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Applications now open for the 2015/16 round of NDSR in New York

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Applications are now being accepted from host institutions and residents interested in participating in the National Digital Stewardship Residency in New York (NDSR-NY) program. The residency will run from September 2015 through May 2016.

The NDSR-NY program, with generous funding from the Institute of Museum and Library Services, is working to develop the next generation of digital stewardship professionals by funding nine-month hands-on residencies for recent master’s degree recipients to complete digital stewardship projects at host institutions in the New York City area. Similar NDSR programs are being run by Harvard Library and MIT Libraries in Boston and by Library of Congress in Washington D.C.

The application and additional information for host institutions can be found on the Info for Hosts page. The deadline for submission is Friday, April 10th, 2015.

The application and additional information for residents can be found on the Info for Residents page. The deadline for submission is Friday, May 8th, 2015.

Please see our Frequently Asked Questions for more information. If you do not find the answer to your question, contact NDSR-NY at ndsr@metro.org.

Deep in the Art of Texas

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About a month ago–has it really been that long already?–I made the trek down to Fort Worth, TX, with about 500 colleagues to attend the annual conference of the Art Libraries Society of North America (ARLIS/NA). As the conference title, “New Frontiers on the Old Frontier,” suggests, these historic and often quaint environs played host to some very future-focused people and projects. Digital humanities, linked open data,  and user-responsive systems design topics, as seen specifically through the art librarian’s eyes, permeated sessions, discussions, and spontaneous meetings throughout the program. At the same time, there was a strong current of big, multi-institutional projects that benefit from this rare opportunity for digitally networked partners and stakeholders to come together and plan their communal next moves as only face-to-face meetings can enable.

The Tex-Mex chapter’s Joel Pelanne and Sarah Long pose proudly with our hotel’s impressive(?) collection of bullwhips. Photo by Allana Mayer.

The Tex-Mex chapter’s Joel Pelanne and Sarah Long pose proudly with our hotel’s impressive(?) collection of bullwhips. Photo by Allana Mayer.

I was in Fort Worth specifically to share updates on my NDSR work at a web archiving collaborations panel organized by my mentor and NYARC’s program coordinator, Sumitra Duncan. Judging from the attendance to this session–about 50–and the tendency of web archiving to pop up as an issue at other meetings throughout the program, the topic really has gone mainstream and touched the imaginations of librarians throughout the community. Still, National Gallery of Art Reference Librarian Anne Simmons kicked off our panel with a useful intro to web archiving for the uninitiated by way of an update on the ARLIS/NA Artists Files Special Interest Group’s own experiment to collect the websites of art galleries all around the country. Web Archiving Project Librarian Anna Perricci next introduced the communal collection development in areas like architecture, environmental design, and music, that she coordinates among Ivy league research libraries from their collecting hub at Columbia University. I made the case for NYARC’s model of shared responsibilities and burdens in tackling some of the most persistent/laborious problems of web archive quality assurance and preservation services. Jefferson Bailey, Partner Specialist and Program Manager at Internet Archive, rounded out the panel by privileging us with a quick glimpse through his crystal ball into the future of access and researcher services for this one very peculiar archival medium. Among the most salient points that the panelists raised to my interests were Anna’s experience that shared responsibilities do not necessarily make these types of projects any faster or cheaper (rather quite often the opposite can happen) and Jefferson’s observation that sharing accessions and even description tasks among institutions has not yet led us to a truly shared information infrastructure at the back end.

A/V archivist Kristin MacDonough provides a pretty effective illustration of the need for quality control tools in video transfer. Photo by Dan Lipcan.

A/V archivist Kristin MacDonough provides a pretty effective illustration of the need for quality control tools in video transfer. Photo by Dan Lipcan.

To that point, and as something of an archivist who frequently masquerades as a librarian, I was happy to represent and to see others promote the importance of long-term sustainability to the access-driven data linking projects that our institutions proliferate. Linked open data and web-based digital humanities projects are often very resource intensive to get off of the ground, so I don’t have to tell the people reading this blog that it’s never too early to think a little about the long-term in order to mitigate the risks that those costs are sunk. I couldn’t even shake this same feeling while enjoying our keynote convocation address by Mari Carmen Ramírez, the Curator of Latin American Art and Director of the International Center for the Arts of the Americas at the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston. Her address and much of the curatorial work around which it revolved confronted both the changing representation of Latin America in art spheres as well as specifically in its documentation; a meandering and slowly evolving conversation that requires uninterrupted access to evermore artists files, art museum archives, and printed publications than we may have ever anticipated.

Fort Worth’s Philip Johnson-designed Water Gardens (left) and Tadao Ando-designed Modern Art Museum (right). Photos by Lynn Cunningham.

Fort Worth’s Philip Johnson-designed Water Gardens (left) and Tadao Ando-designed Modern Art Museum (right). Photos by Lynn Cunningham.

I’ll admit that I was pretty ignorant of Fort Worth’s own artistic landscape, outside of the world famous Kimbell Museum, before I got to town. When the few opportunities between session commitments arose, though, it really delivered! Both the nearby botanic and water gardens were open to attendee tours, and, in addition to the Kimbell, the arts district includes the fascinating Amon Carter Museum of American Art and the Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth. Word to the wise, however, when in Fort Worth definitely make it your business to stop by the very fun and inspirational National Cowgirl Hall of Fame and Museum!

Convocation reception at the Kimbell Art Museum’s Renzo Piano Pavilion. Photo by Anna-Sophia Zingarelli-Sweet.

Convocation reception at the Kimbell Art Museum’s Renzo Piano Pavilion. Photo by Anna-Sophia Zingarelli-Sweet.

Fun as it was to turn a corner and be greeted by a Philip Johnson or Tadao Ando, I probably looked forward the most to closing out our conference with a party at Renzo Piano’s recent addition to the Kimbell. While the new pavilion bears the architect’s name–an unusual deference to designer over donor to see even at a museum–the whole space did in fact strike me as a tasteful modernist reflection of rather than competitor to Louis Kahn’s now iconic design for the original space.

The Hattie May Inn in Fort Worth. Photo © BedAndBreakfast.com.

The Hattie May Inn in Fort Worth. Photo © BedAndBreakfast.com.

Then, somewhere near the opposite end of the aesthetic spectrum, there is the Hattie May Inn. To avoid the claustrophobia-inducing corporate conference hotel (and to save a few bucks at the same time) I booked a stay at this Queen Anne era bed and breakfast and somewhat notorious piece of Fort Worth history–a 1917 armed robbery-turned-murder is said to the be the source of the Inn’s ghosts! Unfortunately, and eventhough I shared the building for one night with a team of actual ghost hunters, I can’t report any sightings. What I can say is that co-owner and New York transplant Laura’s complimentary and daily vegetarian/vegan breakfasts were the not-so-secret highlight of the entire trip.

Well, that and appearing on LibrarianWardrobe, at least…

All images CC BY-NC-SA 3.0 unless otherwise indicated.

Project Update: DONE WITH ANALYSIS

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The month of April has been an absolute and complete blur at the American Museum of Natural History. It seems like it has been mere hours since March, and yet here we are halfway through April with only 45 days left in the Residency.

April for me has been filled with final analyses, presentations, interviews, and more presentations. In this post, I’m going to give a general project update, as well as some insights into the goings-on in this penultimate month to the Residency.

Though it’s not technically in April, March 30 was the kick off to all the April activities. The NDSR Residents did a panel for ARLIS/NY. I won’t go into too much detail since Shira did that for me in this post.

Everyone but me presenting at ARLIS/NY!

Everyone but me presenting at ARLIS/NY!

As of April 1st, I have officially interviewed every single curator and relevant curatorial staff member at the AMNH! This last curator was out on an injury and couldn’t come back to the Museum before the end of March. Since I was 99% done at the middle of February, finally interviewing this last curator felt like a huge triumph. I could now finish my analyses in time to spend the final two months of the Residency working on my last deliverable, which I will get to in a minute.

One of the most nerve-wracking experiences of my life happened on the first Monday of April, the 6th. I was to give a presentation to an assembly of the Museum’s curators and administration, called the Science Senate. There are two parts to the Senate meetings: an Open Session, in which general news and updates are given along with a scientific presentation, and the Closed Session, though I do not know what goes on then because it is for curators only. My presentation happened at the very end of the Open Session.

I was channeling my inner Amidala the whole time…

I was channeling my inner Amidala the whole time…

Originally, I had my presentation scheduled for about 10 minutes but due to time constraints on the agenda, it was shortened to five. This meant I speed-talked my way through all the analyses I had finished the Friday before (April 3) while hoping to impress on everyone there that the risk of data loss is not only imminent, but inevitable. Given the questions and comments I received directly after my presentation and in the week to come, I can say this presentation was a definite success.

For the Residency itself, all I have left to do is my final report–this is a compilation of my previous reports and analyses with recommendations for storage, management, and preservation of the Museum’s vast scientific collections and research data. These previous reports include: a plan for the length of retention for digital assets, an environmental scan to see what other similar institutions are doing for their data, and an overview of what federal agencies fund AMNH research, and whether those agencies require data management plans or not. All these previous reports will come together to form my recommendations as well as provide the Museum with the information it needs to understand and interpret my recommendations.

DigiMan knows what's up

DigiMan knows what’s up

From there, I will take the results of my survey and translate them into functional requirements I believe should be met by the Museum.  This will be the final half of the report. What I anticipate taking up the bulk of the report are my findings and analytical work. This is the evidence for my recommendations and must be given the majority of emphasis. Translating my enormous excel sheet of results into nicely graphic’d and verbal will be a task worthy of its two month timeline for sure.

This Friday, I will fulfill my last requirement for NDSR. This is my enrichment session–basically a way for the Residents to get experience planning events. I will take the other Residents up to the AMNH Research Library for a presentation on the types of data at risk at the Museum, and current strategies for preservation of such data.

CT Machine at the MIF @ the AMNH!

CT Machine at the MIF @ the AMNH!

After this, I will give them a snapshot into the research process by taking them down to the Microscopy and Imaging Facility for an in-depth look at how research using the CT Scanner works. Think of a “cooking show” type of presentation that shows each data at each step of the process, with an eye toward management of that data. This could have only been achieved with the collaboration of the exceptional MIF staff, whom I will now publically thank: Morgan, and Henry–thank you!

So as you can see–the life of a Resident is busy and the work is always flowing never ending. However, with two months left at the AMNH, I can only hope that time starts to slow down and I can have a small infinity within the remaining months.

 

NDSR in the News

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Residents selected for 2015 cohort in Washington D.C.

NDSR-New York extends our congratulations to the 2015 class of National Digital Stewardship Residents selected for the Washington D.C. area program. The residents listed were selected by a committee of experts from the Library of Congress, the Institute of Museum and Library Services and other organizations, including the host institutions:

  • John Caldwell will be resident in the U.S. Senate Historical Office.
  • Valerie Collins will be resident at the American Institute of Architects
  • Nicole Contaxis will be resident at the National Library of Medicine
  • Jaime Mears will be resident at the D.C. Public Library
  • Jessica Tieman will be resident in the Government Publishing Office

You can read their full bios and more about the NDSR projects in the press release from the Library of Congress.

WGBH Receives IMLS “Librarians for the 21st Century” Grant to develop NDSR Program

WGBH, with the American Archive of Public Broadcasting (AAPB), a collaboration between the WGBH Education Foundation and the Library of Congress, will develop a National Digital Stewardship Residency (NDSR) project to train residents and develop curriculum for an increasingly critical area of digital preservation, the preservation of audiovisual materials. More in the announcement.

Congratulations to WGBH! We look forward to sharing resources and seeing the NDSR model grow!

 

Blake’s Optical

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Blake’s “papers” include a diversity of illustrated and annotated optical media types. This is just a sampling. Enjoy!




 

A Panel Discussion with NDSR-NY: ARLIS/NY & Metro Recap

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Yesterday the entire cohort had the honor of presenting on our respective projects at an event co-sponsored by ARLIS/NY and Metro, so I thought I’d take this opportunity to recap the afternoon for those who weren’t able to make it.

Opening slide at the ARLIS/NY & Metro presentations.

Opening slide at the ARLIS/NY & Metro presentations.

The first resident to present was Vicky Steeves. Vicky began her presentation by offering an overview of the state of science data preservation in America, which was eye-opening to say the least. The context that she was able to provide about the dearth of preservation efforts around science data helped highlight both the importance of this task as well as some of the obstacles preventing its preservation. Vicky described her project and discussed the methodology she’s been using to interview AMNH staff, and wrapped up with an assessment of the kind of infrastructure she believes AMNH needs for their preservation efforts going forward.

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Shira Peltzman presenting on preserving Carnegie Hall’s born-digital assets.

Next up was yours truly. I began my talk by describing the kinds of digital content that I work with at Carnegie Hall, followed by the impetus for Carnegie Hall’s Digital Archives Project, of which my NDSR project is a key part. After offering a project update about where I am now and what remains to be done before the end of May, I wrapped up by offering a preview of some of the recommendations that I’m going to be including in my final deliverable, which is Digital Preservation and Sustainability document that will form the foundation of Carnegie Hall’s digital preservation policies. This part was really exciting for me because Gino Francesconi, the director of Carnegie Hall’s Archives and Rose Museum, was in attendance yesterday, and it was the first time that I had presented my recommendations to the Archives staff.

Up after me was Peggy, who began with an overview of MoMA’s new Digital Repository for Museum Collections (DRMC) followed by an explanation of where the process history for time-based media in MoMA’s collections fit into it. She outlined the process by which she arrived at the metadata schemas that she selected during the first phase of her project (spoiler alert: it’s an an alphabet soup of reVTMD, PREMIS, Mets and PBCore) and wrapped up by showing off some of the wireframes that she and her mentors recently received from Artefactual (MoMA’s vendor) detailing how the process history will be incorporated into the DRMC.

Karl presenting on web archiving at NYARC.

Karl presenting on web archiving at NYARC.

Next up was Karl, who began with an impressive explanation of how web archiving actually works. Karl gave an overview of NYARC’s web archiving process as well as an explanation of his project to improve the documentation process for web archiving quality assurance there.

Last but not least was Julia, who rather than provide an overview of the whole process of digital forensics at the NYU Libraries, opted instead to focus in on a case study—the Jeremy Blake papers. Julia began by explaining what Blake’s work is like and describing the techniques he used to make his art. Her presentation focused on explaining how digital forensics were employed with regard to the Blake papers, and why digital forensics were necessary in order to make this work accessible and fully understandable to anyone seeking to research his work. Julia also updated us on her progress with making emulated access available to researchers.

A group shot of all the NDSR-NYers at the reception.

A group shot of all the NDSR-NYers at the reception.

Listening to everyone present was a hugely rewarding experience because we’re all close enough to the end of our residencies that we were all able to offer previews of what our final deliverables would be. It was impressive to see how much progress we’ve made on our respective projects. These presentations made the first weeks and months of our residencies when we were still trying to wrap our minds around how we’d ever accomplish the tasks at hand feel like a distant memory. For me, they also drove home the realization that we’re much closer to the end than I have allowed myself to believe.

NMNH, METRO, & Outsourcing, oh my!

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Hi everyone!! So, like Karl, I was recently asked to write a post on another blog (The Smithsonian Field book Project blog!) and thought, instead of rewriting the whole post and publishing it here, I could just point our lovely readers in the right direction!

The post on the Smithsonian Field book Project blog details the specific interactions I’ve had at the American Museum of Natural History with field books. The majority of my experience with field books was actually initiated by the curators and scientific staff that I interviewed–they will often talk about how invaluable their field notes and lab notes are to maintaining the long-term viability and usability of their research data, or how older field books are incredibly impactful to their ongoing projects. For those that don’t know, field books are essentially notebooks that scientists bring into the field to record their observations and findings. There are a few tidbits in my post about how field books are necessary as primary source documentation for ongoing and current scientific research. Basically–there are really cool old field books at the Museum and they are still relevant to science!

Without further ado: here’s the post!

Also, if anyone missed it, I recently did a screencast on NDSR and NDSR-NY. This is basically a “what is this” and “why should you do this” type of screencast–so if you are interested in being a Resident in next year’s iteration, I would recommend giving it a watch! You can find that here!

Web archivists meet in New York

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Photo by Lorena Ramirez-Lopez

Earlier this month, the Museum of Modern Art hosted the first meeting of the brand new Archive-It NY Partners group, a local network of library, archives, and museum professionals using the software service Archive-It to build their archives of web resources. That toolset is central to the work we do here at NYARC, so I was very happy to organize this meeting (with frequent and generous help from my mentor Sumitra Duncan) for our own and everyone’s benefit. It was a great chance to get to know one another and to begin discussion of the potential tweaks and developments that could make our work more effective. To get to know some of these partners and their collections yourself, head on over to my full recap on NYARC’s blog:

Web archiving happens here: NYARC hosts the first meeting of Archive-It NY

In the meantime, look forward to a report from this weekend’s Art Librarians Society of North America (ARLIS/NA) conference, where I’ll present my NDSR project among others featured at a great web archiving panel organized by Sumitra.

Julia Kim on The Signal

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In case you missed it, here’s Julia’s recent post to The Signal, “Creating Workflows for Born-Digital Collections: An NDSR Project Update”.

As Julia says, “My residency is very broad; I am tasked with investigating and implementing workflows that encompass the entirety of the born-digital process, from accession to access. This means that while I spent a month learning digital forensics techniques, I have also researched and implemented workflow steps that occur before acquisition and after ingest. Rather than signing off when the bits have been checked, duplicated and dispersed in multiple locations to long-term storage, I’ve also focused on access. In the past five months, I’ve worked on many collections. Such depth and breadth has been crucial. Time and again, I’ve been challenged to revise and refine my sense of the workflow.” 

Emulation in Action at NYU’s Digital Forensics Laboratory.

Emulation in Action at NYU’s Digital Forensics Laboratory.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Read more on The Signal!

Dispatch from PASIG 2015

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Shira here. This week Vicky and I have been in sunny San Diego to present at the annual Preservation and Archiving Special Interest Group Meeting, or PASIG, hosted at UC San Diego’s Supercomputer Center. I’ll keep this post short since we’re still mid-conference and I’m writing this dispatch in between panels.

The Supercomputer Center at UC San Diego where PASIG 2015 was held

The Supercomputer Center at UC San Diego where PASIG 2015 was held

This is my first time attending PASIG and I’ve been extremely impressed both by the scope of the conference and by the quality of the presentations themselves. The conference bills itself as the, “premier practitioner-driven digital preservation event”, and so far the presentations have borne out this claim.

PASIG began on Wednesday with a panel entitled “Digital Preservation 101”. This was described as a series of presentations designed to drill into the nuts and bolts of digital preservation, with an eye to infrastructure services. My favorite of those presentation that afternoon was given by Nick Ruest of York University and Stephen Marks, University of Toronto entitled, “Preservation Policy for Humans”.

Vicky and I at the La Jolla Beach before the conference began

Vicky and I at the La Jolla Beach before the conference began

Their presentation highlighted York University’s impressive Digital Preservation Policy, which was interesting to me since it pertains directly to the work that I’m doing at Carnegie Hall: the Digital Preservation and Sustainability document that I’m currently in the midst of writing will  contain a lot of the same kinds of information as the documents that they presented.

The second day of the conference was geared towards examining where we are as a community, with a special emphasis on highlighting practical issues and solutions. This panel was where Vicky and my presentation entered the mix. Our talk, entitled “NDSR-NY Notes from the Field: Preserving Born-Digital Objects at Carnegie Hall and Scientific Data at the American Museum of Natural History” had the dubious distinction of having one of the lengthiest titles at the conference. (Oops).

The La Jolla beach.

The La Jolla beach. Apparently this is what “winter” looks like in San Diego.

We began our presentation by talking about the NDSR program at large, and then each one of us gave a project update on the work we’re doing at our respective host institutions. Vicky’s half of the presentation focused on describing her survey methodology followed by giving everyone a preview of her preliminary findings.

Vicky and I presenting at PASIG 2015

Vicky and I presenting at PASIG 2015

My presentation began with a description of the kinds of digital content that I work with at Carnegie Hall, followed by an overview of all of the moving parts of my NDSR project. I also gave talked about the steps I’ve taken so far to tackle the scope of my project, and I wrapped up by providing an overview of where I am now and what remains to be done before the project wraps up in late May of this year.

The Geisel Library at UC San Diego, right around the corner from the Supercomputer Center.

The Geisel Library at UC San Diego, right around the corner from the Supercomputer Center.

Thursday evening was the conference’s formal dinner, which took place at the swanky UC San Diego Faculty Club.

The conference wraps up tomorrow evening, and after having attended this year I can safely say that I will make attendance at PASIG 2016 a priority (even if it isn’t in such a pleasant locale). It will be hard to leave the idyllic climate of San Diego for the barely thawed out East Coast, but alas… It was good while it lasted. Stay classy San Diego!

Celebratory post-presentation drinks.

Celebratory post-presentation drinks.