Things I might have tweeted, part 6: digitizing oral histories #marac

Jennifer Synder, AAA
Uses Sound Directions from IU.

Pet peeve of mine: gold “archival” cds. They are no more reliable than regular cds, cost more, and give you a false sense of security. If you need cds, for whatever reason, just use regular cds.

Vendor continuity and relationships are important in succesful large scale digitization projects.

Kate Stewart, American Folklife Center

Created a database to figure out who has been interviewed with regards to the Civil Rights Movement. Trying to do new interviews with peiple who have never been interviewed before. The list should be published soon.

Oral history interviews are going more and more to video, although they will still do audio only if the interviewee insists.

Beth Millwood, UNC SOHP

Four keys for oral history programs: Ongoing consulting, training, returning work to the community, and giving the oral histories to the larger community.

An ideal oral history program: has a continued connection with those interviewed, a willingness to train at several levels, access to resources for community groups.

Things I might have tweeted, part 5: Rights, reproductions, and reality #marac

Sorry that I didn’t post from the last session yesterday, my phone died. But I may post a real blog entry about it later. Anyways, here us Rights, Reproductions, and Reality.

A google group about this topic: marac rights and reproductions. The panel wants a discussion forum for when we aren’t at marac.
Roundtable format, the people here are Wendy Hurlock-Baker, Archives of American Art, Daisy Njoku, Smithsonian, Karma Foley, freelance archivist, Jenny Ferretti, Maryland Hist. Soc., Robin Pike, Catholic Uni.

Not going to talk about copyright, except for one thing. Sound recordings. Check out They are pushing for all sound recordings to be put under federal, not state law. You can see my previous post about this issue for more information.

AAA has a fee, similar to their web use fee, for digtal applications.

Giving permission to use the digital file, through property rights, but most places are putting the burden of copyright permission on the researcher. Wording “the onus of third party rights is on the applicant.”

If you start trying to help them too much with finding copyright holders, then some of the responsibility comes back on you.

Ebooks are considered different editions, so if your forms say one time, non exclusive use, you can charge them twice.

Put rights and citation metadata into your files. You can do this with photoshop.

Gifs strip out some metadata when you go from tif or jpeg to gif.

MHS charges fees based on fule size, so higher dpi gets a higher fee.

Tax exempt does not mean nonprofit. Tax exempt places, like some university presses, still make a lot of money. And archives charge a lot less than stock photo places like Getty.

Things I might have tweeted, part 4: new developments in describing av materials #marac

Jane Otto, Rutgers:

Av description in a digital repository.

New Jersey Digital Highway is the digital repository for all of nj.OpenWMS is the platform that they use. Web based source. Uses the METS metadata schema.

Descriptive metadata is MODS, which is MARC-lite, but extended by the institution.

Build content by targeting faculty whose products are not typically accepted for publication: datasets, video, audio, etc.

Works with faculty to develop custom metadata fields to creat searchability wihin small collections in the digtal repository. They also add fields for specific classes and specific assignments within a class. Sounds like a great service, but a lot of work.

Megan McShea, Archives of American Art

The problem is that there are no published standards for describing av materials at the non-item level.

Archivists often describe av format instead of by topic, which is not helpful.

Since there are only item level guidepines, many av records are over described.

Poor av description is creatong a hidden backlog within processed collections.

Used DACS as a basis for guidelines for processing av material. Like paper records, av should be kept in their intellectual place, not lumped into a series at the end.

IASA gives decent list of standardized format names.

Margaret Kruesi, Library of Congress

DACS-SR, Companion content standard for describing sound recordings (although this is unrelated to the current revision of DACS)

What are archival sound recordings? Unpublished, ethnographic, broadcast, one of a kind, rare published materials.

Researchers want much more data from catalogers.

Want to create a standard that can be used by non-specialists. Drafts of addiions to current DACS sections are mostly complete.

Things I might have tweeted, part 3: New tools to address electronic records challenges #marac

Peter Bajcsy, National Cenyer for Supercomputing Applications:

What do you do if you come accross an unsupported file format? Move the file, get a new format from the creator, or buy the software.

Presidential erecords: reagan, 200k, clinton, 33 million, gwb, 300 million.

Almost 80k different file name extensions.

We need to figure how to automate and scale systems dealing with erecords.

His wanted solution: cloud services. (I have questions about this, but hopefully he will address them).

Conversion Software Registry tells you how to covert from one file type to another.

Polyglot is their software to convert files, available in the cloud and as a download for your repository.

Universal content viewer is part of this, this software tries to display content of any format.

Content based file comparison: compare two files and evaluate information loss over multiple metrics, not just checksuns or something similar.

With this metric, you can tell how much data you will los due to conversion.

They are providing a prototype of polyglot for free, but t can only deal with open formats. You have to buy the system and licenses for proprietary formats to convert them.

Universal viewer, if possible for all formats, could lessen the need for DIPs.

William Underwood, Georgia Tech:
Tools for file format id

Unix file command is the most widely used, but it is limited.

Created a file signature database to extend the file command.

Automatic markup of emails with xml allows for searching and organization. Would be useful for legacy finding aid conversion, transcriptions, mass digitization, etc.

Manually created grammars for 14 categories of documents and used those grammars to apply the xml in each document.

Not practical if we have to create grammars for every type of document, but they are working on creating automatic grammar generators.

Maria Esteva, Texas Advanced Computing Center:
Mapping archival processing to visualization

Analyze large and multivariable collections for archival processing. Lots of different file formats.

Trying to extract as much information as possible from the records hemselves to help create finding aids.

Virtualization of archival collections: a visual representation of archival collections. Colors and size used to represent size and formats in different parts of collections. A non-textual way to see collections.

Visualization of files types can also help with processing of large collections of electronic records. Can show arrangement as well as preservation risk.

The demonstrations were pretty cool, and I can’t wait to get my hands on these various pieces of software and play around. My one critique is that the presenters made it a little difficult to find out where we could get more information about their prijects. Hopefully with some google-fu, I can figure out more.

Things I might have tweeted, part 2: Rand Jimerson at #marac

The plenary speaker for MARAC is Rand Jimerson, suthor of Archives Power. Here is what I might have tweeted:

Students from the University of Kentucky are at my table. They like what marac doea more than their own organization.

Archival Ethics and the Call for Justice is the title of Rand’s talk.

Justice requires resistance to censorship, sanitization, and hiding of documents.

We are always making choices; chosing to save some things means that we aren’t saving other things. We sometimes reinforce the majority view.

Our neutrality is a lie that is built into our profession.

Neutality reinforces the current power structures.

Archives have always been a battleground of conflicting ideologies.

We can be objective, but not neutral.

Objectivity does not preclude advocacy, but puts responsible limits upon it.

Archives are on he front line of public controversy and have a responsibility to the community throuh the records.

9 keys for archivists to respond to the call for justice.

Ensuring diversity in the archival record. One of the three greatest challenges to the profession.

Welcoming the stranger into the archive. Records are witnesses to those who are voiceless.

Recognize hat selecting and appraising should be based on clear and open policies.

Listening for oral testimony and going out and creating oral histories.

Make archival description sensitive to the representation of those described.

Providing inclusive reference and access, within he bounds of laws and cultural representations.

Embracing new technologies, web 2.0 and digital records.

Supporting open government and public accountability.

Public advocacy, boh in archival terms and in the general public interest. Become whistleblowers if records are threatened.
(end of the 9 keys)

The result of these actions will keep archives by, for, and of the people.

Social responsibility is one of SAA’s 11 core duties in a current draft statement.

We must overcome our biases and embrace social responsbility.

Archivist must not support or seem to support elites at the expense of the people.

Things I might have tweeted, part 1

The hotel in which MARAC is being held is in Alexandria, Va., and happens to be made of lead. Or, at least, that is how it seems, because if you take more than 2 steps away from a window, all connections drop out. When I go outside, my connection is just fine. So, I am going to try an experiment: writing what I may have tweeted into WordPress, and posting them when I get internet. It is not the same experience as live tweeting, but hopefully it will give you at least some insight into what had been happening at MARAC Spring 2011.