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From Steamer Trunk to Rare Books Collection

Perusing the Frauenzimmerspiegel raises many questions about gender roles assigned to men and women in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. It also speaks to the public and private place of women in a patriarchal society at that time and how more enlightened thinking slowly began to redefine these roles into civic models.

From From Steamer Trunk to Rare Books Collection | Unique at Penn

Museum Specimens Find New Life Online

For centuries, scientists who wanted to study a particular type specimen had to visit the museum where it is kept or have the specimen sent to them. Either way, the potential for damage was high: fragile body parts would sometimes fall off during inspection or transport, causing irreparable damage.

Each type specimen is “like the Mona Lisa,” said Katja Seltmann, a biologist at the American Museum of Natural History in New York who specializes in biodiversity informatics. “If an antenna or a leg breaks, all of a sudden, a really large part of information about that organism is gone.”

From Museum Specimens Find New Life Online - The New York Times

Flooding Threatens the NYT Picture Archives

From the New York Times:

A pipe burst in the Times’s morgue which occupies the sub-subbasement of the former New York Herald Tribune building on 41st Street. Morgue manager Jeff Roth is quoted as saying "this was the stuff of nightmares. It’s always been a worry."

Roth stated that most likely 90% of the photos could be salvageable. But it raised the question of how in the digital age — and in the prohibitive Midtown Manhattan real estate market — can some of the company’s most precious physical assets and intellectual property be safely and reasonably stored?

Week in Review photos protected the card catalog.

Here's the popular NYT Photo Archive tumblr account, the Lively Morgue.

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The Unseen Theft of America’s Literary History

This is a microcosm of the danger facing American archives. Because almost nothing is catalogued at the item-level, most of the unique material housed in these most important of repositories is particularly vulnerable to theft. When someone like Breithaupt steals a book, even a very old book, there is a catalog record that tells us it is missing—and likely some kind of duplicate copy somewhere else in the world. But when he steals a letter from Flannery O’Connor to John Crowe Ransom—unless that letter has been photocopied by another person—it basically ceases to exist. Not only do we not have the information in it, but we don’t even know that we don’t have the information in it.

From The Unseen Theft of America’s Literary History ‹ Literary Hub

Spanning Our Field Boundaries: Mindfully Managing LAM Collaborations

Spanning Our Field Boundaries: Mindfully Managing LAM Collaborations The Educopia Institute is pleased to release a new publication, Spanning Our Field Boundaries: Mindfully Managing LAM Collaborations. Authored by the "Mapping the Landscapes" project team (38 archives, library, and museums partner and supporting organizations collaborating on the IMLS-funded project), the publication adds to past LAM-wide collaboration studies by documenting both real and perceived boundaries that silently impact our ability to collaborate across the wide variety of organizations in the fields (and their myriad sub-fields), including organizational sizes and governance structures, staffing and funding levels, acronyms and vocabularies, disciplinary specialties and user communities served.

From Spanning Our Field Boundaries: Mindfully Managing LAM Collaborations | Educopia

Libraries' DIY crowdsourcing brings museum collection to life

The University of Iowa Museum of Natural History’s collection of 130,000 specimens offers more than meets the eye.

Detailed data accompanies nearly every item in the museum’s collection. Though rich in information that could yield promising avenues of research, data collected by hand can be difficult to search and analyze.

From Libraries' DIY crowdsourcing brings museum collection to life | Iowa Now

questions to ask when you learn of digitization projects

Some days you wake up and you see announcements of a new project to digitize a collection of primary source materials. Perhaps an archive that covers centuries of technological and commercial changes, perhaps a collection of newspapers that encompasses the history of African-American politics and culture, just to name a couple of purely hypothetical examples.

I don’t know any details about such agreements and neither do you, unless you happen to be one of the top-level executives at one of the holding institutions for these collections or at one of the companies doing the digitization. And because we don’t know any details, we don’t know whether such projects are great or not. But we can—and we should—ask some questions when we hear about them:

From questions to ask when you learn of digitization projects | Wynken de Worde

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How The Archive Corps Is Saving Documents Before They Disappear

“I’ve gained a reputation as someone you let know when things are going away,” Scott said. In the past, he’s helped connect people with books they’re about to throw away, then with archives that might take those books. But when he got the email about Manuals Plus, Scott says he was the last line of defense. So he drove 230 miles from his home in Hopewell Junction, New York, down to Finksburg, to find out if it was too late to help.

From How The Archive Corps Is Saving Documents Before They Disappear - The Atlantic

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Automating ArchivesSpace exports, or Better Living Through APIs

So after some work, I’ve come up with a Python script that uses the ArchivesSpace API to run through our repository, look for published resource records that have been updated since the last time the script ran, and then export EAD for those records. It will also generate PDF finding aids for those records, using a slightly modified version of the EAD to PDF converter developed by ArchivesSpace. Then it runs through all of the archival objects in ArchivesSpace to see if any of them have been updated, and if so exports EAD for the associated resource record and generates a PDF file. After that, it exports METS files for any digital object records associated with updated resources.

From Automating ArchivesSpace exports, or Better Living Through APIs | Bits & Bytes

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Archives & Access Project: AnnoTate - crowdsourcing to transcribe the Archives

AnnoTate is Tate and Zooniverse’s newly launched online transcription tool, and the public is invited to use it to help decipher the writing found in over 17,000 artists’ letters, diaries and sketchbooks. 

From Archives & Access Project: AnnoTate – crowdsourcing to transcribe the Archives | Tate

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