Alison Verplaetse took part in the most recent Summer Educational Institute on June 18-21, 2013. Find out more about this program at http://sei.vrafoundation.org/index.html
The Summer Educational Institute (SEI) is an excellent learning and networking opportunity for anyone currently involved or interested in a career in image management. As a fairly recently degreed librarian, I found SEI incredibly valuable: it not only taught immediately applicable skills, but also provided me with insight into future avenues of the profession. I would recommend SEI to anyone considering pursuing a career in Visual Resources as it provided a perfect opportunity to gain a broad perspective on what people are accomplishing in this area of librarianship.
SEI provided a unique opportunity to learn about the core aspects of image management –namely, metadata, imaging, copyright, and outreach–from top experts in their respective fields. I am incredibly grateful to have been a participant at SEI, and I feel I gained knowledge and professional connections that will benefit me throughout my career. Here is a quick run-down of the workshop sessions and speakers:
Our first afternoon at the institute included a lecture on Intellectual Property Rights given by the University of Michigan’s Associate General Counsel Jack Bernard. Mr. Bernard’s presentation was thoroughly engaging and informative, providing compelling copyright case studies that illustrated the essential tenets of copyright law in an accessible and useful way for library professionals.
The second day of SEI was the Metadata Intensive part of the workshop. The first session began with a Metadata Overview by Jenn Riley, the Head of the Carolina Digital Library and Archives at The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Library. We discussed the most popular metadata schema currently used by cultural institutions and participated in completing sample metadata records in VRACore. In the afternoon’s session, Greg Reser, the Metadata Specialist at University of California, San Diego, introduced the group to the concept and application of embedded metadata for image professionals.
The third day at SEI was an Imaging Intensive taught by Alex Nichols, the Academic Technology Coordinator at the Visual Resources Library at Michigan State University. His sessions spelled out the best practices and standards for digital imaging in terms of equipment, image quality, and workflow. In conjunction with the late afternoon session regarding the “Tools of the Trade,” in the Visual Resources field, this day introduced me to a number of relevant and useful applications for managing digital images.
The final day of the conference was organized in an “unconference” style, allowing us to interact and hear the ideas of our colleagues regarding collaboration, project management, keeping current in the field, and several other areas of visual resources management. In a similar vein, the afternoon’s session, entitled “Expanding Your Role,” presented us with great ideas for reaching out to the community, both the people we serve in our profession and other professionals.
Whew! A lot happened in a just a few days at SEI. The best part, though, was getting to know my fellow participants. I met an excellent group of like-minded individuals whom I look forward to working with again in the future, and I was able to bring back a wealth of knowledge germane to both my current and aspirational professional endeavors.