Professional Development

Author Archive

ZSR on the cover of Library Resources & Technical Services

Tuesday, January 19, 2016 7:16 am

Following quickly upon the heels of an item from ZSR’s Special Collections & Archives appearing on the cover of Archival Outlook, the January 2015 issue of Library Resources & Technical Services (LRTS) features an image from our digital collections.

Library Resources & Technical Services, January 2016

Cover image for the January 2016 issues of Library Resources & Technical Services.

LRTS (pronounced “lerts”) is the official journal of the Association for Library Collections & Technical Services, a division of the American Library Association. The image selected for this month’s cover, EXTRA! EXTRA!!, appears in one of our earliest digital collections, the Duke Tobacco Company Cigarette Cards, which was created in 2004.

Chelcie at ALA Midwinter 2016

Monday, January 18, 2016 9:44 pm

For me the central happening of ALA Midwinter 2016 was kicking off my participation in ALA’s Emerging Leaders program. As part of this program, I’ll glimpse the sizable architecture of ALA, network with awesome people, and work together with members of a small team to solve a problem framed by one of ALA’s divisions or round tables.

Chelcie's 2016 Emerging Leaders team

Obligatory Emerging Leaders team selfie! From left to right: Melissa Stoner, Project Specialist for UNLV’s participation in the National Digital Newspaper Program; me; Harriet Wintermute, Metadata Librarian at the University of Nebraska–Lincoln; Craig Boman, responsible for the care and feeding of the ILS at the University of Dayton.

My team is AWESOME. We are tasked with developing an archiving policy for the Maps & Geospatial Information Round Table to deposit their materials with ALA’s Institutional Repository. (Sidebar — did you know that ALA has an institutional repository? We didn’t either!) We’ll figure out things such as roles & responsibilities (whose job it is to deposit materials), selection criteria, descriptive practices, documentation, and instructional materials for the deposit process. It’s an achievable and interesting project, and I look forward to working with my team members between now and ALA Annual in Orlando.

This Midwinter Meeting also offered strong programming on digital scholarship topics, notably the meetings of ACRL’s Digital Scholarship Centers Interest Group and Digital Humanities Interest Group. The meeting of the Digital Scholarship Centers Interest Group (newly formed under the leadership of Merinda Kaye Hensley and Steven Bell) centered around the research done by Alix Keener, Digital Scholarship Librarian at the University of Michigan, on collaborative research relationships between librarians and (digital) humanists. You can learn more about her findings in her article in Digital Humanities Quarterly, The Arrival Fallacy: Collaborative Research Relationships in the Digital Humanities. Even if digital scholarship isn’t your bag, I highly recommend Alix’s article because it speaks to many tensions and opportunities librarians and scholars are embracing as the collaborative structures of the research process are re-negotiated. It’s an especially good companion read to Digital Humanities in the Library: Challenges and Opportunities for Subject Specialists, now an open access monograph.

The meeting of the Digital Humanities Interest Group brought together a panel to discuss their experiences building DH communities of practice within their institutions (Amherst, Northeastern, and Boston University) and their region (the greater Boston area). I find the Five Colleges Digital Humanities model particularly intriguing for us here at Wake Forest because of its focus on undergraduate learning & research. Among other initiatives, they offer digital humanities micro-grants to undergraduate students and hire undergraduate fellows and post-bacs in digital humanities.

Some excellent programs, plus opportunities to catch up with some favorite colleagues and friends and compare notes about our work — my 2016 ALA Midwinter Meeting in Boston was everything you could ask of a conference.

Chelcie at ALA Annual 2015

Tuesday, July 21, 2015 8:22 am
San Francisco–Oakland Bay Bridge seen from the Golden Gate Promenade (June 29, 2015)

San Francisco–Oakland Bay Bridge seen from the Golden Gate Promenade (June 29, 2015)

Getting my feet wet with committee service (not, alas, in the Bay)

The overarching theme for my ALA 2015 was getting oriented to committee service. For the past two years, I have co-led an interest group on Preservation Metadata within the Preservation and Reformatting Section of ALCTS, which has been a great opportunity to educate myself on a narrow but pertinent subject for my work overseeing our digitized special collections. At ALA in San Francisco I led my final interest group meeting and began to serve on two ALCTS committees, which are less specialized but more broadly engaged in the profession.

This year’s ALCTS President’s Program Committee is charged with planning a day-long symposium at Midwinter in Boston, as well as the President’s Program at Annual in Orlando. The committee actually started meeting virtually before the official July 1 start date. I’m really, really excited about the speaker we’re inviting for the ALCTS President’s Program, but she (that’s your only clue) hasn’t accepted yet, so I have to stay quiet.

I’m also thrilled to join this year’s LRTS Editorial Board. As a newbie, my primary role will be to serve as a peer reviewer of submitted manuscripts assigned to me by the editor. I’m very much looking forward to participating in the process of developing our field’s body of literature from the vantage point of an Editorial Board. As a once-upon-a-time writing consultant, I believe that offering quality feedback ultimately makes you a stronger writer yourself.

ACRL Digital Scholarship Centers Interest Group

As Susan mentioned, she and I both attended the ACRL Digital Scholarship Centers Interest Group, a newly minted interest group formed in response to the proliferation of Digital Scholarship Centers at campuses all over the map. Joan Lippincott reported on the results of CNI’s Digital Scholarship Centers Workshop, a summary and synthesis I was fortunate to hear at the CNI Fall 2014 Membership Meeting. Also presenting were Zach Coble (Digital Scholarship Specialist) and April Hathcock (Scholarly Communication Librarian) — two people who fill roles very similar to mine and Molly’s within ZSR — about Digital Scholarship Services at NYU Libraries. It was heartening to hear that our Digital Scholarship Unit at ZSR faces many of the same opportunities and challenges as their unit at NYU. We have also developed a similar suite of services with similar staffing resources. Following our unit’s retreat next Monday, we hope to have a plan to clearly communicate our unit’s identity clearly and succinctly, internally and externally.

ACRL Digital Curation Interest Group

Since I’ve been attending ALA, I’ve been attending meetings of the Digital Curation Interest Group. In fact, it’s where Molly and I met for the first time! So it was a pleasure to be one of the presenters this year — on using BiblioBoard Creator to build online exhibits of special collections materials. Thanks to our friends at BiblioLabs, we’ve gotten to play with this new product for building online exhibits almost as soon as it was on the market. Consequently, we’ve been able to offer constructive criticism during a formative stage for BiblioBoard Creator. The story I was trying to tell during my presentation was (1) engaging audiences with institutional history on- and off-campus (2) engaging students in curatorial activities and (3) seeing ourselves as development partners with BiblioLabs, in the same way that we see ourselves as members of other, open-source development communities.

Building Library Exhibits with BiblioBoard Creator from Chelcie Rowell

Chelcie at the CNI Fall 2014 Membership Meeting

Tuesday, December 16, 2014 4:00 pm

Last week I attended an “executive roundtable” on supporting digital humanities sponsored by the Coalition for Networked Information (CNI) during their Fall 2014 Membership Meeting in Washington, DC.

Because academic library deans and university CIOs make up the majority of the crowd at CNI, the meeting offers a relative newcomer to the profession like me a 30,000 foot view of library and university operations that I don’t often see. The same is true at CNI’s executive roundtable discussions, which they have recently hosted on topics such as institutional strategies and platforms for scholarly publishing, e-book strategies, and software as service & cloud applications. This executive roundtable on supporting digital humanities received so many requests for participation that CNI could have hosted 6 roundtable discussions! Clearly, the topic is one with which many people at many campuses are deeply engaged.

The call for participation specified that institutions could be represented by one person or two people with distinct roles. Mary Foskett (Director of the Humanities Institute) and I represented Wake Forest. Potential topics of discussion enumerated ahead of time included:

  • Organizational models — institutional units supporting digital humanities and their roles
  • Supporting established projects vs. supporting new projects
  • Providing space, technology infrastructure, hardware and tools, staff expertise, exhibit space (physical and virtual)
  • Providing repository, research data management, and preservation services
  • Supporting digital humanities in teaching and learning
  • Staff skills needed
  • The realities of collaboration between information professionals and digital humanities scholars
  • Digital humanities and e-research in social sciences and sciences — one program or separate programs
  • Assessment strategies
  • Connections with institutional publishing strategies and programs
  • What happens when projects end
  • Funding models
  • Future directions

Cliff Lynch (Executive Director of CNI) opened the roundtable discussion by noting that many campuses are introduced to digital humanities through large Mellon or IMLS grants in which one or a few faculty are deeply involved. Often after this introductory period, the challenge becomes laying the infrastructure (organizational, technological, financial, etc.) such that pursuing digital humanities research and pedagogy is an option for every faculty member. Institutions of every size face this challenge of supporting digital humanities at scale, and there are many different ways of meeting this challenge, as the recent Ithaka S+R report on Sustaining the Digital Humanities demonstrates.

Below is my summary of some of the threads of conversation that seemed to be of particular interest to our context here at Wake Forest:

  • Often we think of the primary digital humanities activities at institutions of higher education as being research-centric, but increasingly campuses are thinking about how to support digital humanities in the classroom. What is the role of digital humanities in the liberal arts education? One participant pointed out that no engineer or scientist completes a college career without a collaborative, project-based course — but virtually every humanities undergraduate does. Another participant noted that she is thinking less in terms of digital humanities “projects” and more in terms of digital humanities as an element of the curriculum; this person has developed a proposal for an “Introduction to Digital Humanities” course co-taught by an English faculty member and a librarian. This thread of discussion resonated with my experience, having developed multiple semester-long collaborations with faculty to integrate digital projects into their courses.
  • What is the nature of “support” for digital humanities? As one participant noted, digital humanities is not a set of skills; it’s a methodology, a set of methodologies, an argument, a set of arguments. Consequently, can digital humanities be a “service” provided by a library or other unit on campus? Rather, the service rendered may be sustainable support for web projects of various levels of complexity, or consultations about metadata, or a referral by a library liaison to relevant campus or library resources. That said, it’s difficult to design infrastructure (technological or human) without knowing what we’re infrastructuring.
  • Support for digital humanities can be centered in one unit of the organization (such as ZSR’s Digital Scholarship Unit) while also being more distributed throughout the organization. Inreach is crucial to educating front-line liaisons about the core services of units such as our Digital Scholarship Unit, so that a natural part of their liaison work is connecting faculty with those core services.
  • Preserving the products of digital humanities research may be integral to legitimizing the digital humanities enterprise. Librarians are well-equipped to face the challenges of preserving scholarly works, including the outputs of digital humanities research. In order to demonstrate the value of digital humanities research, one long-term strategy is to preserve digital humanities research.
  • Regardless of the size of the institution, building the relationship infrastructure is just as crucial as building the technological infrastructure. Here at ZSR, I think we are positioned well to continue strengthening the relationships that already exist between ZSR, the Humanities Institute, Campus IS, academic departments, and individual faculty members.

CNI will issue a report summarizing the roundtable discussions in the coming months. In the meantime, we have plenty of food for thought!

Chelcie at the 2014 Triangle Scholarly Communication Institute

Friday, December 12, 2014 12:12 pm

This November I was fortunate to participate in the 2014 Triangle Scholarly Communication Institute.[1]

Publishing Makerspace design charrette at the 2014 Triangle SCI

The Publishing Makerspace team at Triangle SCI participates in a design charrette.

Early publicity surrounding the request for proposals encouraged prospective participants to take the following approach when putting together proposals:

Put together a working group that includes not just people you regularly interact with, but also people you want to work with but haven’t yet been able to. We’ll cover costs for your team to spend four days together in Chapel Hill, NC, in an Institute that’s part retreat, part seminar, part development sprint, part unconference.

You set the agenda, you define the deliverables. We bring everybody together and supply the environment and a network of peers to help stimulate and develop creative thinking and provide a diversity of perspectives about changes in research methods, publishing, digital humanities, digital archives, or other topics related to transformations in scholarly communication.

In short, the Institute provided teams the time and space to germinate actionable ideas in the realm of scholarly communication, broadly defined.

I was a member of the Publishing Makerspace team, whose aim was to have a creative discussion about what publishing is and what it can become. The members of our group included:

  • Courtney Berger, Senior Editor & Editorial Department Manager, Duke University Press
  • Marjorie Fowler, Digital Asset Coordinator, UNC Press
  • John D. Martin III, Doctoral Fellow, School of Information and Library Science, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
  • Sylvia K. Miller, Senior Program Manager, Consortium of Humanities Centers and Institutes
  • David Phillips, Associate Professor of Interdisciplinary Humanities, Innovation, Creativity, and Entrepreneurship (ICE), and Women’s, Gender and Sexuality Studies at Wake Forest University
  • Chelcie Juliet Rowell, Digital Initiatives Librarian, Z. Smith Reynolds Library, Wake Forest University

By the end of the Institute, we had come to the collective realization that what we were proposing was a workshop series for multimodal publishing that would bring together people who have different kinds of expertise to contribute to the publishing endeavor. What is multimodal publishing, you ask? Possible elements of a multimodal scholarly project might include:

  • a book to be published by a scholarly press
  • audio or video interviews
  • documentary film
  • photographs
  • blogs and other kinds of reflective or personal narrative
  • public or collective bibliographies
  • physical or virtual exhibits
  • maps and other visualizations such as 3D models and virtual worlds
  • digital collections
  • journal articles
  • print-on-demand essays or pamphlets

With that list of formats of scholarly publishing in mind, it’s easy to recognize that there are many experts in producing these rich published works — scholars, publishers, librarians, designers, programmers and other technologists — but their expertise doesn’t reside in one place. A Publishing Makerspace workshop would provide a space for these individuals to collaborate more fully.

To learn more about our vision for a series of Publishing Makerspace workshops — the problem it aims to address, the appeal to different communities, the format and expected outcomes of a workshop — please visit the blog post introducing our working group in advance of SCI, as well as our blog post summarizing our elevator pitch for the Publishing Makerspace, which we presented on the final morning of SCI.

Our next major step will be developing pilots for Publishing Makerspace workshops. I’m very much looking forward to being a part of this continuing effort.

1. [Return to top.] From 2003–2013 the Scholarly Communication Institute (SCI) was hosted at the University of Virginia, with funding from the Mellon Foundation. This year, supported by a new Mellon grant, SCI transitioned to the Research Triangle, hosted by Duke University.

Chelcie at ALA Annual 2014

Friday, July 11, 2014 4:27 pm

Despite the exotic setting in Vegas, for me this summer’s ALA felt very routine in that I attended all my old standby sessions — ACRL Digital Curation Interest Group, ACRL Digital Humanities Interest Group, and programs sponsored by the ALCTS CAMMS Metadata Interest Group, among others.

Digital Humanities and Academic Libraries: Practice and Theory, Power and Privilege

My favorite session of the conference — scratch that, my favorite ALA session of all time — was a program titled Digital Humanities and Academic Libraries: Practice and Theory, Power and Privilege organized by the ACRL Women and Gender Studies Section. The session did a fabulous job of collapsing the distinction between theory and practice; rather, thinking deeply about how the digital humanities are practiced “increases our ability to partner with and be valued on our campuses.” During this program I experimented with taking notes on Twitter—both because it enabled me to participate in a broader conversation (inside the conference center room and beyond) and because live tweeting forced me to think about to think about what I found most meaningful rather than simply transcribing. A few tweets that capture the program’s most memorable talking points are below.

ALCTS PARS Preservation Metadata Interest Group

As co-chair of the ALCTS PARS Preservation Metadata Interest Group, I was sad to bid goodbye to outgoing co-chair Sarah Potvin (Digital Scholarship Librarian at Texas A&M University) and delighted to meet incoming co-chair Drew Krewer (Digitization Operations Librarian at the University of Houston). I feel really grateful to collaborate with such wonderful people, whom I wouldn’t get to know so well without sharing these service responsibilities.

The program that Sarah and I developed focused on the use of the BitCurator tool to generate preservation metadata for born-digital materials. (I wrote at greater length about BitCurator in an earlier post.) We experimented somewhat with the format of the program in the hopes of facilitating a dialogue between BitCurator developers and current BitCurator users as well as those considering incorporating BitCurator into their workflows for processing born-digital materials. The format of our program was an in-depth overview of BitCurator from its PI Cal Lee, as well as two lightning talks from current BitCurator users, Jarrett M. Drake (Princeton University) and Rebecca Russell and Amanda Focke (Rice University). Many of the people who are on the ground using BitCurator to acquire disk images and generate metadata are SAA-goers rather than ALA-goers, but our program exposed preservation administrators to a helpful tool from the perspective of its builders and its users at more than one institution. Afterward more than one person who was in attendance expressed interest in joining the recently announced BitCurator Consortium. Fabulous slides from all the presenters are available in the Preservation Metadata Interest Group’s space on ALA Connect.

Discussion with Digitization Equipment Vendors

I valued the opportunity to speak in person with representatives of the Crowley Company (distributor of Zeutschel overhead scanners) and Atiz (maker of the BookDrive). I got a clearer idea of various models’ technical specifications and list prices, which is helpful information to tuck away for future reference.

Favorite Publishers in the Exhibit Hall

Like many people, I find the exhibit hall overwhelming, but since I’ve started going to ALA I’ve been on a quest to find my favorite small press publishers so that I know exactly which booths to visit for the best literary fiction and non-fiction of the coming year. I like visiting the smaller publishers because often the marketing staff in the booth are actually the people who did editorial work on the titles they’re promoting, so they speak from a place of deep knowledge and love when they share their favorite new works. This was the first year when I’ve felt as though I’ve found the presses that most appeal to me — Coffee House Press, The New Press, NYRB, Workman Publishing, and SoHo Press — so I’m totally indulging myself and sharing all of my favorite finds below. I hauled them all back to my office to create a tiny library of things to read during lunch, so drop by if you’d like to borrow any. I’m curious to hear from others, too. What are your go to booths for books for personal reading at ALA?

My favorite finds from the Exhibit Hall at the 2014 ALA Annual Conference in Vegas

Above: My favorite finds from the Exhibit Hall at the 2014 ALA Annual Conference in Vegas.

Chelcie at the Institute for Research Design in Librarianship

Wednesday, July 9, 2014 4:23 pm

During the two weeks preceding the 2014 ALA Annual Conference in Las Vegas, I attended the inaugural Institute for Research Design in Librarianship (IRDL) at Loyola Marymount University in L.A.

2014 Institute for Research Design in Librarianship Scholars, Instructors, and PIs

Above: 2014 Institute for Research Design in Librarianship Scholars, Instructors, and PIs.

The purpose of the institute is to lower barriers for librarians to conduct research—such as unfamiliarity with the research process or research methods, lack of support (both moral and monetary), and lack of confidence. Selection for participation was based primarily on the promise of an original research proposal submitted during the application process.

The Institute’s nine-day curriculum was designed around components of the research process from question formation and strategy of inquiry (qualitative or quantitative, exploratory or experimental) to sampling design and strategizing for publication. In addition to a methods bootcamp, the Institute also offered participants the opportunity to consult with instructors and each other as we continued to revise and refine our research proposals.

In addition to the luxury of focusing all my attention for two weeks on understanding methods and revising my proposal, I loved getting to know librarians whom I might never have met if not for IRDL. Another aim of the Institute was to enable us to construct a personal learning network of possible collaborators for future research projects, and already I am benefitting from an expanded network. We have formed topical Zotero groups and exchanged drafts of research proposals and brainstormed future research projects and (of course) hung out at ALA.

William H. Hannon  Library Exterior

Above: The William H. Hannon Library at Loyola Marymount University provided a beautiful setting (inside and out) for the Institute for Research Design in Librarianship.

My research proposal is motivated by the desire to gather evidence for organizational decision-making. As a member of the newly formed Digital Scholarship Unit, I am interested in identifying potential research data management services for ZSR to consider providing to researchers at Wake Forest University. In order to do this, I plan to look outward to service models of libraries at peer institutions as well as inward to data practices of researchers at Wake Forest University. Currently, the discussion about research data management services is dominated by ARL or R1 libraries, but as the policy environment continues to evolve, more and more researchers in more and more disciplines will be impacted. Consequently, a broader range of research libraries than ARL libraries will grapple withthe question of what is the library’s role in advancing the research mission of the university.

If you’d like to know more about my research proposal, I’d be delighted to chat. But fair warning—I will make you look at my color-coded infographic of my research objectives, research questions, and data collection processes!

Chelcie at CNI Spring 2014 Membership Meeting

Thursday, April 10, 2014 4:31 pm

A few weeks ago Lynn and I attended the Spring 2014 Membership Meeting of the Coalition for Networked Information (CNI) in St. Louis, MO. I had never attended CNI in the past, but was pleased to discover how much overlap there is with the Digital Library Federation (DLF), the community that I consider to be my professional home. Like the DLF, CNI is a rich mix of back end and front end; thought leaders and on-the-ground people; and deans, directors, department heads, and a few early career librarians.

I also gave a presentation (my first as ZSR’s Digital Initiatives Librarian!) on Wake Forest’s participation in the Digital Public Library of America, or DPLA. Although the DPLA has been very much a part of the CNI conversation in past meetings, DPLA staff delivered presentations and focused on its vision rather than its implementation. My presentation was part of a two-person panel that shifted the focus to local participation in the DPLA. Alongside Chris Freeland, Associate University Librarian at Washington University in St. Louis,who shared his experiences leading an initiative to organize a DPLA service hub in Missouri, I spoke about our approach as a contributing institution to the DPLA.

Both of our slides are below.

A Pond Feeding a Lake Feeding an Ocean: Wake Forest University as a Contributing Institution to the DPLA from Chelcie Rowell

We contribute our collections to the DPLA via the North Carolina Digital Heritage Center service hub, which aggregates the metadata of contributing institutions across the state of North Carolina and feeds it to the DPLA. We benefit from a relationship infrastructure already in place in North Carolina that Chris and others are working to establish in Missouri. Their goal is to contribute digital collections from Missouri contributing institutions by October 2014. I’m excited to be a part of the DPLA community. It’s not just a national interface to digital collections; it’s an ethos and a movement.

Organizing a DPLA Service Hub in Missouri from Chris Freeland

Compared to other conferences I’ve attended, the #cni14s Twitter stream was particularly active—recording, commenting on, and sometimes challenging the perspectives shared by speakers. As a first time presenter, I used the Twitter stream as an informal assessment mechanism to see what talking points resonated with listeners.

Chelcie at ALA Midwinter 2014

Wednesday, January 29, 2014 4:26 pm

This was my first ALA conference as a librarian rather than a student and my first ALA as an interest group chair. Since I was back in Philly, where I lived between college and library school, I also had the chance to catch up with one of my mentors, Elizabeth Fuller, librarian at the Rosenbach Museum & Library.

ALCTS Photo Scavenger Hunt

This year ALCTS sponsored a photo scavenger hunt on Flickr. I snapped photos of designated ALCTS programs, events, and people and Philadelphia landmarks in order to compete for great prizes such as ALA Store vouchers and ALCTS continuing education credit. The winners haven’t been announced yet, but my fingers are crossed! Below are some of my entries in the scavenger hunt.

At the ALCTS Member Reception

At the ALCTS Member Reception.

With 2013-2014 ALCTS President Genevieve Owens

With 2013-2014 ALCTS President Genevieve Owens.

Where ALCTS Executive Director, Charles Wilt, used to work in Philadelphia - The Franklin Institute

The final item on the photo scavenger hunt was where ALCTS Executive Director, Charles Wilt, used to work in Philadelphia (hint: it was featured in National Treasure). An ALCTS staff member tipped me off that the solution to the puzzle was the Franklin Institute, so luggage in hand, I trekked over to snap a photo before I caught the train back to the airport.

ALCTS PARS Preservation Metadata Interest Group

My co-chair Sarah Potvin and I developed a call for proposals that focused on involving content creators in preservation metadata. We aimed for our program to feature case studies and practical examples of how libraries are working with content creators to contribute metadata that supports long-term preservation of materials, e.g.:

  • Promoting the use of tools such as DataUp or building tools, processes, and/or policies to enable content creators to describe their content in a way that better supports preservation and re-use
  • Working with data creators to produce legible “Read Me” documentation
  • Encouraging creators to embed metadata in born-digital documents or photographs before deposit
  • Using crowd-sourcing to solicit, evaluate, and/or store additional preservation metadata
  • Developing apps or tools for users that collect preservation metadata

Our presenters were Lorraine Richards and Adam Townes (Assistant Professor and PhD candidate respectively at Drexel’s College of Computing and Informatics), part of a research team that is working directly with scientists, engineers and program managers at the Federal Aviation Administration’s (FAA) William J. Hughes Technical Center (WJHTC) in order to understand metadata requirements for facilitating re-use of data sets. In this case study of the FAA, there are preservation metadata implications for intervening early in the lifecycle.

Our other proud accomplishment was successfully moving the ALCTS PARS Executive Board to change the name of our interest group from the unwieldy and out-of-date “Intellectual Access to Preservation Metadata” (a vestige of a time when the conversation around preservation metadata centered on particular MARC fields) to simply “Preservation Metadata.” Sometimes the simplest accomplishments are the most satisfying!

In the Exhibit Hall

I also really enjoyed meeting representatives from vendors of digitization equipment that we use—the Crowley Company, which sells Zeutschel overhead scanners, as well as Atiz, which sells the BookDrive. I brought some specific questions about workflow snafus we have encountered in the digitization lab here at ZSR, and my questions were answered.

Facility tour of George Blood Audio and Video

Wednesday, January 29, 2014 12:53 pm

On Friday, the day I arrived in Philly for the 2014 ALA Midwinter Meeting, I attended a facility tour of George Blood Audio and Video, an A/V digitization vendor. At their studio, we saw a range of playback machines for audio, video and film material; squeezed into their climate controlled vault; and learned a little bit about their workflows.

One of the most memorable comments that George made during our tour is that the point of quality assessment is not to correct errors, but rather to identify the source of errors upstream in order to eliminate errors and improve processes for the long term. Because of their rigorous item-level QA, as the volume of their production has dramatically increased, their error rate has actually decreased.

The staff of George Blood Audio and Video have varied backgrounds – some with an MLIS, others with audio engineering degrees, many of whom had never heard of A/V preservation & reformatting. Either way, in making hiring decisions, George says that he looks for people who recognize the artifactual value of content captured on obsolete media.

George Blood showcases the quad format

The man himself, George Blood, showcases the quad format. It was surprisingly heavy!

Quad playback equipment

Quad playback equipment. George is constantly on the hunt for playback equipment from old studios that he can purchase and incorporate into digitization workflows.

National Be Kind to Video Tape Technicians Week

National Be Kind to Video Tape Technicians Week.

Physical storage (Ampex 196 1" Master Video Tapes)

Physical storage (Ampex 196 1″ Master Video Tapes).

Head cleaners often rarer than playback equipment

Head cleaners are often rarer than playback equipment.

Quadruple styluses! (styli?)

Quadruple styluses! (Styli?) There are analog considerations when it comes to digitizing grooved disks. How well the stylus fits into the groove can impact the digital capture, so audio engineers at George Blood Audio and Video hacked a device that places four styluses on the disk at once. Then, within their software environment, they can switch between the channels associated with each stylus in order to decide which channel to digitize.

George Blood pretzels

George Blood pretzels.


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