National Digital Stewardship Residency 2014 Symposium: April 8th

Recently added to the calendar of upcoming events, please be sure to look into the upcoming National Digital Stewardship Residency symposium to be held in April at the National Library of Medicine in Bethesda. The goal of the NDSR — according to the symposium blog — is to…

[…] build a dedicated community of professionals who will advance our nation’s capabilities in managing, preserving, and making accessible  the digital record of human achievement.

Be sure to check out the symposium blog at NDSR 2014.

And did I mention that registration is free?

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My Very First LIS Symposium

This post was started last week. But, what with due dates, work, papers, and snow storms, it kinda didn’t get done. So, here it is, for your enjoyment!

A few weeks ago, I gave a poster presentation at CUA’s 6th annual Bridging the Spectrum symposium. And while this wasn’t my first LIS conference/symposium/get-together, it was — in fact — my first time presenting at one. My topic? Identifying Thesauri Selections of Repositories of Digitized Medieval Manuscript Collections.

Symposium Poster (1)

Thrilling stuff. Really, it is! Click the image for a larger format. You can also access the image through the symposium website at http://lis.cua.edu/symposium/2014/posters.cfm

My poster session was a great success. Loads of interested symposium attendees stopped by, asked good questions, and seemed generally interested in the topic at hand (namely, just what sort of thesauri do digital collections of medieval manuscripts use and why do they use them?) Now, fair reader, I can sense your budding excitement as you read this. Wish you had been there to see the poster in action? Well, look no further! A fellow cohort member was kind enough to capture my spiel on camera.

And while I could prattle endlessly about my survey, the interesting findings, and the possibilities for future research (if anyone reading is in a position to offer grant money, I won’t say no), I’d rather focus the environment of the symposium itself.

As with any profession, the work that we do as graduate students, as librarians, as information pros can sometimes be overwhelming. And when the responsibilities start to build up, we can bury ourselves in our own little worlds, focusing on the mountains of work that require our attention. I think that this is precisely why symposiums are so important: they allow us an opportunity to step away from our work and to be around similarly-focused professionals who wish to share their accomplishment in a public forum. Thanks to the many panelists, poster presenters, and attendees, I had the opportunity to learn about a whole host of new and interesting studies that are going on as I type this. Everything from indigenous modes of recordkeeping among the Sioux people to new approaches to faculty engagement at research libraries was on display. Conversations simmered at every table and the Twitter conversation was at a continual boil for most of the day (for those interested, check out #cualis14. Some great comments and a link to the Michael Edson’s keynote presentation, video is now available at CUA LIS’s homepage). While I won’t use the word ‘impossible,’ it would have been pretty difficult to have walked away from this event without feeling revitalized, fascinated, and totally revved up for the future of the Library and Information Science discipline.

After having such a wonderful time learning about new research, studies, and initiatives, I began to wonder about what some of the other motivations for attending conferences, symposia, and other LIS events. I was somehow reminded of John Falk’s “The Museum Visitor Experience: Who Visits, Why and to What Effect?” In this essay, Falk identifies several classes of museum patrons, including Explorers, Facilitators, Professionals/Hobbyists, Experience Seekers, and Rechargers, all of whom have a variety of legitimate but unique reasons for attending museums. While the format, structure, location, attendees, and overall attitude of a conference is different from a conventional museum, can some parallels be drawn between museum attendance and conference attendance? Some attend to expose themselves to new innovations in their given field while others attend to develop their professional calling or individual passion. Others still attend to meet others and make professional connections, others yet use conferences as an opportunity to refresh their professional outlook and workshop ideas & projects. While the comparison may be tenuous on first pass, it may bare up with increased consideration.

But still: the conference as a cultural engagement is an interesting idea.

Regardless, the Bridging the Spectrum symposium was a great experience. In the future, I would highly recommend attending. Major thanks to CUA and the Department of Library and Information Science for their efforts to organize such an awesome event.

Library of Congress’s Cultural Heritage Archives Symposium

This past week, the Library of Congress’s American Folklife Center hosted a two-day conference titled Cultural Heritage Archives: Networks, Innovation & Collaboration. With attendees from all across the country and the world, this symposium was a fertile arena for insight and discourse on many pertinent issues related to the design, management, and administration of cultural heritage archives. A wide variety of speakers from all sectors of the archival community presented inspiring papers on numerous topics. Really, there is too much to say about this symposium; so much so that justice cannot really be done in a blog post format. This is a polite way of saying you really should have been there.

To provide a brief summary of the symposium, here are the major bullet points:

  • Danna Bell-Russel, Educational Resource Specialist at LOC and SAA President, presented the first keynote address on the first day, focusing on ways that archivists can bridge connections between institutions and disciplines.
  • The first session saw many papers on use and users of cultural heritage archives from U. Oregon, Oxford, U. Colorado Boulder, Universite Paris Diderot, U. Alberta, and U. North Texas.
    • FULL DISCLOSURE: I wasn’t able to make the first part of the day’s festivities, so I’m basing this off of the symposium program.
  • The second session of the day raised some great questions about the approach to archival description, such as:
    • How should the EAC-CPF standard be applied to link archival metadata?
    • How should social media be used to expose archival collections, especially regarding collections that have significant cultural importance?
    • What’s the best way to catalog music archives with regards to quick access and use in educational settings?
  • A poster session featured many great studies on archival programming, but the most interesting was a poster on Traditional Knowledge Licensing and Labeling presented by Jane Anderson. Learn more about TK Licenses here.
  • The second day kicked off with an absolutely fabulous key note address by Sita Reddy about the decolonization efforts of indigenous peoples regarding their cultural wisdom as captured in the Hortus Malabaricus. The abstract of her presentation can be seen here.
  • On a silly note, apparently there’s no LCSH heading for bourbon.

Be sure, I could go on and on and on about the wonderful talks presented at the symposium, but that could take ages.

HOWEVER, I will say that what was most stirring about this symposium was the continued recognition of the importance of collaboration in the cultural heritage community. Be it with ethnic or cultural groups, be it with archival users or audiences, artists, collectors, IT staff, archive administrators, or what have you, the repeated anthem of the two-day symposium was that archivists must constantly seek out new and innovative ways to collaborate with internal and external parties to ensure that the collections survive in perpetuity and gain new life through continued access and use.

One point was brought up that I thought also bears mentioning. During a Q&A session, Timothy Powell of the American Philosophical Society declared that he felt that a group was missing from the day’s proceedings and that the group was digital humanists. This struck me as odd as the statement appeared to come from an “us-them” perspective that set up digital humanists as external to archivists. I feel however that the digital humanities is a broad, reflexively-inclusive term that has within its scope all who work with the humanities, be they scholars, archivists, librarians, &c. Considering the increased prevalence of digital formats of preservation and access that occur in the archival community, one is hardpressed to find a humanist that doesn’t, in one form or another, operate in the digital world. In this regard, I disagree that the digital humanities were unrepresented; rather, many — if not all — of the attendees at the symposium are a part of the digital humanities, they just might not know it yet.

To wrap up, the symposium was a great forum of ideas on a wide array of topics in the cultural heritage archival field. Great perspectives were shared and I hope to see many excellent collaborations emerge from the proceedings.

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Be sure to keep your ear to the ground as the LOC will likely make videos of the symposium sessions available online through the webcasts site.

For even MORE cultural heritage archives fun, be sure to check out the symposium’s twitter feed at #chas13.

Bridging the Spectrum Symposium — Proposals Due Next Friday!

Just wanted to post a reminder that proposals for presentations at the 2014 Bridging the Spectrum Symposium are due by September 13 (next Friday).  Think about the poster presentations for Dr. Zhang’s class; plenty of great ideas shown during that class!

Here’s the breakdown of deadlines for the symposium:

  • Proposal Submissions Open: July 29, 2013
  • Proposals Due: September 13, 2013
  • Notification of Acceptances: November 8, 2013
  • Final Program Abstracts Due: December 6, 2013
  • Symposium: January 31, 2014

More information on the symposium can be found here.

Bridging the Spectrum — The Sixth Annual Symposium on Scholarship and Practice

The Catholic University of America’s Department of Library and Information Science has announced the 6th annual Bridging the Spectrum symposium to be held at the Pryzbyla Center on Friday, January 31st, 2014.  This one-day symposium offers students, faculty, and all cuaSLISinformation professionals a forum in which to discuss important research topics in the library and information field.

This year’s symposium focuses on the theme of “Renewing Our Value.” The symposium website provides the following mission statement:

As our information environment has become increasingly digital, mobile, and ubiquitous, people are able to access and obtain information rapidly and independently. This has enabled librarians, archivists, and information specialists to reinvent our traditional roles, and to place greater value on traditional principles that are at the core of the profession. This has also provided a tremendous opportunity for libraries, museums and archives to renew their value as institutional pillars in society.

Students are encouraged to submit proposals. The deadline for submission is September 13th. Applicants will be notified in November. Final abstracts must be submitted by December 6th.

Information on submitting a proposal can be found here.

Cultural Heritage Archives: Networks, Innovation & Collaboration

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The American Folklife Center at the Library of Congress has scheduled a symposium on the topic of archiving cultural heritage. The symposium, scheduled for September 26-27, aims to…

energize the discussion of ethnographic archival thought and practice by presenting fresh and dynamic strategies for contemporary archival realities.

The symposium is scheduled to included panels on the use of cultural heritage archives, archival description standards, preservation and digital stewardship, collaboration, resources, and education, all of which will be attended by a selection of academics and professionals from the archival and cultural professions. Information on the symposium is available here.

The event is free and open to the public, but registration is required. Registration will be available at there website sometime in August.

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On another note, the “Calendar of Upcoming Events” is suffering some issues. Please be patient.