The Bigger Picture: Visual Archives and the Smithsonian
Posts tagged with: Digitization
“We cannot become what we want to be by remaining what we are.” – Max DePree
Many organizations are affiliated with the Smithsonian. The Oklahoma Historical Society (OHS) in Oklahoma City has a mission to "collect, preserve, and share the history and the culture of the state of Oklahoma and its people." As the digital archivist of this Smithsonian Affiliates organization, I was able to participate in a two-week Visiting Professional Program at the Smithsonian Institution Archives (SIA). During the information-packed two weeks, I gained a plethora of experience and knowledge about innovative digital processes that are valuable to the Oklahoma Historical Society Research Division's present and future collections.
Currently, the OHS houses more than 3 million digital pages of newspaper with 1 million digital pages online free to the public. The photographic archives contain more than 10 million images. More than 150,000 are digital files. In addition to print media, the OHS houses audio and visual materials that contain sound recordings on a variety of formats. The digitization of these in-house collections has become more prevalent and the imminent step, today, is to continue this mission by creating effective digital content management practices. My residency with the Digital Services Division was an initial step toward this goal as OHS' digital archivist.
Riccardo Ferrante, Director of Digital Services & IT Archivist, supervised a well-orchestrated schedule of events, workshops, lectures and internal collaborations, to direct my residency toward fulfilling the goals to improve the digital content management practices of the OHS. During my residency I learned about the Digital Services Division's mission and their current and future projects. Time was spent exploring conservation processes, and multiple practices and methodologies.
Of particular interest to me, I learned about the Collaborative Survey of Born Digital Collection Holdings. "Born Digital," describes all items that were created in electronic or digital form. A two-phased survey, this project focuses on born-digital holdings across the Smithsonian's archival units, by addressing the challenges faced by the inflow of digital materials. Participants include the Archives of American Art, the National Anthropological Archives and Human Studies Film Archives at the National Museum of Natural History, the National Air and Space Museum Archives, the Archives Center at the National Museum of American History Archives, and the Smithsonian Institution Archives. The survey goal is to conduct a multi-archive inventory of born digital holdings and identify the level of risk these historic digital files face in terms of current and future accessibility, and current and future requisites of care. Based on the survey findings, the best practices of the Archives' Electronic Records Program can be refined and implemented at the other archival units.
The survey directly relates to OHS goals by identifying endangered or obsolescent materials and preventing future deterioration through specific measures, which has been developed through collaborative efforts among the Smithsonian units. These efforts combine multiple-processes concerning reformatting and migration of data, database creation, and the importance of well-developed workflow management. The Archives provided plan initiatives and its changes to initial methods as a learning model to serve as a guide for implementation within OHS' current processes and, specifically, how the survey model can be applied to various digital projects. As technology changes and adapts to newer ideas, establishing a firm platform to build upon can be the most imperative step through the starting line into the progress.
With well-orchestrated scheduling, the Archives guided my experience in a practical and valuable manner. By learning about the processes, templates, workflows, and techniques used at the Archives, it is without doubt that the OHS will be better positioned to fulfill its mission.
- A unique collection indeed - North Carolina State University is developing a digital library of dyes. [via InfoDocket]
- Announced this week: Melissa Chiu, currently the museum director and senior vice president for Global Arts and Cultural Programs for the Asia Society in New York City, was named the director of the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden.
- Indiana University Libraries Moving Image Archive launched a new digital online exhibit of World War II propaganda films. [via Kira Sobers, SIA]
- Members Only - A look at the characters who made up the membership of the Royal Institution. [via Royal Institution Blog]
- Who knew? - Roy Lichtenstein's, Modern Head, outside of the Smithsonian American Art Museum gets cleaned with dishwashing liquid. [via Eye Level, SAAM]
- The Biodiversity Heritage Library adds the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign as its 16th member. [via InfoDocket]
- Another use for Legos - Cable management! [via Core77]
- Talk about a passion - Tim Jenison, a Texas-based inventor and computer graphics specialist, quest to determine the painting techniques of Dutch master, Johannes Vermeer. [via Colossal]
- The Museum of New Zealand recently released over 30,000 downloadable images from its collections. [via Lynda Schmitz Fuhrig, SIA]
- This year marks the 25 anniversary of the 1989 Tiananmen Square Movement and the University Library at Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis has made public 400 previously unseen black-and-white photographs from the movement. [via InfoDocket]
- In Star-Spangled Banner news - 7 things you didn't know about it and the story of the African American girl who helped make it. [via O Say Can You See? blog, NMAH]
- A discussion of criticism on Facebook and how to preserve it. [via Rhizome]
- Last week the National Archives shared with new Open Government Plan which lays out the Archives focus on egaging the public through more than 160 external projects on more than 15 social media platforms, as well as through public and education programs, Research Services, and the Presidential Libraries. [via AOTUS blog, NARA]
- No wonline - Audio interviews and transscripts from the Stanford University project, "Project South," which documented the Civil Rights Movement during the summer of 1965. [via InfoDocket]
- The Independent UK presents the history of World War I in 100 moments. [via The Independent]
- 100 years of change - Watch as historic photos from Antwerp during World War I fade into their 2014 equivalents. [via PetaPixel]
- The Metropolitan Museum of Art recently released 400,000 hi-resolution digital images online that you can download and use for non-commercial purposes. [via Colossal]
- When digitizing still images, here is a comparison of the different formats you can choose from. [via The Signal: Digital Preservation, LOC]
- There are 35,144 active museums in the United States, double the last official estimate in the 1990s. [via InfoDocket]
- The Archives Center at the National Museum of American History recently acquired the personal papers of Don Herbert, who was better known as Mr. Wizard and who brought science education to kids from the 1950s to the 1980s. [via Smithsonian Science]
- May and June bring about graduation season at high schools, colleges, and universities across the country. NPR has a new online database of commencement speeches to peruse and C-SPAN has a collection of 677 speeches as well. [via InfoDocket]
- Due for an inspection - with the Boeing Milestones of Flight Hall scheduled to be redone, Charles Lindbergh's Spirit of St. Louis will be lowered for inspection and conservation. [via AirSpace, NASM]
- Album covers, a disappearing fixture of our music experience, photographer Jim Cummins took hundreds of images that made were used for covers at Atlantic Records. Now he is in the process of restoring some of those photos from his archive of 2500 images. [via PetaPixel]
- Consulting the diaries of Christopher Columbus, archaeological investigators think that may have found the wreck of the Santa Maria off the north coast of Haiti. [via The Independent]
- The National Archives (U.K.) recently released their Twitter and YouTube archives. [via The National Archives blog]
- Quite the accomplishment, the Internet Archives has archived 400 billion webpages, enabling you to surf the webs from 1996 to today. [via InfoDocket]
- More announcements: Willie Nelson donates a portion of his papers to the University of Texas at Austin; University of British Columbia Digitization Centre Joins The Flickr Commons; the Smithsonian American Art Museum will make its digitized collections open to app developers. [via InfoDocket and ARTFIXdaily]
- The European High Court ruled that individuals have a "right to be forgotten" which allows them to request search engine results be removed to protect their right to privacy. [via InfoDocket]
- For all of us who have tried it, singing "The Star Spangled Banner" well is quite difficult, but thankfully here is an explanation of the reason why! The video below is of folk musician, Pete Seeger, leading the audience in singing our national anthem. [via O Say Can You See?, NMAH]