John Dewey once stated: “We do not learn from experience…we learn from reflecting on experience.”
So, as I have just finished my first year as the Audiovisual Archivist at the Rockefeller Archive Center (RAC), I thought now might be a good time to reflect upon what has been accomplished in these last twelve months.
Several years ago RAC faced a dilemma familiar to many in our profession – a daunting processing backlog that was growing exponentially and depriving scholar’s and staff of access to many of the records held in our collections. Our collections are great resources of knowledge, but only if those resources are available to our users!
To find a solution, we actively sought processing practices that reflect our values as an operating foundation, specifically the values of collaborating and sharing knowledge, disseminating information, promoting discovery in all its forms, and facilitating open and equitable access to all our archival holdings. Over the last year and a half, we shifted our strategy to processing by accession and implemented a standards-based approach which has been a resounding success thus far and has resulted in the processing and opening for research of over 4,500 cubic feet of records. This discussion will be the first in a series of posts about our processes and collaborations. I hope our experiences may be valuable and helpful to others. Continue reading →
Recently, I attended METRO’s Annual Conference where I presented on a panel titled “Getting More Out of (and Into) Your Collections Management System.” I spoke about my experience learning to code as a processing archivist and developing DACSspace. The following is the text from my presentation.
As the newest member of the Processing Team, I have been working on writing a DACS compliance evaluation script called DACSspace. Creating this tool came with a lot of “firsts” – this was my first experience writing code as well as interacting with an API. After a successful (yet sometimes frustrating) three months, I am excited to introduce DACSspace to the archival community and share a reflection of my work.
I wanted to let everyone know about a new effort underway in New York State to test the feasibility of a state-wide consortium for EAD finding aids. The RAC has been involved from the beginning of this project, which started with a 2011 survey of archives, special collections, historical societies and other institutions in New York State that hold unique materials to determine the level of EAD implementation at the state level. This survey found a very strong support for a finding aid consortium in the state. Continue reading →
I’m pleased to announce that Rockefeller Archive Center’s finding aids and library records available on our discovery system, DIMES, are now licensed under a Creative Commons Zero (CC0) dedication! This means that you can copy, modify and distribute our descriptive metadata in any way you want without asking us for permission. The CC0 license is explained in full on the Creative Commons website. Continue reading →
One of my favorite sessions at this year’s SAA conference was “Disruptive Components: Reimagining Archival Access Systems,” during which three archivists and one technical services librarian from Princeton spoke about their recent re-envisioning of an access system for archival description. This team was responsible for developing a new system which has been widely hyped in the archival community – and deservedly so – for setting the bar for the next generation of access systems. I was excited to hear what the panelists had to say about this project, and I was not disappointed. Continue reading →
The XTF development server (http://192.168.50.29/xtf/search) has been set up so that RAC staff can preview an EAD file exported from the Archivists’ Toolkit. This server is only available inside the RAC network. Follow the steps below to see what your finding aid will look like online.
A number of changes have recently been made to our XTF discovery interface system.
The most obvious one is that we’re now calling the system DIMES, which was a name chosen a while back in a naming contest which you all voted on. Congrats again to Laura for coming up with the winning idea! Along with this name change, we’ve also changed the URL for the system to http://dimes.rockarch.org/xtf/search. Continue reading →
Part of my job is being up-to-date on the latest happenings in technology and digital archiving. In my attempts to accomplish this (one can never be truly up-to-date; there’s always some new information out there) I tend to browse through many, many, many, publications, blog postings, presentations, videos, etc. each week. Some are gems, some reinforce knowledge I already had, some introduce new technologies, and some make you wonder why the author bothered. Thankfully that last category isn’t very numerous! Below are articles from the past couple weeks which I’d recommend. I’m listing these partly to spread the knowledge through the RAC, and partly to create a running bibliography of texts from which we can form discussions, or refer to when questions like “What did that project do?” or “Wasn’t there some article on a program that did that well?” come up. Please feel free to leave feedback or responses to the texts in the comments. Continue reading →