Monthly Archives: December 2011

Podcasts and Itunes-U Lectures

Happy New Year!

 

Many of us make resolutions, some of us don’t keep them. If your resolution is to learn more, then I have a resource for you. iTunes has a treasure trove of educational podcasts and lectures from their iTunes-U (University) collection. Whether you’re unemployed, in school, or happily employed, you should find these resources useful. I think iTunes-U is the Carnegie Library of our generation. There, you can learn as much as you like and all the podcasts and lectures I’ve seen have been FREE. Honestly, people should take advantage of these resources.

How Stuff Works: Stuff You Missed in History Class, Stuff Mom Never Told You, and Stuff You Should Know

As for iTunes University Lectures I’ve listened to:

Capitalism: Success, Crisis and Reform

…Among thousands of others. I’ve been able to continue learning outside of school with the help of these resources.

 

P.S. For those of you who don’t know, “podcasts” are basically audio and/or video recordings which are available on the internet, either on individual websites or from one of many podcasts databases, such as the one on iTunes. The vast majority are FREE to download and can be listened to on your computer (most are in MP3 format), MP3 player, or burned to a CD and listened to on any CD player. Just think of them as radio performances that you can listen to any time you want on whatever device you want.

 

P.P.S. iTunes-U lectures are primarily real college and university lectures by eminent academicians (many from Ivy-League schools). You can find lectures on virtually any topic from Early Modern English History to Quantum Physics. Just search for what you’re interested in — or what you know nothing about but have always wanted to audit a 101 class in.

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Interesting articles on MPLP and SNAP

I recently stumbled upon this article on  More Product, Less Process. The author brings up alot of great points on both the MPLP process and the current dependence on interns in archives.  I personally found the point of the lost knowledge of collections when those interns leave noteworthy.  It seems both parts of this system could afford some changes.

Also the Students and New Archives Professionals Roundtable or (SNAP) has submitted its proposal and is looking for signatures for its petition. I for one has signed it.

They are both worth a read.

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EAD workshop I recently attended

Hope everyone is having a happy holiday season.

 

I recently attended a EAD (Encoded Archival Description) workshop hosted by METRO and presented by Lara Nicosia. It was very informative and practical. We each had a laptop to use, so we actually got hands-on experience working with EAD.

 

The presenter began with a basic overview of EAD and its history. She thought us to read an XML document first. Then she lead us though populating a blank XML template. I have to say, I was very impressed how she was able to ease people slowly into the encoding. We worked mostly with Notepad in the morning, but after lunch she showed us how to use Oxygen. I greatly enjoyed working with that and we spent most of the workshop on Oxygen. While I would have liked to survey other XML editors, Oxygen is the most popular so I can see why she focused on that. Also, I found out you can download the application cheaper than I would have thought.

 

What I really liked is that we were given a paper finding aid and had to convert it into an EAD format by the end of the workshop. So while I can’t speak for the others who took the workshop, I now feel confident that I could create my own EAD. I would highly recommend anyone pursuing an archival job to try and learn this application or attend a similar workshop. It was well worth it for me.

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Content and Context

I hope everyone had a great Thanksgiving this past Thursday. I read this article earlier this weekend thought I would post it.

I’m interested in learning more about MerlinOne. I think there is going to be a great need for this type of program as online posting of video increases. Tags and keywords can only describe so much when cataloging videos.

I believe that this takeaway is very potent and true to the information/archival/library profession:

“Content may be king but Context will be emperor.”

 

You can digitize a document or image and put it online; but without the metadata that accompanies that image, users can’t know anything about it. Even if it’s the most interesting image in your archive. However, metadata is only half the battle. If you only have one digitized image or document and can’t tie it into a larger collection, your online exhibition is incomplete.

 

Context can help shape a digitization project; it can keep it from getting overwhelming. As much as we would love to digitize the whole archives, realistic constraints of time, money, and person-hours make it impossible. Context can help you focus down to a particular collection at a time. It can also help when you need to apply for grants or local support.

 

Context is vital for librarians. If a patron is interested in a topic (like, Mayan culture for example), why are you interested? Is it for their own general interest? Are they picking up the book for a child’s research paper? And if so, age and level of comprehension? What do they need in order to be able to write about this topic?

 

I like to think of it like a gallery in a fine arts museum, You go up to the wall and you see the painting.(Image) Then on the side there is a little plaque that tells you a little about the painting (ex. title, artist, date) (metadata). But gallery exhibits are usually centered around particular themes, artistic periods, or collection. Say a Da Vinci painting was placed next to a Van Gogh sketch. Why? You need context. Otherwise they might as well not be in the same room.

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