Category Archives: Digital Libraries

Bringing the Visual to Digital Literacies

by Kristina Bush

In August, I started working at the University of California, Berkeley as Digital Literacies Librarian. Prior to this position, I worked at the Sloane Art Library at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Though I wasn’t an art history / library science dual master’s student at UNC, I come from an art history and museum studies background and I was sad to be leaving the field of art librarianship. However, as many other Snappers have experienced, you can take the art librarian out of the art library, but you can’t take the love of art out of the librarian. In my first semester of work at Berkeley, I brought an art perspective to a digital literacies workshop series by incorporating activities that emphasized close looking and visual culture. After all, the prevalence of digital media has made visual literacy skills increasingly important, and thus a central element of digital literacies.

Berkeley’s Design for Digital Literacies discussion series Fall 2019 included the following topics: “Visual Literacy: Learning to Look / Looking to Learn,” “Defining Digital Literacies,” and “Instagram, Memes, and Viral Videos… Oh My!” This series ran twice – once for faculty members, hosted by the College Writing Department, and once for librarians as an Instructor Development Program series.

The first talk of the series was on the topic of visual literacy. I co-facilitated this session with my boss, Instruction Services Division Head Nicole E. Brown, who quite literally wrote the book on Visual Literacy. If you haven’t read Visual Literacy for Libraries: A Practical, Standards-Based Guide, request a copy now! It contains activity plans that you can easily incorporate into instruction sessions (for faculty, staff, and/or students!) no matter the subject area. In planning for the Visual Literacy workshop, we pulled from Brown’s text, selecting the activities that we believed would most engage with the prompt of learning to look at and analyze images in the process of digitally-based research. We led the attendees through several close looking exercises that they could incorporate into instruction. 

One close looking activity that we used in the Visual Literacy workshop is used often by Berkeley’s Instruction Services Division. Since I started work at Berkeley, members of my division have been incredibly generous and allowed me to observe their instruction sessions and jointly created a repository of instruction “chunks,” or remixable activities and slides they’ve used in workshops. I often use this particular chunk to start an instruction session – you start by displaying an image related to the course content.  It is important to select a work with good metadata so that you can do a big reveal to the students after they have interpreted the image. Have the students engage with the following questions in relation to the image:

1. What do I see?

2. What is going on? 

3. Why do I think this image was created?

A person with long hair and glasses looking at a wall of drawings.
Photo by Handy Wicaksono on Unsplash

After students have discussed their responses together and shared with the class, display the image with its metadata and ask if the metadata answered or confirmed any questions or suspicions they had about the piece. This activity engages with the ACRL information literacy frame of scholarship as conversation and the process of developing a research question. I use this activity to underscore the point that students need to ask questions and engage with other voices to learn more, and dig deeper, whatever their research topic may be. This quick and simple exercise allows us to begin the discussion and engage students in active and critical thinking. To those of us who are trained in art history, close looking is second nature, but to students and even faculty members in other departments, it can be a challenge that opens up a new pathway to engagement with course content. In the feedback I received from the faculty series, many of the audience were surprised by the activity and the experience of close looking.

As I mentioned above, visual literacy is an important part of digital literacies. Much of what we encounter online is visual – beyond gifs and memes, we interpret interactive graphs, charts, and timelines, we research using digital repositories, we archive digital art… the list goes on! I believe that visual literacy is only going to become more important, and we must teach students to have a critical eye when looking at any form of visual media. This was also the focus of “Instagrams, Memes, and Viral Videos… Oh My!” Though many of us Snappers are not working in an art library, we can teach the visual literacy skills that we’ve developed, we can sneak art history / museum studies lessons into information and digital literacies workshops. After all, it gives you an excuse to look through ArtStor on work time.

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

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.

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.

Paid digital archive intern

Artist seeks paid digital archive Intern, deadline Nov 30

Seeking PAID DIGITAL ARCHIVE INTERN to Begin January 2015

Whitney Biennial artist seeks paid digital archive Intern to assist with reorganizing and managing five (5) 2 TB external drives containing video, audio, image and text files. The reorganization of 20 years of digital data is intended for two different purposes: (1) as “active storage” in the artist’s studio, and (2) as the digital addition to her non-digital “Collected Papers” already archived at a major academic institution.

The successful candidate will have:

-knowledge of Information and Library Science management systems

-coursework in the management of born-digital records preferred

-high comfort level in learning new technologies

-discretion when dealing with confidential or sensitive information

-accuracy and attention to detail

Our studio is located in Lower Manhattan. We anticipate the paid intern chosen will work a total of 12-16 hours per week, with flexible afternoon and early evening hours to be arranged. The post will begin in January 2015.

Please email resume and cover letter highlighting any relevant work experience and coursework to: lorraineogradystudio@gmail.com  attn: Sur, Studio Manager.

We will accept applications until midnight, November 30. On December 9 will begin contacting suitable candidates to arrange in-person interviews.

Our goal is to reach a final decision no later than December 21.

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.

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.