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National Digital Stewardship Residency in New York

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Metropolitan New York Library Council, in partnership with Brooklyn Historical Society, is implementing the National Digital Stewardship Residency (NDSR) program in the New York metropolitan area through generous funding from the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) via a 2013 Laura Bush 21st-Century Librarian Program grant.

The National Digital Stewardship Residency is working to develop the next generation of digital stewardship professionals that will be responsible for acquiring, managing, preserving, and making accessible our nation’s digital assets. Residents serve 9-month, paid residencies in host institutions working on digital stewardship initiatives. Host institutions receive the dedicated contribution of a recent graduate that has received advanced training in digital stewardship.

An affiliated project, NDSR Boston, was awarded by IMLS to Harvard Library, in partnership with MIT Libraries, to implement the fellowship program in Boston, MA. Hosts and residents from both programs will participate in the broader NDSR network of professionals working to advance digital preservation and develop a sustainable, extensible model for postgraduate residencies combining advanced training and experiential learning focused on the collection, preservation, and availability of digital materials. See the About NDSR-NY page for additional program and contact information.

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Hi everyone. Julia here again. 2015 has been off to a busy start with some traveling and presentations! I won’t go into depth in this post (I will be posting again this week), but I’ve inserted some presentation slides below to give you a sense of things.

Screenshot 2015-01-27 at 8.01.41 PM

Some of the day-to-day in the Digital Forensics Lab. Note: the bottom right image is the estimated time for creating an image of a 5.5 TB drive.


Blake's Adobe PSD files, or the problem with layers

Blake’s Adobe PSD file’s layers

Don Mennerich and I presented at University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill’s  CurateGear 2015 (January 7th).  Videos of the CurateGear short talk  “pitches” are also now available. For those of you unfamiliar with CurateGear, it’s got a very lively format. There are multiple streams; presentations occur simultaneously in different rooms.  Before audience members choose a session, each speaker pitches their talk before the entire audience. Even if you can’t attend all the sessions, then, you get a good sense of the conference sessions.  You’re even encouraged to check out talks during talks. There’s also nothing like seeing a speaker actually demonstrate, in real time before your very eyes, a tool that is in development! I won’t be able to go into much depth in this post, but I advise everyone to keep an eye out for next year’s CurateGear. Some highlights included updates on browser-based emulation practices and some interesting success and failure rates and metric reports from Stanford and Emory University. Doug White’s demo (“Get off my <strikeout> lawn</strikeout> tapes!”) was particularly cool. Don also presented later that week at the first BitCurator Users Forum 2015 (January 9th).  This was an opportunity for BitCurator users to, among other topics, debate disk imaging target formats for different media and content types, the merits and challenges in student workers handling the imaging of media, and future projects integrating BitCurator in workflows.

After getting back from Chapel Hill, last week I presented at METRO’s annual conference (January 15th). For those of you that missed this sold out event, check out METRO’s videos, slide decks, and pics from the event.  Almost all of the NYC-NDSR presented together (this was the first group presentation for us, but it won’t be our last). After each of us spoke, we were able to sit with our mentors and talk to interested audience members in the course of two table sessions. It was heartening to hear from a number of interested students and institutions engaging in disk imaging practices. While it was great for me to get updated on the New York community projects,  a surprise announcement put a light damper in the days: METRO’s Executive Director, Jason Kucsma, had resigned.  While I wish him well , the New York archiving community will miss him!

julia_metro (1)



Top Five (So Far)

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Shira here. Since we recently passed the halfway point of our residencies I thought I’d write about some of my biggest takeaways from my NDSR project so far. Without further ado, they are (in no particular order):

1. Understand the root issue
The first step in my project was to understand how the organization’s digital assets are created, used, and stored. To do this, I spent the first several months of my residency interviewing staff throughout Carnegie Hall to better understand what their day-to-day interactions with digital media are like. Although my project objectives are ultimately focused on developing preservation and sustainability policies for this born-digital media, these conversations quickly helped me identify the root issue my NDSR project was designed to address: that up to now there hasn’t been a streamlined process at Carnegie Hall for staff to push digital assets and their associated metadata upstream.

A selfie taken in the Rose Museum by The Carnegie Hall Archives Department in honor of #MuseumSelfie day on Twitter.

A selfie taken in the Rose Museum by The Carnegie Hall Archives Department in honor of #MuseumSelfie day on Twitter.

It was essential for me to understand that the overarching goal of my project would be to help fix this problem going forward. Developing policies for sustainable preservation is an important part of the solution, but designing these policies without recognizing and addressing the underlying issues would have resulted in failure. In this case, having a solid understanding of the root issue enabled me to develop a slightly different (and ultimately much more successful) strategy than I had originally planned to take. 

2. Ask questions.
Don’t refrain from asking questions for fear of being wrong. If you have doubts about something, speak up.

3. Anticipate delays.
Delays both small and large tend to occur in most large scale projects, not least in those with a lot of moving parts. I expected as much going into my residency, but what I did not expect was the fact that the pace of work at Carnegie Hall can be dictated, to a large degree, by where we are in the concert season. So while some delays might be unforeseeable, I’ve learned to anticipate the times of the year when my colleagues will be busiest, and to adjust my timeline accordingly.

Another stellar contribution to #MuseumSelfie day courtesy of the Carnegie Hall Archives Department.

Another stellar contribution to #MuseumSelfie day courtesy of the Carnegie Hall Archives Department.

4. Make time to read.
Staying abreast of what’s happening in our field is crucial. I try to set aside some time every week just to read articles, conference roundups, or even threads on Twitter about digital preservation. When I do this I’m frequently surprised at how much material there is out there that’s directly relevant to my project in some way.

5. The Devil is in the details.
Truly. Whether it’s a minor task such as writing an email, or a more significant one such as preparing a report or giving a presentation, I can’t emphasize enough how important it is to check, double check, and triple check. If you’re still in doubt, ask someone to check your work for a fourth time. The NDSR cohort has been essential in this vein. I couldn’t have asked for a better or more supportive group of professionals, and I’m extremely grateful for the opportunity NDSR-NY has given me to learn from them.

Sorry, scholarly context not found

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Jack Ziegler, The New Yorker, (c) Conde Nast Publications

Jack Ziegler, The New Yorker, (c) Conde Nast Publications

Link rot–the tendency of web destinations to change URLs or to disappear completely, thereby breaking any incoming hyperlinks to them–is a phenomenon well known, if not by name, to anyone who has ever encountered a “404,” “Page not found,” or similarly perfunctory apology message online.

In recent years, the problem has actually garnered a fair amount of attention from legal scholars, who experience link rot regularly in their process of chasing those voluminous citations made throughout court opinions and scholarly journal articles. Summarizing their research into the topic, Harvard’s Jonathan Zittrain, Lawrence Lessig, and Kendra Albert reported in 2013:

We found that half of the links in all Supreme Court opinions no longer work.  And more than 70% of the links in such journals as the Harvard Law Review (in that case measured from 1999 to 2012), currently don’t work.  As time passes, the number of non-working links increases.

To its credit, the legal scholarship community has responded by investing no small amount of its time into raising awareness and its infrastructure into incrementally fixing the problem. Discussions like those at last fall’s 404/File Not Found symposium at Georgetown Law, and technological solutions like the multi-institutional Perma.cc project, keep scholars and technologists moving together and in the right direction: towards archiving web content with trusted partners in order to ensure its future accessibility.

Without that kind accessibility ensured, a gap consistently widens in the online model for scholarly communication–one already wide enough to consume other fields of study.

Such is the finding of a study published in PLOS ONE just last month; Klein et al’s “Scholarly context not found: One in five articles suffers from reference rot” alerts scholars and librarians of science, technology, and medicine (STM) to the ever-expanding rot that threatens their concurrent efforts to expand their respective discourses. The authors–partners in the UK/USA Hiberlink collaboration–”scraped” the links from citations among millions of STM articles in order to determine how many had rotted and where if anywhere they could be found among scholarly publications’ web archives. And if anything, their article title downplays seriousness of the situation with a safely conservative estimate; by merely ignoring those articles in their study that are “immune” because they contain no actual hyperlinks in their citations, the rate of articles stricken by reference rot jumps from 1-in-5 to 7-in-10!

Thinking about how NYARC might extend awareness of this issue to the publishers of art historical scholarship, artists’ ebooks, and catalogues raisonnés, I was especially interested in the way in which Klein et al visualized their findings. Consider, for example, this economic expression of citations from three  scholarly STM corpora (on the right arc of the circle) in terms of their sheer volume (tangent thickness) and the web domain types to which they link (on the left), before and after the citations for which no archived instances within a 14-day window of their reference dates are highlighted (in gray):


That’s a pretty efficient way to express just how much of the scholarly communication in contemporary online publishing is lost to rot. Still, I kind of prefer the strategy that artist Sarah Jacobs presciently used back in 2010 (ages ago!) to pair the scale of the problem with the comparatively helpless language associated with it.

Sarah Jacobs, Apology Typology: An Internet Refrain (detail)

Sarah Jacobs, Apology Typology: An Internet Refrain (detail)

Jacobs’s project, Apology Typology: An Internet Refrain (Pro tip: download the PDF and hover over the comment fields to get the full effect!) documents the myriad rotten links in the journal Nature’s 2004 article, “The sequence and analysis of duplication-rich human chromosome 16,” by way of the language that each rotten link’s destination uses to inform the browser that what they seek cannot be found. There are, she demonstrates, myriad ways that we make this “nonchalant expression of regret” over critical failures of scholarly communication.

I wouldn’t mind curating my own little 404 collection. After all, what have you ever seen on the web that elicits a more emotional reaction?

Library Advocacy

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Everyone reading my posts must be saying, “Damn, this girl is obsessed with proving the value of the library! We get it already!” Blame Jim Matarazzo, my corporate libraries professor back at Simmons. He really drilled it into my head that if a library can’t prove that it’s worth having, it will be the first thing cut from a budget. And it scared me into constantly thinking about it. Thanks, Jim!

In my last NDSR-NY post, I described how the needs assessment survey can be utilized to show value on an institutional level, in the setting of meetings with business operatives and institutional leaders. In my blog post for the SIGNAL, I wrote about how programs like NDSR can prove their value on an interdisciplinary level as well as to the LIS field.

In this post, I’m going to discuss the day-to-day bias that libraries and librarians face within their user groups. It’s something I’ve dealt with as the resident at the AMNH, and as such I’ve had to do a lot of advocacy work at the “ground level.”  With librarians becoming increasingly digitally proficient and offering new digital services, a common question many face is: “Why is the library doing this? Isn’t this an IT thing?”

I'm not Marian the Librarian!

I’m not Marian the Librarian!

No. It’s not an IT thing. While all the back-end work, such as physically setting up servers and maintaining them is under IT’s jurisdiction, it is the information professionals who make all the ones and zeroes stored there discoverable and readable to users. Other misconceptions are that IT is responsible for making sure your data isn’t corrupted. It’s not. The job of IT ends at the storage, security (keeping out unwanted hackers, firewalls, etc.), and maintenance of hardware.

Where librarians excel in the technological world is in management and preservation. We can organize your digital objects, create systems to put it in where its searchable and accessible on a wide scale, and then preserve the most important 2-4% through techniques created within our field. Preservation metadata doesn’t add itself, nor does IT want to add to their already ridiculously long laundry list of things to do. I’ve worked so many IT jobs, just take it from me: they do not want the job of a systems engineer or a networking administrator AND a librarian.

Librarians are becoming increasingly digitally minded.

Librarians are becoming increasingly into the digital.

Nor should librarians work solely in analog materials anymore. With so much born-digital material being created daily, we need to be involved in its organization and management or data loss is a big concern. This interview with Sibyl Schaefer in the SIGNAL paints this idea perfectly; she says “we don’t all need to be digital archivists, but we do need to be archivists who work with digital materials.”

We need to help cultivate a culture that trusts librarians with both analog and digital materials. Libraries are a service, and as such we as librarians need to make known and understood the services we offer. This is done usually through interpersonal communication, in email, phone, text, IM, or face-to-face. Each of these interactions provide the librarian a great opportunity to explain why the services they and the library offer are only available through them. A few sentences here and there spawn larger conversations where we can continue to prove our knowledge and worth as digitally proficient staff. From there, institutional culture and indeed, wider stereotypes of librarians as stodgy old women can finally, finally end.

Milestone moment for NYARC

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Just a quick programming note today to say that you can now catch up with the latest news from my web archive management project with the New York Art Resources Consortium (NYARC) over at the Library of Congress’s digital preservation blog, The Signal:

Web Archive Management at NYARC: An NDSR Project Update

The post quickly summarizes all of the motivation and work behind the first phase of my project, to determine capabilities and model a workable routine of web archival quality assurance (QA). The principal product of that work itself, an open documentation of those capabilities and procedures, is likewise now open to view:

NYARC Web Archiving Quality Assurance (QA) Guidelines and Procedures

I hope that partners in the web archiving community will review and adapt this model reference guide to their own specific needs. It remains, however, a work in progress, and one that I hope to update and improve throughout the remainder of my residency with the input of those community members.

Check out both of the above and let me know what you think!

Party on, AMNH!

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Hello everyone! Vicky here to bring you some holiday cheer. I thought, since this is our last post before Hanukkah, Yule, Life Day, Festivus, Kwanzaa , Pancha Ganapati, Soyal, the Dongzhi Festival, Christmas, Newtonmas, Boxing Day, Omisoka, and New Years, I could wind down a busy few months by talking about the American Museum of Natural History party season!

Just about every day of the week, starting from the 10th of December to the 19th, there is a party at the AMNH. Each department has their own parties, some are small and attended mostly by people within the department; others are all staff events with food, drinks, and music.

The Library kicked off the party season this year, with probably 50+ people eating and drinking in the reading room (it’s only one night of the year, librarian friends who are cringing!) as the night went on.  This was a great opportunity for me to better get to know many of the scientists that I’ve interviewed for my NDSR project in a more informal environment.

Friday the 12th was the day of the physical sciences party. Since it’s one of the better slots for parties, the Rose Center was absolutely packed. What usually sets the physical sciences party apart from others is the high probability of seeing some science celebrities, since it is held in the same wing as Neil deGrasse Tyson’s office.

For me, the first celeb sighting of the night was Bill Nye the Science Guy! I walked by Neil deGrasse Tyson’s office on the way to the bar/food room, and looked in hoping for a quick look look at NDT himself, and to assess the number of people at the party. To my surprise, I saw Bill Nye in there dancing!! I promptly freaked out to my boss but kept moving as the office was way too crowded for me to get in.

Bill Nye & I


Later that night, as I was refilling my drink, in Bill walked to get some dinner. I saw him bopping around the table, getting some pasta and salad, and waited until he was done to approach and ask for a picture. He was so sweet and immediately agreed! He told me on “the Science Guy show,” they had 12 GB of digital data that were constantly being fanned and air conditioned. In his words, “it was state of the art technology.”

After I got through the crowds and saw a lot of the scientists I interviewed for my project here, I made it into Neil deGrasse Tyson’s office thanks to my security guard friend Jamiel, who is tight with Dr. Tyson. He introduced me to NDT, and asked if I could get a picture with him. Dr. Tyson replied “only if she asks me.” I was so struck I immediately stuttered out “if you don’t mind, Dr. Tyson!” And he turned to take a picture with me. As we opened a bottle of wine together, I told him about my project and digital preservation, which was absolutely incredible. He was obviously supportive of anything preserving science data. He even took a picture with my boyfriend later! Such a good sport.

Neil deGrasse Tyson & I in his office at the AMNH.

Neil deGrasse Tyson & I in his office at the AMNH.

I have to say, the AMNH is absolutely the best place I’ve ever worked. Everyone I’ve met here has been nothing but gracious and my work is everything I’ve wanted to do since I was a kid. However, perks like getting to meet Bill Nye the Science Guy and Neil deGrasse Tyson make this job all the sweeter.

Until our next posting, happy holidays to all you fabulous readers!

Catching up with Rebecca, Boston NDS Resident at WGBH

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Last week, I was able to catch up with my good friend and colleague Rebecca Fraimow. Rebecca is an NDS Resident in Boston at WGBH.  I’ve included some transcript excerpts from our conversation below:

Julia: it’s been about 3 months! You’re about a third of the way with your project! How do you feel?

Rebecca:  That’s pretty difficult to believe.

Julia: How do you feel? Do you have a good grasp of what’s going to happen come May? What do you think?

Rebecca: Mostly I feel like I have a better sense as far as my project goes. What happens when it’s May…I have no idea! As far as doing my work right now, I feel like what these last three months have really prepped me to do is figure out what kind of questions to ask my mentors.

Julia: I know a big part of what you’ve been talking about is your LTO [Linear Tape-Open] failure? How does that fit in with your project and how are you exploring that as a research project? How are you framing that question?

Rebecca: Well that’s a question…it’s sort of a part of my project that’s come up. It wasn’t originally designed as a part of my project because, obviously, WGBH didn’t know they were going to have a big failure and this is not specifically a failure of the LTO drives necessarily, but a failure in transferring the material off of an LTO automated storage system over a network to a local system.

Julia: It was because people were trying to access the material that [this error was discovered]?

Rebecca: Exactly, it was because they were trying the pull the material off the network. The storage material was storage for all of WGBH, it wasn’t storage specifically for the archive. Which is sort of what motivated the change within the archives to have their own Hydra DAM system to maintain local LTO machines with direct connections to local computers.

Julia: Ok, it was because of these failures that that you decided to…make the archive your own and no longer trust the institutional-wide workflow?

Rebecca: Pretty much.

Julia: That’s a good idea probably.

Rebecca: It’s pretty good to have the direct access and know you can just walk down to storage and pull out the tape and have control of that process all the way through.

Julia: Was that failure discovered after you came onto the project?

Rebecca: Not after, but shortly before. It was during the summer when all these massive amounts of material were transferred to Crawford [the vendor storage company]. So I first heard about it when I first visited WGBH, I guess it was the beginning of August… And they started talking about it at AMIA and it became clear there was a lot of interest… And more than that, other people had these kinds of problems, but maybe were not as open with them. It’s unclear if the failures are with the transfers, the transfer protocols, or the LTO tapes, but these are things that people ought to know about and can learn from.

Julia: So in terms of working with this as a research question? Are you studying and acquiring all the brands of LTO tapes you had? How are you replicating older system setups? It’s not like you can replicate that network? What steps are you taking?

Rebecca: Good question. Even now, it was even a question if the failures were with the storage of the files earlier. We probably won’t be able to necessarily replicate what led to the failures. What we are trying to do is narrow down exactly where the point of failure. So we got the files before they originally, or about half the files before they were transferred and their checksums. We can run some file analysis tools on them. We can try to characterize them using tools like FFMPEG and compare the results we get.

Julia: But what kind of failures were these failures?

Rebecca: That’s a really good question. There were actually three different types of failures. So the files… they looked like files when they came. The files transferred all the way, but the files types were unrecognizable. Let me backtrack to before I came onto the project. When these files were initially pulled, there was just such a hurry to transfer them. WGBH was sending these drives of born-digital material created at WGBH to Crawford, the vendor partner on the American Archive. WGBH pulled a whole bunch off of their own WGBH institutional files through their network and sent the hard drives to Crawford. When Crawford received some of the video files, they started to see large  and unfortunate failure rates. Initially in the first batch, in that particular batch there was a 57% failure rate: 693 failed in an initial FFMPEG analysis. That means that when FFMEG tried to characterize them, it couldn’t characterize them as video files. 394 files failed QC, meaning they had issues that made the file unusable — for example, a greenscreen with no audio, or the audio is digital noise only. And then 108 failed in transcoding — the software could not recognize the initial format well enough to rewrite it in a different format. Some of those problems are a little more straightforward than other problems.

Julia: Interesting! So, I’m trying to understand, are they all utter failures? Are some of these failures much worse than others?

Rebecca: That’s part of what I’m trying to discover: why these files were showing problems. So I’ll be doing some testing on the files that failed with FFMPEG and other file analysis tools. Maybe more importantly, the gist of my investigation there is going to be discovering exactly where these failures occurred: whether they happened on the LTO tapes [themselves], in being transferred to the LTO [from WGBH], or whether they were damaged in transfer coming off the LTO tapes [to the hard drives]. That is, whether it was pulling them off the network that damaged them and the transfer protocol itself.

Julia: Do you think your project is elastic enough that this can be absorbed into your project?  You can just talk to your mentors and this is a clear priority with your mentors as well?

Rebecca: Oh, yeah. This is kind of their idea anyway – to have me incorporate this into the stage when I was going to work on the American Archive data anyway. Casey initially proposed it and I thought that was a fantastic idea and a really interesting research to do. My project mentors are amazing; my project is amazing. There’s a lot of flexibility built in, which is kind of as it should be because you don’t really know what kind of problems you’ll see until you’re on the ground.

I think this is one of the keys to the NDSR Program. It has to have structure, it has to have clearly defined product, but at the same time it has to have a lot of flexibility. An archive has to work flexibly and you don’t really know what you’re going to find until you start doing it and see the systems that you have that you hit some major bumps in the road.

Julia: True, but at the same time at the end of our 9 months, we have very clear deliverables to define whether or not our project is a success.

Rebecca: Well…I think for all my fellow NDS residents in Boston, we’ve all seen our projects shift since we’ve hit the ground. For me, again, since my project is structured a little differently-in chunks rather than one overarching thing, it provides for more of that flexibility. My end deliverable is suppose to be an instructional webinar on everything I’ve learned in the archive, so obviously everything I do will go into that no matter what. But for a lot of my fellow peers who’ve had a large projects to work on throughout the course of 9 months, the deliverables changed and end goals changed when they got there.

Julia: It could also be a part of the design of the projects. The NY NDS projects are not diverging much…this may change, however. My project is going at a fast clip, but we also mostly work in a “chunks” and phases. That could be something.

So, we’ve talked a lot about your projects and different interesting problems, but I’m interested in hearing you describe more of your day-to-day schedule. What do you do in a week? How do you organize your time?

Rebecca: It kind of shifts day-to-day. We’re all in one big room, so I see everyone everyday. It’s a very, very friendly and comfortable environment. People can walk over to each other’s cubicles to ask questions, or pop up like gophers and shout across the way.

Julia: Paint the picture. Do you all get coffee and chat in the morning? Do you have regular meetings with your mentor?

Rebecca: Well, my main mentor is Casey [Davis], but during the first stage I’ve met more with Leah [Weisse]. Everyone gets in at different times, so meetings have to be in the middle of the day, like 11-3pm to not interfere with people’s lunches.

Julia:  So it’s pretty friendly and informal. Do you have a dress code? That was one of the big question when we [in New York] all started: what were the official dress codes of our respective institutions and what were typically days like.

Rebecca: No, not any official one, but I don’t wear ripped jeans to work. Or at least no stated written dress code.

Julia: How often do you see your mentors? Do you mostly interact with the 5 or so people in your department? It sounds like Casey has been really great at promoting your work within the entire organization, but I’m curious how you work with other people in your organization and department. Well for me, for example, tomorrow I’ll go in at 10, prep a workstation for an intern coming in at 11. I’ll prep for a meeting with another department and answer emails, check in with Don…Lay it out for me.

Rebecca: So, for example right now, I’m at a point of transition between projects, so it’s more meeting-heavy. I usually have 3-4 meetings a week, but tomorrow I have 3 meetings. So, I came in the morning to set-up for meetings and I set-up my LTO operations because transferring data takes a long time, which you well know.

Julia: That’s similar to my schedule. Do any of these workflows that you’re creating interact or are they discrete?

Rebecca: They do somewhat intersect, the American Archive workflow will serve as a test case for the larger WGBH workflow, but at the same time they have different focus and energy. Which I like because I can take the morning to figure out what project I want to work on. Do I want to work on the workflow document? Do I want to put my headphones on to work on improving shell scripts? The specifics of how I spend my day are up to me. It really varies pretty widely.

Julia: I want to loop back to a previous conversation we had about your preliminary workflow examination and the realization that there were partial remnants of old workflows… because it wasn’t really questioned because it’s such a large, complex workflow with different inputs? Maybe no one understands the full scope of it?

Rebecca: Well, I wouldn’t say it wasn’t questioned. I work with a lot of really smart people here who at one point or another would say, “well this doesn’t need to be here.”  I would say that unless you have someone dedicated to making sure change happens, it’s a lot easier to keep going with the old workflow because you don’t have to go through the work of explaining the new workflow to  large number of people. You have to keep up and you don’t have time to stop even if you know you have some issues. So that’s the benefit of a NDS Resident!

Julia: Yeah, we’re here for a very finite amount of time with a clear mandate. So you’re a beaming endorsement of the project? You really enjoy it, you find it fulfilling, you get along with your colleagues…

Rebecca: Only good things to say!

Julia: Any advice, to individuals  thinking about applying to the next NDSR rounds?

Rebecca: I say go for it! It’s a cool way to get a lot of different kinds of experience and to really have the opportunity to push yourself to learn- that’s the other really nice benefit. For all the work you are doing at your institutions, you are also really encouraged and in fact required to spend a large amount of time taking advantage of professional development opportunities: to continue taking classes, go to conferences, take webinars. For example, if I want to take the afternoon off to write a blog post, i don’t have to feel guilty about that; I’m suppose to be doing that! Or if you want to apply for a copyright class, I can take some time to do that because it’s related to my projects. There are some downsides, but I would definitely recommend it.

Julia: Totally. It’s the best part. Any surprises?

Rebecca: I thought that I was going to be the only resident in my cohort that wasn’t going to be creating a workflow diagram- it’s not true. There will always be a workflow! You can never escape a workflow.

Julia: Especially with these large scale projects. I think everybody, whether creating technical writing documentation or a diagram, is essentially creating workflows.

Rebecca: You learn to love it. You learn to embrace it. How did I ever live without the workflow? I want to create a workflow for everything.

Julia: It’s strange to design workflows for phantom individuals and departments, albeit in my case, I know that the documentation will lay the groundwork for newly created positions for a new department that is now forming.

Rebecca: I thought about that too, but I spent a huge amount of time documenting an inordinately complex document. Leah came in and said she wanted to show it to everyone to show the scope of the work we do.

Julia: Workflow as an advocacy tool! Anything to help advocate. That’s great! Well thanks so much Rebecca! I really enjoyed getting to know a more about your experience so far!

Rebecca: Thanks Julia!



Shira Peltzman on The Signal

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Head over to The Signal to check out “Preserving Carnegie Hall’s Born-Digital Assets: An NDSR Project Update” by resident Shira Peltzman.

From Shira’s post: “The first several months of my project feel like they’ve flown by. There are days when I reflect on what I’ve accomplished in just under three months’ time and feel proud of my progress, and then there are other days when I’m humbled by how much there is still left to do. But overall, the project has been one of the greatest learning experiences I could have hoped for–and there’s still six months left to go.” 


Shira Peltzman at Carnegie Hall. Photo by Gino Francesconi.

The Signal is the digital preservation blog of the Library of Congress. Each NDSR-NY resident will serve as a guest contributor during their residency. In case you missed it, here’s the contribution by Vicky Steeves from November.