Professional Development

In the 'Society of North Carolina Archivists' Category...

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!

SNCA Meeting, Raleigh (NC) by Tanya

Thursday, April 10, 2014 12:41 pm

While I had some challenges making it to the SNCA meeting on April 8 (a sprained ankle necessitated some crutches), the opportunity for networking and hearing about all the ongoing archives projects in NC, was well worth the trip! I moderated a session focusing on the Digital Public Library (including Chelcie) and was interested to hear about the logistics and challenges of contributing to such a far-reaching project. Over lunch, State Archivist Sarah Koontz spoke and I greatly enjoyed hearing her remarks about the work of the State Archives of North Carolina. She gave excellent advice about combining advocacy and Archives Week, and as the new SNCA Archives Week coordinator, I greatly appreciated the ideas.

I also attended the Student Lightning Round session where five projects were described. Duke Divinity School student Dr. Ken Woo presented on his outreach plans for the Religion in North Carolina project, which includes our Special Collections. His presentation focused on the effectiveness of reaching a user base through online social media and collaborating with local communities.

Lastly, I co-presented with Erin Lawrimore (UNC-Greensboro) about the Archives Leadership Institute. The Institute, funded by the National Historical Publications and Records Commission (NHPRC) selects twenty-five archivists to attend a week-long retreat in Decorah, Iowa, and to complete a number of professional projects. I serve on the Steering Committee for ALI, and Erin was a recent 2013 participant. This was an effort to publicize the Institute in the hopes of increasing applications for 2015.

All in all, it was good to get out and see all the archives activity taking place in North Carolina!

SNCA, Secrest, and a New Finding Aid!

Thursday, April 10, 2014 11:15 am

Marcel Marceau materials from the Secrest Artists Series collection

On Monday, Vicki Johnson and I presented at the Society of North Carolina Archivists (SNCA) Conference on the Secrest Artists Series. Our theme, like that of the SNCA conference, was on community engagement and connections. We used the Secrest Artists Series, and the archival collection for the series, as an example of holdings in Special Collections and Archives that has a great deal of potential to bridge the gap between Special Collections, campus, and the Winston-Salem community. With the retirement of the long time director of the series, Lillian Shelton, Special Collections and Archives acquired a large archives of the Secrest Artists Series and began processing. Shortly after Lillian’s retirement, Marion Secrest passed away prompting community interest in the series and the collection. Special Collections and Archives made the Secrest Artists Series collection a processing priority for patron use, community outreach, and digitization. We have completed the processing and are pleased to have the Secrest Artists Series finding aid available for researchers and people interested in the series! Like the series itself, this collection is an amazing testament to the arts and Wake Forest’s commitment to bringing world-class performers to campus. Many attendees of our SNCA presentation showed interest and suggested ways to connect this collection to the greater Winston-Salem arts community. I enjoyed SNCA and appreciate the opportunity for Vicki and me to showcase such a great collection.

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.

Rebecca at SNCA Tri-State Conference

Friday, October 25, 2013 10:46 am

 

Last week, I traveled to Furman University for the Tri-State Archivists Conference. In addition to attending sessions, I represented SNCA as the Archives Week chair and did quite a bit of promotion of this year’s Archives Week. I must say it was a very worthwhile conference and I will try to hit some highlights for you.

“All Together Now! The Archives as Collaborative Space”

Katie Nash and Patrick Rudd of Elon University discussed their collaboration to work with the Education department at Elon to require the use of primary sources in their classrooms. Kristy Merryman from NC State highlighted her wonderful work with the “Cultivating a Revolution” project and her effort to make this project accessible to K-12 teachers. The project integrated a teacher portal with lesson guides to assist teachers in utilizing the online content. Kristy emphasized that these materials were all web based and the reasoning was that when teachers are preparing and executing lesson plans, they are not traveling to the archives, they are accessing materials online. Finally, Paula Jeanette Mangiafico from Duke spoke about their efforts to make intern experiences more valuable for both the individual as well as the institution. Giving students more context, encouraging discovery and collaboration, and creating a real learning experience allows everyone to “be awesome together.” I found this session extremely helpful and encouraging! I hope to use some strategies and ideas in my work here at ZSR.

“Social Media Archiving in State Government”

Rachel Trent from the State Archives of North Carolina and Kathleen Kenney from the State Library of North Carolina presented on a very timely and interesting topic, web archiving. The efforts of the State Archives and the State Library mirror much of the work we are doing here at ZSR with ArchiveIt. They discussed challenges they have had in terms of privacy, access, and completeness. They discussed using Archive Social to more effectively gather social media content, but also the pitfalls of display. Although Archive Social captures content, the content does not look like it does when hosted by the social media sites. This is an issue to archivists when presenting how something looked to future generations. I hope to further discuss strategies with Rachel and Kathleen to more effectively capture the social media presence at WFU.

“We the People: Creating a More Perfect Archive”

Vicki and I put together this panel (along with Maureen McCormick Harlow) to discuss a variety of diversity programming in N.C. I spent my time discussing the success of SNCA’s 2012 N.C. Archives Week “Journeys to Justice: Civil Rights in NC.” The theme was chosen to allow archives across the state to showcase materials relating to a variety of civil rights issues: integration, women’s rights, LGBTQ community, Amendment One, and many others. SNCA’s role in N.C. Archives week is to help facilitate, promote, and encourage institutions across the state to plan events, hang posters, and generally get the “archival” word out. Beyond heralding the successes of last year’s N.C. Archives Week, I shamelessly promoted this year’s Archives Week “Home Grown! A Celebration of NC Food Culture & History.” I was very pleased with the response I got from archivists seeking promotional materials or sharing events they were planning for Archives Week.

Overall, I found the Tri-State conference to be a success! I enjoyed my time networking, learned a lot from archivists in the region, and promoted Archives Week 2013. Thanks to Lynn, Wanda, and Tanya for the opportunity to attend.

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!

Tanya–Tri-State Archivists Meeting (Greenville, SC)

Friday, October 18, 2013 2:46 pm

I was able to sit in on one day of the Tri-State Archivists 2013 (Society of Georgia Archivists, Society of North Carolina Archivists, Society of South Carolina Archivists) joint meeting at Furman University, Greenville, SC. While my time was short, the quality of the presentations definitely made the trip worth it.

The opening plenary was by Emily Gore of the Digital Public Library of America and provided an excellent overview of the DPLA’s mission, organization and structure. She also recommended numerous apps to access their collections, including OpenPics and Culture Collage, which could also have implications for instruction. Dr. Clifford Kuhn, the Director of the Oral History Association was the lunchtime plenary and shared examples of oral history projects focusing on the Southeast. One of his most interesting comments related to the role transcription has played in giving access to oral history–traditionally, there has been a focus on providing text for audio interviews, which is extremely time consuming and expensive. Things have changed somewhat, and as he noted, we are moving towards thinking and authoring in sound, which raises the importance of sharing the audio and video directly with researchers, so they can hear actual voices. During the afternoon, there were a fascinating set of presentations focusing on MPLP (More Product, Less Process) processing and decision-making in regards to collections; the role of description in assisting researchers; and the role of reappraisal in assessing collections. All raised excellent points, and one of the speakers utilized a University of California-developed set of criteria (user interest, quality of documentation, institutional value, and object value) for determining collection priorities, which I hope to use in the future. There were also interesting poster sessions, including the Clarence Herbert New poster by Rebecca and Craig, and others on dealing with small disasters, archives internships, and using Dropbox for reference service. All in all, I picked up many valuable tips and food for thought.

There’s no crying in archives! Or is there?

Thursday, April 12, 2012 6:00 pm

On March 29th and 30th, I attended the annual conference of the Society of North Carolina Archivists or SNCA (along with Rebecca and Craig). We were fortunate that it was held at UNC-Greensboro this year, making it an easy drive. Being on the planning committee, I knew that there were more people registered for this conference than ever before, so I looked forward to being part of it. (Plus I was in charge of making name tags and wanted to put faces with all of the 160 names I had printed out)!

The experience did not disappoint, and there was a good crowd from all over the state as well as some out-of-staters. Since Craig and Rebecca have already done a great job summarizing much of the conference, I will recount what I thought were highlights of the sessions and what I took away from them.

 

Plenary speaker- Kate Theimer

Kate is the author of the blog ArchivesNext. She discussed the 6 trends that will or already are affecting archives and asked us to think about how we’ll deal with them. The trends are:

*Participatory Culture

*Changes in how people document themselves

*Changes in scholarly practice

*Expanding Digitization

*Popularization of history

*Blurring of organizational roles

All of these are external forces that we can’t control, so we have to adapt. While there isn’t one answer that will work for everyone, Kate suggested that we step back, look at new technologies, look at other cool projects that are being done, and watch the new trends in history scholarship. Using this information we can adjust our own institutions in the ways that will best help us to be productive and responsive to researchers. As Kate was talking about what our mission is as archivists (preserving the past), she teared up and had to stop talking for a minute. Why, you ask? Because it is such and IMPORTANT job!

**Stepping on soapbox now** The job of keeping stories alive, of being the institutional memory, of preserving that information that someone will need to see again in 20 years… it really does matter! I know that many people think that we in Special Collections are a bit obsessive about “keeping stuff” and that we should just throw things away because most things are online now. But that fact is that we aren’t and they aren’t. To give a voice to those who have gone before us and to have things available that you can really “touch”, we have to be a little obsessive about making sure that important things don’t get tossed in the trash can (ask Beth about a book that belonged to Charles Dickens). When Dr. Hatch’s office needed a photo of a distinguished alumni, we had it. When a display needed an original King James Bible, we had it. When a professor needed to see Dr. Tribble’s original correspondence and notes to write a book, we had it. When Tom Hayes needed to see page after page of his father’s (Harold Hayes) hand-written notes and manuscripts for a documentary, we had it. If we hadn’t saved these things, huge pieces of history would have been lost.

We have no problems with digitizing things and sharing them online, but it’s also important to keep the original items as well. It’s just not the same to see a letter signed by Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., online as it is to actually hold it. It’s a direct connection to the past. And even if something is saved digitally, there is no guarantee that you’ll always have the technology available to access it, i.e. floppy discs and reel to reel tapes. That’s why paper hard copies are still pretty useful. ** Stepping off soapbox now**

So, to sum up, Kate Theimer is a strong believer in adapting to change and making history appealing to the public. But she is also keenly aware of the huge task that belongs to archivists which is to keep primary sources and make them accessible to researchers both in person and on the web. Her ideas and observations about archives were thought-provoking and I’m glad I got to hear her speak.

 

-The presentation that followed discussed how to successfully Crowdsource projects and get good results!

*Lisa Gregory from the NC Department of Cultural Resources described how they used Flickr Uplodr to have volunteers help transcribe documents from their collections. They promote the project, North Carolina Family Records Online, through Facebook, Twitter and their blogs. Their volunteers have done great work, and are very meticulous about their projects. Lisa said they give personal thanks to their volunteers often, and also give them recognition for their help.

*Lynn Richardson of the Durham County Public Library North Carolina Room told about the Durham Civil Rights Heritage Project. Library workers and volunteers held “collection days” in different parts of the city, when private individuals and local professional photographers could bring in pictures as well as have their stories recorded, telling the the history of the civil rights movement in Durham. The library staff scanned the photos and shot negatives of them as well. The photos were then given back to the owners, along with a “thank you scan” of it. They had good turn out at each location, and more collection days are planned for the future.

*Michelle Czaikowski from the State Library of North Carolina talked about NCpedia. The target audiences as possible contributors for this site area subject specialists, writers and history enthusiasts. If you’d like to contribute, here is what to do

Anyone interested in contributing is encouraged to peruse the NCpedia’s at http://ncpedia.org and contact Steve Case or Michelle Czaikowski, Digital Projects Manager for the State Library with the topic on which you are interested in writing, even if the topic is still listed on our list of “Topics Needed.” This will insure there is no duplication. (We don’t want anyone to go through the effort of writing an article on a topic already fully covered!) Please also include a target date for completing the entry. Entries may vary in length between 500 – 2000 words depending on the topic”.

They are also looking for images to use in NCpedia. Have some you’d like to share? Then read this:

NCpedia is currently seeking images for Flickr slideshows for NCpedia’s county profiles. http://ncpedia.org/geography/counties

Do you have digital photographs of places in North Carolina? Do you use Flickr? Would you like your Flickr photos featured in NCpedia’s county profiles?

Contributing them is an easy two-step process.

First, let Flickr know you are okay with sharing your photos with us. To do this, go to the “Privacy & Permissions” settings on your account to make sure the answers to the following questions are as follows:

  • “Allow others to share your stuff?” Yes
  • “Allow your stuff to be added to a gallery?” Yes
  • “Hide your stuff from public searches?” No

Second, add the following tags to the photos you would like to appear in NCpedia:

  • ncpedia
  • the county name, as one word. For example: wakecounty, pendercounty, cravencounty

So far response has been great, and they are always looking for new information and pictures!

 

*Tom Flynn from Winston-Salem Sate shared about the efforts he’s making to increase the photo collections there. He literally goes to events and holds up a sign that says “send your pictures to this address” which is set up to go to and archives account that is set up on their SnapCrowd (cloud storage) account. Response has been good so far, and they hope to produce QR codes for the yearbook eventually as well as stream the videos at the sporting event, in the student center and in the archives. He also mentioned that there they do some screening to weed out inappropriate photos or video, but so far there haven’t been any problems.

 

-A presentation on Copyright for Digital Collections highlighted just how difficult it really can be, and is many times, to get permission to provide online access to materials. Lynn Eaton from Duke, Kristy Dixon from UNC- Charlotte, and Maggie Dickson from UNC-Chapel Hill all recounted the long, involved process of researching who holds copyright for various materials, what to ask when you send a letter to get permission to put materials online, and what the Fair Use Provision of the Copyright Act of 1976 says. (Fair Use) Duke is working with advertising materials from a large number of companies, UNC-Charlotte is working with the Payne Editorial Cartoon Collection and UNC-Chapel Hill is working with city directories. Needless to say, very few things were cut and dried for these projects, but they are all moving ahead without any problems so far.

-Craig, Rebecca and I enjoyed hearing about the projects that are going on at NC State in their Special Collections Research Center, but I must admit we were more than a little envious of their resources and number of staff.

*Kristen Merryman, Digital Projects Librarian, described how they have been identifying potential users for their agricultural collections. Going by professors’ offices, spreading the word through student employees and doing departmental outreach has helped them connect with departments that didn’t know what resources were available in Special Collections.

*Emily Walters, Project Librarian with the architectural and design school, discussed the grant-funded project, Changing the Landscape, that helped them process 1200 linear feet of over 40,000 original drawings and project files. They refined their processing procedures and were able to make the materials available for use. They actually take the materials to the students in the design library and have had good response.

*Genya O’Gara, Project Librarian for Student Leadership Initiative, told of the Red, White and Black project which celebrates the African American student experience at NCSU. It is a guided walking tour around campus that lets use familiar technology to hear a speaker tell what happened at a certain place or see a picture of how things “used to be”. Response has been very positive, overwhelmingly so, and there are plans to continue to expand the information included in it.

 

After a great lunch at Jack’s Corner, Rebecca and I made sure things were ready for our presentation on digitizing the Biblical Recorder from our NC Baptist Collection. While we didn’t bring the audience to tears, all went well and there were some good questions for us at the end. Our co-presenter, Gwen Gosney Erickson, described how Guilford College’s Historical Collection, along with other Quaker schools, had partnered with Ancestry.com to have many of their church record holdings put online and be available to researchers. Their project isn’t complete yet, but should be within the year. Closing out our session was LeRae Umfleet from the NC Department of Cultural Resources. She discussed how they have used social media to share many of the resources they have about the Civil War. What she thought would encompass writing 2-3 blog posts a week morphed into 2-3 blog posts a day! She went through multiple diaries and letters and has found a corresponding entry for each day of the Civil War. She calls that job security for the next 3 years! There are many loyal followers of the blog, and they are anxious to hear what happens each day.

 

It’s always great to talk with other archivists and find out what they are doing and get new ideas from them. The 2012 SNCA conference was a place to do just that and I look forward to the next conference!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Craig at SNCA

Monday, April 9, 2012 3:18 pm

This was my first time attending the Society of North Carolina Archivists Conference as a attendee, although a few years ago, Audra and I, along with Rachel Hoff presented in Pinehurst about Protecting Forsyth’s Past.

The conference was amazingly well organized and run. The signage was great and parking was available nearby. I have already reported on the paper mending workshop I took before the start of the conference. Rebecca also did a great job of covering the conference and so I’ll try not to repeat.

On Thursday morning, I took the tour of the UNCG Special Collections hosted by UNCG Archivist, Erin Lawrimore. Keith Gorman, Assistant Head of Special Collections and Archives, led my group. They have gone with one service point, as we have at ZSR. It was interesting to talk with Keith about their outreach to faculty where they do ‘cold calls’ during office hours and reach out to departments to get faculty interested in using Special Collections. The Plenary Luncheon speaker, Kate Theimer, was great. I especially liked two sources she mentioned in her talk: Handmade Librarian is a blog by Jessica Pigza, who combines being a librarian with the sources she oversees in her work as a Rare Books Librarian at New York Public Library. Jessica also writes a Handmade blog fro NYPL. The other source mentioned by Kate Thimer was Ben Brumfield who is using crowd-sourcing to get volunteers to help with transcription and annotation on digitization projects. It has to be a challenge to work with volunteers to transcribe letters and diaries for these projects-I think this idea is innovative and inspiring.

Vicki, Rebecca and Gwen at SNCA

The other session I’d like to report on was “Keeping the Faith and Sharing it Too” presented by two of ZSR’s finest: Vicki Johnson and Rebecca Peterson. Vicki and Rebecca reported on the the now infamous Biblical Recorder project.

Vicki at SNCA

The Biblical Recorder was founded by Thomas Meredith, a Baptist minister and founder of Meredith College in Raleigh. The BR began in 1833, and ZSR has what is probably the most complete run. The BR represents a get historical look into products and events of the Civil War. Vicki’s lead into the talk was a slide from the film A River Runs Through It where she described Rev. Maclean (played by Tom Skerritt) as saying that “Methodists were Baptists who could read” got a laugh from the audience. Vicki then used the BR as a way to show Baptists could certainly read…and write! She then explained how we got permission to digitize the BR from the Editor and Board, and received a grant to digitize the papers from 1834-1970.

Rebecca at SNCA

Rebecca covered the challenges of this project: poor quality microfilm; dis-binding of all the original papers for scanning, boxing and shipping to Quebec; the time period of the grant; and personnel turnover at the vendor-Olive. For the vendor, Olive-they do not provide analytics and we cannot edit any of the material. The benefits are enormous: keyword searching of the BR for the first time and users benefit from having the ability to search without travel or looking through original papers. Vicki and Rebecca did a remarkable job and I was more than a little proud to be their colleague.

Gwen Erikson from Guilford College, reported on a collaborative project to connect four ‘Friends’ Colleges: Guilford, Bryn Mawr, Earlham and Haverford. This project attempted to find better ways to connect people and historic Quaker church records, some dating to 1680. Using conference calls with each college, they ended up partnering with Ancestry.com, who wanted to work with these Quaker schools partly because Quaker records have unique information in them. For permissions, they faced more opposition from their attorneys at Guilford than anywhere else because their attorneys wanted to protect Guilford. Guilford used the 1972 census rule of confidentiality as a guide.

LeeRae Umfleet, from the NC Department of Cultural Resources spoke about the Civil War project she has undertaken. Each day, sometimes several times a day, she posts about events that took place 150 years ago on that same day in the Civil War, via their twitter feed. UNC-CH also has a Civil War Day-by-Day blog which uses their resources to document the war. Anyone who has heard LeeRae will appreciate her enthusiasm for this work, which involves lots of transcription.

I enjoyed SNCA: hearing about the work of archivists in North Carolina, meeting new people, seeing old friends and hearing Vicki and Rebecca.

Rebecca at SNCA 2012

Wednesday, April 4, 2012 5:40 pm

Last week, Vicki, Craig, and I traveled to Greensboro for the Society of North Carolina Archivists (SNCA) Annual Conference. UNCG hosted both days of the conference and it was a great opportunity to spend time with and learn from colleagues from all over the state. Thursday’s lunch-time plenary speaker was Kate Theimer,author andblogger. Kate is a visionary in the archives world and it was wonderful to hear her perspectives on future trends in archives.

“Putting Your Patrons to Work: Crowdsourcing Success Stories” was the first session on Thursday. Lisa Gregory spoke of the North Carolina Family Records Online project. This project uses flickr to transcribe digitized vertical files that get very high use by genealogists and family historians. Lisa explained how the digitized materials are tagged on flickr asking people to transcribe them in the comments. A script then emails the comments back to the archivist who then makes a text file to be loaded into CONTENTdm. Lisa explained that she does not do any quality control but has found that people who do this type of transcription usually have an interest and enthusiasm for what they are doing and are usually very accurate. Michelle Czaikowski of the State Library also described a project using flickr. NCPedia encourages people to tag their own pictures on flickr that apply to all things North Carolina. Lastly, Tom Flynn of Winston-Salem State talked about accessioning and outreach in the cloud. Using SnapCrowd, Tom encourages students to submit and tag themselves in pictures at various campus events. His mode of encouragement is to attend events with a big sign with the address where you can email your photos. I think this is an interesting and interactive way to get students involved in documenting their experiences at the University. Although the potential for abuse is obvious, Tom is pleased with the overall success of the project.

“Managing Copyright for Digital Collections: Strategies from Three Recent Digitization Efforts” featured projects from the NC Digital Heritage Center, UNCC, and Duke. Maggie Dickson of the North Carolina Digital Heritage Center spoke of the City Directory digitization project. She documented the extensive research she did to make sure that the directories are in the public domain and available for display. Kristy Dixon of UNCC described the ongoing work to get permission to digitize the Eugene Payne Cartoon Collection from the Charlotte Observer. Lynn Eaton of Duke University described the extensive copyright investigation and requesting of permissions for the ROAD project and Ad Views both of which are very large digital projects that highlight advertising. This really was an impressive and daunting presentation that illustrates the work it takes to investigate copyright as well as the great benefits that come from the digital projects that come of this work.

Thursday’s sessions ended with the SNCA business meeting. Our very own Craig Fansler was elected as a Member-at-Large for the board and my work as Archives Week Committee chair was extended for two years. The night ended with a reception at the Greensboro Historical Museum. This was a great opportunity to spend time with colleagues, walk through the museum, and honor one student and one professional in the field. it was a great day for North Carolina archivists!

Friday began bright and early with a the opening speaker Ralph P. Ganis. His speech “Tarheel Jesse: the Document Trail of the Outlaw Jesse James in North Carolina” highlighted the work he has done in NC archives to prove a connection between Jesse James and the James Gang and North Carolina. I must say, the speaker’s enthusiasm and love of archival materials was infectious. Following this speaker and the poster session, I attended the session “Architects, Scientists, and Mobile Apps: Reimagining Archival Engagement” featuring three archivists from the NCSU Special Collections Research Center. Kristen Merryman described the Cultivating a Revolution digital project. Focusing on the agriculture holdings of NCSU collections, this digital project is an ideal resource for the agriculture students and faculty but it is not as highly used as the Special Collections team would like. Kristen offered some tips to get out on campus and promote the collection to both traditional and non-traditional users. What was said over and over again in this session is that you must go to your audience and not expect the audience to always come to you. She suggested stopping by faculty office hours to have a chat about your collection. She also mentioned going through applicable finding aids with professors and highlighting what exactly is in there and how it could be used in their classes or research. Emily Walters presented about NCSU’s extensive architecture collection. Emily again reinforced the need to meet their users in their own space. “Pop Up Library” is the idea of taking drawings and blueprints to the school and space where users are. Design students have taken advantage of having some of the 40,000 original drawings of American Modernist architecture showing up in their space for a short amount of time.Genya O’Gara’s topic covered “Red, White, and Black: Commemorating African American History at NC State”, a mobile app-led tour of NC State campus focusing on African American history. Originally inspired by WolfWalk, Red, White, and Black meets people in their own space and with familiar technology. It is one thing to read through a box of papers in the Special Collections reading room, but to stand in the spot where a campus event took place and listen to an oral history or see an archival photo of an event has a lot more impact. This event has been immensely popular and the content is growing as people add their experiences on the topic.

I’m sure you will hear more on these sessions and more from Vicki and Craig. I had a fantastic time, learned a lot, and had a great chance to network with North Carolina archivists. I’m happy to chat more about these sessions.


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