Pratt Shows 2020

[NOTE: Please note that #infoshow20 and all other Pratt Shows are cancelled because of COVID-19]

It is spring and that means it is time for Pratt Shows, the annual showcases of Pratt student work.  Checkout for a list of all the shows.  #infoshow20 will be held on Wednesday May 13th from 5:30-9:30pm here at Pratt Manhattan Center.

Spring 2020 Digital Archives Class

This semester, my class INFO 665 Projects in Digital Archives will be working on two LGBT History projects: one with the NYC Gay Center, and the other with the Lesbian Herstory Archives.  For the Gay Center project, the class will be working to finish up a project started last semester to restore a public television program “Gay Morning America” from the early 1980s contained on U-Matic tape.  The collection digitized thus far is available via this Omeka S site.  For the Lesbian Herstory Archive, the class will be restoring a radio program from the early 1970s called “Lesbian Nation,” produced by Martha Shelly. The collection is on open reel tape. The completed work will be found on the site we have hosted for LHA for many years.

Download syllabus

Fall 2019 Projects in Moving Image and Sound Archives course

I am happy to announce that this fall’s INFO 668 Projects in Moving Images and Sound Archives class will be partnering with the National History Archive of LGBT Center of NYC. We will be primarily focusing on two collections: one with audiovisual media, including small-gauge film and VHS video that has been transferred to DVDs, as well as one that is primarily VHS that have been transferred to DVDs. We will digitize the film and migrate the DVDs to digital files, and re-digitize if necessary. We will be learning about and addressing a host of issues, including information organization, access, digital preservation, legal and ethical issues, among many others. For full-details, check-out the course syllabus.

[Update 12/11/19: The students’ final project is now available at]

#infoshow19 / Pratt Shows

I am pleased to invite you to #infoshow19, the annual showcase of Pratt Institute School of Information student work. #infoshow19 is a professional event with panel presentations, talks, poster presentations, demos, and more. It is an opportunity to see the cutting-edge, engaging work that students have completed over the past year from our four masters programs: Library & Information Science, Information Experience Design, Museums and Digital Culture and Data Analytics & Visualization.


Friday, May 17 – Pratt Manhattan Center – 144 W. 14th St. near 7th Avenue, New York City 
5:30-7:30pm – 6th Floor – Presentations, Panels and Demos
7:30-9:30pm – 2nd Floor – Poster Session, Pop-up Exhibition and Reception

To attend, please RSVP to

More information on #infoshow19, and all other curated presentations of Pratt Institute student work, please visit

To browse student work from past #infoshows, please visit

Visualization by Jill M. Hackett, MS Information Experience Design ’19

Spring 2019 Course Projects in Digital Archives

I am happy to share my Spring 2019 course syllabus for Projects in Digital Archives (INFO 665). In the applied component of this course, we will be working on a finding aid and digitization project for an architectural photography collection: the Bill Maris and Julie Semel Collection. You can find the finding aid here and an online exhibition of select photography which two past classes worked on. This semester we will be scanning film using our new Hasselblad Flextight X1 Scanner. Enjoy!

Honored to Serve as Dean of the School of Information at Pratt Institute

Follow-up on Provost Pillow’s announcement / Pratt News Article

Dear Pratt Institute School of Information Community,

I am writing to express how honored I am to serve as the Dean of the School of Information. I would like to thank all the faculty, students, staff and alums who participated in the Dean search process and helped keep the school moving forward this year. In particular, I would like to thank the search committee: Dean of the School of Design, Anita Cooney (co-chair), Chair of the Dept. of History of Art and Design, John Decker (co-chair); and SI professors Debbie Rabina, Irene Lopatovska, Monica Maceli, and Barbara Genco.  I would also like to thank Provost Kirk Pillow for his vote of confidence and being a tremendous resource during my interim year. Thank you also to Vice Provost for Academic Affairs Donna Heiland and Director of Academic Budget & Operations Laurel Voss whose support for the school this year has been essential, and to SI program coordinators for continuing to innovate our academic programs: Profs. Debbie Rabina (LIS), Craig MacDonald (IXD), Chris Alen Sula (DAV), Cristina Pattuelli (MDC), and Jessica Hochman (LMS). Lastly, thank you to the incredible SI staff, and our graduate assistants, for providing the continuity and support the school needed this year. I want to give a special shout-out to Advisor for Academic Programs Quinn Lai who has been an incredible colleague and resource this year.

I look forward to working with you all to achieve our vision and goals, and undertake a strategic plan in the next academic year to ensure the School keeps moving forward.

Lastly, I wanted to give one more congrats to all our students who graduated yesterday at Radio City Music Hall. You are the reason we are here and what makes SI a great academic community.

Have a tremendous summer. I will be away for two weeks around May 30 as my partner Steven and I are expecting a baby, and I look forward to working with you when I return.

Many thanks for a great Interim year,

New open-source scripts

wordperfectI wanted to go ahead and put out there some new scripts that I have recently developed.  These include:

BagIt Validation Script
For a given directory, this script validates all the “BagIt” bags in it, and send an email to a designated email address with the status of the bags.  BagIt is a standard and a software originally developed by Library of Congress that is used to confirm the integrity of collections of files (e.g., not files deleted, no files tampered with, no files suffering from bit-rot/bit-corruption/etc.).  Written with Python and tested on Windows.

File Normalization tools: WordPerfect to PDF
Doing born-digital archives work almost always seems to turn-up WordPerfect (WPD) files.  This script will go thru a directory, including all subdirectories, and create PDF verisons of all WPD files using MS Word for Windows.  Requires Windows XP+ and MS Word for Windows.

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

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

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.

Continue reading “Archiving Email Newsletters, or getting your Newsletters out of Constant Contact”