Discussion: All About Metadata

This week’s post is a continuation of the one I wrote a couple of Sundays ago about creating your own art librarianship track when your program does not offer one.  I thought it would be useful in this post and the next to follow to delve a little deeper into the core courses I had previously mentioned.  Today’s post is all about metadata- why it’s an important skill, what courses kinds of courses to look for and other useful resources for learning about metadata.

So, why metadata? Looking through recent job postings on both the ARLIS/NA and VRA websites there is a noticeable demand for knowledge of and experience with digital resource management and data standards.  I think it is safe to argue that having a deep understanding of metadata is important to meeting these demands.  Additionally, metadata application and standards are listed as one of the core competencies for visual resource management on the VRA website.  Also, while looking at the ARLIS/NA website I found that metadata was often the focus of past publications and various conference programs.

Taking courses on metadata is key to gaining a better understanding of its applications and functions.  Right now, I’m halfway through a course titled Metadata in Theory and Practice; the course has allowed me to become more familiar with applying metadata to cultural objects and using standards such as Dublin Core.  While this and similar courses are an obvious choice for those interested in the subject, what might be some other useful classes to take?  Classes in digital imaging and digital curation might prove useful as you will most likely be applying metadata to digital objects as part of the course requirements.  What other kinds of courses might you seek out to learn more about metadata?

There are also opportunities and resources for learning about metadata outside of the classroom.   Both of the websites for the Dublin Core and the VRA Core data standards provide a wealth of information that would prove useful to anyone wanting to learn more about best practices for the application of metadata.  As mentioned in my previous post MOOCs are also great and while there are no upcoming sessions posted I’d keep an eye on Jeffrey Pomerantz’s Metadata: Organizing and Discovering Information available via Coursera.  Lastly, I’d like to mention the ALRIS/NA-VRAF Summer Educational Institute.  I attended SEI 2013 in Ann Arbor and learned a great deal about metadata and visual resource management-it was very worthwhile!

Please join in on the discussion! Any advice or thoughts on metadata?

Discussion: What do you do if your program doesn’t offer an art librarianship track?

I thought it would be interesting to talk about creating your own art librarianship track when your program does not offer one.  Many MLIS programs offer dual-degrees, certificates and specializations in various areas but unfortunately art librarianship is not always one of the options available. So, if you are not in a program that gives you the opportunity to follow a ready-made path towards art librarianship, how do you create your own? How do you pick which courses to take?

I think a good starting point is looking at the schools that do offer certificates or specializations in art librarianship to find out the kinds of classes that are included in their curriculum.  The School of Informatics and Computing at Indiana University in Bloomington offers a dual-degree program and a specialization for those interested in becoming an art librarian.  The School of Information and Library Science at the Pratt Institute also offers a dual-degree program in Art History and Library and Information Science.  By glancing over the curriculums provided for these two programs and others like them you could gain a pretty good idea of the kinds of courses you might want to considering making a part of your plan of work.  Courses that seemed central to these programs included ones that covered metadata, digital libraries, and humanities reference.

It might also be worth looking into educational opportunities outside of your program that will help you on your way to becoming an art librarian.  A good place to start would be with ARLIS/NA’s webinars that cover a variety of important issues in art librarianship.  There are also MOOCs; Harvard’s Extension School for example offers free courses on a variety on art, humanities, and museum studies that may help to deepen your knowledge of the field.

What about you? Are you in a program that offers an art librarianship track or have you had to create your own?  What kinds of courses do you think are important? Any other comments/thoughts/advice?

Discussion: What do you do if your program doesn't offer an art librarianship track?

I thought it would be interesting to talk about creating your own art librarianship track when your program does not offer one.  Many MLIS programs offer dual-degrees, certificates and specializations in various areas but unfortunately art librarianship is not always one of the options available. So, if you are not in a program that gives you the opportunity to follow a ready-made path towards art librarianship, how do you create your own? How do you pick which courses to take?

I think a good starting point is looking at the schools that do offer certificates or specializations in art librarianship to find out the kinds of classes that are included in their curriculum.  The School of Informatics and Computing at Indiana University in Bloomington offers a dual-degree program and a specialization for those interested in becoming an art librarian.  The School of Information and Library Science at the Pratt Institute also offers a dual-degree program in Art History and Library and Information Science.  By glancing over the curriculums provided for these two programs and others like them you could gain a pretty good idea of the kinds of courses you might want to considering making a part of your plan of work.  Courses that seemed central to these programs included ones that covered metadata, digital libraries, and humanities reference.

It might also be worth looking into educational opportunities outside of your program that will help you on your way to becoming an art librarian.  A good place to start would be with ARLIS/NA’s webinars that cover a variety of important issues in art librarianship.  There are also MOOCs; Harvard’s Extension School for example offers free courses on a variety on art, humanities, and museum studies that may help to deepen your knowledge of the field.

What about you? Are you in a program that offers an art librarianship track or have you had to create your own?  What kinds of courses do you think are important? Any other comments/thoughts/advice?

The Sunday Scoop: Wikipedia Edit-A-Thon at the Portland Art Museum’s Crumpacker Library

Here’s an interesting event from the Portland Art Museum’s Crumpacker Library: a “Wikipedia Edit-A-Thon”, this library’s event for Open Access Week.

This event aims to improve coverage of local arts events through the creation of the Oregon Arts Project Wikipedia pages. It is a part of the Wikipedia Loves Libraries Initiative, a program that aims to encourage collaboration between libraries and wikipedia contributors. Visitors can contribute articles and photos concerning events and local monuments, and a facilitator will be available to support those who are new to editing Wikipedia pages. This event is taking place Sunday, October 13th 1pm-4pm.

Wikipedia Edit-A-Thon at the British Library, January 2011. Via http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Bl_editing3.jpg

Wikipedia Edit-A-Thon at the British Library, January 2011.

Via http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Bl_editing3.jpg

Have any of our readers participated in a Wikipedia Edit-A-Thon? What do your local libraries have planned for Open Access Week?

Sunday Soliloquies #1

I hope “Soliloquy” is a misnomer for a discussion blog, but it does alliterate well with “Sunday”, right?

By this point in Fall semester 2013, I hope those of us in graduate school have gotten into somewhat of a routine and are conquering the wonderful world of art librarianship one assignment, presentation, group project and term paper at a time! This is my first semester of classes at University of North Texas’s MLIS program and I was a bit worried that my time management skills would be put to the test early and I might give up on this before I really got started. So far, so good though, and honestly, I am loving it! I am one of those folks who has come to art librarianship by a circuitous route.  How about you? I wonder how many of us ArLiSnappers were born with a burning desire for this career path or did you sort of discover it along the way? So, basically, why are you doing this? What are your degrees and in what order did you pursue them? What were the influential factors in your life that led you to this point? Did you attain your advanced degrees concurrently or spread them out? What do you see as the benefits and/or drawbacks to the degrees you have and/or are working on? For those new professionals with degrees in hand, do you see yourself returning for a PhD? Or do you already have one? Discuss!

Agenda for 26 April Annual Meeting in Pasadena

Going to ArLiS/NA Pasadena?  Meet us there!  April 26th at 12:30 PM

What will we be discussing?

  • The connection between student groups, local groups and ArLiSNAP and ascertaining how ArLiSNAP and ArLiS at large may be of use to these groups

  • Are there other ways to connect to ArLiSNAP members for discussion such as twitter, skype, etc?

  • What needs are being unfulfilled by the blog, content-wise, and the solicitation of volunteers to submit more content to the site such as guest post about their current projects

  • Talk about how we are looking for new liaisons: chapter & student especially

  • Suggestions about specific projects that liaisons might wish to implement and reaffirmation that the current liaison positions fulfill the needs of ArLiSNAP members

  • Planned changes to the ArLiSNAP blog and soliciting assistance with content migration and implementing a consistent tagging system

  • How to create diversity within the field and attract new voices to the profession

  • Suggestions for bars to go to after El Chollo

Have any more suggestions? Please let us know!

Guest Post: ACRL 2013: Professional Development Cross-Training

Erin Elzi is a Technical Services Librarian at the Bard Graduate Center: Decorative Arts, Design History, Material Culture in NYC. 

ACRL 2013: Professional Development Cross-Training

The annual ARLIS conference is rapidly closing in, and while I know many of you are gearing up for the first (or third… or 23rd) time, I’ve just returned from ACRL 2013. The theme of the conference was: Imagine, Innovate, Inspire, and I’m feeling just that – Inspired! Innovated! Imaginative! So lend me you ear while I tell you about an important part of professional development: cross-training.

Full disclosure, I’ve never been to the national ARLIS conference. It’s not that I actively avoid it, it’s just that I’ve received full-support, either through the professional development budget-line or via scholarships granted by my MLS school, to attend SLA, CAA, the IA Summit and ACRL. It’s also not that my workplace will not support a trip to ARLIS, but rather that all the other librarians here go to it, so I figure there’s greater benefit to our institution if I attend other conferences.  Cross-training, or the process of stepping outside your daily, specialized frame of reference, helps make you more than an information professional. It makes you an information ninja.  Ninjas are all at once fast, stealthy and powerful. Professional development cross-training does the same thing by strengthening the skills and knowledge you already have, while introducing ideas to help you solve problems or find that perfect tool you need to get a project off the ground.

Fortunately, my institution supports my quest for ninja status, and each year I basically have my pick of which conference to attend. Last year it was the IA Summit, which was relevant at the time, since we were in the initial stages of redesigning our OPAC. Two years ago I attended my first ACRL conference, while I was still a student, under the guises of a press pass (Here’s a tip: Offer to cover a conference for a publication. It may take care of your registration fee and is a great chance to get published!). While I had known going into library school that I wanted to work in academia – the 2011 ACRL conference reinforced that in every way. I tend to feel a bit out of place when it comes to networking-type situations, and let’s be honest – the networking opportunities are a major reason students go to these conferences. But at the ACRL conference, I never once felt out of place, or unwelcome due to my not-quite-professional-yet status. Much the same way the ARLIS-NY goes out of their way to make MLS students here in New York feel all warm and fuzzy and extraordinarily welcome in their chosen profession. Shop around if you’re still in school – you may find your library niche somewhere unexpected, even within the limitless boundaries of the ARLIS realm.

 

Beautiful Subject Analysis Visualization Poster presented by David Polley and Brianna Marshall
Beautiful Subject Analysis Visualization Poster presented by David Polley and Brianna Marshall

What was so innovative and inspiring and imaginative at ACRL this year?  The uber-popular topics this year seemed to be information literacy instruction and data curation.  While the greater part of these sessions addressed the needs of undergraduates, or disciplines in the hard sciences, I still walked away with some new tools and methodologies we can use for our grad-student only population here at the Bard Graduate Center. Including some fun open-source stuff, like new data visualization tools. Including this MOOC, which has finished, but the materials and lectures are still available.

“Digital Humanities” were also all over the place – both literally and figuratively. The ambiguous term found its way into panels and poster sessions covering everything from community building to subject analysis to online exhibitions to ACRL’s very own THATCamp. Digital Humanities are hot, people! And the projects taking place under its umbrella are often multi-media affairs and involve primary sources – things we art information pros tend to know a thing or two about. Get on board!

Omeka DH Poster session presented by Marc Bess of UNC, Charlotte.
Omeka DH Poster session presented by Marc Bess of UNC, Charlotte.

Then there were the sessions that more overtly rubbed elbows with the ARLIS crowd. A few librarians at the University of Michigan are Mapping the Motor City’s Cinemas. Another group at the University of Florida presented on raising collection awareness through online exhibits.  A duo attempting to create a digital collection of street art documentation discussed the inherent challenges with such an undertaking. If sessions that address larger issues are more your thing than individual projects, how about a panel on building metadata to make better surrogates for images and objects (hint – let’s describe the object in our own words and go from there instead of fitting the items into imperfect, existing controlled vocabularies), or how to incorporate feminist pedagogy into any teaching opportunity (which is primarily about decentralizing the classroom). Or one of the many sessions that covered assessment and proving the value of your library – not as sexy a topic as the others, but increasingly important for many institutions.

Of course there’s always room for improvement (ACRL, if you’re listening, we want more sessions on diversity and grad student services!), but there’s also no doubt in my mind that you found at least one thing in this brief ACRL recap that sparked your interest or is applicable to your own professional or scholarly needs. And that’s just a tip of the iceberg – I came back with pages upon pages of notes. Just fathom how much you would get out of attending it yourself!

 

The Honnld/Mudd Library at Claremont College holds a ReBook book arts competition each year. Brilliant!
The Honnld/Mudd Library at Claremont College holds a ReBook book arts competition each year. Brilliant!

So, should you go to ARLIS this year, and the year after that, and the year after that? OF COURSE! But don’t write off other conference opportunities as well. In addition to elevating you to ninja rank, a willingness to attend other conferences can increase your ability to attend anything at all. If you lack institutional support, or if ARLIS never comes to your town, an ALA or ACRL or SAA conference that ends up in a city near you means all you have to pay is the registration fee.  I know I plan on finally making my first ARLIS conference appearance in 2014 – D.C. is just a mere bus ride away from NYC!

If you’re already going to ARLIS as your one professional development opportunity this year, you can still get some cross-training done simply by attending sessions that may not appear to be your forte.  Are you in reference? Join a discussion on authority records! Catalogers, stop by a session on collection development! Architectural archivists, listen in on the panel of fashion bloggers! See, being a ninja is easy!

Oh – and a final lesson I learned at ACRL: if your library doesn’t already have one, get a button maker! Everyone loves a good button, it’s cheap PR, and making them is like chicken soup for the weary researcher, staff member, and even the faculty or curator’s soul. But it looks like ArLiSANP already knew that!

Bring Your Own Conference (BYOC) to Pasadena

Have you heard?  ARLIS/NA is instituting an unconference at Pasadena.

We invite you to attend the Bring Your Own Conference (BYOC) session on Sunday April 28, 2013 from 2:30pm – 4:00pm.
Join organizers and colleagues to determine the program topics and break into small groups for discussion and presentations.  This is an opportunity to extend conversations with your colleagues, hash out problems that have been on our mind, and propose solutions.  If you’ve attended an inspiring panel or SIG, then bring your ideas to the unconference to continue the discussion.  This is also a great place to talk about any projects your are currently working on in your graduate program.
Never attended an unconference before?  No problem!  In a nutshell, unconferences are flexibly designed to allow all participants to contribute their expertise.  The topics won’t be selected ahead of time (although we are gathering ideas on a collaborative Google Doc), and discussion rather than traditional lecture will be the order of the day.  Ideas proposed thus far are “Marketing Show and Tell,” “Apps Discussion,” “Wikipedia Takeover by Art Librarians,” and ” Interactive Tools in the Classroom.”
Please review information at the session wiki and add the session to your Sched. If you aren’t attending in person, follow along virtually with the Twitter hashtag #arlisbyoc13.
Contact Sarah Carter or Jill Luedke with specific questions or suggestions.

Lunchtime Chat!

Mark your calendars for an upcoming pre-conference lunchtime chat, organized by ARLIS/NA’s Professional Development Education Sub-Committee.

Preparing for Pasadena: Crafting Your 2013 ARLIS/NA Conference Experience

Friday, April 5th, 2013

11am Pacific – 12pm Mountain – 1pm Central – 2pm Eastern

Guests:

Cathy Billings, Brand Library & Art Center

Sarah Sherman, Getty Research Institute

Alyssa Resnick, Glendale Public Library

Lynda Bunting, Blum & Poe

 

Please join us for an informal and informative discussion about the ARLIS/NA community and our upcoming conference! Learn more about fun things to do in Pasadena, tips for getting the most out of your conference experience, resources available for first-time attendees, and how to get involved in ARLIS/NA. This pre-conference Lunchtime Chat with Cathy Billings and Sarah Sherman (Program Co-Chairs) and Alyssa Resnick and Lynda Bunting (Local Arrangements Co-Chairs) is your chance to ask questions, share advice, and get ready for our meeting!

Chats are free and anyone may attend. The URL for this chat will be announced on ARLIS-L the morning of Friday 4/5/2013. Hope to see you there!

Patrick Tomlin

Alice Whiteside

ARLIS/NA Professional Development Education Sub-Committee

Seeking a few good blog contributors

Happy Tuesday, arlisnappers!

Are you currently working on a great project? Experimenting with a new technology or teaching tool? Curated an interesting exhibit or new collection?

Tell us all about it! We’re looking for contributors to help us develop more original blog content; let’s start by talking about what our amazing and diverse members are doing.

This is open to all of our students and new professionals (and even the not-so-new!), and can be a great opportunity to share your work or research in an informal, low-key environment. We’ll continue to solicit for more thematic content, so if you’re more research-focused at this point or aren’t quite ready to write, there will be many more chances in the future!

We’ll keep this as informal as possible, while still maintaining some sense of order and decorum (that’s our forte, right?). You can either post a comment here with your contact info and a brief description of what you’d like to talk about, or send an email to myself (Stephanie) or Suzanne, sgrimm AT uscb.edu or suzannewalsh AT gmail.com, respectively, and we’ll assign posting dates from there.

Can’t wait to hear from you all!