Posted by: ksboulden | December 3, 2008

Digital Humanities

Since seeing this Research Associate position at the John Nicholas Brown Center for Public Humanities and Cultural Heritage, I’ve become interested in digital humanities scholarship. Information on grants, projects and workshops can be found at the Office of Digital Humanities, a division of the National Endowment for the Humanities. There is also an open access journal dedicated to the topic–Digital Humanities Quarterly. And this academic year, UCLA’s Center for Digital Humanities is hosting the Mellon Seminars in Digital Humanities, a series of workshops about the emerging field.

Maybe that PhD in Folklore that I dream about at night will be useful after all!

Posted by: ksboulden | December 1, 2008

Lessons Learned From My First Collection

1) Creating metadata is laborious. Determining the appropriate vocabulary, syntax, and structure of metadata was more work than I expected. To my knowledge, there is not a controlled vocabulary for beer so I had to make educated guesses as to what terminology to use. The most specific LCSH I could find for this topic was Beer-Belgium. I used this term in the subject field.

2) Software influences what types of metadata are included in collection and how the metadata are presented. For this collection, most of our class used Omeka. I enjoyed using the software because it was user friendly and provided several Dublin Core metadata elements for collection builders to use. Omeka even includes an explanation of what should be included in the fields. I still found determining what information to put in what field a challenge. Should the source field include the manufacturer of the item, where the item was purchased or who originally owned the item? I had several questions like this and eventually entered the majority of the metadata in the description field.

3) I need to take several courses in digital information management-stat.

4) One person’s trash can be that same person’s treasure. In this collection, I included an empty bottle of Westvleteren that I kept from my trip to Belgium almost three years ago. I had forgotten that I still had the bottle, but when I found it, I was excited about adding it to the collection. The personal or cultural significance of an itemits valueis subject to change over time. An object perceived as having little value could instantly become an object of significance; point of view and perception are the only obstacles that keep an object from being valued. The same goes for digital collections.

Posted by: ksboulden | December 1, 2008

Sergent Belgian Beer Glassware Collection

Posted by: ksboulden | November 10, 2008

Mmm, Delicious Metadata

Posted by: ksboulden | November 3, 2008

Metadata on my Mind

Posted by: ksboulden | October 27, 2008

PhD in Digital Librarianship

For those of us interested in pursuing a PhD in LIS, we may want to consider the Cultivating Digital Librarianship Faculty (CDLF) program at the UT-Austin School of Information or Drexel University iSchool.

Posted by: ksboulden | October 14, 2008

Today is Open Access Day!

Today is the first international Open Access Day. The day is sponsored by SPARC, the Public Library of Science (PLoS), and Students for FreeCulture. Open Access Day was created to educate individuals about the importance of open access and to discuss issues relevant to scholarship, education and OA. Later this evening there will be global broadcasts discussing open access from a variety of viewpoints. I wish I would have known about this day sooner–I’m sure our class would have loved to participate in this global discussion!

Posted by: ksboulden | October 13, 2008

Open Access Anthropology Journals

The American Anthropological Association recently announced that archived articles from two of its journals, American Anthropologist and Anthropology News, will be available free online in 2009. Content from 1888 to 1973 will be available via AnthroSource. So…these AAA publications have a 35 year embargo period?! I’ve heard of a 12 month embargo period for electronic journal articles-but 35 years is a generation! Discussion of the pros and cons of AAA’s open access move is available here. Although recent research is not open access, AAA has taken one small (and gold) step in the diffusion of anthropological research and knowledge.

Posted by: ksboulden | October 6, 2008

“A Collection can be Anywhere”


National Archive of Scotland, Edinburgh (Photo: Kristal)

In my first post I discussed two definitions of a digital library or collection. While I find the definitions straightforward, they seem expansive and applicable to a range of online resources. A digital collection is characterized by information that is digitized and organized for effective accessibility. This immediately brings to mind several types of online resources. But many of them-like dictionaries or directories-are not usually described as digital collections. Are a digital collection and a digital library the same thing? Although I have used the terms interchangeably, a digital library can specifically refer to a library or institution web page designed exclusively to house digital documents and objects that the library or institution owns. A digital library can also be a personal web page. It looks like I need to find some research on the etymology of these terms.

Our professor, Dr. Martens, has said during lecture that a collection can be anywhere. Her definition reflects the expansive and flexible definitions of Lee and Lesk. This has broadened my conceptualization of digital libraries-and I think this type of flexibility is necessary in our complex and ever-changing digital environments.

This discussion is useful for me because I will create a digital collection for this course by the end of the semester. I have yet to select a topic for this collection. I was having difficulty choosing a topic because of the broad nature (and copyright concerns) of digital libraries. Right now I have a few ideas but nothing definitive yet. Stay tuned for updates on my topic!

Posted by: ksboulden | October 2, 2008

Digital Books on Demand

The Espresso Book Machine doesn’t make coffee but it does print and bind digital books in less than ten minutes. The University of Michigan’s Shapiro Library is the first academic library to use the “ATM of Books,” as the machine is commonly known. Books printed by the Espresso Book Machine cost around $10, giving users greater access to out of print or obscure publications. The book digitization collaboration between the University of Michigan Library and Google provides users around the world with a unique opportunity to purchase print copies of monographs from the UM Library’s digital collection. Maybe the 2.0 model of the Espresso Book Machine (to be released next year) will make soy cappuccinos while you wait for your book…

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