Some Thoughts On Digital Objects and ArchivesSpace

The digital object component records might also include extent information, more specific rights information, or...???

It's been exciting to think about the possibilities of ASpace's digital object record, but the fairly wide-open nature of the endeavor is also daunting, as there's no established best practices to fall back on.  What do you think?  How are (or would) you proceed?  We'd love to get your feedback and/or reactions!

From ArchivesSpace-Archivematica-DSpace Workflow Integration: Digital Objects and ArchivesSpace

How Chemistry Is Rescuing Our Audio History from Melting

Our cultural history is crumbling. Not because of bad education—though one might make that argument—but because of chemistry.

Between the late 60s and the late 80s, much of our culture—from the Nixon trials on television to unreleased music from famous artists like the Beatles—was recorded on magnetic tape, and this tape is starting to disintegrate. Some of the audio and visual data has already been safely adapted to digital storage, but the majority hasn’t—and it’s a problem of massive proportions.

From How Chemistry Is Rescuing Our Audio History from Melting - Facts So Romantic


The Quest to Unlock an Ancient Library

“The idea is that you’re not just conserving the image digitally—you can actually restore it digitally,” Seales explained, in his earnest, go-getter way. The potential struck him in 1995, when he was assisting Kevin Kiernan, an English professor, on a digital-imaging project involving the only extant copy of “Beowulf,” the medieval masterwork, which is in the British Library. The manuscript was damaged in a fire in 1731. The Kentucky team used a variety of techniques, including one called multispectral imaging, or MSI—developed by NASA for use in mapping mineral deposits during planetary flyovers—to make the letters stand out from the charred background. The basic principle is that different surfaces reflect light differently, especially in the infrared part of the spectrum. Inked letters will therefore reflect at different wavelengths from those of the parchment or vellum or papyrus they are written on.

From The Quest to Unlock an Ancient Library - The New Yorker

A digital portrait of Colonial life

Launched Monday, the website of the Colonial North American Project so far includes 150,000 images of diaries, journals, notebooks, and other rare documents from the 17th and 18th centuries.

Part of the University’s endeavor to digitize all its collections and make them available free of charge, the Colonial North American Project is unique because of its scale. According to a 2011 survey, the material is scattered through 12 repositories — from Houghton Library to the Harvard University Archives to Loeb Music Library.

From A digital portrait of Colonial life | Harvard Gazette

Digital Archive To Preserve History In Atlanta's Manuel's Tavern

In a few months' time, Atlanta's iconic watering hole and beloved neighborhood living room will close for renovation. A collaboration among three local academic institutions is underway to ensure that nearly 60 years of history hanging on the walls will be documented, annotated, and preserved for restoration after reopening.

What’s so special about Special Collections?

Patrons of modern libraries likewise expect the instant gratification of online viewing rather than having to pull print copies off the shelves, let alone jumping through the hoops necessary to obtain more restricted content. Having a pre-Carnegie access model in the age of Google Books is increasingly alienating to potential users.

From What’s so special about Special Collections? — Medium

Some public libraries home to rare and valuable treasures

When it comes to where one might find rare works of art or valuable historical artifacts, most people think of museums or perhaps the Boston Public Library, particularly after the high-profile “loss” earlier this year of valuable prints by Albrecht Dürer and Rembrandt that were ultimately found 80 feet from where they should have been filed.

Many would be surprised to find, housed amid the book and DVD collections in many local public libraries, historical treasures ranging from the rare and valuable to the curious, such as Woburn’s swatch of the wool coat Abraham Lincoln was wearing when he was assassinated.

For the most part, local libraries are not in the business of actively collecting historical artifacts, but rather have amassed a hodgepodge of donated items of historical value and interest, said Jake Sadow, statewide digitization project archivist with the Boston Public Library.

From Some public libraries home to rare and valuable treasures - The Boston Globe

Restoring the Long-Lost Sounds of Native American California

In November, researchers at UC Berkeley will begin a three-year project to restore and translate thousands of century-old audio recordings of Native California Indians. The collection was created by cultural anthropologists in the first half of the 20th century and is now considered the largest audio repository of California Indian culture in the world.

Nearly a third of the 2,713 recordings come from Ishi, the storied last member of the Yahi tribe who lived the last years of his life inside the University of California’s Phoebe A. Hearst Museum of Anthropology. Ishi died in 1916 from tuberculosis. He was 54 years old.

From Restoring the Long-Lost Sounds of Native American California | The California Report | KQED News

Girl in the Moon: Rare books gifs - John Dee, volvelles, apples and things

Culture Themes is a twitter account that organises monthly themed days on Twitter, primarily for museums. This month it was museum gifs - #musgif - and I put together a couple for the RCPmuseum account from some of the star objects from the RCP's forthcoming John Dee exhibition.

To make the first three gifs, I set up the department camera on the department tripod and took a series of photos, stop-motion animation style. Then I layered up the individual images in Photoshop (other editing software is available), cropped them, resized them and saved them as gifs. To make the last, I took a pre-existing photograph and played about with it in Photoshop.
It was quicker and easier that I thought it would be, and I'm delighted with how well the gifs show off the materialty of the books.

From Girl in the Moon: Rare books gifs - John Dee, volvelles, apples and things

Northwestern University archivists aim to resurrect outdated technology

"Certainly digital archiving is becoming the new normal, but it's not replacing paper," Feeney said. "It's coming in as an addition to the paper. There may be a change around the corner, but right now we've continued receiving more and more electronic files but we're continuing to receive the traditional material in the same or greater quantities."

While Northwestern archivists said their program could be the first in the nation to tap into the junk drawers of the public for mobile devices, Dennis Meissner, president of the Society of American Archivists, said that the problem of turning on and deciphering outdated technology is not a new one. Technologies such as microfilm, magnetic media and wax media are just some of the devices that archivists have had to tackle.



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