on third party vendors or solutions, like the cloud. It is simple, has low maintenance and is predictable.

In the evening, we had the All Attendee Reception at the National World War II Museum.

WWII Bomber Jacket
World War II Bomber Jacket

Let’s Give Them Something to Talk About: Oral History in the Digital Age

This Saturday session offered a lightening round of presenters who had created online oral history projects. These included American Folklife Center StoryCorps project, Queens Library, NYC and the Library of Congress Veterans History Project.
These individuals described the complications and rewards of launching these projects. The University of Miami conducted interviews in Spanish with Cuban exiles; and Rice University conducted interviews with Asian-Americans.

SAA provided a great opportunity to engage with professionals across the country who are tackling many of the same issues we are and to make real connections.

Sunset over Jackson Square
Sunset over Jackson Square

Basic Book Repair Workshop at ZSR

Friday, May 31, 2013 4:20 pm

Book Repair Workshop set up

On Friday, May 31, I taught a basic book repair workshop sponsored by the North Carolina Preservation consortium. This workshop covered the basics of repairing books. In many cases, this is all you need to get by. We mended paper tears with heat set tissue,
tore and repaired hinges using Japanese paper, tipped-in loose and torn-out pages, repaired torn end sheets and repaired damaged spines. These are repairs I do almost every day and which I’ve taught as useful skills in the workshops.

After lunch, we also toured Preservation and Special Collections. It was a small but good group. They represented library staff from Appalachian State, UNC-W, Rowan County Public Library the Orange County Historical Society and the Webb Memorial Library in Morehead City. We also managed to fit in making books-always a hit. It was a good day, doing good work.

Completed books

Preserving Digital Heritage Collections- NCPC Annual Conference

Monday, November 5, 2012 4:54 pm

NC Museum of History-Raleigh

On Friday, November 2nd, I traveled to Raleigh and the North Carolina Museum of History for the NCPC Annual Conference. The theme this year was “Preserving Digital Heritage Collections.” The first order of business was giving out the 1st award for Collection Preservation Excellence and I’m happy to say this was given to the Wake Forest Museum of Anthropology.

The first presentation was by Jaime Pursuit, Partnership and Development Manager for Cyark. Cyark is a non-profit organization whose mission is to digitally preserved cultural heritage sites using laser scanning and other technologies. These are often world heritage sites often that are in danger of being destroyed by war or pollution. In one case, Cyark archived the Royal Tomb at Kasubi in Uganda, a site which was later destroyed by fire. Fortunately, the site now survives virtually. Cyark has digitally preserved over 70 sites around the world, including the Easter Island sculptures and Mount Rushmore. The Cyark work was inspiring as they continue to document, archive and make accessible this 3-dimensional documentation of physical sites.

Caroline Bruzelius, A.M. Cogan Professor of Art and Art History and Mark Olson, Assistant Professor of Visual and Media Studies at Duke presented on the Wired Lab for Digital Historical Visualization. They are part of an interdisciplinary and collaborative team. This team connects research in sculpture, architecture, urbanism, and painting with technology for visualizing and modeling cultural artifacts and historical environments. Noteworthy projects include visualization of artifacts from ancient Athens discovered during recent archaeological excavations and mortuary art in the historic Maplewood Cemetery of Durham. They attempt to engage students with active learning where they use Google Sketchup to create visualizations of the built world. They also emphasize ‘learning by making’ by creating a cathedral using Autocad or re-contextualizing bits of sculpture back into their original environment.

After lunch, there were presentations by Nick Graham, Program Coordinator for the NC Digital History Center Nick discussed his work into digitization, digital publishing and project planning. Most everyone was already familiar with Nick and his good work digitizing their university’s yearbooks or newspapers. Beyond this, the NCDHC has also created digital projects on quilts, license plates, and samplers.

Lisa Gregory, the Digital Collections manager at the State Library of North Carolina presented on their uses of CINCH (Capture, INjest and CHecksum). This digital preservation tool automates the transfer of online content to a repository, using ingest technologies appropriate. CINCH is a free through an IMLS grant and helps the State Library archive web content much as we do here at ZSR using Archive-It.

Brian Dietz, Digital program Librarian at NC State, presented on “The Built Heritage of North Carolina and Beaux Arts to Modernism.” These are digital collections that provide access to buildings and architecture in North Carolina from the 1700′s to the mid-1900′s.
NC State partnered with the Asheville Art Museum, Preservation North Carolina, UNC Charlotte and the State Library of North Carolina for this project. They used a systematic approach to archive these materials and providing access to over 17,000 documents through the NCSU Special Collections Research Center.

Finally, NCPC is going to be raffling art to raise funding for this organization. Keep your eyes on ncpreservation.org for details.

Beyond Borders- Society of American Archivists-2012

Thursday, August 16, 2012 11:29 am

Sculpture-San Deigo Convention Center

My experience at SAA this year in San Diego was excellent and filled with sessions about preservation-related topics. I kept thinking the whole time I was there- “Craig you might have found your niche”.

Over the past year, the Preservation Section of SAA has been working on a fund raiser for the SAA Disaster Relief Fund. We decided on selling aprons (for the kitchen or the archive) and I was given the job of designing the image on the aprons. We sold 91 out of 100 of the aprons sending $920 to the SAA Disaster Relief Fund-so this was a real success.
SAA Apron

In the Opening Plenary, David Ferriero, Archivist of the United States, emphasized three points: a new records management initiative by the Obama administration, a convergence of skills for librarians and archivists to build a skill set for the future (think GLAM) and the Digital Public Library of America.
The Plenary speech was given by Jon Voss, the Strategic Partnerships Director for History Pin. After exclaiming that he was using a Mac and he was a huge fan of archivists, he made the statement that ‘linked data’ or coming out of the card catalog is where the internet revolution began. Using linked data and taking a tip from the ‘mash-up culture’, History Pin has created some great content. Mr. Voss touted the site we are what we do as an example. This site sells products that have a built in ‘good behavior’ attached to their use. Voss also showed some History Pin samples, such as a Dorthea Lange photo of Japanese-Americans being removed during WWII and a current photo. He also mentioned a San Francisco project called pastmapper. which uses online maps to create to help describe the past in certain geographic areas. In saying that linked open data helps us move beyond tables to graphs, Voss showed the site civilwardata150.net which uses archival material and RDF (Resource Description Framework) data to make connections such as this one with the First Regiment Michigan Infantry, 102nd U.S. Colored Troops. Another innovative use of these tools is conflicthistory.com which uses maps to show conflict locations and basic information on these events.

“Partnerships New and Old: Preservation in the 21st Century” was my first session, which was moderated by Shannon Zachery, University of Michigan Library Preservation. Much of this dealt with the preservation of digital elements as preservation (digital copies of materials and media and preservation metadata). Preservation job descriptions currently ask for both hand skills and technical skills for digital preservation. Some institutions are actually creating the hybrid position of digital archivist. Many institutions are struggling with digital preservation since there is no clear standard for file formats or storage methods at this time. (although the ALA/ALCTS/Preservation Reformatting Section is drafting a document). In addition, few universities are actually using the cloud for storage. This session actually made me feel good because we are in a similar situation as many institutions.

I enjoyed a wonderful lunch after this session with our former friend and colleague, Audra Yun, Katie Nash from Elon and Rebecca Petersen.

“Taking Stock and Making Hay: Archival Collections Assessment in Action” was the next session moderated by Merrilee Proffitt of OCLC Research. In this session, Jennifer Waxman, Center for Jewish History, described a collections survey project she led at NYU. The project used graduate students to survey 5000 containers using a relational database to store the data. This project identified over 50% of the containers that needed remediation for slumped or overstuffed folders. Ben Goldman from Penn State made the case for the urgency to preserve legacy media and born digital materials in our collections. Lisa Callahan, University of Chicago, Black Metropolis Research Consortium argued for the access to African-American research material to create discovery of hidden collections. Martha O’Hara Conway, University of Michigan Special Collections Library described a project using graduate students from the School of Information to process unprocessed collections which helped the library, as well as build confidence in the students.

During the Preservation Section meeting, a panel discussed “Preservation in the 21st Century”. Michele Cloonan, Dean of Simmons College Graduate School of Library and Information Science gave a short history of preservation education. Michele mentioned the landmark acts that got preservation on the map in the 1930′s such as establishment of the National Archives(1934), the Rome Conference of the League of Nations, the Athens Charter, and the Historic Sites Act. The general tenor of the discussion was the evolution of preservation skills from hands-on to stronger IT skills. In the words of Karen Gracy from Kent State: “Preservation professionals should become as familiar with the structure of digital materials as they have been with paper-based materials.”

On Friday morning, I attended a session on greater collaboration with Wikipedia moderated by Karen B. Weiss, Archives of American Art. A discussion was held on the value of “Wikipedian in Residence”. At NARA and the Smithsonian, they have successfully used this program to build community and to use their fans for transcribing documents. By building community, they try to engage people by holding events like a “Scan-a-thon” where volunteers scan and describe images that have never been scanned before. In this way, using a hybrid model of volunteers and professionals, these institutions attempt to get their holdings out to people more efficiently. Some institutions are also holding “Edit-a-thons” where volunteers work together to edit Wikipedia entries from the institution holding the event. These are unique and innovative programs to be more of your holdings out.
My final session was moderated by Kara McClurken, Head of Preservation Services at UVA, and was entitled “Favorite Collaborative Tools for Preservation.” These tools were presented in a lightning round format and included: Conducting a Condition Survey; Environmental Monitoring; Using the Lyrasis Pocket Response Plan; the Costep Coordinated Statewide Emergency Preparedness program for cultural institutions in the northeast; and using social media to recover lost items (Hauls of Shame, Facebook at NARA, Flickr at Denver Public Library )

This conference was extremely positive in many ways: networking with other preservation and archival professionals, learning what people are up to, getting involved in a great organization and seeing a new city. Can’t beat that!


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