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Musings of a librarian, former archivist, musician, bibliophile, and tech-obsessed.


Association for Recorded Sound Collections Website

One of the reasons I haven't been doing many updates on this site is that my website development time has been spent on the ARSC website. The new conference page is up, with additional pages coming soon. I've also been working on building a lot of the new awards pages and committee pages. ARSC is moving more towards a people-focused site and organization, and our website will soon be reflecting the shift!


Long Overdue Helpful Resources

Over the past month, I've received a few emails asking me about resources for various audiovisual digitization standards and workflows. Below is my response to the latest email, based on the research I have been performing to draft the UMD Libraries standards and guidelines over the past four months.

There are developing national standards for archiving audio and moving image media. A lot of the work in this area is being done at the Library of Congress, and I urge you to check out the standards that FADGI is developing:

You may also want to check out the huge project that the Indiana University Bloomington is undertaking on their campus: This is a follow-up to their involvement in the Sound Directions project, which does address a lot of difficulties that institutions (primarily large academic libraries) encounter in their audio archives (though it is applicable to other institutions on a much smaller scale:

The International Association of Sound and Audiovisual Archives has also addressed audio digitization and archiving from a technical level in addressed audio digitization and archiving from a technical level in IASA-TC 04:

The Audio Engineering Society (AES) and The Society of Motion Picture and Television Engineers have also put forward standards, though these are usually highly technical and difficult to translate into a non-production environment.

If you need a less technical site to understand formats, I highly recommend NDIIPP's Sustainability of Digital Formats site: The Technical Committees of the Association for Recorded Sound Collections and the Association of Moving Image Archivists have also put forward some helpful compilations of resources.

These resources primarily cover digitization and digital file standards, though Sound Directions and the newest publication from IUB, Meeting the Challenge of Media Preservation, do touch on metadata. FADGI has some drafts of metadata standards, and is supposed to be putting forward standards this year.

NARA is working on in-depth technical metadata standards for moving image media: The Library of Congress has had theirs for a while:

One thing to keep in mind is how video and audio metadata has been developed. PBCore was developed around Dublin Core metadata and is compatible with that schema. AMD and VMD from LC were designed around MODS and METS. The schema that you decide on should complement the metadata schema you already have in place, to prevent unnecessary metadata confusion and mapping.

Digital audio standards have been established between AES, ARSC, and IASA, and are now being improved upon, so we are fortunate in that.

As for capturing born-digital moving image materials, there is less publicly accessible documentation, but FADGI does have some resources. A new document was recently released concerning what is an archival format of video formats: Again, this is a draft, and most institutions may not be able to support the MXF/J2K format as well as .avi or .mov, but the document does give an idea as to the specifications and guidelines one should follow when creating, converting, or digitizing moving image. From my experience with records creators, establishing creation standards is essential so you don't have the favorite format and standard of whatever engineer you have on staff at the time, which is why what is in archives always varies greatly.

Lastly, I recommend checking out the Advanced Media Workflow Association for ideas about workflows: Their documents are especially helpful:

I am modeling our efforts on IUB's project, using many of the LC (NDIIPP and FADGI) standards. I would suggest starting there.


The most exciting Monday in a while!

If you follow me on twitter, you know I was tweeting the ARSC conference from Wednesday to Saturday. I spent part of last night and this morning following new people on twitter, and then came upon a message saying "Congrats" with a link from Ars Technica. It posted Sunday evening, after I had signed off from the digital world to decompress after a long week. I knew this article was coming, but I didn't know when.

I feel honored that I was asked for this interview, out of my many qualified colleagues, and I thank Chris from Ars Technica for taking the time over two months, and especially for getting the technical parts so perfectly! That's not always easy in our field! We may be doing a follow-up article on some of the specific technologies in digital libraries and archives once things calm down a bit (I need to catch up on real work after being out for about a week). If there is a follow-up, I'll post it when I can!


So you're setting up a centralized digitization program...

I've been neglecting my duty of sharing my experiences over the last several months. Part of that is because I've been so busy adjusting to a new job and attending conferences (Computers and Libraries, MARAC in Cape May, NJ, and soon ARSC), but I've also been doing things in my non-librarian life, such as joining a new orchestra and getting more involved in the DC Alumnae Chapter of Sigma Alpha Iota, a professional music fraternity.

I also haven't done that much of general interest at work yet. I've been preoccupied with reading manuals, guidelines, and policies that have been created since the initiation of a digital collections program in the UMD Libraries, creating a budget for a new unit, researching new equipment for the expanded conversion and reformatting services, and managing a large-scale digitization project with end-of-year funds. Yesterday, I completed the first 64 pages of an analysis of digital conversion and reformatting across the Libraries, and a plan for the new Digital Conversion and Media Reformatting Unit at UMD Libraries. I have to add several sections to the document, yet, and hold additional one-on-one interviews with my initial 23 stakeholders, but the initial survey that I created provided me with enough information to draft this much. I've also been working to update audiovisual digitization standards that haven't been done in about 5 years, or so. Thanks to some conversations with some great people in the area, I've also been able to add some information and find out about some very new resources created by FADGI and NDIIPP; my lunch and conversation with Jimi Jones was particularly helpful!

I do hope to work with the Libraries and have our new and revised guidelines posted online, available to the public as soon as they are completed and approved. So far, I've had a very productive first three months!


Major Update!

I have worked as an archivist for the past four years at Catholic University. I have enjoyed my time there and the numerous opportunities I had to develop policies, procedures, and infrastructure for photographic, audio, and moving image collections, and most recently digital collections, in addition to other archival duties such as processing, reference, and preservation. Because of the evolution of my work from the physical to the digital and the technological achievements I accomplished, I decided it was time for new challenges and opportunities.

On February 10, I will leave CUA, and on February 13, I will be starting at the University of Maryland as their Digital Collections Librarian. This is a new position, under the Library IT department, and will focus on creating digital collections and policies for digital collections across all of the library departments. While I will always have a strong passion for archival audiovisual materials, I have decided that this position will best help me with my career goals while allowing me to advance with my career out of an entry-level position. While I am no longer an "archivist" by title, I will still identify with this profession as I will be working with the content-managers of these and other collections to digitize and make accessible archival, special, and other less common collections and materials.

On this site and my Twitter feed, I will still discuss audiovisual media and technologies, but since I will be focusing on other digital technologies and processes, I will also be discussing these in more detail, hopefully bringing useful information to a new audience.

I thank my colleagues at Catholic and throughout WRLC--without your guidance and opportunities to prove myself, I would not have been ready to take this position. I also thank my future colleagues Maryland, who have already made me feel welcome--I look forward to the new challenges we will start together!