Tag Archives: digital preservation

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

A Success Story: An Interview with Erin Barsan, NDSR Art Fellow at the Minneapolis Institute of Art

Can you tell us a little bit about your background, your current position, and how you got into the field of art librarianship?
I actually have an art background. I got my BFA in Graphic Design with a minor in Photography from Columbia College Chicago. After undergrad, I ended up working as a photographer’s assistant at a small commercial studio. During one of our off-seasons, I embarked on a project to clean out and reorganize all the studio’s computer files and physical file cabinets. I also spent a lot of time documenting my work and creating a handbook for future assistants. It was this experience that led me to library school; I realized that what interested me most about my job was figuring out how to organize things in a way that would best help people find the information they needed.

I eventually attended the Pratt Institute School of Information and received my MSLIS with an Archives Certificate. While a student at Pratt, I took several classes related to art librarianship. However, it wasn’t until after grad school, when I worked as a project archivist at the Leslie-Lohman Museum of Gay & Lesbian Art, that I really got into the field.

Currently, I am part of the inaugural cohort of the National Digital Stewardship Residency for Art Information (NDSR Art). I am working at the Minneapolis Institute of Art (Mia) on a one year project titled “Managing Time-Based Media/Digital Art at (an appropriate) Scale,” which is a fairly non-traditional librarian role. That being said, it’s really exciting and challenging work, and I’m very grateful to NDSR Art for this opportunity. To learn more about the NDSR Art program and my project, visit the NDSR Art website: http://ndsr-pma.arlisna.org/

What does a typical day at work look like for you? What work are you doing as an NDSR art resident?
As the NDSR Art Resident at Mia, I am taking a lead role in establishing a framework for the management and preservation of the museum’s rapidly-growing collection of time-based media/digital art (e.g., video, film, audio, slides, and software-based art). My job entails working with Mia’s New Media Task Force to develop and implement new workflows and other procedures related to the acquisition, documentation, display, and maintenance of these complex works as well as recommending technical solutions for management and preservation.

I am just wrapping up the initial, information gathering, phase of the project. Most of my day involves sitting in front of the computer at my desk in the Media and Technology Division reading, writing emails, and taking notes. Additionally, I conducted interviews with a number of this project’s internal stakeholders to learn their perspectives, concerns, and needs. Externally, I spoke with a number of media conservators and other professionals to learn about how they handle the acquisition, installation, and long-term care of their institution’s time-based media art. Now that I’ve gathered and studied all of this valuable information, I just have to take what I’ve learned about emerging best practices for time-based media art and figure out how to adapt and scale them to fit Mia’s specific needs. Piece of cake, right?

Do you have any advice for current students and/or those on the job market?
Try and get an internship while you are in school. If that isn’t feasible, think of other ways you can get real world experience. Have a school project that involves a hypothetical library? Maybe you can find a real one that you could work with for your project instead. Working while in school? Look for opportunities in your workplace where you could make a positive impact by applying your new knowledge and skills, and then pitch it as a project to your boss. Get creative!

Don’t let job/internship descriptions intimidate you. You’d be amazed how many people get scared off by things like the reputation of a big name institution or the number of other highly-qualified people they think will also apply. Even if you think you don’t have much of a chance, apply anyway. You might surprise yourself!

What were/are some challenges for you as an art librarian? Are these related to larger challenges in art librarianship?
Advocacy is a challenge for me, and a big issue in our field in general. People often don’t see the value in art librarianship because much of our work is behind the scenes, because we don’t generate a lot of money, or because other departments have projects that seem more exciting. It’s up to us to make sure that our work doesn’t go unnoticed and do our own marketing/PR. We know our value and the importance of our work; the trick is figuring out how to communicate this to others in a way that is meaningful to them by approaching it from their perspective. This sounds easy, but in practice can be quite challenging. It’s uncomfortable to talk about ourselves (no one wants to sound like a braggart), especially when the person you’re speaking with is senior-level, and it takes practice. I’ve started to think of advocacy work as a muscle–the more I exercise it and push through the pain, the easier it will feel and the stronger I’ll be.

Tell us something fun about yourself! What do you do in your spare time? If you could take a trip to visit any library in the world, which would it be?
The majority of my free time is occupied by roller derby. This is my tenth year skating, and it has taken me all over the US and soon, Europe! In February, I’ll be traveling to Manchester, England to compete with Team Romania at the 2018 Roller Derby World Cup.

If I could take a trip to visit any library, I’d like to visit the Future Library in Norway. However, that would also mean I’d have to time travel to 2114 so I could read all the newly unearthed and unpublished texts.

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.

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.

Free Webinar 10 March: Expressing Preservation Requirements on Audiovisual Collections

“Expressing Preservation Requirements on Audiovisual Collections”. This is the third webinar in a series created by PrestoCentre and Presto4U on diverse topics related to AV digitisation and digital preservation.

This webinar is an introduction to expressing digital preservation requirements in the context of audiovisual collections, with a special emphasis on the approach followed by the Presto4U project. The webinar will start with the basics on what the requirements are, how they are created and for which purposes they serve. The webinar will then discuss how standards can play a key role in the expression of requirements for digital preservation and will exemplify the concept by showing how to use three standards: the OAIS reference model, the Ontology for Media Resources and the ISO/IEC 25010 System and Software Quality Requirments and Evaluation SQuaRE – System and Software Quality.

Date: Monday 10th March 2014
Time: 3.00pm – 4.00pm GMT/UTC (10:00am – 11:00am EST, 4:00pm – 5.00pm CET,7:00am – 8:00am PST)
Presenter: Carlo Meghini, researcher at CNR-ISTI in the area of Conceptual Modelling, Digital Libraries and Digital Preservation.

Make your free booking now at http://bit.ly/1k8QMNZ
Limited places available, registrations are on first-come, first-served basis.

Job Posting: Visiting Digital Preservation Coordinator @ University of Illinois U-C

Title: Visiting Digital Preservation Coordinator – University Library (A1100134)
Category: Academic Professional
Opened Date: April 1, 2011
Close Date: April 28, 2011
College Name or Administrative Unit: University Library
Position Description: Visiting Digital Preservation Coordinator / Visiting Academic Professional at University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Position Available: Position is open immediately.

The University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign seeks applications for a Digital Preservation Coordinator. The incumbent will provide a range of preservation services for digital content as well as support for digital products produced through other preservation reformatting functions. The Digital Preservation Coordinator reports to the Head of Preservation and serves all of the University Libraries by coordinating digital preservation and access services. This is a full-time, regular, academic professional position

Responsibilities: This position plays a key role in preserving the University of Illinois Library’s valuable and unique collections by enhancing the University’s capacity to preserve and provide access to digital documents, programs, and data sets, as well as images and media materials preserved through the Preservation Unit, by supporting the Preservation Librarian in all digital preservation efforts. The incumbent will report to the Head of Preservation, and maintains a number of critical working relationships with units and groups that are engaged in preservation, curation, and access to digitized content; including Library units such as Digital Content Creation, Content Access Management, the University Archives, Visual Resources, the Systems Office and appropriate campus units.

The coordinator will assist the preservation librarian, brittle books coordinator, and media preservation coordinator in establishing best practices for digital media produced for preservation purposes and in establishing workflows for the dissemination and preservation of digital files. They will also contribute expertise to the development of a broader digital preservation program with specific attention toward ensuring access to legacy digital files and datasets owned or stewarded by the Library. Specific responsibilities will include:

  • Processing digital files to be included in the Library’s online catalog, digital repository, and the HathiTrust
  • Preparing estimates and developing project workflows
  • Monitoring conversion quality
  • Assisting in the preparation of grant proposals
  • Identifying vendors and completing RFPs for services
  • Collaborating with other library personnel to develop appropriate access methods and tools for digitized collections, including, but not limited to both platforms and metadata.

Environment: The University of Illinois Library at Urbana-Champaign is one of the preeminent research collections in the nation and the world. With over 11 million volumes and a total of 23 million items, it ranks highly among academic libraries in the United States and first among public university libraries in the world. As the intellectual heart of the campus, the Library is committed to maintaining the strongest collections and services possible and engaging in research and development activities—both of which support the University’s mission of teaching, research, and public service. The Library employs approximately 100 library faculty and 300 library staff. For more information, see http://library.illinois.edu.

The Library consists of more than thirty five departmental libraries that are located throughout campus and administratively organized into eight divisions. The Preservation Unit reports to the Associate University Librarian for Collections and works in tandem with the Conservation Unit. Formed in 2001, the Library’s Preservation and Conservation Program has developed rapidly to meet the needs of a collection rich in material resources. The Digital Preservation Coordinator will provide new services for the University Libraries on behalf of the Preservation Unit. More information about the unit’s development, history, and current capacities is available at: http://www.library.illinois.edu/prescons

Qualifications:

Required: A Bachelor’s degree; Training or professional experience in digital preservation and processing; Demonstrated familiarity with common standards and practices in contemporary digital library management; Demonstrated familiarity with data integrity techniques and technologies (RAID, backup strategies, redundancy, etc); Strong written and oral communication skills; Demonstrated ability to meet production deadlines and goals.

Preferred: Graduate degree with training in preservation or data curation; Supervisory experience; Experience with XSLT, Perl or other scripting languages, and/or experience with major repository platforms; Experience assessing and evaluating library or archival materials in order to develop and coordinate preservation projects; Professional or pre-professional experience reformatting print or non-print items; Experience applying digital preservation guidelines and prioritizing needs in an institutional environment; Experience contributing to grant applications; Demonstrated ability to work with a diverse constituency of university personnel; Demonstrated knowledge of metadata and cataloging standards and practices; Experience working with commercial service providers.

Salary: Salary is commensurate with credentials and experience. These positions are Academic Professional appointment.

Terms of Appointment: 12 annual sick-leave days (cumulative), plus an additional 13 sick-leave days (non-cumulative) available, if needed, each year; health insurance requiring a small co-payment is provided to employee (with the option to purchase coverage for spouse and dependents); required participation in State Universities Retirement System (SURS) (8% of annual salary is withheld and is refundable upon termination), with several options for participation in additional retirement plans; newly-hired employees are covered by the Medicare portion of Social Security and are subject to its deduction.

Campus and Community: The University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign is a comprehensive and major public, land-grant university (Doctoral/Research University – Extensive) ranked among the best in the world, including “Top 20” programs in Chemistry, Engineering, English, Mathematics, Music, Library & Information Science, Psychology, and Veterinary Medicine. Chartered in 1867, its faculty and staff provide undergraduate and graduate education in more than 150 fields of study, conduct theoretical and applied research, and provide public service to the state and the nation. It employs 3,000 faculty members serving 31,000 undergraduate and 11,000 graduate and professional students; approximately 25% of faculty receive campus-wide recognition each year for excellence in teaching. For more information, see:http://www.uiuc.edu. The University is located in the twin cities of Champaign and Urbana, which have a combined population of 100,000 and are situated approximately 140 miles south of Chicago, 120 miles west of Indianapolis, and 170 miles northeast of St. Louis. The University and its surrounding communities offer a cultural and recreational environment ideally suited to the work of a major research institution and its members. For more information, see: http://www.uiuc.edu/community/

To Apply: To ensure full consideration, please complete your candidate profile at https://jobs.illinois.edu and upload a letter of interest and resume. Online application will require names and contact information for three professional references. Applications not submitted through this website will not be considered. For questions, please call: 217-333-8169.

Deadline: In order to ensure full consideration, applications and nominations must be received by 04/28/2011. Interviews may occur before the closing date; however, no decisions will be made prior to the closing date.

Illinois is an Affirmative Action /Equal Opportunity Employer and welcomes individuals with diverse backgrounds, experiences, and ideas who embrace and value diversity and inclusivity. (www.inclusiveillinois.illinois.edu).