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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,
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.
This 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:
In 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.
The 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:
Hello 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 – firstname.lastname@example.org.
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.
I have published a new paper in Preservation, Digital Technology & Culture titled “Mobile Technology, Oral History and the 9/11 Memorial: A Study of Digitally Augmented Remembrance.” Below is the abstract and the article can be downloaded from the publisher site. I also have made a pre-print available here.
I would like to thank the Pratt Institute Faculty Development Fund for funding this project. I would like to thank former graduate assistant Rafael Baylor for help planning and implementing the focus groups.
The National September 11 Memorial is notable in that it has designed a mobile application in unification with its physical space in Lower Manhattan. Despite the potential of such an arrangement, no research has been conducted that demonstrates the efficacy of mobile technology in augmenting the memory and remembrance functions of the built environment. Using the memorial as a site of inquiry, this project will address the following research questions: How are remembrance and memory impacted by use of mobile technology at a site of memorialization? And, what factors mediate engagement with mobile technology for the purposes of remembrance? Nineteen diverse New York City area residents visited the memorial while using the app, and then participated in a mixed-method study (in-depth focus group and survey). The results reveal that participants—if they experienced no significant technical troubles—found the app as significantly enhancing the memory and remembrance functions of the memorial. For developers of mobile technology for cultural heritage contexts, the use of curated oral histories available on a mobile phone is highly effective.
Check-out my new article in Code4Lib Journal: Unix Commands and Batch Processing for the Reluctant Librarian or Archivist.
The Unix environment offers librarians and archivists high-quality tools for quickly transforming born-digital and digitized assets, such as resizing videos, creating access copies of digitized photos, and making fair-use reproductions of audio recordings. These tools, such as ffmpeg, lame, sox, and ImageMagick, can apply one or more manipulations to digital assets without the need to manually process individual items, which can be error prone, time consuming, and tedious. This article will provide information on getting started in using the Unix environment to take advantage of these tools for batch processing.
Update May 5, 2014: I am also teaching a workshop on this same topic at Metro NY Library Council – feel free to take it.
I am presenting a poster at ALISE 2013 for a research project I have proposed. The poster and abstract are below:
In the last several years, cultural heritage institutions (museums, libraries, and archives) have begun to make use of mobile technology to reach new members and investigate the potential of mobile technology to add value to their educational offerings. However, little research has been completed that rigorously and comprehensively demonstrates how this technology can be used to advance the major goals of cultural heritage institutions, such as enhancing patron knowledge construction, historical understanding, engagement and inspiring lifelong learning. This research project will produce a set of best practices for how these goals can be promoted using mobile computing. These best practices will be derived from analyzing the response from focus groups to their use of mobile technology at the sites of five major New York City cultural institutions, including: