Projects in Spring 2017 Archives Courses

I would like to share the upcoming course projects in my classes that I will be teaching this Spring:

LIS 665-01 Projects in Digital Archives
The course project will focus on creating an online exhibition around an oral history project called “Civil Rights in Brooklyn Oral History Collection,” in collaboration with the Brooklyn Public Library Special Collections. This project will involve reformatting of compact audiocassette and making available an exhibition online for BPL. The finding aid for the collection is available on BPL’s website.

LIS 625-02 – Management of Archives and Special Collections
This course project will involve paper processing of archives of Pratt Institute School of Information, that are housed in the basement of the Pratt Manhattan Center and will soon need to be relocated with the basement and ground-floor renovations of PMC that are to begin this summer. Records document school activity from the 1960s through 2000s. Student will assemble an exhibition on the 6th floor of records based on their research and records uncovered. Course project involves appraisal, arrangement, description, and enhancing a DACS/EAD-compliant finding aid: Pratt SI records on AtoM.

LIS 635-01 – Archives Appraisal, Acquisition and Use
This course will focus on students creating a work of original research in the field of archival studies. Students will evaluate a tristate area archive with respect to how its mission and collection policy is expressed in its collections as well as the usability of the collection. Data collection will include: analysis of textual materials (mission statement, collection policy, finding aids, and other online materials), site visit and use of a collection, and questionnaire or interview of one or more archivists.

Photo via the Brooklyn Public Library Civil Rights Collection – retrieved from Brownstoner.

Fall 2016 classes

dyke_tv_tapesHappy Fall semester.  I wanted to share the course projects for this semester.  In LIS 668 Projects in Moving Image and Sound Archives, the project will involve digital reformatting and online exhibition of the public access TV program Dyke TV, in collaboration with the Lesbian Herstory Archives. Below you will find some information about the program written by Erica Titkemeyer (2013):

In 1993, Dyke TV began as an access television show created by members of the New York City lesbian community (specifically Linda Chapman, Ana Simo, and Mary Patierno) at Prince St. and Broadway in Manhattan. The purpose was to produce news segments by, for, and about lesbian individuals and communities throughout the United States. The founders more specifically wished to document “rising lesbian activism and to provide a viable platform for lesbian voices to enter the realm of popular culture.” By the time the series came to an end thirteen years later in 2006, the production had reached a total of 78 public access channels , produced at least 322 total shows , and planted its office among the lesbian community in Park Slope, Brooklyn.

The project will involve working with a video collection on U-Matic videotape, which is endangered because of a declining number of units available for playing the format.  Past student work of making video and audio available online from the Herstory archive can be found here.

In LIS 625 Management of Archives and Special Collections, we will continue processing the organizational papers of Pratt Institute School of Information.  You can find the work of earlier semesters through this online finding aid.

You can download the syllabi below:
LIS 625 Management of Archives & Special Collections syllabus (PDF)
LIS 668 Projects in Moving Image & Sound Archives syllabus (PDF)

Summer 2016 course project: born-digital archives

mediaIn this summer’s session of born-digital archives, students have been working on a born-digital archives project, which includes working with records on obsolete media (5.25 diskettes, 3.5 floppies, Zip disks, Mini DV tapes, etc.) as well as inactive records on network storage which originate in a variety of antiquated file formats (e.g., WordPerfect, email in MS Outlook Express format, etc.).  Students are divided into three teams to tackle the project: a Digital Forensics team (working primarily with obsolete media), a Digital Preservation team (working primarily with format migration), and Curation and Description (working primarily on appraisal, arrangement and description).  The collection comes from Pratt School of Information’s own files, and will eventually become available through the School’s on-site archives.

More information can be found in the course syllabus.

Upcoming course projects (Fall and Summer 2016 semesters)

umaticBelow you will find the upcoming course projects that we be undertaken by my students in the Fall 2016 and Summer 2016 classes:

Fall 2016 – LIS 668-01 Projects in Moving Image and Sound Archives
The course project in this class will involve digital reformatting and exhibiting to the public the public access program Dyke TV, in collaboration with the Lesbian Herstoy Archives. Below you will find some information about the program written by Erica Titkemeyer (2013):

In 1993, Dyke TV began as an access television show created by members of the New York City lesbian community (specifically Linda Chapman, Ana Simo, and Mary Patierno) at Prince St. and Broadway in Manhattan. The purpose was to produce news segments by, for, and about lesbian individuals and communities throughout the United States. The founders more specifically wished to document “rising lesbian activism and to provide a viable platform for lesbian voices to enter the realm of popular culture.” By the time the series came to an end thirteen years later in 2006, the production had reached a total of 78 public access channels , produced at least 322 total shows , and planted its office among the lesbian community in Park Slope, Brooklyn.

The project will involve working with a video collection on U-Matic videotape, which is endangered because of a declining number of units available for playing the format. Past student work digitized from LHA can be found at http://herstories.prattinfoschool.nyc.

Continue reading “Upcoming course projects (Fall and Summer 2016 semesters)”

New script: Archives Finder

archives_finderRecent initiatives in accessioning born-digital archives have focused on removable media, such as using forensic tools to image media (e.g., 1, 2, 3, 4).  However, there has been little discussion of the born-digital archiving needs of institutional archives.  In institutional settings, terabytes of records with permanent value often reside on large, unstructured network drives, often alongside active records.  For example, a National Archives of the UK blog post mentions that  up to two-thirds of government information is held on unstructured shared drives with some departments holding up to 190 terabytes of information.

Tools to identify batches of inactive records, such as the records of departed staff members or initiatives that have long ended, are often lacking and are designed more for IT departments to manage disk space.  To address this need, I created the script Archives Finder that aims to address some of the issues with existing tools for locating batches of inactive records.  Archives Finder searches across large, unstructured network drives for the largest possible grouping of records that are a given number of years old defined by the user.  It also includes “fuzzy math” feature that allows the user to specify that only a certain threshold of files need to by X years old.  The defaults are 95% of files are 7 years old, but these values can be readily modified.  The results are output as a CSV file that can be readily viewed in MS Excel.

You can download the script at GitHub, which runs on Windows machines.

Spring 2016 Courses

President Jimmy Cater, photograph by Bill MarisThis semester is off to a nice start. In LIS 665 Projects in Digital Archives, students will be working to arrange, describe and digitize portions of a collection of architectural photography (with some landscape and craft photography) donated to the School by the estate of Bill Maris. You can checkout the finding aid created by students last Fall here. One of Maris’ digitized photograph is shown here, depicting President Jimmy Carter making furniture.

In LIS 625 Management of Archives and Special Collections, students will continue arranging and describing a collection of records on the history of the school. The finding aid created by students last semester can be found here. You can find both course syllabi below:

Syllabus – LIS 665 Projects in Digital Archives
Syllabus – LIS 625 Managemenet of Archives & Special Collections

New book project: Moving Image and Sound Collections for Archivists

16mm polyester filmI am pleased to announce that I am working on a new book project titled Moving Image and Sound Collections for Archivists to be published by the press of the Society of American Archivists.

Most archivists encounter and most archives contain some form of moving image and sound material.  These can include recordings of events on video, oral histories captured on audiotape, and films created by independent filmmakers.  The purpose of this book is to provide practical guidance to the archivist on how to preserve and make accessible the moving image and sound record.  Although the moving image archivist may find value in this book, it is specifically targeted at the general archivist who may deal primarily in paper-based collections and need additional guidance or the student archivist with interest in building-out this expertise.

Continue reading “New book project: Moving Image and Sound Collections for Archivists”

Fall 2015 Courses

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

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