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


Requests and Compliance

I have had quite a lot of requests since the fall semester, including audio and film in addition to the normal photo requests. On Wednesday, I attended a compliance training session given by the university's new Compliance Officer. During this session, he mentioned considerations for signing contracts, which made me think about our own contracts that act as invoices for the reproduction of images and other materials (such as those featured in the most recent Ken Burns PBS special on Prohibition, currently airing!). Our forms were created by the Archives and approved by the General Counsel a few years before I started at CUA, and we have the authority to give users the permission to use or reproduce these materials. However, occasionally, I have researchers, usually representatives from large publishers, ask me to sign their contracts. I politely refuse and give them ours. This behavior was reinforced by the Rights and Reproductions panel of which I was a member at the spring 2011 MARAC. Today I learned that this is not only good procedure, but it will legally protect me because the Archives is not libel for contracts I sign outside of the approved forms because I am not authorized to do so.



As part of my work on the Digital Practices Committee, I have been researching several digital collection platforms to replace Greenstone as our viewer platform which sits over DSpace. Our group is jointly pursuing the initiative to create a better digital collections experience. At out meeting last week, we agreed that we would each pick one platform out of the possible platforms, and analyze the functionalities of the platform. I got VuDL, which was engineered by the Villanova Digital Library.

Doing some initial analyzing, it just looks amazing! The GUI is just phenomenal!

I do know that VuDL can also work as a back end (instead of DSpace or Fedora), but should work with them, as well. My biggest concern right now is trying to figure out if all of the amazing features I like are part of VuDL's structure, or if they are eXist and Oberon, which power VuDL.

I am also skeptical about VuDL's audiovisual capabilities. They say they can ingest the files, but according to the presentations online and the Google Group, they are still working on a plug-in for streaming files. However, the document and photo viewing system is very impressive. Its layout is similar to that of a pdf, where you can scroll through pages on a separate sidebar. Tabs separate the items in a document from the transcription files and metadata.

I'm also unsure of the metadata. The site says the are METS compliant, but there are other plug-ins being created. However, the metadata that appears in the upload and user views appears to be Dublin Core, though not qualified.

I have yet to further explore the system. I need to experiment with the live demo, and see if I can download it to my Mac (either at work or at home) to see if it is really as flexible as it seems. I still have to compare a few more capabilities to our committee's functionalities list, and look forward to doing more over the next three weeks before our next meeting!


Data Curation Lecture in the DC Area

The Digital Practices Committee of WRLC has organized this lecture by Scott Brandt. It has now be opened to all to encourage additional attendance in the area. From the WRLC Newsletter:

Event: Data Curation Profiles & Libraries 

Do you want to know more about cyber infrastructure and data management?  Are you curious about what the library’s role is in this burgeoning area?  How can librarians and researchers work together to make research outputs available?  How do researchers figure out who should share what with whom, and when? Then plan to attend:

Data Curation Profiles & Libraries,

presented by D. Scott Brandt
October 17, 2011
1:00 pm to 3:30 pm
Room 207, Gelman Library
George Washington University

Scott Brandt, Associate Dean for Research at the Purdue University Libraries, is an internationally acknowledged expert in data curation.  For additional information on this program hosted by The Washington Research Library Consortium (WRLC), please contact Martha Whittaker (  The program is open to all but space is limited.  Please RSVP to ( by October 7, 2011.

Scott Brandt is currently acting director of the Distributed Data Curation Center at Purdue (D2C2)  The D2C2 is the recipient of an Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) 21st Century Grant to create a Data Curation Profile Tool Kit.  The Tool Kit helps librarians work with scholars to capture general requirement for specific data generated by a researcher.  The profiles enable librarians and others to make informed decisions when managing research data. For more information, check out the Center’s website:

Outline of the Program
Data Curation Profiles & Libraries

  • Evolution of Scholarly Communication
  • New Role
  • Data Context

Dealing with Data: Deluge or Déjà vu?
Data Curation Basics
Data Curation Profiles:

  • Research Behind Them
  • DCP Toolkit
  • Examples

Going Forward:

  • Data Reference
  • Data Consulting
  • Data Instruction

Wrap-up and Q&A period


I'm Officially A Certified Archivist!!!

On Friday, I received an email letting me know that I had passed the ACA exam. On Saturday, I received my welcoming packed and my test scores (I did slightly better than I thought, and aced arrangement and description!), received my information sheet yesterday, and mailed it in today. One hurdle, accomplished!

Next step in my education, the Digital Archives Specialist Certification! I took one class at SAA, and will be taking another next Thursday. I've scoped out the six on-demand webinars, and look forward to taking them, too. I have yet to find out if the class exams have been posted, but will take them as soon as possible.


Freezer Procedures

On Monday, the consortial Preservation Advisory Committee met and among other things, we discussed the freezer procedures I have been working on. The procedures include preliminary steps to survey collection to identify what should be frozen, supply lists, packing steps, and removal procedures. The committee had a few revisions and ask for clarifications to some of the guidelines I created, but for the most part, the procedures are done!

It feels very good to put this project to bed, almost three years after the films were discovered, and to have created procedures that all member libraries can take advantage of the research and guidelines I created.