Back to work

Well, we’ve swept up the confetti and put the empty champagne bottles out in the recycling bin, so I suppose it’s time to get back to work. This is going to be another post that recommends things for you to check out — sorry if you’re a fan of the more extended thoughtful posts, but there’s just a lot of interesting stuff out there at the moment.

  • Scholarships are available for the Metadata for You & Me workshops being offered in person in Indianapolis and in two online sessions. (Registration for the online workshop is $150, which seems pretty reasonable to me.) This workshop will “address the needs of library, museum and cultural heritage professionals in the creation, development and use of inter-operable or shareable descriptive metadata.” And who doesn’t want that?
  • If you haven’t already seen it, Matt Raymond reported last week on the LOC blog that they’ve added 50 more images to the Bain Collection of news photographs on Flickr. He also writes: “I’m told that we can now expect new batches of 50 photos to be uploaded on a fairly regular basis. . . . And because we government-types love to talk about results, there are some tangible outcomes of the Flickr pilot to report: As of this writing, 68 of our bibliographic records have been modified thanks to this project and all of those awesome Flickr members. To see those results, simply go to the Library’s Prints and Photographs Online Catalog (PPOC) and enter the search term ‘Flickr.’ “
  • If you’re interested in processing blogs, “Processing the Chew Family Papers” from the Historical Society of Pennsylvania provides another model for using a blog to share your processing finds with the public.
  • The Association of Research Libraries has made available their report on Preservation Statistics for 2005-2006. This report “presents data from 123 U.S. and Canadian research libraries that were members of the Association of Research Libraries during the 2005-06 fiscal year. The ARL membership consisted of 113 university libraries and 10 independent research libraries (public or private) in 2005-06.” The survey documents significant trends in investment of staff and funds toward preservation in research libraries, but of possible interest to those tracking preservation trends in archives is the data beginning with Table 3 on page 27. This shows the breakdown for each ARL member of what preservation actions were taken on “entire bound volumes,” “single unbound sheets,” and “non-paper items.” The actions taken include photocopying, microfilming, and digitizing.
  • The blogs of Libraryland provide food for thought, as always. The LibrarianInBlack linked to a great article in Educase by Peter Brantley, Executive Director of the Digital Library Foundation, called “Architectures for Collaboration: Roles and Expectations for Digital Libraries. You should read it. To whet your appetite, here are his “Library Mantras”:
    • Libraries Must Be Everywhere
    • Libraries Must Be Designed to Get Better through Use.
    • Libraries Must Be Portable.
    • Libraries Must Know Where They Are.
    • Libraries Must Tell Stories.
    • Libraries Must Help People Learn.
    • Libraries Must Be Tools of Change.
    • Libraries Must Offer Paths for Exploration.
    • Libraries Must Help Forge Memory.
    • Libraries Must Speak for People.
    • Libraries Must Study the Art of War.

How much change would be needed to turn those into Archives Mantras? How much of what he writes is true for us too?

  • One of my favorite library blog writers, Karen Schneider at the Free Range Librarian, has gotten into an interesting argument about what kinds of technology are most useful for conference attendees and speakers. Her latest post is titled “Stuff Costs Money” and it considers a wide range of topics that should be of interest to anyone planning, attending, or writing about professional conferences. I wish we had this kind of public dialog about what was available at our SAA conferences and how we could best promote what happens there.
  • And, I don’t know if this qualifies for my “Fun Stuff” category, but the American Historical Association blog has an amusing post titled “From the Archives: Why Can’t Historians Write?” It begins: “A review in the Washington Post last Sunday reiterated the now tired claim that postmodernism in its various guises is responsible for poor writing in the discipline. While the constellation of methods gathered under that label rarely promote lucid prose, the latest addition to our online archives–a 1926 report about The Writing of Historyshows the profession mulling over many of the same issues 80 years ago.” Ah, plus ça change, plus c’est la même chose, n’est-ce pas?
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2 thoughts on “Back to work”

  1. I liked that stuff costs money post. But to me the conference question is really about several things. Equity — who goes to professional conferences makes a big difference in who runs the organization. In most of the big ones, SAA, ALA, etc, that distribution is still pretty hierarchial. So regardless of your creativity, energy, and drive – if you don’t have institutional support, it’s difficult to attend with enough regularity to get into the decision stream. Impact — 2000 people flying in to a place and then flying back. The question is whether the facetime is worth the impact. I believe being together in real time is a very valuable commodity. But with the possibility of peak oil and pollutant costs where is that break point? Perhaps we’ll need to start looking at better regional conferences and bigger but less frequent national ones. I know archivesnext blogged about what was good, bad an ugly about the 2007 SAA conference. Hopefully, we’ll see more of that type of commentary in San Francisco.

  2. I like your lists of things to look at as well as your thoughtful posts. You definitely point out things that I wouldn’t see otherwise.

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