Share in our discoveries across three projects as we work to provide the first intellectual access to our hidden treasures relating to work and labor in early 20th Century New England, the 1939-1940 New York World's Fair and its period, and Boston local TV news.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Collection Level Record

Fifty collections are being described in 2010 by a team including media catalogers and interns: Work by men and women in northern New England agricultural environments, traditional and modernizing industries, and early twentieth century urban situations. In June the first collections listed below will be made public. Here is a glimpse of a top level finding aid in the user interface that will be accessible from
Click on image for a better view.

Georeference data is not shown in this snapshot, but is built into the CollectiveAccess database and will appear in the "Place" field.

Baker, Milford Collection
Bath Historical Society Collection
Beaudry, Philippe Collection
Belfast Historical Society Collection
Bradley, Cameron Collection
Bruner, John Collection
Camp Chewonki Collection
Camp Runoia Collection
Chisman, Jim Collection
Crate, Douglas W. Collection
Gillingham, Chet Collection
Groth, Ernest Collection
Hiram Historical Society Collection
Houston, Charles Collection
Johnston, Sally Collection
Kieve Collection
Lapointe, Daniel Collection
Leadbetter Collection
Medomak Camp Collection
Norwood Historical Society Collection
Oregon Historical Society/Gene Stueller Collection
Palermo Historical Society Collection
Pearmain, Pierce Collection
Smith, Janice Collection
Wayside Inn Collection
Whipple Family Collection
Willard, Norma Collection

The collections range in size from one reel to over 100 reels. The Norma Willard Collection is a single reel of 35mm. nitrate film depicting a young girl paddling a kayak with two boys assembling and then paddling a sectional boat designed by the donor's grandfather, marine architect Norman Skene.

The item-level records are written in the PBCore data structure. Jack Brighton at WILL Public Media has created a Web-enabled form for our catalogers and interns to write original records in PBCore. Later this year the items will join their top level records online.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Hellooo, New Hampshire!

By wonder of Skype technology, I was able to visit an undergraduate Media Studies course taught by Dr. Mark J. Williams at Dartmouth College in Hanover, New Hampshire last Thursday afternoon without leaving my post here in Bucksport!

The course itself is a survey of the effects of the rise of digital culture. I was very glad to introduce the topic of developing online archives and the use of open-source software to make archival collections accessible online. The students' previous exposure to archival collections online was in reference to large-scale corporate projects (NBC archives, for example). Our CLIR Project was a great way to introduce how technology is being applied at a regional nonprofit with a more communal or "local" focus.

I created logins for the students to explore our CollectiveAccess database, and gave a little demo regarding how I go about creating a finding aid - a process currently involving the use of three modules within the database (Entities, Accessions, Collections), and how that process has developed over time.

The students were most interested in how we are capturing (importing, exporting, organizing) our metadata - and vehemently calling for entire collections to be digitized for the public to catalog online. The nerd/librarian in me was thrilled to engage the students about standards and how we are applying them in our CLIR work. There were a lot of great thoughts regarding tagging vs. applying standardized subject headings - and the use of controlled tags so that the public could still participate in the cataloging process within a chosen standard.

Many of the students are convinced that the complete digitization of each film will both solve our cataloging needs and generate the revenue we would need to keep digitizing...and I like this about them. We had a great back and forth about the role of institutions and how collections relate to one another beyond data mapping, etc. (I found myself defending the physical while they defended the digital -- resulting in a stalemate!)

Overall, I had a lovely visit -- it was a great opportunity to think about this project in relation to "the rise of digital culture" and definitely a treat to discuss the future of our collections with the future of our profession.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Genre/Form Terms

"The descriptor genre describes the manner in which the intellectual content of a media item is presented, viewed or heard by a user. It indicates the structure of the presentation, as well as the topical nature of the content in a generalized form." from PBCore Genre Element.

Northeast Historic Film collects moving images widely across genres. The PBCore genre picklists are directed at later-twentieth broadcast works (House/garden, How-to, Interview). Our deep collections encompass materials from other eras and audiences, e.g., See yourself, Shorts, Silent films, Sponsored films.
Below is our draft set of Genre/Form terms and their scope notes. Many have been used by NHF for twenty years; a few, such as "See yourself," are newly selected to apply to a growing number of films in our collections created in the 1930s by itinerant creators to draw large local audiences.

The NHF Genre/Form terms and their scope notes are drawn from the Library of Congress's Moving Image Genre-form Guide and other sources. Nancy Watrous at Chicago Film Archives, Martin Johnson, NYU Cinema Studies doctoral student, Albert Steg, Center for Home Movies, Caroline Frick-Page at George Eastman House, Ann Cameron at Scottish Screen Archive, and Paul Eisloeffel at Nebraska State Historical Society have all been truly helpful.

Our decisions in creating the list and its scope notes, and applying the terms in the new cataloging for Intellectual Access to Moving Images of Work Life continue to evolve. Note that we have chosen Amateur as an encompassing term, inclusive of home movies.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Jack Brighton Visits/We Discuss Numbering

Northeast Historic Film had the pleasure of a two-day working session with Jack Brighton, Director of New Media & Innovation at Illinois Public Media on April 22-23. Brighton is a PBCore adept and one of the smartest and kindest people we know.

His visit focused on preparation to implement the PBCore data structure to describe our original analog works, while ensuring that all subsequent copies of these works (preservation copies and digitized surrogates for access) remain connected to the original intellectual content.
We're using the PBCore element "formatIdentifier."

Using PBCore for analog works is unusual, but necessary to carry us over the threshold from our heritage materials into the digital future. Collections Manager Gemma Perretta and Brighton worked up a numbering protocol. We'll spare the details here, but are happy to share if you ask. Here's a bit:
1050.0001_F16 = 16mm film instantiation of Acc. 1050.0001
2310.0003_F8 = 8mm film instantiation of Acc. 2310.0003
2310.0003_BSP = BetaSP instantiation of Acc. 2310.0003
2310.0003_DVD = DVD instantiation of Acc.2310.0003

Bath Historical Society Collection