Digital Art Preservation: An annotated bibliography

This past Fall, I took a course in my MLIS program (Wayne State University) called Digital Curation and Preservation. As the title states, this course focused on the curation lifecycle and preservation processes for born-digital materials. Some of the work we did was directly related to libraries, but I also ended up learning techniques and practices for best preserving my own digital files (e.g. digital photos). The final project for this class had each student creating an annotated bibliography on a topic related to digital preservation, either solo or with a group. I chose to focus on digital art preservation and more specifically on articles that discussed documentation practices related to digital art preservation.

I wanted to share my annotated bibliography for anyone who may be interested in doing some reading on digital art preservation. It got me thinking about best practices for creating metadata and documentation that would best assist with the recreation of digital artworks in the future, past their own technological obsolescence. I was also interested in thinking about the contention that can exist between an artist and an institution (e.g. museum) in regards to preservation. Some artworks weren’t meant to last forever and their ephemerality is part of the artists’ intention. My bibliography isn’t even close to being an exhaustive list of resources related to the topic, but in what I read, I noticed a lack of connection between digital preservation as viewed through a librarian/information science lens and digital preservation as approached by those working directly in art institutions, like museums and galleries. I found it pretty interesting to think about and want to further explore these thoughts in the future.

Preventing Lost (Art) History: Problems and Practices of Documentation in Digital Art Preservation

Sponsored Project Archivist, University of Colorado Boulder Libraries, Applications due May 1st

The University of Colorado Boulder Libraries and the National Snow and Ice Data Center (NSIDC) seek candidates with archival and disciplinary experience to manage the digitization of NSIDC’s historical print glacier photograph collection. Funded by a grant from the Council on Library & Information Resources Digitizing Hidden Special Collections and Archives Program, the position is an 18 month lecturer appointment to begin as soon as May 2016.

The Project Archivist (PA) will work with librarians, archivists, scientists, graduate students, a project consultant, and a vendor to manage the digitization of approximately 9,000 historical images of glaciated regions. Digitization work will be outsourced, and a significant amount of the project will involve assigning technical and descriptive metadata to the images. The PA will work with staff in the Libraries and NSIDC to make the images available in the University of Colorado Digital Library (https://content.cu.edu/digitallibrary/) and the NSIDC Glacier Photograph Database (http://nsidc.org/data/glacier_photo/search/).

This is an opportunity to contribute to a one-of-a-kind project that will provide access to priceless images of the earth’s frozen regions. It will require enthusiasm, attention to detail, problem solving, and the ability to see the larger concept of how users may access and use these images.

The salary is $52,000.  Benefits include university group health care plans.

Responsibilities include:

1)      Preparing images for digitization. This will require detailed inventorying and careful handling of images that range in size from 4”x5” to 10”x15” and date back to the 1850s.
2)      Working with vendor to ensure quality digital images that meet researcher needs and Federal Agency Digitization Guideline Initiative (FADGI) criteria.
3)      Providing descriptive and technical metadata to each item and publishing in two online databases. Each image will need to be consulted for metadata, and some may need to be researched for geospatial information (graduate students will assist with geospatial information).
4)      Communicating effectively with project stakeholders, solving problems and making decisions both collaboratively and independently.
5)      Attending conferences (with some financial support) and assisting in generating awareness of the collection.

Requirements

Please address each of these qualifications in your application materials:

  • An ALA-accredited Master’s of Library and/or Information Science or equivalent education or work experience.
  • Demonstrated interest, enthusiasm, and/or knowledge of topics in fields such as geology, glaciology, climatology, environmental science, history of exploration and/or photography, land management and national parks, and related disciplines.
  • Ability to see “the big picture” of how metadata enables discovery.
  • Demonstrated experience or education in archival practices.
  • Experience with metadata standards (e.g., Dublin Core, MODS, METS, MARC, EAD).
  • Experience working on complex projects with many stakeholders.
  • Excellent communication skills.
  • Ability to work and solve problems both independently and collaboratively.

Desirable Qualifications

Evidence of any of the following will enhance a candidacy:

  • Experience managing digital projects, particularly those involving historical photographs.
  • Significant experience developing metadata for digital objects.
  • A bachelor’s or master’s degree in earth or environmental sciences.
  • Certification from the Academy of Certified Archivists.
  • Experience working with earth or environmental scientists.

Application Process: 

Review of applications will begin immediately and continue until the position is filled. It is recommended that applications be submitted by May 1, 2016 in order to receive full consideration.  Application must be made online at CU Careers (posting 04684) and must include a letter of application specifically addressing qualifications for the position; CV or resume; and names with postal addresses, email, and telephone numbers of three references. Questions may be directed to Dylan Wiersma, Search Coordinator, at Dylan.Wiersma@Colorado.EDU.

Direct Link for Posting: https://cu.taleo.net/careersection/2/jobdetail.ftl?job=04684&lang=en&sns_id=mailto#.Vwa67RaSbuo.mailto

The candidate selected for this position must be able to meet eligibility requirements to work in the United States at the time the appointment is scheduled to begin. The University of Colorado Boulder is an Equal Opportunity Employer committed to building a diverse workforce. We encourage applications from women, racial and ethnic minorities, individuals with disabilities, and veterans. Alternative formats of this ad can be provided upon request for individuals with disabilities by contacting the ADA Coordinator at hr-ada@colorado.edu. In addition, the University of Colorado Boulder is committed to providing a safe and productive learning and living community. To achieve that goal, we conduct background investigations for all final applicants being considered for employment. Background investigations include reference checks, a criminal history record check, and, when appropriate, a financial and/or motor vehicle history.

Call for Proposals: ArLiSNAP/VREPS Virtual Conference

ARLISNAP Conference 2016

Proposal deadline has been extended, please submit via this link by Friday, April 8th

ArLiSNAP (Art Library Students and New ARLIS Professionals) and VREPS (Visual Resources Emerging Professionals and Students) are joining forces to host a virtual conference this May! The conference, Future Perspectives in Art Librarianship: Digital Projects and Initiatives, will take place at 12pm CST May 21, 2016. The conference will consist of a keynote speaker followed by 1.5 to 2 hours of presentations by students and new professionals. This is an excellent opportunity for those who cannot be physically present at our annual conferences to share projects and ideas.

 

Our keynote speaker will be Sara Rubinow. Sara is a Metadata Specialist in the Metadata Services Unit of NYPL Labs, The New York Public Library’s digital innovation unit. Prior to NYPL, Sara worked on projects involving the collections database, digital initiatives, and printed matter at Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum. Sara will discuss her role at NYPL Labs and showcase initiatives intended to engage developers, scholars, artists, and the general public in exploring—and transforming—NYPL’s digital resources and open data sets.

 

We are looking for students and new professionals with an interest in art librarianship or visual resources management to present their work. The theme for this year’s conference is focused on digital projects and initiatives. Have you been working on a project using technology in a new way? Do you have thoughts to share on topics such as metadata and visual resources, copyright and the arts, digital collections, or visual literacy? Would you like to share your work with the ARLIS and VRA communities? Submit your proposal, and add your voice to our discussion on the future of the field!

 

Requirements:

  1. Presenters must be MLIS students or new professionals with fewer than five years of experience in the field.
  2. Presentations will be between ten and fifteen minutes in length.
  3. Presenters need to be available for a live presentation and brief Q&A session on the afternoon of Saturday, May 21, 2016. Presenters need to be available for a practice session the week before to test equipment. A date and time for the practice session will be determined at a later date.

 

Submit your proposal via this link by Friday, April 1st.

 

If you have any questions about this event, please don’t hesitate to contact Breanne Crumpton, ArLiSNAP Conference Planning Liaison, at becrumpton [at] gmail [dot] com.

Student Essay Contest: “indexing and retrieval of non-textual information” by ASIS&T

http://www.asis.org/SIG/SIGAH/2016/01/15/2016-cfsp/

 

The Special Interest Group for Arts and Humanities (SIG-AH) and the Special Interest Group for Visualization, Images, & Sound (SIG-VIS) of the Association for Information Science & Technology (ASIS&T) are seeking previously unpublished papers for a Master’s and a PhD student research paper award. Finalists will be invited to present their research at the Second Virtual Symposium on Information and Technology in the Arts and Humanities (April 27 and 28) and winners will receive a Best Student Paper award and cash prize. Finalist presentations and papers will be archived with other material from the event and published in a formal 2016 Symposium Proceedings.

2016 Virtual Symposium website (details to come): http://www.asis.org/SIG/SIGAH/2016/01/15/2016-symposium/

2015 Virtual Symposium Proceedings: http://www.asis.org/SIG/SIGAH/2015/05/26/virtual-symposium-proceedings/

2016 Theme

The contest theme “indexing and retrieval of non-textual information” is open-ended to invite participation from a variety of theoretical and empirical perspectives on the topic. We encourage graduate-level submissions from a broad range of disciplines including arts, humanities, library and information science, and computer science. Suggested paper topics include, but are not limited to, past research, case studies, and current projects in the areas of:

  • Digital curation of sound and image collections
  • Open access and non-textual material in the humanities
  • Linked data/linked open data
  • Discovery, access, and use of visual content
  • Data curation and data repositories
  • Working with multimedia source materials (maps, models, 3D reconstructions)
  • Visualization in digital collections
  • Search and discovery in the fine and performing arts

Who is Eligible?

Submissions can be made as a single author or a group of authors, including collaborations between students from different institutions. All submitted works should be previously unpublished. Authors do NOT need to be members of ASIS&T. All research is expected to be purely the students’ work. Research undertaken as part of a course, an internship experience, or a thesis project is eligible but attempts should be made to anonymize the paper. Authors are required to secure any necessary permissions related to research findings from internships and thesis projects being used in this research competition.

Requirements & Selection Criteria

While the contest theme and eligibility are open, papers should show an appropriate level of writing and should include an advanced theoretical or empirical discussion, methodology or analysis. Paper submissions must adhere to the following guidelines:

  • Word .doc or .docx format
  • Cover page with title, author names, institutional affiliations, and abstract of 250 words or less
  • 10 single-spaced pages or less (approximately 4,000 words), 12 pt. font, using APA citations and bibliography. Tables, graphs, images, etc…may appear within the body of the text.
  • No headers or footers (with exception of page number)
  • Author names should not appear anywhere in the main text

Submission details should be made via electronic form and final papers emailed by the April 4, 2016 deadline (details below).

Papers will be selected based on the following criteria: relevance of topic to the contest theme, originality of research and approach, and quality of student writing. Papers not meeting the above requirements may be excluded from the contest.

Students selected as finalists will be invited to present their research on April 27 or April 28 at the Second Virtual Symposium on Information and Technology in the Arts and Humanitieshttp://www.asis.org/SIG/SIGAH/2016/01/15/2016-symposium/. Award winners will be selected based on the quality of student presentations.

Awards

Two (2) finalist papers may be awarded the Best Master’s Student Paper or the Best PhD Student Paper, including a monetary prize of $500 and 1-year ASIS&T membership. Finalist presentations and papers will be archived with other material from the event and published in a formal 2016 Symposium Proceedings.

Submission and Deadline

Authors are invited to submit papers, based on the requirements and selection criteria above, by filling out the form at http://goo.gl/forms/WUJrlUtSle and emailing the final paper to ASIST.SIGAH {at} gmail.com before 11:59 pm PST, April 4, 2016.

Hack Your MLIS Program: Visual Resources Librarianship

Hi Arlisnappers! After a yearlong absence, I am back on the blog as a feature post writer and excited to be a part of the ArLiSNAP team once again. I recently graduated with my MLIS and I currently work as the Director of Visual Resources at the University of Georgia.

In April 2014, I shared my tips for hacking your MLIS program to focus on art librarianship. Now I’m back with a better-late-than-never follow-up on how I hacked my MLIS program to prepare for my career in visual resources librarianship. We have discussed how to plan your coursework so you are prepared to manage digital collections before, and this post will focus specifically on what you need to manage visual resources collections.

Visual Resources Center, Lamar Dodd School of Art, University of Georgia. Image courtesy of Courtney Baron.
Visual Resources Center, Lamar Dodd School of Art, University of Georgia. Image courtesy of Courtney Baron.

What is visual resources librarianship?

Visual resources librarianship is a bit different from art librarianship, though the two fields require similar skills and educational backgrounds. I have worked as a full-time visual resources professional for one year now, so I have a good idea of what the profession involves and what is required to do the job successfully. That being said, each position is unique depending on the needs of the institution. Visual resources professionals historically functioned as slide librarians, usually in art/art history departments or libraries. Now, we primarily manage digital image collections, though slide collections still exist at many institutions, and assist faculty and students with their image needs. We may also manage public visual resources spaces that range from digital scanning and projects labs to libraries with circulating materials.

Become involved in VRA

The Visual Resources Association (VRA) is smaller than ARLIS, but equally as welcoming. Hands down, this is the best way to get – and stay – connected to the field, especially if you are one of the few people in your program interested in art and visual resources librarianship. Not only do you have access to a large network of art and visual resources professionals, but you can also follow news, concerns, and trends on the VRA listserv. I encourage you to be active on the listserv as well since name recognition can help you in your job search later on! Seriously – my predecessor was very active, and I get asked about him all the time. If you have been involved with ARLIS but haven’t yet ventured into VRA, there is a joint conference next year in Seattle, WA, so it will be an opportune time to check out both organizations and annual conferences. There is also a similar group to ArLiSNAP called vreps – visual resources association emerging professionals and students – that you should join. The VRA Bulletin is the journal of the association and each issue contains a wealth of information about current issues and practices in the field.

Focus coursework and projects on visual resources topics

As I said in part one, the best way to ensure you are getting a similar education to a MLIS program that does offer an art librarianship track is to see which courses they require and which electives they offer. I also recommend looking at similar tracks, such as digital content/asset management or archives. I recommend courses on the following topics, since they relate to visual resources: humanities information services, digital libraries, descriptive cataloging and metadata, database design, digital humanities, and digital archives. Basically, looks for classes that focus on metadata, technologies, databases, and managing or curating digital archives, libraries, and other collections. These classes will give you an overview of the information you need and you can focus your projects and papers specifically on arts and humanities topics.

Independent study

In part one, I discussed an independent study on art and visual resources librarianship that I designed as an elective in my MLIS program. If you would like more information on that, I’m happy to share my syllabus and course projects in a later post.

This time, I’m focusing on what you can do independently outside of coursework to build some of the skills you need to work in visual resources.

Photography, Photoshop, and Lightroom 

Knowledge of photography, especially editing software, is very helpful for managing image collections. I still have a lot to learn about photography, but I have heard that ShootFlyShoot has fantastic photography classes. Why is this important? So you understand how the images you work with are produced, and you can produce images if required. Some visual resources positions require original photography of works of art, either from works in museum or galleries, or from faculty and student work. I do not produce original photography in my current position, but I do a lot of scanning, and knowledge of photographic editing techniques is essential. I use Adobe Photoshop, and recommend Photoshop Classroom in a Book to learn the basics of using Photoshop. The book has a disc with tutorials and sample images to practice editing. Adobe Lightroom is a simpler and easier way to edit images and is preferred over Photoshop by some visual resources professionals.

Metadata

Just like a library book would be lost without a catalog record, images would be lost without good metadata. I believe that metadata is perhaps the most important part of managing image collections. After all, what’s the point of having a collection if your content cannot be easily found? Just as there are cataloging standards and formats for cataloging books, archival materials, etc., these also exist for visual resources collections. Cataloging Cultural Objects (CCO) is a content standard for visual resources collections (comparable to RDA) and VRA Core is a metadata schema used to describe images (comparable to MARC). If you have access to Adobe Bridge, you can download the VRA Core panel and practice creating metadata for images. It’s also essential to be familiar with the Getty vocabularies, which are now available as Linked Open Data. The vocabularies will give you the structured terminology for art, architecture, and other materials and are essential tools for the proper cataloging of images.

Image resources

Working in visual resources doesn’t just mean managing image collections. There is a reference and instruction component. You must be able to help others find and locate images using subscription databases, institutional image collections, and free resources on the web. The most popular subscription database for images is Artstor Digital Library. If the institution where you attend school or work does not have a subscription, you can still check out the website or YouTube videos to learn more about how the database works and how to use it. There is a section with free guides, including subject-specific guides, and studying these is an excellent way to increase your knowledge of this resource.

Visual resources professionals manage institutional image collections or archives. These collections can include images from faculty and student image requests, images from digitized slides, images purchased from vendors, and images related to institutional history. In order to properly manage these image collections, you need to know how digital asset management systems work. A broad knowledge of DAMs is important, because there are many different systems out there. The most popular DAMs for visual resources include Artstor’s Shared Shelf, Luna Imaging, and Madison Digital Image Database (MDID). These can be high cost for some institutions, so in-house solutions are also popular.

You also need to know how to locate high-quality and accurate images on the web. Libguides are an excellent way to compile these resources, and many institutions have great libguides on locating images for you to browse and study. My personal philosophy behind libguides, or curating image resources in general, is this: quality over quantity. Your job isn’t to know all instances of where to find images of the Mona Lisa. Your job is to know where to find the best images of the Mona Lisa.

Copyright and fair use

You also need to know how the images you manage, or how images available in subscription databases or on the web, can be used. This is why copyright and fair use comes into play. For general information on copyright law, look at Copyright Law for Librarians and Educators: Creative Strategies and Practical Solutions. For copyright information related to the visual arts, your best resources are from the College Art Association. Copyright, Permissions, and Fair Use among Visual Artists and the Academic and Museum Visual Arts Communities was released in 2014 and and the Code of Best Practices in Fair Use for the Visual Arts was released earlier this year. Study these documents and know them well.

Get experience – if you can

Some institutions don’t have a visual resources collection, but those that do usually need help. Don’t hesitate to reach out to a visual resources professional and ask if you can volunteer, intern, or even just visit the collection and learn more about what they do and what a typical day is like for them.

So this is what I recommend doing as a library science student if you are interested in visual resources. If other visual resources professionals are reading this, I’m curious to hear what you also recommend!

Doing Digital Art History: a data-mining project on open content

http://blog.martinbellander.com/post/115411125748/the-colors-of-paintings-blue-is-the-new-orange

Here’s a little data-mining project I absolutely love: charting the colours used in paintings throughout history, by analyzing the pixels of digitized artworks hosted online. (The obvious caveat is to make sure you’re sampling from collections digitized with some fidelity, instead of, say, most of these copies … )

The creator put all of his code in R online, so you could query the exact same collection to do similar analyses with no trouble at all (if you were into that sort of thing).

tumblr_inline_nm74p36jkN1traviy_1280

 

I made a visualization of the change in colors of paintings over time which a friend tweeted. Several people wanted more info on the method used, so I decided to write a detailed description here, also including the (not very pretty) code I used.

Recently I read a couple of very nice blog post on color use in movies, where colors where extracted from either movie posters or the actual frames of trailers.

I decided to try to do something similar but with data for a longer time period than the era of film. I decided to download images of paintings. So there is a bunch of different sites where you can access (photos of) paintings, e.g. BBC, Google Art Project, Wikiart, Wikimedia commons, and various museums. One of my favorites is the BBC:s site where you can browse through over 200K of well organized paintings! An amazing resource. For many of these there is also information on the year they were painted, the artist, etc.

Also, be sure to check out the comment thread for a discussion of the whole “what’s up with all the blue” question — my inkling was about Prussian Blue and other Western colour-fads, too.

The First-Ever NMC Horizon Report for Libraries

If you don’t know the New Media Consortium, you should: they’re doing great work in researching and predicting new technologies and trends in cultural heritage. (See their Museum Horizons report from late last year if you’re into 3D tech, interactivity, augmented reality using your mobile devices, etc.)

They’ve released a Horizons report for libraries, which is apparently their first! You’ll notice it’s for academic and research libraries, not necessarily public or special, but, baby steps. There are lots of interesting assessments of ongoing problems, like capturing digital records of research, keeping up with alternative research avenues, collaboration and embedded librarianship, etc.

If you want to check it out, I recommend looking at pages 20-21 for a quick discussion of embedded librarianship, incorporating literacy lessons into curricula, and how to collaborate with teachers to provide a more comprehensive education.

http://www.nmc.org/publications/2014-horizon-report-library

From the press release:

Lyon, France (August 20) — Today the New Media Consortium (NMC) in collaboration with the University of Applied Sciences (HTW) Chur, the German National Library of Science and Technology (TIB), Hannover, and ETH-Bibliothek Zurich are releasing the NMC Horizon Report > 2014 Library Edition at a special session of the International Federation of Library Associations and Institutions (IFLA) World Library and Information Congress 80th General Conference and Assembly. This is the first edition of the NMC Horizon Report that delves into the realm of academic and research libraries in a global context.

 The report describes findings from the NMC Horizon Project, an ongoing research project designed to identify and describe emerging technologies likely to have an impact on teaching, learning, and creative inquiry. Six key trends, six significant challenges, and six emerging technologies are identified across three adoption horizons over the next one to five years, giving library leaders and staff a valuable guide for strategic technology planning. The format of the report was designed to provide these leaders with more in-depth insight into how the trends and challenges are accelerating and impeding the adoption of technology, along with their implications for policy, leadership, and practice.
“Education professionals across the world have used the higher education editions of the NMC Horizon Report for years as a springboard for discussion around important trends and challenges,” says Larry Johnson, Chief Executive Officer of the NMC and co-principal investigator for the project. “Finally we have been able to produce a report aimed directly at the needs of academic and research libraries – and what we have found is that academic and research libraries are leveraging new technology in some very important and creative ways.”
Key Trends Accelerating Technology Adoption for Academic and Research Libraries
The NMC Horizon Report > 2014 Library Edition identifies “Increasing Focus on Research Data Management for Publications” and “Prioritization of Mobile Content and Delivery” as fast trends driving changes in academic and research libraries over the next one to two years. The “Evolving Nature of the Scholarly Record” and “Increasing Accessibility of Research Content” are mid-range trends expected to accelerate technology use in the next three to five years; and “Continual Progress in Technology, Standards, and Infrastructure” and the “Rise of New Forms of Multidisciplinary Research” are long-range trends that will be impacting libraries for five years and beyond.
“The trends identified by the expert panel indicate that libraries are doing a better job at making their content and research accessible, whether through mobile apps, enriched catalogs, linking data, and user friendly websites or by creating more spaces and opportunities for discovery,” notes Rudolf Mumenthaler, Professor for Library Science at HTW Chur and co-principal investigator for the report. “The outcomes of the report are very compelling and it is an honor for HTW Chur to be deeply involved in this project.”
Significant Challenges Impeding Technology Adoption In Academic and Research Libraries
A number of challenges are acknowledged for presenting barriers to the mainstream use of technology in academic and research libraries. “Embedding Academic and Research Libraries in the Curriculum” and “Rethinking the Roles and Skills of Librarians” are perceived as solvable challenges – those which we both understand and know how to solve. “Capturing and Archiving the Digital Outputs of Research as Collection Material” and “Competition from Alternative Avenues of Discovery” are considered difficult challenges, which are defined as well understood but with solutions that are elusive. Described as wicked challenges are “Embracing the Need for Radical Change” and “Maintaining Ongoing Integration, Interoperability, and Collaborative Projects,” which are complex to define, much less address.
“ETH-Bibliothek is proud to be a partner of this report,” shares Andreas Kirstein, Vice Director and Head of Media and IT Services at ETH-Bibliothek, and co-principal investigator of the project. “By articulating some of the most daunting challenges that academic and research libraries face, we are already making progress toward solving them.”
Important Developments in Technology for Academic and Research Libraries
Additionally, the report identifies “Electronic Publishing” and “Mobile Apps” as technologies expected to enter mainstream use in the first horizon of one year or less. “Bibliometrics and Citation Technologies” along with “Open Content” are seen in the second horizon of two to three years; “The Internet of Things” as well as “Semantic Web and Linked Data” are seen emerging in the third horizon of four to five years.
The subject matter in this report was identified through a qualitative research process designed and conducted by the NMC that engages an international body of experts in libraries, education, technology, research, business, and other fields around a set of research questions designed to surface significant trends and challenges and to identify emerging technologies with a strong likelihood of adoption in academic and research libraries. The NMC Horizon Report > 2014 Library Edition details the areas in which these experts were in strong agreement.
“This first library edition of the Horizon Report marks some important evolutionary steps,” says Lambert Heller, head of Open Science Lab at the German National Library of Science and Technology (TIB), Hannover and co-principal investigator of the project. “Academic and research libraries are now being seen as incubators for experimenting with emerging technologies and are even leading the way at many university campuses across the world.”
The NMC Horizon Report > 2014 Library Edition is available online, free of charge, and is released under a Creative Commons license to facilitate its widespread use, easy duplication, and broad distribution.

My Experience at SEI 2014

The following is an essay I completed about my experience at this year’s Summer Educational Institute (SEI), an annual joint venture by VRA and ARLIS/NA. This essay was a condition of my Kress Scholarship award, which made it possible for me to attend the event. Anyone with an interest in digital image management– from students to seasoned professionals– should seriously consider enrolling for the 2015 session!


It was a scene that could have happened anywhere: four people, drinking beers, talking about the Insane Clown Posse. More specifically, about the phenomenon of Juggalos and ICP fandom and the desire to know more about this fascinating subculture (the four people not being Juggalos, or even casual ICP fans, themselves).

Now, it so happens that this scene took place in Champaign, Illinois, at the 2014 Summer Educational Institute. The four people didn’t know each other very well, but were quickly bonding over their shared passion for goofy internet videos and preserving cultural heritage. We wondered: what are the authoritative sources on Juggalo culture? Are scholars or social scientists studying the socioeconomic underpinnings of ICP fandom? Is anyone saving the ephemera of that fandom, or documenting events like the annual Gathering of the Juggalos? “Where are all the Juggalo archivists?!,” we wondered.

This conversation happened in the midst of four rather fascinating and intense days. First off, the setting: for someone who’s always lived on a coast, the immense flatness of the midwest is always a bit jarring. It was a perfect frontier-like setting, though, for exploring relatively new-to-me topics. I found the sessions well-structured, as intellectual property flowed logically into metadata into digitization into preservation into advocacy– a nice framework for getting down & dirty with specifics while keeping sight of the larger visual resource landscape. The instructors were engaging, friendly, and scary knowledgeable about their fields. My favorite part, though (besides eating at Woorijib restaurant– seriously, the best Korean food i have EVER had) was the chance to meet colleagues from all over the U.S. Spending time with dozens of smart, passionate, and downright awesome people is high on my list of likes, and the fact that we all share a profession is pretty wonderful.

sei2014GroupPhoto
SEI 2014 attendees. Photo courtesy of the SEI 2014 website, http://sei2014.org/past-seis/pictures/.

The overall excellence of the week aside, it was still the Juggalo conversation that crystallized for me powerful shift in how I think about my work that was influenced by my SEI experience. When I began my current job, it was clear that one of my first orders of business was VR housekeeping. There were files to sort (both digital and physical), workflows to design, and a lot of baseline visual resource management principles to learn. While I was able to give myself a few crash courses on that last issue, it wasn’t until SEI that I was able to systematically, and holistically, think about the task at hand. Following my return I have improved our file organization practices, put some baseline preservation methods in place, began to think more carefully about the metadata I apply to image files when cataloging, and doubled down on my efforts to comply with digitization standards (an uphill task for someone without a photography or image editing background!).

More vital, though, is that shift I mentioned. Now that I’ve been in my position for almost a year, I am beginning to feel more confident in work I’m doing and the decisions I’ve made regarding our VR collection. Essential to this is the way I learned to think about creating, managing, sharing, and preserving the collection. Rather than envisioning mythological figures with shovels and stables or boulders and hills, I am now able to see my work in VR as more elegantly integrated with the other half of my job: research assistance and information/visual literacy instruction. Managing an image collection isn’t a goal in itself. It’s a means of providing our students with tools to improve their practice and learn how to be successful consumers, users, and creators of information both textual and visual. And someday, when I do find that Juggalo archive, I’ll know that the reason those archivists work so hard to preserve the cultural artifacts of ICP fandom is for the users who will study them, and analyze them, and create information that will enlighten those who care to find it.

-Ashley Peterson, Librarian at the School of the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston

Studio Librarian– University of Tennessee, Chattanooga

The UTC Library seeks a motivated, creative and user-focused professional to fill our Studio Librarian position at the University of Tennessee, Chattanooga (UTC). As part of UTC’s all-new forthcoming library, The Studio serves as a creation space that will support multimedia design and related emerging technologies. The librarian in this position will plan, develop, and implement service initiatives to enhance the Studio as a learning environment and guide patrons in the use of Studio and library resources.

The position is available October 1, 2014.

Position Summary

Reporting to the Department Head of Research and Public Services, and working in coordination with the Team Lead for the Studio in this position provides support for the Studio as learning environment and digital development area. The Studio Librarian works with students and faculty to support the effective and innovative use of multimedia and instructional technologies in teaching and research across the UTC campus.

As Studio Librarian

  • Develop and maintain the Studio as an effective student learning environment.
  • Guide Studio patrons in use of technology resources.
  • Partner with campus faculty, staff, and students as a technology facilitator, workshop trainer, designer, and a developer of multimedia materials.
  • Provide instructional design, development, and digital services.
  • Work with faculty on instructional design/development projects.
  • Promote educational technology and the Studio services to the campus.
  • Identify, evaluate, and recommend multimedia and emerging technologies for campus and library needs.
  • Assist in the development of the vision, goals, objectives, and actionable Studio Team events.
  • In partnership with Library IT, maintain computers, hardware, and software delivery and production platforms.
  • Promote student success and retention through advocacy of use of library services and resources.
  • Guide and coach Studio staff specialist and student assistants in skills, methods, and best practices to better serve patrons utilizing the Studio.

As Research and Public Service Department Member

  • Participate in Research and Public Service Department meetings and initiatives.
  • Support public services operations as needed and appropriate in Circulation, Information Commons, and Instruction.
  • Design and create multimedia content for instruction, outreach efforts, and library-wide needs.

As Library and University Citizen

  • Participate in providing reference, liaison, and outreach services to University Community.
  • Participate in library-wide planning and committee work.
  • Participate in UT library system-wide planning.
  • Participate in UTC governance, service, and be professionally active.
  • Conduct scholarship consistent with a tenure-track appointment.
  • Engage in continuing professional development.

Required Education and Experience

  • Master’s degree from an ALA-accredited program.
  • One year of relevant work experience, including demonstrated experience in multimedia development.

Required Hard Skills

  • Demonstrated proficiency with contemporary multimedia software and hardware, including: Macintosh, Windows operating systems, Digital Video and Photography, Digital Audio Workstations, Adobe Creative Suite, Apple Final Cut Pro, MS PowerPoint, Apple Keynote, and other presentation software, video and audio digitizing interfaces, etc.
  • Knowledge of current best practices relating to multimedia.
  • Experience with subject guide platforms, blogging platforms, chat reference software and other commonly used library systems.
  • Experience as a successful project manager and the ability to organize, prioritize, and manage time.
  • Knowledge of copyright, intellectual property and privacy laws as they relate to published and unpublished materials.

Required Soft Skills

  • Possess the initiative, flexibility, and creativity to manage projects both independently and as part of a team in a dynamic work environment.
  • Ability to handle complex, analytical and detailed work.
  • Possess a positive attitude, be future-oriented, and embrace change.
  • Effective writing and oral communication skills.
  • Strong interpersonal skills evidenced by the ability to work cooperatively and maintain effective working relationships with colleagues, faculty, staff and students.
  • Strong customer service focus, a passion for the profession, and a deep commitment to service and outreach in an academic community.

See the full description here.

LOC’s The Signal: All About Digital Art

In case you’re in the market for some light summer reading:

The Library of Congress has a great digital preservation blog called The Signal. Recently they’ve been focusing on plenty of art-related issues, from digital art (and the power of the GIF) to preserving artists’ websites and communities.

There’s even some meta content, in the form of an interview with someone who talks about libraries and archives as aesthetic experiences:

Shannon: As I mentioned earlier, I’ve always loved teaching about, with, and through art. Art offers us so many rich and wonderful things (or events, or ideas…) to think with, and it helps us recognize that understanding isn’t purely cognitive; it’s also affective, aesthetic. Archives and libraries, I argue, are intensely aesthetic environments: information reaches us in various forms and materialities; we store that information on bookshelves and server racks; we access it on tabletops and laptops and through interfaces. These are all aesthetic variables that have, in my mind, huge epistemological significance. And acknowledging archives, libraries and databases as aesthetic entities not only helps patrons to better understand how they think and learn; but it also, ideally, helps practitioners recognize that the physical and digital environments they create aren’t neutral containers of information: they give shape to information and knowledge, and thus constitute what it is.

Shannon Mattern goes on to offer examples of artists working with the form of libraries and archives (not just their content). (Feel free to add this to your resource list for library advocacy, Ellen!)

You can always sign up to receive The Signal’s Digital Preservation newsletter in your inbox (if, like me, you forgot to regularly check even your favourite blogs). It’s a great resource to help you keep on top of digital developments, even if you’re not planning to focus on the tech side of GLAM work.