Digital Humanities: A Starting Point

I’ve recently been reaching out to colleagues for information and advice on learning more about digital humanities(DH) and digital scholarship. It’s a term I’ve heard bandied around a lot at my library, but has never been fully clear to me. I thought I’d share some resources that have been suggested to me, which can hopefully help anyone else who may be grappling with the concept and work of digital scholarship, but would like to know more.

Texts

Web

  • Rebuilding the Porfolio: DH for Art Historians
    In 2014, The Getty Foundation held a two week institute on art history and DH. There are good readings and resources still available on the site. I’ve also found some interesting posts on the Getty’s blog discussing art history in relation to digital scholarship.
  • The Programming Historian
    This website hosts peer-reviewed tutorials on different tools used in DH work. I appreciate the simplicity and easy navigation of the site. Different tutorials are grouped by use under the Lessons link.
  • Miriam Posner’s blog
    Articles by Miriam Posner have been suggested to me multiple times. She is Faculty and the Coordinator for UCLA’s Digital Humanities Program.“How did they make that?” is a great post where she goes through several digital projects and maps out what the project is, the tools that were used, and how to get started using them yourself.
  • Subscribe to the ACRL Digital Humanities email list. The group also runs a blog, which shares readings, events, and opportunities in the digital humanities.

Workshops

  • Digital Humanities Summer Institute
    DHIS is a weeklong institute at the The University of Victoria in Vancouver, Canada. Participants take one course that meets daily.. It is a large conference and they a variety lot of classes, like Fundamentals of Coding for Humanists, Digital Storytelling, and Text Processing to name a few. I have heard from past attendees that DHIS is a valuable chance for networking. There are scholarships available for students and early-career professionals that can help to defray some of the costs.
  • Humanities Intensive Learning and Teaching
    Unlike DHIS, HILT is a smaller program with more intensive and rigorous courses. The location changes from year to year. This summer’s HILT will be in Austin, TX. Again, participants choose one class to take during the 5-day institute. Classes offered this year include Programming for Humanists with Python, Introduction to the Text Encoding Initiative for Historical Documents, and New Approaches to Literary Archives. HILT also offers scholarships for their program.
  • Digital Humanities at Oxford Summer School
    DHOxSS is like DHIS and HILT, except that it is in England. The workshops run for 5 days and while coursework is similar to the other institutes, they also offer an Introduction to Digital Humanities course. This class gives a thorough overview of the field through presentations, talks, and workshops.

Other Resources

  • Library Juice
    Library Juice offers a wide variety of continuing education and professional development courses for librarians. There are a couple classes that are related to the DH. Others touch on areas or skills that are also applicable, such as courses on coding or metadata.
  • If you work at an academic library, check to see if any departments offer programming in the digital humanities. Where I work, the English and History departments often hold lectures and workshops related to digital scholarship. I became interested in DH after taking a workshop on text mining that was primarily aimed at grad students in the Japanese Studies program. I found it useful for understanding what digital projects can look like and discovering digital tools that are out there.
  • There may be DH conferences that happen near you, depending upon where you live.Network Detroitis a conference that happens close to me where people come together to share their work and discuss new advancements in DH.

I’m sure there are a bunch more resources out there that I haven’t mentioned. Please share any ideas, thoughts, etc. in the comments!

Northern California Chapter Spring Meeting on May 5th at SFMOMA Library!

The ARLIS/NA Northern California Chapter’s Spring meeting will be taking place at the SFMOMA Library in downtown San Francisco on Friday, May 5th.

The tentative schedule is:

  • 10:00-11:00 AM – ARLIS/NA Northern California Chapter business meeting
  • 11:00-11:30 AM – Break and Library tour
  • 11:30 AM-12:30 PM – Forum on Artists’ Ephemera
    • John Held, Jr., mail artist, author, performance artist and former librarian, will talk about Steven Leiber and his influence on the acceptance of artistic ephemera, and Tanya Zimbardo, Assistant Curator of Media Arts at SFMOMA, will discuss curating artists’ ephemera at SFMOMA. Followed by Q&A and open discussion.
  • 12:30-1:30 PM – Lunch on your own
  • 1:30 PM – Explore SFMOMA galleries

Visit https://arlisnanc.blogspot.com/ for details.

Contact Christina Moretta, Chair, or Abby Dansiger, Vice Chair/Chair-Elect, at adansiger@famsf.org with any questions.

Art + Feminism + Wikipedia

In March I was invited to three different Art + Feminism Wikipedia Edit-A-Thons! I had a basic idea of what these were about, but I was eager to get involved and find out more. One was held at MIT Libraries, and one at the Institute of Contemporary Art, but I decided to attend the one held at my beloved alma mater, the Massachusetts College of Art and Design (MassArt). It was hosted by librarians at MassArt, the School of the Museum of Fine Arts at Tufts and the Tufts School of Arts and Sciences.

As the invitation promised, we were led through basic Wikipedia editing skills by accomplished Wikipedia editor Amanda Rust, the Digital Humanities Librarian and Assistant Director of the Digital Scholarship Group at Northeastern University.

Publish!
Wikipedia editor Eve Kahn on the left, Digital Humanities Librarian Amanda Rust on the right.

After teaching us the basics of Wikipedia editing, Amanda and MassArt librarian Gabrielle Reed talked about the purpose of the project. Gabrielle’s event invitation sums it up well:

Wikimedia’s gender trouble is well-documented. While the reasons for the gender gap are up for debate, the practical effect of this disparity, however, is not. Content is skewed by the lack of female participation. This represents an alarming absence in an increasingly important repository of shared knowledge.

5pillars.jpg
Choosing female artists to represent on Wikipedia.

We were given a list of female artists associated with MassArt who did not yet have a page on Wikipedia, but of course we could also choose any female artist who was not represented. I choose from the list and began doing research on Frances Euphemia Thompson. MassArt librarians helped me find primary research materials on Ms. Thompson. She was an artist and educator, and one of the first African American women to graduate from Massachusetts Normal Art School (the precursor to MassArt).

              

I found some good biographical information on Thompson in this book by Mary Ann Stankiewicz.

          

MassArt librarian Katie Riel at the left, ready to help and/or display our efforts on social media. On the right, MassArt librarian Danielle Sangalang helps me find more information on Ms. Thompson for my very first Wikipedia article, which you can see below and find at https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Frances_Euphemia_Thompson!

Screen Shot 2017-04-19 at 12.10.20 PM.png

Talking with MassArt librarian Gabrielle Reed, I was happy to find out that this series of edit-a-thons started at ARLIS! It grow out of the ARLIS/NA Women’s SIG, and was led by Sîan Evans together with Michael Mandiberg, Jacqueline Mabey and Laurel Ptak. From small beginnings, it has grown into an international movement, complete with an online guide to help anyone start an event: http://www.artandfeminism.org/organizing-kit/.  As Gabrielle told me, “They make it so easy for us, there’s not excuse not to do it.”  She added, 

“It’s a concrete way to contribute something – the world is so crazy right now, I feel like it’s important to do things that make a difference.” 

I think we all felt the same way, and we had a great time working together, using our voices to add more diversity to Wikipedia.

happyeditors
Happy Wikipedians!

Reflections from a First Time Attendee: 3 highlights from ARLIS/NA 2017

I’m Anna Van Someren, one of the over 70 first-timers at this year’s ARLIS/NA conference in New Orleans. My path toward art librarianship has been long and loopy. On the way, I’ve passed through art school, advertising, and teaching. While managing digital media projects at MIT, I became interested in library and information studies and decided to get my MLIS from Simmons College, with a concentration in Cultural Heritage Informatics. I’ll graduate this May! Right now I’m working on an arts inventory project at the Boston Public Library and a metadata internship at the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston.

Dare I specialize – should I even go to ARLIS? (Yes!)

I’ve heard bad things about the job market, and a specialized library job is even harder to find. Maybe I should just hope for a full-time job anywhere! But my dream job is to work as an art librarian. The people I’ve met through my local chapter, ARLIS New England, have been so kind, encouraging and generous with their time. And taking the Art Documentation class taught by the celebrated (and approachable, funny, inspiring) Ann Whiteside whipped my humble wish into a fevered frenzy. Working with art students, finding resources to inspire them!, I thought.  Collaborating with art professors, following their research, finding what they need before they even know it!, I trembled. Purchasing art books! … So I did it. I attended my first ARLIS/NA conference. And I am so glad that I did.

Highlight #1: The ArLiSNAP Career Development Workshop

I’ve been to things like this before – you get someone to glance at your resume, you maybe get an established professional to give you some vague advice while you stare at them, wondering desperately: How do I get to where YOU are? and What comes first, the crazy good haircut or the crazy good job?  But this one was different. It was three hours of creative, engaging, productive fun!

Ashleigh Coren took us through a three-part writing activity that to our pleasure and surprise, resulted in some pretty decent personal statements. Mine still needs some work, but I’m excited to use it on LinkedIn, in interviews, and pretty much everywhere. Then Breanne Crumpton moderated a great Q&A session with a panel of three well-established professionals: Kim Loconto, Kristina Keogh and Heather Slania. Here’s a pdf document summarizing their advice on cover letters, resumes and interviewing in our field. My question was “How do you address a gap in your resume due to staying home a year with your new baby?” The panelists agreed that employers notice such gaps, and suggested mentioning it briefly in the cover letter narrative. They also recommended that parents and caregivers attend the ALPACA meeting later in the day (see my highlight #2 below).

After fielding our questions, the panelists gave us personalized resume advice. We broke into small groups and took turns sharing our resumes and asking questions. This was especially valuable to me, as I’m moving from academia into librarianship; the expectations can really vary in different fields. I feel much more confident about my resume – or I will, as soon as I finish implementing all the new ideas!

  

Highlight #2: Art Librarian Parents and Caregivers SIG (ALPACA)

I wasn’t really sure what to expect from this group, but liked the idea of meeting and hearing from other working parents in the field. The ideas generated in the discussion were exciting: research into federal and state family leave laws, for example. I had to leave early for another event, but this meeting had a deep impact on me later in the day.

I was talking with a friend who had also attended the ALPACA meeting. We talked about one of ALPACA’s main concerns: “work life balance”. My friend has a mentor who had once worked with her to unpack this idea of balance – which can sometimes feel like pressure to achieve the impossible. Does successful “balance” mean giving exactly half of your attention to your job and the other half to the rest of your life (your family, personal health, social life, and other activities)? In real life, that would be impossible on almost any given day! This mentor encouraged my friend to think about the effort of balancing one’s life over the long term. For a span of time, work may require more of your attention, and at another time in your life, circumstances may cause a shift in the direction of your energy. I was relieved to realize that maybe balance doesn’t have to mean two equal halves. Maybe we can find balance through flexibility, or in the slow swinging movement of our attention over many years.

Highlight #3: ArLiSNAP meeting

I was excited to attend this meeting. As you know if you’re reading this post, ArLiSNAP stands for Art Library Students and New ARLIS Professionals – and I’m trying to transition from student to professional. Perfect! Like every other ARLIS meeting I’ve attended, the vibe was welcoming and buoyant. I scribbled notes as fast as I could – “the virtual conference is online at the learning portal!” – “check out VRA job digest, VRA FB and twitter!” – “check out ArLiSNAP blog!” – “volunteer to write blog posts!”

  

Of course there were many other highlights in my conference experience, including sessions that gave me an inside look at the work art librarians do. I also had a beautiful walk down Magazine Street, saw a gorgeous sunset over the water, and ate delicious meals with dear friends. Turns out I love New Orleans!

Next year, NYC!

Twitter chat: #critlib on Visual Literacy, May 17th at 9pm EST

visual culture/literacy

Tomorrow night, join us on Twitter at #critlib to talk about visual culture and literacy for librarians. You’ll need a Twitter account to participate, but not to observe. (And you can wait a few days until someone storifies the tweets if you want to read them later in a more functional chronological display.)

I’ll be in transit during most of the chat but I hope to pop in. (As you may recall, I have some opinions about visual literacy in the digital age.)

The Artist/Librarian: An interview with Kylie Schmitt

Kylie Schmitt, Digital Technician at the Frick Art Reference Library, at her computer workstation.

As art librarians we obviously have an affinity for the visual and creative arts.  In fact many of us found our field by starting originally as artists.  Kylie Schmitt, an early professional at the Frick Art Reference Library, is both librarian and artist.  She shares more information about her work as an information professional and as a practicing artist.

What is your current position? 

Digital Technician

What are your day-to-day responsibilities?

On a day-to-day basis I perform quality assurance (QA) on our digitization projects’ TIF and PDF files; I create workflows for our digitization and QA processes; manage our digitization and QA team; maintain, organize, & backup files within our DAMS and local drives; officiate digitization requests; and report on progress of digitization projects numerically.

Tell us about what a typical work day looks like for you.

On a typical day I’ll start with some QA. Throughout the day I’ll manage others doing QA, answer questions, and troubleshoot issues that we have come across. I also will monitor if we have any digitization requests and by the end of the day I’ll have probably done some organization of files either on our DAMS or on a local drive.

What does quality assurance mean in your field?

Quality assurance is a process that all digital materials go through before they can be approved to go public. The process entails putting another set of eyes on digitized items to make sure all of our digital file standards are met. Our standards range from file size/resolution standards based on Federal Agencies Digitization Guidelines Initiative (FADGI), to making sure nothing foreign accidentally made it into the frame.

Can you describe one of your favorite digitization projects that you have worked on?

Each project takes quite a while to complete, however, I think I like our American School Digitization project best because as someone working on it you get to look at American art all day.

What is your educational background? How did you come into librarianship as a field?

I received my Bachelor’s in Studio art, concentrating in photography. After working in the fine art and advertising worlds, I realized it wasn’t for me, but I still wanted to stay in the arts. I worked at the Marymount Manhattan library while attended as an undergrad student and thought I should combine my enjoyment of the library with my passion for the arts so I went back to school and received my Master’s in Library Science.

What type of artwork do you primarily do?

Photography and ceramics.

How did you get into photography and ceramics?

When I was 10 years old my dad gave me my first camera. It was his manual film camera and he taught me how to use the aperture and shutter settings. I’ve been taking pictures ever since then but didn’t develop and print my own work until I went to Maine Media Workshops after high school. I took ceramics in grade school and was in pottery club, but then it wasn’t available in high school so I didn’t go back to it until I was in college where I fell in love with it again.

Does the your library work influence your artwork? What about vice-versa?

I don’t use a digital camera in my artwork which probably has to do with the fact that I work on a computer all day at the library. I do gain inspiration from seeing so many pieces of art at work on a daily basis.

So can you describe the medium of the image you are sharing?

This piece is a cyanotype, a form of photographic process. No camera, or negative was used; instead I used organic materials directly on paper, coated with a light sensitive cyan medium, as a contact print.

Photograph of a plant negative
Meristem, 2015
Cyanotype
Kylie Schmitt

Who are your artistic influences?

The f/64 group for sure, and Georgia O’Keeffe

Tell us more about the f/64 group?

The f/64 group was formed in the 1930s. They are a group of San Francisco photographers including Ansel Adams, Edward Weston, and Imogen Cunningham, to name a few. At the time the popular photographic style was pictorial, so this group of photographers formed based on their modern aesthetic. The term f/64 is a small aperture size that allows for a clearer focus throughout the image and greater depth of field. The aperture setting f/64 is used in the straight photography that the group was known for.

Who is your favorite artist?

Edward Weston

Do you have art on your walls? What kind?

I do. Mostly photographs – old prints found at thrift stores, and some nature photography (one being an Ansel Adams of course), but no original pieces by artists themselves. I hope to one day invest in some original works after I save up.

As a new professional in the field what is one thing you wish you had known before you graduated?

I wish I knew how digital and technical the library world is becoming.

What advice can you give to someone in library school who wants to do the kind of work you are doing?

I think for my work, experience is everything. I would say my best advice would be to do as many internships as you can, to build up experience and to network.

The Canadian Library Association is dissolving

The Canadian Library Association (CLA) has proposed to its members that it formally dissolve and renew its #brand as a federation of the provincial and territorial associations. If you’re at all interested in Canadian libraries and organizational politics, transparency, or advocacy, you might like to read the proposal here:

http://www.cla.ca/AM/Template.cfm?Section=Home&TEMPLATE=/CM/ContentDisplay.cfm&CONTENTID=17394

Imagine if the ALA found itself unsustainable? What would that even be like?

Free Lecture/Webcast: Rick Prelinger Speaks at the Toronto Internation Film Festival Centre

TIFF Higher Learning presents:

*Reel Heritage – Rick Prelinger on The Future of Memory
<http://tiff.net/fall2015-series/higher-learning-fall-2015/higher-learning-reel-heritage-rick-prelinger-on-the-future-of-memory>*

*Friday October 23, 11am12:30pm EST*

In recent years, traditional moving-image archives have faced challenges
from the dramatic shift towards digital production and distribution, the
effective end of photochemical preservation technology, the marginalization
of the theatrical viewing experience, and the public demand for universal,
instant and free access to media. In this public talk, Rick Prelinger,
Founder of the Prelinger Archives and Associate Professor of Film & Digital
Media at UC Santa Cruz, sets out a number of possible visions for the
future of archives, and discusses some of the innovations that many
cultural heritage institutions have already begun to experiment with today.

Rick Prelinger founded Prelinger Archives in 1982. This collection of
60,000 advertising, educational, industrial and amateur films is now held
by Library of Congress. In 2000 he collaborated with Internet Archive to
build an open-access, freely downloadable digital moving-image collection
that now contains over 6,500 titles. He has made seventeen urban history
compilation films and two experimental feature films that have played at
venues around the world. He currently is a professor of film and digital
media at the University of California, Santa Cruz.

*Watch the live stream:* tiff.net/reelheritage

*Attend in-person:* Tickets are free and are available two hours before the
event’s start time at the Steve & Rashmi Gupta Box Office at TIFF Bell
Lightbox, located at Reitman Square, 350 King Street West.

This event is part of TIFF’s Reel Heritage initiative, an on-going series
of educational sessions dedicated to the access to and management of moving
image collections in Ontario and beyond. Through panel discussions,
workshops, film screenings and networking sessions, Reel Heritage will
bring together scholars, archivists, filmmakers, curators, and
postsecondary students to examine the opportunities and challenges faced by
both large moving image collections and smaller repositories, such as those
found in regional archives and small libraries.

This event will also be added to Higher Learning Digital Resource Hub
<http://www.tiff.net/education/events> for the benefit of postsecondary
students, faculty and practitioners.

ARLIS/NA New England’s “Virtual Snapshot: What’s up with Art librarianship?” webinar on 11/9/15

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The Art Libraries Society of North America (ARLIS/NA), New England Chapter invites you to join us for a virtual tour of the art library/visual resources profession on Monday, November 9, 7:30 pm – 8:45 pm EST.
Whether you’re an art library veteran, art library-curious, or somewhere in between this will be an illuminating look at some of the exciting work happening in the field. ARLIS/NA or regional chapter membership is not required for attendance.
To register for this free event, please visit: http://bit.ly/1RFtEnH. Note that the webinar meeting space will open at 7 pm EST, and the official event start time is 7:30 pm EST.
Speakers and topics include:
Jesi Buell, Instructional Design and Web Librarian, Colgate University
Information and Visual Literacy Instruction Tools
Digital Learning Objects (DLOs) are examples of a successful Blended Learning tool at Colgate University. These interactive, digital tutorials allow for student learning outside the classroom which increases time in Library sessions, put lessons in context, and encourages autodidactism. This presentation will show examples, give advice on best practices, and explain how the Instructional Design Librarian plans on putting together a visual literacy DLO.
Jasmine Burns, Image Technologies and Visual Literacy Librarian, Indiana University Bloomington
Visual Resource Collection Management
During this presentation, I will discuss my plans for a large data migration from a homegrown institutional image repository (created by my predecessor in the mid-1990s) into ARTstor’s SharedShelf. I will give a background of the structure and uses of current system, map out my overall migration plan, and share my projected timeline for the process.
Sarah Carter, Director, Bridwell Art Library at the University of Louisville
Creative Outreach and Programming
The Bridwell Art Library connected the artistic practice of self portraits to a wider audience by designing and implementing a social media campaign highlighting “Shelfies in Art History.” This presentation will focus on the collaborative exhibit design and promotion that made the exhibit and social media campaign a success with not only our patrons, but within the wider community of Louisville.
Lareese Hall, Architecture + Art Librarian, Massachusetts Institute of Technology 
Artists’ Book Collections
If you had to use just six books in your artists’ book collection to explain your collection philosophy what would you choose? This is the premise for a video series that looks at artists’ books in academic environments and at what it means to “collect”.
The presentations will be followed by some Q&A time.
If you’re never attended a webinar before or would like assistance with the technical logistics, please don’t hesitate to reach out.
Hope to see you on 11/9!
Sincerely,
Ashley Peterson (ARLIS/NA NE Chapter President)
Amber Welch (ARLIS/NA NE Chapter Secretary)
Webinar Co-Moderators