Quick Metadata Entry in Omeka

August 14th, 2015

quick-entry3Anyone who has ever taken one of my classes knows that I like Omeka. It is very easy to use, and has many nice features.  However, one limitation is that it can be difficult to do rapid data entry on many items.  For example, if you use the Dropbox plugin to bring in several hundred pictures, and you want to quickly add metadata for them, or if some of the metadata fields are exactly the same (like author of photographer), there is no way (at least that I am aware of) to easily add this data.  Thus, I created what I call the quick metadata entry form, which allows you to update Title, Description, Date, Creator, and Rights fields, and allows you to make all values in a collection the same for a given field.  Unfortunately, it was not developed as an Omeka plugin.

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Archiving Email Newsletters, or getting your Newsletters out of Constant Contact

August 14th, 2015

pride_run_emailIn this blog post, I am going to offer a way to extract large batches of email newsletters from Constant Contact for the purposes of creating email archives, resulting in each message as a PDF.

First, some background.  I have recently finished an email archiving project for the History & Archives of Front Runners New York.  The club used to snail-mail newsletters since the early 1980s, but transitioned to email newsletters around 2004, and has been using Constant Contact since 2007 for its newsletter software.  They had managed to retain all the messages in Constant Contact, however, not all the embedded images.

Constant Contact does not have an easy way to export sent messages in bulk.  Thus, I created a script that leverages the Constant Contact API to export messages and the related metadata.  It creates a PDF, first including a full-length image of the email message, followed by a JSON export of the message metadata, and complete with text-version of the email message (if available).  This allows for the look of the message to be retained, but also text-searchable.

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Fall 2015 Courses

August 14th, 2015

women_aids_actup_collectionThe Fall semester is just right around the corner and I thought I would share my upcoming course projects.  This semester’s LIS 668 Projects in Moving Image and Sound Archives we will be working on digitizing, curating, and making available a collection of video and sound recordings around the topic of Women, AIDS, and ActUP, in collaboration with the Lesbian Herstory Archives.  In LIS 665 Projects in Digital Archives, we will continue an oral history digitization and curation project with the Archives of the Center for Puerto Rican Studies at Hunter College, CUNY, around the topic of the Puerto Rican diaspora.  And lastly in LIS 625 Management of Archives and Special Collections, we will work on an archives processing and exhibition around the history of Pratt SILS, which is celebrating its 125th Anniversary this year.  Feel free to download the syllabi:

LIS 625 Management of Archives and Special Collections
LIS 665 Projects in Digital Archives
Lis 668 Projects in Moving Image and Sound Archives

Digitizing Oral History

July 20th, 2015

teacHello all.  I thought I would share a new research article that got published today in OCLC Systems & Services.  I have a pre-print available if you don’t have access to that journal.

Digitizing oral history: can you hear the difference?

ASBTRACT

Purpose – The purpose of this study is to answer the questions: Can students discern the difference between oral histories digitized at archival quality (96 kHz/24-bit) versus CD-quality (44.1 kHz/16-bit)? and How important do they believe this difference is? Digitization of analog audio recordings has become the recommended best practice in preserving and making available oral histories. Additionally, well-accepted standards in performing this work are available. However, there is relatively little research that addresses if individuals can hear a qualitative difference in recordings made with best practices versus those that have not.

Design/methodology/approach – In all, 53 individuals participated in the study, where they listened to three sets of oral histories and had to decide which was the archival-quality recording versus the CD-quality recording and mark their answer on a survey.

Findings – Students could discern less than half of the time on average which was the archival quality versus the CD-quality recording. Further, after listening to the differences, they most often indicated the difference was “a little bit important”.

Practical implications – This research does not suggest that archivists abandon well-established sound digitization practices that produce results that audio archivists (and those able to hear fine-grain audio differences) find superior. Rather, it does imply that additional work may be needed to train listeners to discern these fine-grain differences, and appreciate the highest-fidelity replication of original audio recordings.

Originality/value – This research addresses a gap in the literature by connecting audio digitization practices to its impact on listener perception.

Download PDF

Differences between Digital Archivists and Digital Asset Managers

July 9th, 2015

View of McKeldin Library from the Mall with blue sky and clouds.This Monday, I will be presenting the paper When Archivists and Digital Asset Managers Collide: Tensions and Ways Forward at the Archival Education and Research Institute 2015 at the University of Maryland.  It gets at the sticky issue, what is the difference between digital asset managers and digital archivists anyway? Below you will find a short description of the study:

ABSTRACT

While archivists have been developing methods to appraise, accession, arrange and describe born-digital records, a new class of professionals—the digital asset manager—has developed.  The digital asset manager sees her role as creating a repository of assets that can be easily and efficiently reused by staff.  Given the closeness of this role to the archivist, this case study will explore the question: what issues arise between archivists and digital asset managers when they are working together in the same organization?  To study this, the researcher spent one year as a participant observer at a major art museum located in the northeast United States.  He found that indeed tensions do exist firstly because the digital asset manager and archivists do not recognize the different roles each is playing and hence enter a kind of competition.  Secondly, this tension stems from an intellectual disagreement about how digital record keeping will play-out over the next several decades.  The study will conclude with suggested ways of moving forward so that both digital asset managers and archivists can further their respective missions.

Download PDF

Digitally Archiving Architectural Models and Exhibition Designs

June 16th, 2015

pta22_figure2Happy Summer.  I thought I would share this short article I wrote on archiving Computer-aided design (CAD) for Practical Technology for Archives:

Digitally Archiving Architectural Models and Exhibition Designs: The Case of an Art Museum

ABSTRACT

During the course of electronic records start-up project for a medium-sized art museum located in the Northeast United States, the need to develop strategies for digitally archiving two-dimensional CAD drawings (2D) and three-dimensional (3D) models became readily apparent. Over 37,000 CAD drawings were unearthed during a network storage inventory project, as well as over 6,000 3D models. These files originate primarily in VectorWorks (and its predecessor MiniCAD), AutoCAD, and Rhinoceros. Given this need, this project is motivated by the question: By what methods can two-dimensional CAD drawings (2D) and three-dimensional (3D) models be digitally archived for long term preservation and access? To answer this question, a review of the relevant literature will be conducted, followed by an investigation of solutions available to this medium-sized museum, and conclude with format migration tests of select records.

Enjoy!

Summer School!

May 12th, 2015

Oregon TrailHello there.  So this summer I will be teaching Projects in Digital Archives for a fifth year in a row.  This semester, we will be working with a selection of personal materials from Ms. Liza Loop.  Ms. Loop is looking to create the History of Computing in Learning and Education (HCLE) Virtual Museum, and has worked her career in Silicon Valley’s computing industry with an interest in uses of computing for education and learning.

The collection that we will be working with is both born-digital and analog: 5.25 floppy disk, 3.5 floppy disks, Hi8 video and Betamax video (which is the bulk).  Our goal is re-animate these materials using methods relevant to a modern archival environment (e.g., digitizing analog material, imaging obsolete media, making it intelligible/runnable, etc.), and providing value to the HCLE initiative.

Although we will not be working with the Oregon Trail (screenshot above), it is one of the more well known and often remembered educational games.    I also remember playing a lot of Number Munchers…. and Carmen Sandiego (all on the Apple IIe, which may mean that I am really old or that my school was slow to adopt new technology, or both).

You can also download the course syllabus (PDF).

Upcoming classes @ Pratt SILS with hands-on archival projects

April 2nd, 2015

AIDS-at-30-ACT-UP-silence_equals_deathHello there. I just wanted to send out some information on upcoming classes at Pratt SILS that have hands-on archival projects, and what those projects are:

Summer 2015 – LIS 665 Projects in Digital Archives
The project this semester will be focusing on born-digital archives and endangered electronic media, which include records that originate on obsolete media, software and operating systems. The class will be working on materials from the History of Computing in Learning and Education in Silicon Valley, which looks to preserve and interpret documents, artifacts and stories relating to the history of computing in learning and education (e.g., educational games, early computing applications in schools, etc.).

Fall 2015 – LIS 668 Projects in Moving Image & Sound Archives
The project this semester will be transforming an analog collection of audiovisual materials into a digital archive. The class will be working on collection accumulated by the Lesbian Herstory Archives about ActUp. ActUp was an activist organization started in New York meant to draw attention to and seek greater research and development into treatments for HIV/AIDS. Most meetings were run from the nearby LGBT Center on 13th St., and ActUp is widely credited for changing the course of the global AIDS crisis.

Fall 2015 – LIS 665 Projects in Digital Archives
The project this semester will be working on preserving and making available oral histories from the Archives of the Center for Puerto Rican Studies at Hunter College, CUNY. The oral histories document the Puerto Rican diaspora in New York, and how Puerto Ricans became a powerful group within New York City through labor unions, political activity, and social agencies. The oral histories also document the decline of Puerto Ricans in New York, as they choose to move to more affordable, sunnier locations, like Central Florida.

Fall 2015 – LIS 625 Management of Archives and Special Collections (with Prof. Cucchiara)
In this class, the hands-on component will involve working with the Greenwood Cemetery archives in Brooklyn. Greenwood is moving more from being an active cemetery to a cultural heritage site. For more information on this class project, please contact Prof. Cucchiara – acucchia@pratt.edu.

Fall 2015 – LIS 625 Management of Archives and Special Collections (with Prof. Cocciolo)
In this class, the hands-on component of this class will be working on the 125 years of archival records related to Pratt SILS, which is celebrating its 125 anniversary this year. The SILS records document the school going back to 1890, and include an extensive array of student records from its earliest days. As SILS is the oldest LIS school in North America, the records illustrate the emergence, growth, and changes within the field of library and information science, and document SILS’s contribution to the LIS workforce and growth of libraries globally.

FixityBerry: Environmentally Sustainable Digital Preservation for Very Low Resourced Cultural Heritage Institutions

March 12th, 2015

I am pleased to be presenting this poster at the iConference 2015 this month in Newport Beach, CA. Below you will find the abstract and poster:

ABSTRACT
Whereas large cultural heritage institutions have made significant headway in providing digital preservation for archival assets—such as by setting-up geographically redundant digital repositories— medium and small institutions have struggled to meet minimum digital preservation standards. This project will explore one option for enhancing the digital preservation capacity for very low-resourced environments. FixityBerry is a project which connects consumer-grade USB hard disks to the $35 Raspberry Pi computer, which checks file fixity weekly and powers down when checking is complete. This poster will report out on an eight-month pilot of using FixityBerry to monitor the digital assets from several small cultural heritage institutions.

You can setup your own FixityBerry by following the instructions available on the project’s GitHub page.

fixityberry_poster_image

Download poster as PDF | Download as Paper

Spring 2015 Teaching

January 12th, 2015

Morgan HouseHappy 2015. I thought I would share some of what I have planned for teaching this semester. In LIS 665 Projects in Digital Archives, the class-wide project is to continue working to digitize, curate, and make accessible the photos from the Bill Maris architectural collection, which were donated a few years ago to Pratt. This collection includes architectural photos from the 1970s, including many gems like the Morgan House shown above (photographed by Maris in 1976). The goal is to launch the site by the end of the semester.

In LIS 668 Projects in Moving Image and Sound Archives, the class-wide project is to finish up digitizing, curating, and making accessible the Daughters of Bilitis Oral History Project. Also, we are hoping to start work on a collection of materials related to Act Up that is housed at the Lesbian Herstory Archives.

Download the Syllabi:
LIS 665 Projects in Digital Archives Syllabus
LIS 668 Projects in Moving Image & Sound Archives Syllabus

 



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