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.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Use Your Words

Media cataloger Katrina Dixon and CollectiveAccess developer Seth Kaufman met on Monday in New York for an update and discussion of next steps. This is the midpoint of Moving Images of Work Life. Time to note achievements, a few recent lessons learned, and announce public activities.

The first 25+ finding aids are online at Moving Images of Worklife, 1916-1960, accessible from Northeast Historic Film's website, To achieve this, we have temporary server access from NHF's Linux server while the project's editing and record creation continues on a CollectiveAccess server at, Seth Kaufman's company.
Lesson learned: software development for descriptive access has many dependencies; forward motion is often sideways and requires levels of communication and compromise. BTW, we're looking for a Linux server specialist to help with updates and security--for us this is new tech, new issues.

Boafoa Offei-Darko, in Bucksport for a ten-week internship from Wellesley College, has been entering PBCore item level records, starting with the Joshua Curtis home movies.
The screenshot shows her selection of subject index terms for this reel: Cities and towns, Ice industry, Winter, Parades.
The cataloging team must have access to the materials to be described, which for moving images requires reference copies, usually DVD copies of each reel. For the PBCore item level records each reel is described at a level of detail that allows differentiation among the reels. Shot level description is too time consuming, while sequences described in one pass by the cataloger seems to be a useful aim.
The collection file and accompanying annotation provide essential background for item and colleciton level description. Boafoa digitized an exceptional log created by the Hinds family last week, accompanying their 100+ reels of 16 mm. film. From the new CollectiveAccess accession database by Gemma Perretta. "Accompanying material: Charles B. Hinds Logbook, a 6"x8" 3 ring bound notebook with 143 pages of typed notes by reel describing home movies 1914-1953. Author, Charles B. Hinds."
Lesson learned: communication among staff members backed up by ongoing documentation of holdings allows for efficient knowledge building and quicker sharing of essential information with the public. New systems can be straightforward and followed consistently.

With a grant from the Library of Congress, The Center for Home Movies plans a September Digitization & Access Summit in Culpeper, Virginia, addressing, among other issues, cataloging and description on the way to a plan for increasing the availability and understanding of amateur filmmaking. Our team is participating.

Our access session, "Describing Local Films: New Thoughts on Itinerant-produced Works," with presenters Katrina Dixon and Martin Johnson, a doctoral candidate in Cinema Studies at New York University, was accepted for the Association of Moving Image Archivists annual conference to be held November in Philadelphia.


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