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Category: what if

Caring for Special Collections: Exploring the Connecting to Collections Bookshelf

Connecting to Collections BookshelfI subscribe to the RSS feed from the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS), and so saw a press release encouraging institutions to apply for the free IMLS Connecting to Collections Bookshelf.

The IMLS Connecting to Collections Bookshelf is intended to provide small and medium-sized libraries and museums with essential resources needed to improve the condition of their collections. The Bookshelf includes books, DVDs, and other collections resources, as well as a Guide to Online Resources and a User’s Guide to all of the materials. It addresses such topics as the philosophy and ethics of collecting, collections management and planning, emergency preparedness, and culturally specific conservation issues. ... 

Nurturing Fearlessness in the Face of Computers

Photo by Grant HutchinsonI have spent a fair amount of time thinking about what makes me different from those around me who proclaim themselves “not techie”. It isn’t that I know more about specific programs. I think it is that I am not afraid.

My friends and family always ask me to find them information online (or the best price for a new camera or the best airfare for their next trip) – and I really don’t think that I know better places to look online before I start. I think that I just don’t give up after the first two tries don’t work! ... 

Archival Transcriptions: for the public, by the public

There is a recent thread on the archives listserv that talks about transcriptions – specifically for small projects or those that have little financial support. There is even a case in which there is no easy OCR answer due to the state of the digitized microfilm records.
One of the suggestions was to use some combination of human effort to read the documents – either into a program that would transcribe them, or to another human who would do the typing. It made me wonder what it would look like to make a place online where people who wanted to could volunteer their transcription time. In the case where the records are already digitized and viewable, this seems like an interesting approach. ... 

Reflections on Blogging at SAA 2006

Mark A. Matienzo’s recent post (and its related comments) On what “archives blogs” are and what ArchivesBlogs is not over on thesecretmirror.com got me thinking about my experience of blogging SAA2006 again (as well as making me want to send out a special thank you to everyone for their kind words – as much as I am writing for myself, I will admit to being encouraged that there are others who find my posts worth reading). ... 

Records Speaking to the Present: Voices Not Silenced

When I composed my main essay for my application to University of Maryland’s MLS program, I wrote about why I was drawn to their Archives Program. I told them I revel in hearing the voices of the past speak through records such as those at EllisIsland.org. I love the power that records can wield – especially when they can be accessed digitally from anywhere in the world. It is this sort of power that let me see the ship manifests and the names of the boats on which my grandparents came to this country (such as The Finland ). ... 

My New Daydream: A Hosting Service for Digitized Collections

In her post Predictions over on hangingtogether.org, Merrilee asked “Where do you predict that universities, libraries, archives, and museums will be irresistibly drawn to pooling their efforts?” after reading this article.

And I say: what if there were an organization that created a free (or inexpensive fee-based) framework for hosting collections of digitized materials? What I am imagining is a large group of institutions conspiring to no longer be in charge of designing, building, installing, upgrading and supporting the websites that are the vehicle for sharing digital historical or scholarly materials. I am coming at this from the archivists perspective (also having just pondered the need for something like this in my recent post: Promise to Put It All Online ) – so I am imagining a central repository that would support the upload of digitized records, customizable metadata and a way to manage privacy and security. ...