Professional Development

2014 Archives Leadership Institute (Decorah, Iowa) by Tanya

Wednesday, June 25, 2014 4:25 pm

I recently attended the second iteration of the Archives Leadership Institute (ALI), hosted by Luther College and located in Decorah, Iowa (I participated in the 2008 ALI held in Madison, WI). Funded by the National Historical Publications & Records Commission (NHPRC), the goal for the Institute is to “bring to tomorrow’s leaders the insights and understanding necessary for increasing public use and appreciation of archives.” I am now part of the Steering Committee, organizing the current 3-year set of ALI (still sponsored by NHPRC):

http://www.archivesleadershipinstitute.org/

The Steering Committee consists of archivists (Rachel Vagts, ALI Director, and Sasha Griffin) from Luther College as well as representatives from New York (Geof Huth), Michigan (Beth Myers), Ohio (Dan Noonan), Oregon (Terry Baxter), Texas (Brenda Gunn), and of course, North Carolina (Tanya). For our second year, we worked with the faculty to revise the schedule and again reviewed applications (there were nearly 100 for 25 slots). The Committee conducted daily evaluations of the curriculum, and monitored the overall process by serving as faciliators for small groups in the cohort. Again, we had a wonderful week and built many new relationships.

The core curriculum consisted of the following: The first day focused on New Leadership Thinking and Methods (faculty and facilitator, Luther Snow). Our second day brought Dr. David Gracy (retired from the archives faculty at UT-Austin) who spoke on Advocacy. Dr. Gracy is such a personality, the tweeters in the group couldn’t keep up with all of his quotes! Day three brought Dan Noonan from Ohio State who presented on Strategies for Born Digital Resources. Sharon Leon (Director of Public Projects, Roy Rosenzweig Center for History and Media, George Mason) who oversees OMEKA and Scripto, focused on project management for day four. Christopher Barth, from West Point, spoke on Strategic Visioning and Team Development. A new addition was StrengthsFinder, so, yes, I managed to take it again. My number 1 strength Activator has remained the same, but I have added Achiever and Connectedness. My other two, Learner and Responsibility remain. Of course, during our Strengthsfinder presentation, we had a tornado warning and had to complete part of the presentation in the laundry room. Good times.

The week again ended with a special celebratory dinner (which included funny and heartfelt stories from the participants). The group is scheduled to meet again at the annual meeting for the Society of American Archivists, being held in Washington, D.C. in August. There will be a dinner (including ALI alumni from past years) as well as a morning workshop to discuss potential service activities. ALI has had a tremendous impact on the archival profession by developing the potential leadership skills in a wide range of archival professionals throughout the country. I am glad I was able to continue my participation in this important program.

 

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.

Tanya at the Society of American Archivists (SAA) annual meeting in New Orleans, LA

Friday, August 23, 2013 11:30 am

I don’t know how I can possibly describe my 9 days in New Orleans, but I will certainly do my best!

I recently attended the annual meeting of the Society of American Archivists (SAA), held in New Orleans, in addition to other events tacked on at the beginning and the end of my travels. First off, I was part of a review team (with colleagues from the Radcliffe Institute, Harvard University and the University of Iowa) who were asked to review the Newcomb Institute Women’s Archives, part of Tulane University. This is the first program review I have been involved in that was not for an academic program, academic department, or library. We met with the Institute’s archivist, Executive Director, staff, faculty, Tulane archivists, toured the Newcomb Archives, and reviewed documentation from the library and university. All in all, this was an interesting experience, and one I hope to write about in the future. Before SAA began, I was able to have a nice tour of the Garden District, visit the Ursuline Convent, and have dinner with some of my favorite archivist colleagues, including my sister-in-law, Stacy Belcher Gould. Stacy is the University Archivist at the University of Hong Kong and is not always able to come to SAA, so this was a big treat.

At the very beginning of the week, I attended SAA Council meetings as I was elected to a three-year term last year (2012-2015). Council oversees all budgetary and programmatic activities of the Society, and meets three times per year (twice in Chicago in January and May, and at the annual meeting). Council completed a number of tasks, including reorganizing the annual meeting structure, reviewing reports, and creating an Advocacy and Public Policy Committee. I have been working on advocacy projects in conjunction with SAA, the Council of State Archivists (CoSA) and the National Association of Government Archives and Records Administrators (NAGARA), and I will also be assisting with the work of this committee. After the annual meeting actually started, my main responsibility was to update numerous groups on Council activities and ask for feedback. “My” groups include the Diversity Committee, the Government Affairs Working Group, the Latin American and Caribbean Heritage Archives Roundtable, the Native American Roundtable, the College and University Archives Section, and the Science, Technology and Healthcare Roundtable.

On Tuesday, I attended the Women’s Archives Symposium, sponsored by the Newcomb Institute and Archives. This program was organized to coincide with SAA’s publication of my newly edited book (with Anke Voss), Perspectives on Women’s Archives (Society of American Archivists, 2013). I gave introductory remarks and listened to panel presentations and discussions organized around themes we raised in our introductory essay. There were 60 attendees and one of the participants blogged about the day:
http://lori.birrell.us/2013/08/14/what-does-the-future-hold/

All in all, it was a satisfactory end to 7 years of hard work:
http://saa.archivists.org/store/perspectives-on-womens-archives/3334/

During the annual meeting, I did manage to hear interesting presentations on institutional repositories and advocacy efforts in Alabama (presented by my very first archives employer, the Alabama Department of Archives and History). I made time to stop by Rebecca and Craig’s poster on Clarence Herbert New, it really did look wonderful. On Friday, I gave a presentation on women in science and engineering, in honor of archivist Joan Warnow Blewitt (American Institute of Physics), to the Science, Technology and Healthcare Roundtable. This presentation described oral history projects at ISU and potential future plans for a similar project at Wake Forest.

Finally, at the end of the week, as a Steering Committee member for the Archives Leadership Institute, I attended meetings, hosted an ALI alumni dinner, trekked down Bourbon Street at 11:00 p.m. and finished up with a Sunday morning workshop. Thank goodness, they had some coffee for us.

SAA is always incredibly exciting, stimulating, and exhausting–there is nothing like having 1,600 archivists all in the same place! I am now happy (and a little relieved, to be truthful) to be back in Winston-Salem. I look forward to catching up and staying put for some time….

Archives Leadership Institute 2013 (Decorah, Iowa)

Monday, June 24, 2013 10:05 am

All, I apologize for the length of this posting, but really didn’t want to split it up!

Five years ago, I had the tremendous opportunity to participate in the very first Archives Leadership Institute (ALI), hosted by the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Funded by the National Historical Publications & Records Commission (NHPRC), the goal for the Institute was to “bring to tomorrow’s leaders the insights and understanding necessary for increasing public use and appreciation of archives.” The Institute provided a series of workshops on managing change, self-evaluation, working with external collaborators, and much, more more! We also worked in small groups and developed responses to specialized case studies. All in all, it was a excellent experience–I was able to meet new people, and build deeper friendships with those I already knew (FYI, the archives profession is extremely small, and even if you don’t know someone, you usually are only one degree away from a connection). My friend and colleague, Geof Huth, blogged about the entire week: http://anarchivist.blogspot.com/2008_06_01_archive.html

Now, in 2013, I am part of the Steering Committee, organizing the next 3-year set of ALI, held last week at Luther College, Decorah, Iowa (still sponsored by NHPRC): http://www.archivesleadershipinstitute.org/

The Committee consists of archivists (Rachel Vagts, ALI Director, and Sasha Griffin) from Luther College as well as representatives from New York (Geof Huth), Michigan (Beth Myers), Ohio (Dan Noonan), Oregon (Terry Baxter), Texas (Brenda Gunn), and of course, North Carolina (Tanya). The Steering Committee assisted in the development of the Institute content and logistics, and also reviewed applications (there were nearly 100 for 25 slots). For the Institute, the Committee conducted daily evaluations of the curriculum, and monitored the overall process by serving as facilitators for small groups in the cohort. All in all, we had a wonderful week (including a field trip to Seed Savers (which saves heirloom seeds) and a yoga class) and built many new relationships. The Institute also gained the moniker, “The Weight Gain” Institute because the food was so good.

For some photos (please note Audra Eagle Yun as she was one of the attendees): http://www.flickr.com/photos/55249940@N08/sets/72157634232465477/

The week began with a day dedicated to New Leadership Thinking and Methods. Our facilitator for the entire week was community organizer and consultant, Luther Snow, who is based in Decorah. I found his concepts on generativity to be extremely helpful-the focus is on what you have, not on the negative aspects of continually thinking about your weaknesses. During the afternoon, the group was presented with a number of physical team challenges for team groups to solve to build bonding, and then we went to the high ropes course. We were really not sure how the group would respond, but it was amazing-even if you didn’t take the challenge of crossing a log 30 feet up, you could participate by serving on the belay team or cheering everyone else on. I finally broke down and participated in the swing, which draws you up about 30 feet in the air, and after you pull the cord, swoosh, you swing through the air numerous times. I am afraid of heights, but after everyone else on the Steering Committee AND my small group tried at least one thing, I felt obligated as a point of pride. Next year, I am planning to tackle the diagonal log climb. See the photos on the Flickr site, yikes!

On Day two, Dan Noonan from Ohio State presented on Strategies for Born Digital Resources. The constant mantra of dealing with electronic records is never let the perfect be the enemy of the good. In other works, do something, even if it is not perfect. Day 3 brought Sharon Leon (Director of Public Projects, Roy Rosenzweig Center for History and Media, George Mason) who oversees OMEKA and Scripto, focus on project management. Christopher Barth, from West Point, spoke on Strategic Visioning and Team Development. One of the best things about his presentation (in addition to the content) was his use of PollEv which enable the participants to text thoughts on various questions he asked, which were then displayed to everyone:

http://www.polleverywhere.com/polls/1018107-httppollevcom

Finally, Day five brought Kathleen Roe to speak about Archival Advocacy and Awareness. Kathleen is an SAA Fellow and has been an archivist with the New York State Archives for nearly 35 years. She is also the incoming president for the Society of American Archivists, and has been a leader in building awareness of and financial support for archives. The week ended with a special celebratory dinner, which included heartfelt stories from the participants as well as inside jokes concerning bacon, shoes, and trolls. The group will be meeting again at the annual meeting for the Society of American Archivists, being held in New Orleans in August. There will be a dinner (including ALI alumni from past years) as well as a morning workshop to discuss potential service activities. ALI has had a tremendous impact on the archival profession by developing the potential leadership skills in a wide range of archival professionals throughout the country. I am glad I was able to participate in continuing this important program.

FYI-as I was recently elected to ZSR’s Mentoring Committee, I thought I would share a couple of items from ALI 2012, where I presented specifically on mentoring. The first is an outline of my presentation and a bibliography on mentoring-if you have questions about either, please do not hesitate to let me know!

http://www.slis.wisc.edu/documents/zanish-belcher_text.pdf

http://www.slis.wisc.edu/documents/zanish-belcher_bib.pdf

 

 

Midwest Archives Conference (Indianapolis, Indiana)

Monday, April 22, 2013 12:35 pm

I recently returned from Indianapolis, where I attended the Midwest Archives Conference annual meeting. I have been a member of MAC for nearly 20 years, and have served in a number of offices, including chairing the Nominating Committee, Council member, Vice President, and most recently, as President (2009-2011). MAC is an interesting organization, for while it is technically a regional group, it does have a large national and international membership and also publishes its own journal, Archival Issues.

I still have ongoing service activities within MAC. As Past President, I serve on the President’s Award Committee, which recognizes organizations who make a significant contribution to the archival community. This year’s winner was the Earth Resources Observation and Science (EROS) Center (part of the U.S. Geological Survey), located near Sioux Falls, SD. One of their primary data collections is called Landsat, short for land satellite. Landsat’s global archive contains over 3.5 million individual images and these images are available for free to the public. I was also recently appointed as co-chair of the Education Committee. The Education Committee is responsible for the selection of workshops for the annual meeting, planning for the long term, and organizing a Speakers’ Bureau. The Bureau has potential implications for the national archives scene and as the idea was generated during strategic planning when I was MAC President, I feel obligated to assist in its development.

MAC normally has 300-350 attendees (Indy had 400!) at the annual meeting, and many of the members have known each other for years. The programs are always of high quality, and this year has proven to be no exception. The opening plenary was given by Film Professor and member of the Organization for Transformative Works, Francesca Coppa. She focused her remarks on fan works and culture, and the online creation of fan-based creations in a wide variety of formats, including fiction, artwork, film/video, textiles, wikis, and songs. There are all sorts of copyright and preservation issues, and the group recently created a new software, The Archive of Our Own, which enables the various groups to preserve and organize their own work. The most interesting part of the presentation was her discussion of tagging and the creation of folksonomies by “tag wranglers,” and how they use tagging to capture highly complex concepts.

I also attended As It Happens: Documenting Community Tragedies and Transformations, a session with representatives from the University of Northern Illinois, the Evangelical Lutheran Church, and my “home” state of Iowa’s Postville Collection. Each presentation described the issues involved with documenting sensitive events (i.e. campus shootings, religious changes, and a federal raid on a meatpacking plant) and how to sensitively document these events for the future. The real challenge, in addition to diplomatic skills, was the preserving of such a wide variety of formats, i.e. artifacts, oral histories, film, video, banners, memorials, and photographs.

Crowdsourcing Transcription was a popular session-the presenters focused on the technical and staff efforts to provide such an experience for the public. One of the first of such efforts was the New York Public Library’s What’s on the Menu project: http://menus.nypl.org. While crowdsourcing is an excellent way to connect with the public, the time, labor, and technical requirements involved make it extremely difficult to implement. Proactive Collecting was another interesting session, where speakers described assessing a regional or topical “information ecosystem” and how to integrate a variety of diverse sources in a variety of locations in order to provide a more holistic view of the past.

Two of the best sessions I attended were both on Saturday morning. Three graduate students at the University of Wisconsin-Madison described their project, Sounds of the Archives, where they produced podcasts using archival material. The other session focused on the many issues related to the preservation and storage of electronic records, and gave excellent advice as well as valuable resources. The resources included the Duke Data Accessioner (http://library.duke.edu/uarchives/about/tools/data-accessioner.html: for migrating information off disks prior to appraisal), Firefly SSN Finder (which searches for those pesky social security numbers which can lead to identity theft) and the Australia Digital Preservation Software Platform (http://sourceforge.net/projects/dpsp/) which offers a number of open source products for better management of electronic and born digital records.

All in all, this was a very productive meeting, and it will take me quite a while to fully assess everything I learned and how to utilize it here at Wake!

Don’t Forget Them: Documenting Underserved and Underrepresented Groups in the Archives

Friday, October 12, 2012 12:38 pm

Last week I attended the South Carolina Archival Association’s Fall Meeting. The topic was “Thinking Outside the Archival Box: Expanding our Reach to Underserved and Underrepresented Groups” which fit perfectly with the initiative that we here at the WFU Archives are beginning*. The conference was held in the Hollings Special Collections Library at the University of South Carolina. It was built in 2010, connecting to the Thomas Cooper library, the main undergraduate library. It was a great facility for the meeting, with a large conference room at the back and the main collections housed on either side of a large reading room (Rare Books on one side, Political Collections on the other). There are large spaces in front of each collection area that are full of display cases where they show memorabilia, photos and books.

SC Political Collections exhibit area

SC Political Collections exhibit area

SC Political Collections displays

SC Political Collections displays

 

USC just recently acquired over 1200 Hemingway items which they added to their existing materials, making it the most complete collection of his published works. What an incredible collection and exhibit! USC’s Hemingway Collection

Hemingway exhibit information

Hemingway exhibit information

Many unique Hemingway materials!

Many unique Hemingway materials!

Once we were settled in the meeting area, our session began with Christopher Judge, who is the Assistant Director of the Native American Studies department at USC-Lancaster. The program began in 2003 when Dr. Tom Blumer donated his collection of research to the USC-L library. In the collection are his “papers, archives, and artifacts, all dealing with the Catawba Indians. The T.J. Blumer Catawba Research Collection contains a wide variety of materials created and collected by the donor over a 40-year period as he conducted his research on the Catawba and other Native American peoples, with a focus on the pottery of the Catawba Indians. These materials form the single largest documentary collection of materials about the Catawba in existence. The collection also provides the best existing documentation on the life, work, techniques, and products of the Catawba potters, artists who have maintained a continuous tradition stretching back hundreds, if not thousands, of years”. (Native American Studies Program). Building on this core collection, the school developed the Native American Studies department which includes an archaeologist (Judge), a folklorist/oral historian, art instructor/curator of the pottery collection, archivist, and an English instructor/Catawba linguist. They work closely with the Native American people of the area to make sure they are accurately sharing the NA culture and heritage with the students in the program as well as the community.

 

Brent Burgin, director of the NA archives then told us that there are over 40,000 Native American people currently living in South Carolina, but their history and culture is hardly known at all, and what is known many times is myth. He shared about how he and the other members of the department have worked and continue to work hard to gain the trust of the NA people in the area. He said he felt very awkward and nervous about approaching them to talk about starting other collections for the archives because he didn’t want them to feel patronized. They have such a long history of persecution that he understood why they didn’t trust “outside” people who seem to want to work with them but may have ulterior motives. After he got past his “Amero-centricity” he realized that he needed to just be himself, and show that he is sincere about wanting to document and preserve the NA history with the help of the local tribes. Burgin said that he and all of the faculty have worked to gain the trust of the local people over the years, and they have a strong relationship on both sides now. He stated that identity, accountability and advocacy are the most important things for him and the other faculty to remember as they work with the NA people.

* The archive is “Switzerland” when it comes to political issues of the tribes; they include all information and don’t take sides on issues

*They always get the Catawbas’ approval before making presentations or conducting programs to make sure they are representing the people correctly

*They continue to maintain the trust between the archives and NA people, by sharing the rich history and working with the tribe members to help them with questions or research they may be doing

 

We then heard from Ed Madden, Henry Fulmer and Jeffery Makala about the LGBTQ and AIDS/HIV Collections at the main campus. Madden, an associate professor of English and the director of undergraduate studies in the Women and Gender studies program, shared about his experiences using LGBTQ collections in his research on gender theory and Irish cultural studies. He discussed how difficult some items were to find, and that being able to study the originals was much preferable to using a digitized version at times. Because of his extensive research over the years, he has become a sort of archivist himself, helping to bring various donations to the LGBTQ collection at the South Caroliniana Library. He noted that very little has been done to intentionally document experiences of LGBTQ people in the US, and that for a long time it was seen unimportant or inappropriate to do so. Thankfully that idea is changing…

 

Henry Fulmer, curator of manuscripts at the South Caroliniana Library, discussed the GLBTQ collection itself, and how it has evolved over the years. They began the collection in 1970, and it documents the people, events and organizations connected to GLBTQ efforts and activities throughout the state of South Carolina. Jim Blanton, Harriet Hancock, Santi Thompson, Harlan Greene, DiAna DiAna, and Patricia Volker are just a few of the people who have donated their papers to the collection as well as groups such as the AIDS Benefit Council, Alliance for Full Acceptance and the Affirm Organization.

 

Jeffery Makala then told us about the HIV/AIDS collection, which he has helped to build from scratch. It started by documenting the first 10 years of the AIDS epidemic in America and continued to grow and widen its coverage. Originally focused on South Carolina materials, the collection now includes rare and unique materials from all over. For example, it now houses the only complete run of The Advocate in SC, many originals of a magazine called RFD, APA publications and high school teacher guides. It also includes 1700 monographs, 20-30 runs of different periodicals and a variety of realia such as buttons, ribbons, badges and shirts.

 

All of these efforts to document groups that have been historically un- or under-represented demonstrate large-scale programs and support of them. It was heartening and encouraging to hear about the development of these collections and to see that there is now a concerted effort to preserve the history of these people. Since ZSR operates on a smaller scale than USC, it might seem that there aren’t a lot of “take-aways” for me from this conference. But truly the bottom line is the same for us as for them as for any institution: you must establish and maintain trust between you and the group that has been unrepresented or ignored. If an archives is making a sincere effort to be inclusive and represent the many groups of its institution or area, the groups in turn should be able see that their collections will be protected and maintained in a place that will represent all of its donors in a professional way. These things can be done in any archives of any size, and I am happy to say that we are launching such an effort here this month. (*See Documenting Diversity for more info on our kickoff )! Learning from other institutions who have already moved ahead with this kind of project is the best way to plan our approach. We can see what has worked well for these groups and incorporate the same type of efforts and activities here, tailored to WFU. We look forward to growing our University Archives with all groups who are part of the school’s history.

Society of NC Archivists Annual Meeting, Morehead City

Monday, April 4, 2011 10:50 pm

While many of our colleagues were in Philadelphia for ACRL, I traveled east to the coast of North Carolina for the joint conference of the Society of North Carolina Archivists and the South Carolina Archival Association in Morehead City.

After arriving on Wednesday around dinnertime with my carpooling partner Katie Nash (Archivist and Special Collections Librarian at Elon), we met up with Gretchen Gueguen (Digital Initiatives Librarian at ECU) for dinner at a seaside restaurant and discussion about digital projects and, of course, seafood.

On Thursday, the conference kicked off with an opening plenary from two unique scholars: David Moore of the NC Maritime Museum talked about artist renditions of Blackbeard, Stede Bonnet, and other pirates, as well as archival research that helped contextualize these works; Ralph Wilbanks of the National Underwater and Marine Agency detailed his team’s discovery of the H.L. Hunley submarine, including the Civil War-era men trapped inside.

Session 1 on Thursday, succinctly titled “Digital Initiatives,” highlighted important work being done at the Avery Center for African American Research at the College of Charleston, UNC Charlotte, and ECU. Amanda Ross and Jessica Farrell from the College of Charleston described the challenges and successes of digitization of material culture, namely slave artifacts and African artwork in their collections. Of primary importance was the maintenance of color and shape fidelity of 3-D objects, which they dealt with economically with 2 flourescent lights with clamps, a Nikon D80 with a 18-200 mm lens by Quantaray (although they recommend a macro lens), a tripod, and a $50 roll of heavy white paper. Their makeshift lab and Dublin Core metadata project resulted in the Avery Artifact Collection within the Lowcountry Digital Library. Kristy Dixon and Katie McCormick from UNC Charlotte spoke carefully about the need for strategic thinking and collaboration at a broad level for special collections and archives today, in particular creating partnerships with systems staff and technical services staff. They noted that with the reorganization of their library, 6 technical services librarians/staff were added to their department of special collections!

Finally, Mark Custer and Jennifer Joyner from ECU explored the future of archival description with a discussion about ECU’s implementation of EAC-CFP, essentially authority records for creators of archival materials. Mark found inspiration from SNAC, the Social Networks and Archival Context Project (a project of UVa and the California Digital Library) to incorporate and create names for their archival collections. Mark used Google Refine‘s cluster and edit feature to pull all their EAD files into one file, grabbed URLs through VIAF and WorldCat identities, and hope to share their authority records with SNAC. Mark clarified the project, saying:

Firstly, we are not partnered with anyone involved in the excellent SNAC project. Instead, we decided to undertake a smaller, SNAC-like project here at ECU (i.e., we mined our EAD data in order to create EAC records). To accomplish this, I wrote an XSLT stylesheet to extract and clean up our local data. Only after working through that step did we then import this data into Google Refine. With Refine, we did a number of things, but the two things discussed in our presentation were: 1) cluster and edit our names with the well-established, advanced algorithms provided in that product 2) grab more data from databases like WorldCat Identities and VIAF without doing any extra scripting work outside of Google Refine.

Secondly, we haven’t enhanced our finding aid interface at all at this point. In fact, we’ve only put in a few weeks’ worth of work into the project so far, so none of our work is represented online yet. The HTML views of the Frances Renfrow Doak EAC record that we demonstrated were created by an XSLT stylesheet authored by Brian Tingle at the California Digital Library. He has graciously provided some of the tools that the SNAC project is using online at: https://bitbucket.org/btingle/cpf2html/.

Lastly, these authority records have stayed with us; mostly because, at this point, they’re unfinished (e.g., we still need to finish that clustering step within Refine, which requires a bit of extra work). But the ultimate goal, of course, is to share this data as widely as possible. Toward that end, I tend to think that we also need to be curating this data as collaboratively as possible.

The final session of the day was the SNCA Business Meeting, where I gave my report as the Archives Week Chair. That evening, a reception was held to celebrate the award winners for SNCA and give conference attendees the opportunity to participate in a behind-the-scenes tour of the NC Maritime Museum.

On Friday, I moderated the session entitled “Statewide Digital Library Projects,” with speakers Nick Graham from the NC Digital Heritage Center and Kate Boyd from the SC Digital Library. The session highlighted interesting parallels and differences between the two statewide initiatives. Kate Boyd explained that the SCDL is a multisite project nested in multiple universities with distributed “buckets” for description and digitization. Their project uses a multi-host version of CONTENTdm, with some projects hosted and branded specifically to certain regions and institutions. Users can browse by county, institution, and date, and the site includes teacher-created lesson plans. The “About” section includes scanning and metadata guidelines; Kate mentioned that the update to CONTENTdm 6 would help with zoom and expand/reduce views of their digital objects. Nick Graham gave a brief background on the formation of the NCDHC, including NC ECHO and its survey and digitization guidelines. He explained that the NCDHC has minimal selection criteria: simply have no copyright/privacy concerns and a title. The NCDHC displays its digital objects through one instance of CONTENTdm. Both programs are supported by a mix of institutional and government funding/support, and both speakers emphasized the value of word of mouth marketing and shared branding for better collaborative efforts.

Later that morning, I attended a session regarding “Collaboration in Records Management.” Jennifer Neal of the Catholic Diocese of Charleston Archives gave an interesting presentation about the creation of a records management policy for her institution. Among the many reasons to begin an RM program, Jennifer noted that it was likely the legal reasons that were most important, both federal and state (and in her case, organizational rules). She recommended a pilot RM program with an enthusiastic department, as well as a friendly department liaison with organizational tendencies. Jennifer came up with “RM Fridays” as a pre-determined method for making time to sort, shred, organize, and inventory the materials for her pilot department. Her metrics were stunning: 135 record cartons were destroyed and 245 were organized and sent off site. Kelly Eubank from the NC State Archives explained how the state archives uses ArchiveIt to harvest social media sites and websites of government agencies and officials. She then explored, briefly, their use of BagIt to validate GIS geospatial files as part of their GeoMAPP project.

It was wonderful to meet and network with archival professionals from both Carolinas and learn about some of the innovative and creative projects happening in their institutions. Right now I am thinking about EAC, collaboration with tech services, CONTENTdm, and records management. I was glad to participate in this great local conference!

Society of North Carolina Archivists 2010 in Pinehurst

Wednesday, March 10, 2010 2:01 pm

I spent an extra day in Pinehurst last week to attend some of the sessions at the Society of North Carolina Archivists‘ annual meeting. I got to hear some great sessions by North Carolina archivists about archival processing, finding aids, and digital projects.

Two sessions focused on photograph collections. The first, “Minimal Processing North Carolina Style,” discussed how the principles of “More Product, Less Process” (or MPLP, based on an article by Dennis Meissner and Mark Greene) could be used to more effectively process large photographic collections for finding aids and digital projects. Patrick Cullom from UNC-Chapel Hill recommended rehousing, minimal labeling, and storage as the most important aspects of minimal processing. In description, he suggested using historical clues such as clothing to help identified “unknown” materials.

The other session about photograph collections was an overview of “Seeds of Change,” the Greenville Daily Reflector‘s photographic archives. Nearly 8,000 images were selected from 85,000 images using locally-significant themes. All 85,000 images were photographed using a light box and selection was done through a digital interface. They used Jhove to harvest preservation metadata. The resulting project, “Seeds of Change,” is a successful digital project that is a community asset, much like our Digital Forsyth. They were able to make their user comments searchable, which has been a great asset for people looking for relatives or specific comments!

Perhaps the most exciting session was the last of the day, entitled “What is this Document?” led by ECU’s Gretchen Gueguen and Mark Custer, NCSU’s Joyce Chapman, and Duke’s Noah Huffman. The discussion focused on ways to improve finding aids for access and usability. Mark Custer got the inspiration for the title of the presentation from the Forest History Society’s finding aids, which have a simple link at the top that reads, “What is this document?” that explained what a finding aid is. Studies have shown that users don’t understand what a finding aid is and are even more confused by archival jargon. Mark also reminded us of the need for a statewide digital archival repository, like the Online Archive of California.

Joyce Chapman gave a paper that she will be publishing in an upcoming issue of the Journal of Archival Organization, which details her study of finding aids and usability. Joyce argued that in the digital realm, archivists are removed from their role as “guides” in the research process, making it difficult for archivists to assist users trying to find material. She suggested that users expect three links on every page of a finding aid: “Help,” “Home,” and “Contact.” She also described the need for dynamic navigation of our text-heavy finding aids, including linked subject headings and tabbed or drop-down navigation. Her studies showed that users would like to know how to view materials in person, as well as definitions for jargon through hover captions or links. Most importantly, she urged the inclusion of a SEARCH BOX, or at minimum instructions for how to search the page using CTRL +F. Her examples and XSL code are accessible online through the SAA EAD help pages.

In the Q&A segment of the session, I came out with two great ideas: make sure that search results are highlighted in finding aid navigation, and consider putting finding aids and digital objects into the same database so that these digital resources are unified in the finding aid. I have a lot of inspiration for how we can make our finding aids more interactive and useful!

Archivists’ Toolkit

Monday, April 20, 2009 4:08 pm

In bitterly cold January of this year, I attended an SAA-sponsored 2 day class in New York to learn how to use the Archivists’ Toolkit, a “shareware” database created for archival collections and developed by several schools. There aren’t lots of great archival databases currently, but this is one of the better ones I’ve seen and the fact that it is free makes it even more attractive! And to add to the excitement of a free database program, we were in NY the day that the US Air flight crashed in the Hudson river! It was just a few blocks from the hotel, but we were “down South” in the Village when it happened and didn’t have any idea until class let out. In spite of the cold and the plane crash, it was a good trip and I learned a lot of useful info.

Since each archives collection is unique to the intstitution that maintains it, it is difficult to design a database that will meet the needs of all users. But the Archivists’ Toolkit is flexible enough to let the user enter data that is specific to his or her collection and is also searchable by key words. This in itself is a big help compared to some older programs that have been used. The fact that it is designed by working archivists also helps, since they are familiar with terminology and ways of grouping information that are very different from a standard library catalog or arrangement.

We spent each of our two days in the basement computer lab of NYU’s Elmer Holmes Bobst library, practicing by entering fictitious archival collections from various fictitious donors. It took a lot of work to become familiar with the ins and outs of the database, but once we were more comfortable with it we could experiment witht the data input and then search to see how it would show up.

Our main goals were to create accession records, create descriptions for collections and their components, create and manage name and subject authorities, record and manage physical locations, produce reports and import legacy data. Needless to say, it was a lot to cover in two short days, and we had more luck with some aspects than with others. Even the computers seemed to feel a little overwhelmed at the end of both days, and they decided to freeze up several times which caused frustration for students and instructors alike.

But in the end we felt much more comfortable with the Archivists’ Toolkit and what it can do for collection management. There is still much to learn as we work to input our WFU collection, but it will be a huge help in locating and adding information as we consolidate our information.

DACS- Describing Archives: A Content Standard

Monday, November 10, 2008 3:44 pm

On Oct. 16th, I attended a workshop presented by the Society of American Archivists at App St. in Boone, NC. Our instructor was Lynn Holdzkom, Head of Technical Services in the Special Collections Department at UNC- Chapel Hill. The topic at hand was Describing Archives: A Content Standard, or DACS. This is a set of rules, or rather strong recommendations, as how to arrange and describe archival collections. Lynn was one of the authors of DACS, so she really knew her information as you would expect. She made sure to emphasize that this was NOT a cataloging workshop or a finding aid workshop; it was to help us understand the principles of description that will provide access points for researchers using our materials.

Because every archives has a collection that is unique, it is virtually impossible to have a single way of arranging and describing all collections. Therefore, we have to consider four main questions when we arrange the materials: Who uses the archives? What do the users want? Why do users want it? and How do users go about getting it? If we think about this before we arrange the materials, it will affect the way we decide to proceed. We should observe the provenance, or the source and history of the materials, as much as possible but at the same time arrange them in a way that is user-friendly.

This means that the “order of the records that was established by the creator should be maintained by physical and/or intellectual means whenever possible to preserve existing relationships between the documents and the evidential value inherent in their order”. (DACS, xii). So while libraries group books according to LC Subject heading, that isn’t the approach for archives. We leave the materials as close to the original order they come in as possible, to show how the person who created them arranged them. That’s why it can become very confusing to arrange collections; it might make more logical sense to group all letters about a certain topic together, but the creator kept then in date order. So, we work with them in date order to the extent that a researcher can easily locate things.

We discussed the elements of a collection finding aid, including the creator, title, date, collection number, physical description, language, summary, repository, source of collection , custodial history and information about access. All of these pieces as well as others are parts of the finding aids that are created to tell users about the collection. The trick is to keep them as succinct as possible but to give enough information that the user can know if it is useful to him or her. We did practice exercises with fictitious collections to see how we would approach them. It was interesting to hear different people’s ideas about what to include, and it was obvious that there is no one way to do it; descriptions will vary from archive to archive, just the way that the collections do. But if we can follow the general outlines given by DACS, our finding aids and collection descriptions will be similar enough that users will feel comfortable using them no matter which collection they need.

I was glad to have the opportunity to learn more about the content standard, and can now work on incorporating it in the collections we have here. And I also know who to email if I have questions about it; who better than one of the creators herself?!


Pages
About
Categories
2007 ACRL Baltimore
2007 ALA Annual
2007 ALA Gaming Symposium
2007 ALA Midwinter
2007 ASERL New Age of Discovery
2007 Charleston Conference
2007 ECU Gaming Presentation
2007 ELUNA
2007 Evidence Based Librarianship
2007 Innovations in Instruction
2007 Kilgour Symposium
2007 LAUNC-CH Conference
2007 LITA National Forum
2007 NASIG Conference
2007 North Carolina Library Association
2007 North Carolina Serials Conference
2007 OCLC International ILLiad Conference
2007 Open Repositories
2007 SAA Chicago
2007 SAMM
2007 SOLINET NC User Group
2007 UNC TLT
2007_ASIST
2008
2008 Leadership Institute for Academic Librarians
2008 ACRL Immersion
2008 ACRL/LAMA JVI
2008 ALA Annual
2008 ALA Midwinter
2008 ASIS&T
2008 First-Year Experience Conference
2008 Lilly Conference
2008 LITA
2008 NASIG Conference
2008 NCAECT
2008 NCLA RTSS
2008 North Carolina Serials Conference
2008 ONIX for Serials Webinar
2008 Open Access Day
2008 SPARC Digital Repositories
2008 Tri-IT Meeting
2009
2009 ACRL Seattle
2009 ALA Annual
2009 ALA Annual Chicago
2009 ALA Midwinter
2009 ARLIS/NA
2009 Big Read
2009 code4lib
2009 Educause
2009 Handheld Librarian
2009 LAUNC-CH Conference
2009 LAUNCH-CH Research Forum
2009 Lilly Conference
2009 LITA National Forum
2009 NASIG Conference
2009 NCLA Biennial Conference
2009 NISOForum
2009 OCLC International ILLiad Conference
2009 RBMS Charlottesville
2009 SCLA
2009 UNC TLT
2010
2010 ALA Annual
2010 ALA Midwinter
2010 ATLA
2010 Code4Lib
2010 EDUCAUSE Southeast
2010 Handheld Librarian
2010 ILLiad Conference
2010 LAUNC-CH Research Forum
2010 LITA National Forum
2010 Metrolina
2010 NASIG Conference
2010 North Carolina Serials Conference
2010 RBMS
2010 Sakai Conference
2011 ACRL Philadelphia
2011 ALA Annual
2011 ALA Midwinter
2011 CurateCamp
2011 Illiad Conference
2012 SNCA Annual Conference
ACRL
ACRL 2013
ACRL New England Chapter
ACRL-ANSS
ACRL-STS
ALA Annual
ALA Annual 2013
ALA Editions
ALA Midwinter
ALA Midwinter 2012
ALA Midwinter 2014
ALCTS Webinars for Preservation Week
ALFMO
APALA
ARL Assessment Seminar 2014
ARLIS
ASERL
ASU
Audio streaming
authority control
Berkman Webinar
bibliographic control
Book Repair Workshops
Career Development for Women Leaders Program
CASE Conference
cataloging
Celebration: Entrepreneurial Conference
Charleston Conference
CIT Showcase
CITsymposium2008
Coalition for Networked Information
code4lib
commons
Conference Planning
Conferences
Copyright Conference
costs
COSWL
CurateGear 2013
CurateGear 2014
Designing Libraries II Conference
DigCCurr 2007
Digital Forsyth
Digital Humanities Symposium
Disaster Recovery
Discovery tools
E-books
EDUCAUSE
Educause SE
EDUCAUSE_SERC07
Electronic Resources and Libraries
Embedded Librarians
Entrepreneurial Conference
ERM Systems
evidence based librarianship
FDLP
FRBR
Future of Libraries
Gaming in Libraries
General
GODORT
Google Scholar
govdocs
Handheld Librarian Online Conference
Hurricane Preparedness/Solinet 3-part Workshop
ILS
information design
information ethics
Information Literacy
innovation
Innovation in Instruction
Innovative Library Classroom Conference
Inspiration
Institute for Research Design in Librarianship
instruction
IRB101
Journal reading group
Keynote
LAMS Customer Service Workshop
LAUNC-CH
Leadership
Learning spaces
LibQUAL
Library 2.0
Library of Congress
licensing
Lilly Conference
LITA
LITA National Forum
LOEX
LOEX2008
Lyrasis
Management
Marketing
Mentoring Committee
MERLOT
metadata
Metrolina 2008
MOUG 09
MOUG 2010
Music Library Assoc. 07
Music Library Assoc. 09
Music Library Assoc. 2010
NASIG
National Library of Medicine
NC-LITe
NCCU Conference on Digital Libraries
NCICU
NCLA
NCLA Biennial Conference 2013
NCPC
NCSLA
NEDCC/SAA
NHPRC-Electronic Records Research Fellowships Symposium
NISO
North Carolina Serial Conference 2014
Offsite Storage Project
OLE Project
online catalogs
online course
OPAC
open access
Peabody Library Leadership Institute
plagiarism
Podcasting
Preservation
Preservation Activities
Preserving Forsyth LSTA Grant
Professional Development Center
rare books
RDA/FRBR
Reserves
RITS
RTSS 08
RUSA-CODES
SAA Class New York
SAMM 2008
SAMM 2009
Scholarly Communication
ScienceOnline2010
Social Stratification in the Deep South
Social Stratification in the Deep South 2009
Society of American Archivists
Society of North Carolina Archivists
SOLINET
Southeast Music Library Association
Southeast Music Library Association 08
Southeast Music Library Association 09
SPARC webinar
subject headings
Sun Webinar Series
tagging
TALA Conference
Technical Services
technology
ThinkTank Conference
Training
ULG
Uncategorized
user studies
Vendors
video-assisted learning
visual literacy
WakeSpace
Web 2.0
Webinar
WebWise
WFU China Initiative
Wikis
Women's History Symposium 2007
workshops
WSS
ZSR Library Leadership Retreat
Tags
Archives
July 2014
June 2014
May 2014
April 2014
March 2014
February 2014
January 2014
December 2013
November 2013
October 2013
August 2013
July 2013
June 2013
May 2013
April 2013
March 2013
February 2013
January 2013
December 2012
November 2012
October 2012
September 2012
August 2012
July 2012
June 2012
May 2012
April 2012
March 2012
February 2012
January 2012
December 2011
November 2011
October 2011
September 2011
August 2011
July 2011
June 2011
May 2011
April 2011
March 2011
February 2011
January 2011
December 2010
November 2010
October 2010
September 2010
August 2010
July 2010
June 2010
May 2010
April 2010
March 2010
February 2010
January 2010
December 2009
November 2009
October 2009
September 2009
August 2009
July 2009
June 2009
May 2009
April 2009
March 2009
February 2009
January 2009
December 2008
November 2008
October 2008
August 2008
July 2008
June 2008
May 2008
April 2008
March 2008
February 2008
January 2008
November 2007
October 2007
September 2007
August 2007
July 2007
June 2007
May 2007
April 2007
March 2007
February 2007
January 2007

Powered by WordPress.org, protected by Akismet. Blog with WordPress.com.