Call-for-Posters: Cultural Heritage Information Management Forum at the Catholic University of America

The Department of Library and Information Science at the Catholic University of America is pleased to announce that the June 5, 2015 Cultural Heritage Information Management Forum will host a poster session.  The session is designed to showcase research and projects related to the Forum’s theme: Cultural Heritage Collections: Content and Access in the Digital Era. We welcome poster proposals concerning topics related to this theme.  Topics include, but are not limited to:

  • Infrastructure for collection sharing, research, and access
  • Creation of digital collections
  • Access to digital cultural heritage collections
  • Outreach and engagement of users
  • Stewardship of cultural heritage collections
  • Partnerships and collaboration
  • Sustainability and funding models

The posters for the CHIM Forum are refereed. Poster presenters will participate in the lightning talk and have time to discuss their posters with fellow Forum participants over lunch.  Presenters will have many opportunities to interact with the audience and receive feedback on their projects.

Since space for poster display is limited, please submit your poster proposals by the deadline, March 2, 2015.

For further information about the CHIM Forum please visit the event website. The site will be updated as new details become available.

Instructions for Poster Proposals Submission

In a Word document, please include:

Name and contact information:

  • Full name of presenter(s)
  • Contact information (phone number and email address)
  • Institutional affiliation
  • Academic status and/or job title

Poster description:

  • Poster title
  • Poster abstract (50 words, for Forum program)
  • Poster description (maximum of 200 words)

Please email your poster proposal to the Planning Committee at cua-chim-forum@cua.edu by Monday, March 2, 2015. Your poster proposal submission will be acknowledged within 24 hours after submission. Notification of acceptance will be sent on March 23.  Poster presenters are responsible for printing the posters and mounting them for display at the CHIM Forum. Poster presenters must register for the CHIM Forum. Registration is free and includes lunch.  You will be alerted when registration opens.

Important Dates

  • Proposal submission deadline:  Monday, March 2, 2015
  • Notification of acceptance: Monday, March 23, 2015

Questions?

Please contact the Planning Committee at cua-chim-forum@cua.edu if you have any questions about submitting a poster proposal.

Thank you!

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SAA 2014: Archives, Activism, and a Whole Lot of Twitter

Oh, the most wonderful time of the year: conference season! When professionals the whole world over experience the joy of free continental breakfast, standing-room-only panel discussions, and odd luggage necessary to safely transport misshapen posters and displays through the TSA gauntlet. For me, the beginning and end of my conference whirlwind consisted of the Society of American Archivists 2014 meeting. Luckily, this year’s host city was Washington, DC. In lieu of a boarding pass, I grabbed my SmarTrip card and hoped down to Woodley Park for days filled with archival fun.

Full disclosure: I am not, per se, an archivist. I am a graduate student specializing in cultural heritage information management with a focus on rare books, manuscripts, and medieval material culture. However, if my coursework has taught me anything, it is that the ongoing convergence of library, archives, and museum professionals — coupled with the ever-increasing technological synergy between these disparate institutions — means that it is incumbent upon us as information professionals to being engaged on several scholarly fronts. With this in mind, I felt that my participation in the SAA conference would not only help me in my own interdisciplinary efforts, but would also add a unique voice to the archival conversation that would occur at the conference.

As writing about the chaos of conference life in some semblance of linear fashion is a herculean task, I will segment my comments by events, panels, discussions, or other relevant dimensions.

  • Before the official kick-off of SAA, a pre-conference workshop was held that explored the use of open-access applications for optical character recognition of non-standard texts. Led by Matthew Christy of the Early Modern OCR Project from Texas A&M, this workshop provided extremely helpful insight into the workflow for training Tesseract to identify and convert early modern print types into computer-usable text. On a personal note, this was a whirlwind of new information to the uninitiated OCRer (i.e. me). However, knowing what I do now, I think that this was an excellent professional development experience that will be useful on future projects.
  • FOIA and Access: The plenary discussion featured a lively discussion on the importance of FOIA to the realm of investigative journalism. A fantastic – and timely – discussion that highlighted the importance of archivists as both holders of information and conduits of access.
  • Integrating Digital Objects and Finding Aids: As with all panels focusing on digital materials, this panel was packed.  This panel, focusing on the Northwest Digital Archives, presented great ideas on approaches to ensuring object-collection hierarchy maintenance; use of publicly available resources as service hubs for private collections; and approaches to user testing.
  • SNAC: Representatives from the SNAC project led a great discussion on the development of linked EAC-CPF records to help unify entity identification in distributed record holding institutions. Again, another jam-paced session due to the digital orientation of the topic. Still, a great opportunity to learn about ongoing initiatives.
  • HIV/AIDS Archives: In this panel, a fascinating conversation occurred in which the difficulties associated with archiving an ongoing social phenomenon were illuminated. In particular, the NYPL archivist of the AIDS/HIV Collection recounted conflicts between their collection and the ACT UP activist organization due to the public perception of the historiographic activities of archivists. The difficulty arises from convincing the public that archives are not only collections of things that ‘have occurred’, but are rather ongoing records of individual, organizational, and societal events, continually being reappraised, reassessed, and reinterpreted. The quotable takeaway is the ongoing conversation between the competing concepts of “AIDS History” and “AIDS is History.”
  • Poster Session:
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    36″x40″ of glory!

    The poster session was an excellent opportunity to meet a variety of scholars and professionals and to give them an introduction to my work on Project Andvari. A lot of very fruitful conversations occurred. A couple even led to possible partnerships for future collaboration and data sharing (and a possible job opportunity, but let’s not get too hopeful). All-in-all, it was a great chance to practice my presenting skills and to get my face out there as a participating member of the larger scholarly community.

Conferences are always hectic (and exhausting). There is always far too much for one person to experience, but the net effect is one of great professional development and scholarly sharing. This year’s SAA conference was no exception. I walked away from this experience enlivened with a renewed energy for my professional field. While I couldn’t attend more sessions, I was extremely grateful to my fellow conference attendees and their dogged upkeep of the #saa14 thread, allowing me to follow the numerous concurrent sessions that I could not attend.  As I near the end of my graduate coursework, I am excited to more fully enter in to my chosen profession, knowing that the field is populated with such energetic and innovative professionals.

The Semantic Web… With Penguins

Thanks to “Media Theory for the Average Penguin” by caitlinelizabethmullen, here’s a neat little explanation of the Semantic Web, complete with penguin illustrations. This post comes to our attention thanks to Daniel Pett of the Portable Antiquities Scheme and the British Museum. Read; enjoy; pass along.

Web 3.0 / The Semantic Web.

via Web 3.0 / The Semantic Web.

User Contributions to Cultural Heritage Collections and Experience

Written by Dr. Youngok Choi

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Libraries, archives, and museums (LAMs) are actively using social media tools in their various initiatives and projects to offer users an opportunity to engage with and contribute to their collections and information services. Such initiatives are known as crowdsourcing projects ever since Jeff Howe (2006) coined the term. Several examples of successful projects in LAMs have been introduced (Holley, 2010; Oomen & Aroyo, 2011). As crowdsourcing proves its potential in cultural heritage contexts through repeated success, more cultural organizations are exploring its possibilities in various digital projects.

At Archives 2013, the joint annual meeting of the Society of American Archivists and the Council of State Archivists, which took place from August 11-17 in New Orleans, Louisiana, researchers and professionals presented various crowd-sourced digital projects of cultural heritage collections including FamilySearch and the Citizen Archivist Initiative (Session 404  Incentivizing Volunteer Workforces for Crowd-sourced Projects)

Among those projects at the session, one project I found very creative and transformative was DIY History at the University of Iowa (http://diyhistory.lib.uiowa.edu/). Ms. Colleen Theisen, an outreach and instruction librarian at University of Iowa, spoke about the project. According to her, the University of Iowa Libraries launched a low-tech transcription crowdsourcing project for Civil War diaries and letters in 2011. Volunteers transcribed all 16,000 pages in just over a year. Later, the project was renamed DIY History featuring a variety of documents including handwritten cookbooks and pioneer-era letters and diaries. Currently, more than 35,000 pages of manuscript diaries, letters, recipes and telegrams in DIY History have been transcribed and proofread by contributors (http://blog.lib.uiowa.edu/drp/category/diy-history/). What is more interesting is that using their historic record of cookbooks, the University sponsored a historic recipes contest in the Iowa State Fair http://blog.lib.uiowa.edu/drp/2013/07/22/iowa-state-fair/. At the fair, the community experienced and tasted 18th– or 19th century cooking. This crowdsourced project is exemplary of using social media tools to open up cultural heritage hidden collections to the community to engage with and contribute to cultural memory.

More resources on crowdsourcing projects in cultural heritage

A series of blog postings on crowdsourcing by Trevor Owens

Blog site and postings by Mia Ridge (a PhD candidate at Open University)

Digital Directions 2013 Takeaways

Written by Joseph Koivisto

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Writing for the POWRR Blog, Aaisha Haykal — University Archivist for Chicago State University — put together a great post about the Fundamentals of Creating and Managing Digital Collections Conference at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor. In her post, she discusses the variety of sessions and workshops that occurred over the three-day event and shares some pictures from a tour of the Digital Conversion Unit or of the Technology Lab.

The most interesting part of the post is a list of conference takeaways, points that can be applied to any digital conservation environments. They are as follows:

  1. Know your institution, in terms of risk management (is some loss acceptable to you? who will be doing the metadata, how specific will it be?), budget, staffing (who responsibility is what), formats, mission, etc.
  2. It does not take much to get started with digital preservation-every little bit helps
  3. You really cannot do it alone (get assistance at every stage of the process)
  4. Modify standards, guidelines, and best practices to your institution, sometimes just good enough works
  5. Make your metadata interoperable and specific (ex. downstate and Illinois versus just downstate), so that when you merge records it is clear
  6. Approach stakeholders with a tailored message this can be done through workshops and one-on-one sessions. When involving IT, do not let them take over the project, this is your territory.
  7. Assessment of digital collections has to be done, either qualitative or quantitative.
  8. Document what you have done to the collections so that 1) those in the future can know and 2) that data was not lost in the transitions (bit count)
  9. Within the conversation of digital preservation we need to make clear the difference between preservation and access copies
  10. Learned more about the environment that digitization should be taking place in, in terms of lighting, monitors, and equipment.

Of this list, I found two points to be most insightful. First, standards, guidelines, and practices need to be custom tailored to the institution. Each institutional repository has unique needs and serves a particular collection and audience. Therefore, information professionals must design project standards and practices around the needs of the collection and the identified end users.

Second, information professionals must be wary of ceding control to IT staff that have been brought in to work on digital collections. Considering the increasingly tech-centric nature of conservation initiatives, information professionals need to make sure that governance does not change hands during the project time frame. How we do this is — again — something that will vary from institution to institution and project to project. However, acknowledging the issue prepares us to  better address the issues as they arise.

The original POWRR blog post can be found here.

2014 National Agenda for Digital Stewardship

Written by Joseph Koivisto

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The National Digital Stewardship Alliance — along with support from DuraSpace — has released their 2014 National Agenda for Digital Stewardship. In this report, the NDSA aimed to…

highlight emerging technology trends, identify gaps in digital stewardship capacity, and provide funders and decision-makers with insight into the work needed to ensure that today’s valuable digital content remains accessible useful and comprehensible in the future, supporting a thriving economy, a robust democracy, and a rich cultural heritage.

Concurrent with the ongoing trends in digital information facilitation, curation, and preservation, the agenda details important elements in digital content areas, technical infrastructure development, and a variety of research priorities. By clearly articulating its priorities, the NDSA has created an outline for future development that will guide their work and provide external organizations with insight into the new horizons of digital stewardship research and implementation.

While much of the report covers ground that has been discussed before (the diversity of digital content areas, development topics for technical infrastructure), the discussion of research priorities presents a list of fascinating regions for new study. These include…

  • Applied Research for Cost Modeling and Audit Modeling
  • Information Equivalence and Significance
  • Policy Research on Trust Frameworks
  • Preservation at Scale
  • Strengthening the Evidence Base for Digital Preservation

These topics present fertile ground for future scholarly work and may be worth investigating for personal research (and maybe an article or conference presentation…).

Regardless of whether or not you intend to plunder NDSA’s agenda for personal research topics, it is an important bellwether for digital data professionals and all forms of digital scholarship.