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Our digital legacy: shortlist announced for the Digital Preservation Awards 2014

Open Planets Foundation Blogs - 11 September 2014 - 8:54am
Created in 2004 to raise awareness about digital preservation, the Digital Preservation Awards are the most prominent celebration of achievement for those people and organisations that have made significant and innovative contributions to ensuring our digital memory is accessible tomorrow. ‘In its early years, the Digital Preservation Award was a niche category in the Conservation Awards’, explained Laura Mitchell, chair of the DPC. ‘But year on year the judges have been impressed by the increasing quality, range and number of nominations.’  ‘I’m delighted to report that, once again, we have had a record number of applications which demonstrate an incredible depth of insight and subtlety in approach to the thorny question of how to make our digital memory accessible tomorrow. ’ The judges have shortlisted thirteen projects in 4 categories: The OPF Award for Research and Innovation which recognises excellence in practical research and innovation activities.
  • Jpylyzer by the KB (Royal Library of the Netherlands) and partners
  • The SPRUCE Project by The University of Leeds and partners
  • bwFLA Functional Long Term Archiving and Access by the University of Freiburg and partners
 The NCDD Award for Teaching and Communications, recognising excellence in outreach, training and advocacy. 
  • Practical Digital Preservation: a how to guide for organizations of any size by Adrian Brown
  • Skilling the Information Professional by the Aberystwyth University
  • Introduction to Digital Curation: An open online UCLeXtend Course by University College London
 The DPC Award for the Most Distinguished Student Work in Digital Preservation, encouraging and recognising student work in digital preservation. 
  • Voices from a Disused Quarry by Kerry Evans, Ann McDonald and Sarah Vaughan, University of Aberystwyth
  • Game Preservation in the UK by Alasdair Bachell, University of Glasgow
  • Emulation v Format Conversion by Victoria Sloyan, University College London

 

The DPC Award for Safeguarding the Digital Legacy, which celebrates the practical application of preservation tools to protect at-risk digital objects. 

  • Conservation and Re-enactment of Digital Art Ready-Made, by the University of Freiburg and Partners
  • Carcanet Press Email Archive, University of Manchester
  • Inspiring Ireland, Digital Repository of Ireland and Partners
  • The Cloud and the Cow, Archives and Records Council of Wales
‘The competition this year has been terrific’, said Louise Lawson of Tate, chair of the judges. ‘Very many strong applications, which would have won the competition outright in previous years, have not even made the shortlist this time around.’ The Digital Preservation Awards have been celebrating excellence for 10 years now and is being supported by some leading organisations in the field including the NCDD and Open Planets Foundation. Hosted by the Wellcome Trust, their newly refurbished London premises will add to the glamour of the awards ceremony on Monday 17th November. The finalists will attract significant publicity and a deserved career boost, both at organisation and individual level. Those who walk away with a Digital Preservation Award on the night can be proud to claim to be amongst the best projects and practitioners within a rapidly growing and international field. ‘Our next step is to open the shortlist to public scrutiny’, explained William Kilbride of the DPC. ‘We will be giving instructions shortly on how members of the DPC can vote for their favourite candidates.  ‘We have decided not to shortlist for the ‘The DPC Award for the Most Outstanding Digital Preservation Initiative in Industry’. Although the field was strong the judges didn’t feel it was competitive enough. We will be making a separate announcement about that in due course. Notes:For more about the Digital Preservation Awards see: http://www.dpconline.org/advocacy/awardsFor more about the Digital Preservation Coalition see: http://www.dpconline.org/For press interviews contact William Kilbride on (william_at_dpconline.org)

 

Preservation Topics: Open Planets Foundation
Categories: Planet DigiPres

Welcome to the Wild World of Web Archiving

The Signal: Digital Preservation - 10 September 2014 - 2:54pm

The following is a guest post by Nicholas Woodward, an Information Technology Specialist and the newest member of the Library’s Web Archiving team.

woodward2The path that lead me to the Library of Congress was long and circuitous, and it includes everything from a tiny web startup to teaching economics in Nicaragua to rediscovering a passion for developing software in Austin, Texas. Like many folks who develop software in the academic and library world I have a deep interest in the social sciences and humanities, in addition to technology.

But unlike others who began in these fields and subsequently developed technological knowledge and skills to do new and exciting things, I did the opposite. I spent years in the technology industry only to find that it had little value for me without serious contemplation of what effect it has on other peoples’ lives. Only later did I discover that software development in the library and academic environments allows one to incorporate such considerations as the practical applications for research or how different forces in society influence technological development and vice versa into the process of writing code.

But I’m jumping ahead. Let’s get the events out of the way. In 2003 I graduated from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln with a BS in computer science and started working full-time at a very small web development company. After deciding there must be more to life than making websites for a salary, I joined the Peace Corps in 2005 and worked as a high school teacher in Nicaragua for roughly 2.5 years. After a brief stint observing elections in Guatemala, I returned to the U.S. in hopes of going back to school to study the social sciences with a focus on Latin America. My dream scenario took shape when I was accepted to an MA program in the Teresa Lozano Long Institute of Latin American Studies at the University of Texas at Austin. I earned my MA in 2011 and subsequently earned an MS in Library and Information Science in 2013, also at UT.

It was while an MA student that a graduate research assistantship would change my career path for good. As a dual research assistant for the Latin American Network Information Center and the Texas Advanced Computing Center I had the incredible opportunity to conduct research on a large web archive in a high-performance computing environment. In the process I learned about things such as the Hadoop architecture and natural language processing and Bayesian classifiers and distributed computing and…

But the real value, as far as I was concerned, was that I could see directly how software development could be more than just putting together code to do “cool stuff.” I realized that developing software to facilitate research and discovery of massive amounts of data in an open and collaborative fashion not only increases the opportunities for alternative types of knowledge production but also influenced how it gets created in a very profound way. And being a part of this process, however small, was the ideal place for me.

Which brings us to today. I am thrilled to be starting my new role as an Information Technology Specialist with the web archiving team of the Library’s Office of Strategic Initiatives. It is an incredible opportunity to learn new skills, incorporate knowledge I’ve acquired in the past and contribute in whatever ways I can to an outstanding team that is at the forefront of Internet archiving.

As the newest member of the web archiving team, my focus will be to continue the ongoing development of Digiboard 4.0 (pdf), the next version of our web application for managing the web archiving process at the Library of Congress. Digiboard 4.0 will build on previous software that enables Library staff to create collections of web-archived content, nominate new websites and review crawls of the Internet for quality assurance, while also making the process more efficient and expanding opportunities for cataloging archived websites. Additionally, part of my time will include exploratory efforts to expand the infrastructure and capacity of the web archiving team for in-house Internet crawling.

I look forward to the challenges and opportunities that lay ahead as we contribute to the greater web archiving community through establishing best practices, improving organizational workflows for curation, quality review and presentation of web-archived content and generally expanding the boundaries of preserving the Internet for current and future generations.

Categories: Planet DigiPres

Hybrid Born-Digital and Analog Special Collecting: Megan Halsband on the SPX Comics Collection

The Signal: Digital Preservation - 8 September 2014 - 5:29pm
Megan Halsband

Megan Halsband, Reference Librarian with the Library of Congress Serial and Government Publications Division.

Every year, The Small Press Expo in Bethesda, Md brings together a community of alternative comic creators and independent publishers. With a significant history of collecting comics, it made sense for the Library of Congress’ Serial and Government Publications Division and the Prints & Photographs Division to partner with SPX to build a collection documenting alternative comics and comics culture. In the last three years, this collection has been developing and growing.

While the collection itself is quite fun (what’s not to like about comics), it is also a compelling example of the way that web archiving can complement and fit into work developing a special collection. To that end, I am excited to talk with Megan Halsband, Reference Librarian with the Library of Congress Serial and Government Publications Division and one of the key staff working on this collection as part of our Content Matters interview series.

Trevor: First off, when people think Library of Congress I doubt “comics” is one of the first things that comes to mind. Could you tell us a bit about the history of the Library’s comics collection, the extent of the collections and what parts of the Library of Congress are involved in working with comics?

Megan: I think you’re right – the comics collection is not necessarily one of the things that people associate with the Library of Congress – but hopefully we’re working on changing that! The Library’s primary comics collections are two-fold – first there are the published comics held by the Serial & Government Publications Division, which appeared in newspapers/periodicals and later in comic books, as well as the original art, which is held by the Prints & Photographs Division.

The Library of Congress

Example of one of the many comics available through The Library of Congress National Digital Newspaper Program. The End of a Perfect Day. Mohave County miner and our mineral wealth (Kingman, Ariz.) October 14, 1921, p.2.

The Comic Book Collection here in Serials is probably the largest publicly available collection in the country, with over 7,000 titles and more than 125,000 issues. People wonder why our section at the Library is responsible for the comic books – and it’s because most comic books are  published serially.  Housing the comic collection in Serials also makes sense, as we are also responsible for the newspaper collections (which include comics). The majority of our comic books come through the US Copyright Office via copyright deposit, and we’ve been receiving comic books this way since the 1930′s/1940′s.

The Library tries to have complete sets of all the issues of major comic titles but we don’t necessarily have every issue of every comic ever published (I know what you’re thinking and no, we don’t have an original Action Comics No. 1 – maybe someday someone will donate it to us!). The other main section of the Library that works with comic materials is Prints & Photographs – though Rare Book & Special Collections and the area studies reading rooms probably also have materials that would be considered ‘comics.’

Trevor: How did the idea for the SPX collection come about? What was important about going out to this event as a place to build out part of the collection? Further, in scoping the project, what about it suggested that it would also be useful/necessary to use web archiving to complement the collection?

Megan: The executive director of SPX, Warren Bernard, has been working in the Prints & Photographs Division as a volunteer for a long time, and the collection was established in 2011 after an Memorandum of Understanding was signed between the Library and SPX. I think Warren really was a major driving force behind this agreement, but the curators in both Serials and Prints & Photographs realized that our collections didn’t include materials from this particular community of creators and publishers in the way that it should.

Small Press Expo floor in 2013

Small Press Expo floor in 2013

Given that SPX is a local event with an international reputation and awards program (SPX awards the Ignatz) and the fact that we know staff at SPX, I think it made sense for the Library to have an ‘official’ agreement that serves as an acquisition tool for material that we wouldn’t probably otherwise obtain. Actually going to SPX every year gives us the opportunity to meet with the artists, see what they’re working on and pick up material that is often only available at the show – in particular mini-comics or other free things.

Something important to note is that the SPX Collection – the published works, the original art, everything – is all donated to the Library. This is huge for us – we wouldn’t be able to collect the depth and breadth of material (or possibly any material at all) from SPX otherwise.  As far as including online content for the collection, the Library’s Comics and Cartoons Collection Policy Statement (PDF) specifically states that the Library will collect online/webcomics, as well as award-winning comics. The SPX Collection, with its web archiving component,  specifically supports both of these goals.

Trevor:  What kinds of sites were selected for the web archive portion of the collection? In this case, I would be interested in hearing a bit about the criteria in general and also about some specific examples. What is it about these sites that is significant? What kinds of documentation might we lose if we didn’t have these materials in the collection?

Archived web page from the American Elf web comic.

Archived web page from the American Elf web comic.

Megan: Initially the SPX webarchive (as I refer to it – though its official name is Small Press Expo and Comic Art Collection) was extremely  selective – only the SPX website itself and the annual winner of the Ignatz Award for Outstanding Online Comic were captured.  The staff wanted to see how hard it would be to capture websites with lots of image files (of various types). Turns out it works just fine (if there’s not paywall/subscriber login credentials required) – so we expanded the collection to include all the Ignatz nominees in the Outstanding Online Comic category as well.

Some of these sites, such as Perry Bible Fellowship and American Elf, are long-running online comics who’s creators have been awarded Eisner, Harvey and Ignatz awards. There’s a great deal of content on these websites that isn’t published or available elsewhere – and I think that this is one of the major reasons for collecting this type of material. Sometimes the website might have initial drafts or ideas that later are published, sometimes the online content is not directly related to published materials, but for in-depth research on an artist or publication, often this type of related content is extremely useful.

Trevor: You have been working with SPX to build this collection for a few years now. Could you give us an overview of what the collection consists of at this point? Further, I would be curious to know a bit about how the idea of the collection is playing out in practice. Are you getting the kinds of materials you expected? Are there any valuable lessons learned along the way that you could share? If anyone wants access to the collection how would they go about that?

Megan: At this moment in time, the SPX Collection materials that are here in Serials include acquisitions from 2011-2013, plus two special collections that were donated to us, the Dean Haspiel Mini-Comics Collection and the Heidi MacDonald Mini-Comics Collection.  I would say that the collection has close to 2,000 items (we don’t have an exact count since we’re still cataloging everything) as well as twelve websites in the web archive. We have a wonderful volunteer who has been working on cataloging items from the collection, and so far there are over 550 records available in the Library’s online catalog.

Spx_mini_comics

Mini comics from the SPX collection

Personally, I didn’t have any real expectations of what kinds of materials we would be getting – I think that definitely we are getting a good selection of mini-comics, but it seems like there are more graphic novels that I anticipated. One of the fun things about this collection are the new and exciting things that you end up finding at the show – like an unexpected tiny comic that comes with its own magnifying glass or an oversize newsprint series.

The process of collecting has definitely gotten easier over the years. For example, the Head of the Newspaper Section, Georgia Higley, and I just received the items that were submitted in consideration for the 2014 Ignatz Awards. We’ll be able to prep permission forms/paperwork in advance of the show for the materials we’re keeping from this material, and it will help us cut down on potential duplication. This is definitely a valuable lesson learned! We’ve also come up with a strategy for visiting the tables at the show – there are 287 tables this year – so we divide up the ballroom between four of us (Georgia and I, as well as two curators from Prints & Photographs – Sara Duke and Martha Kennedy) to make it manageable.

We also try to identify items that we know we want to ask for in advance of the show – such as ongoing serial titles or debut items listed on the SPX website – to maximize our time when we’re actually there. Someone wanting to access the collection would come to the Newspaper & Current Periodical Reading Room to request the comic books and mini-comics. Any original art or posters from the show would be served in the Prints & Photographs Reading Room. As I mentioned – there is still a portion of this collection that is unprocessed – and may not be immediately accessible.

Trevor: Stepping back from the specifics of the collection, what about this do you think stands for a general example of how web archiving can complement the development of special collections?

Megan: One of the true strengths of the Library of Congress is that our collections often include not only the published version, but also the ephemeral material related to the published item/creator, all in one place. From my point of view, collecting webcomics gives the Library the opportunity to collect some of this ‘ephemera’ related to comics collections and only serves to enhance what we are preserving for future research. And as I mentioned earlier, some of the content on the websites provides context, as well as material for comparison, to the physical collection materials that we have, which is ideal from a research perspective.

Trevor:  Is there anything else with web archiving and comics on the horizon for your team? Given that web comics are such significant part of digital culture I’m curious to know if this is something you are exploring. If so, is there anything you can tell us about that?

We recently began another web archive collection to collect additional webcomics beyond those nominated for Ignatz Awards – think Dinosaur Comics and XKCD. It’s very new (and obviously not available for research use yet) – but I am really excited about adding materials to this collection. There are a lot of webcomics out there – and I’m glad that the Library will now be able to say we have a selection of this type of content in our collection! I’m also thinking about proposing another archive to capture comics literature and criticism on the web – stay tuned!

Categories: Planet DigiPres

That's all, folks: what the end of 35mm film means for cinema - New Statesman

Google News Search: "new file format" - 8 September 2014 - 10:02am

That's all, folks: what the end of 35mm film means for cinema
New Statesman
The second is that every 18 months or so, a new file format comes along to displace its predecessors and, as a result of this constant upgrade cycle, archivists face a kind of Sisyphean dilemma. Horak tells me that his archive restored a copy of The ...

Categories: Technology Watch

Apple's Quality Is A Competitive Advantage (AAPL) - Seeking Alpha (registration)

Google News Search: "new file format" - 5 September 2014 - 10:43pm

Apple's Quality Is A Competitive Advantage (AAPL)
Seeking Alpha (registration)
A new file format that threatened to require Apple to pay Microsoft a license fee for every device compatible with future music - not a position in which Apple wanted to find itself. The Apple Music Store - later, the iTunes Store - offered a defensive ...

and more »
Categories: Technology Watch

Apple's Quality Is A Competitive Advantage (AAPL) - Seeking Alpha (registration)

Google News Search: "new file format" - 5 September 2014 - 10:43pm

Apple's Quality Is A Competitive Advantage (AAPL)
Seeking Alpha (registration)
A new file format that threatened to require Apple to pay Microsoft a license fee for every device compatible with future music - not a position in which Apple wanted to find itself. The Apple Music Store - later, the iTunes Store - offered a defensive ...

Categories: Technology Watch

Studying, Teaching and Publishing on YouTube: An Interview With Alexandra Juhasz

The Signal: Digital Preservation - 5 September 2014 - 3:07pm
Alexandra Juhasz, professor of Media Studies at Pitzer College

Alexandra Juhasz, professor of Media Studies at Pitzer College

The following is a guest post from Julia Fernandez, this year’s NDIIPP Junior Fellow. Julia has a background in American studies and working with folklife institutions and worked on a range of projects leading up to CurateCamp Digital Culture in July. This is part of a series of interviews Julia conducted to better understand the kinds of born-digital primary sources folklorists, and others interested in studying digital culture, are making use of for their scholarship.

The numbers around user-generated video are staggering. YouTube, one of the largest user-generated video platforms, has more than 100 hours of video content uploaded to it every minute. What does this content mean for us and our society? What of it should we aspire to ensure long-term access to?

As part of the NDSA Insights interview series, I’m delighted to interview Alexandra Juhasz, professor of Media Studies at Pitzer College. Dr. Juhasz has written multiple articles on digital media and produced the feature films “The Owls” and “The Watermelon Woman.” Her innovative “video-book” “Learning from YouTube” was published by MIT Press, but partly enabled through YouTube itself, and is available for free here. In this regard, her work is relevant to those working in digital preservation both in better understanding the significance of user-generated video platforms like YouTube and in understanding new hybrid forms of digital scholarly publishing.

Julia: In the intro to your online video-book “Learning From YouTube” you say “YouTube is the Problem, and YouTube is the solution.” Can you expand on that a bit for us?

Alex: I mean “problem” in two ways. The first is more neutral: YouTube is my project’s problematic, its subject or concern. But I also mean it more critically as well: YouTube’s problems are multiple–as are its advantages–but our culture has focused much more uncritically on how it chooses to sell itself: as a democratic space for user-made production and interaction. The “video-book” understands this as a problem because it’s not exactly true. I discuss how YouTube isn’t democratic in the least; how censorship dominates its logic (as does distraction, the popular and capital).

YouTube is also a problem in relation to the name and goals of the course that the publication was built around (my undergraduate Media Studies course also called “Learning from YouTube” held about, and also on, the site over three semesters, starting in 2007). As far as pedagogy in the digital age is concerned, the course suggests there’s a problem if we do all or most or even a great deal of our learning on corporate-owned platforms that we have been given for free, and this for many reasons that my students and I elaborate, but only one of which I will mention here as it will be most near and dear to your readers’ hearts: it needs a good archivist and a reasonable archiving system if it’s to be of any real use for learners, teachers or scholars. Oh, and also some system to evaluate content.

YouTube is the solution because I hunkered down there, with my students, and used the site to both answer the problem, and name the problems I have enumerated briefly above.

Julia: What can you tell us about how you approached the challenges of teaching a course about YouTube? What methods of analysis did you apply to its content? How did you select which materials to examine given the vast scope and diversity of YouTube’s content?

Alex: I have taught the course three times (2007, 2008, 2010). In each case the course was taught on and about YouTube. This is to say, we recorded class sessions (the first year only), so the course could be seen on YouTube; all the class assignments needed to take the form of YouTube “writing” and needed to be posted on YouTube (as videos or comments); and the first time I taught it, the students could only do their research on YouTube (thereby quickly learning the huge limits of its vast holdings). You can read more about my lessons learned teaching the course here and here.

The structure of the course mirrors many of the false promises of YouTube (and web 2.0 more generally), thereby allowing students other ways to see its “problems.” It was anarchic, user-led (students chose what we would study, although of course I graded them: there’s always a force of control underlying these “free” systems), public, and sort of silly (but not really).

As the course developed in its later incarnations, I developed several kinds of assignments (or methods of analysis as you put it), including traditional research looking at the results of published scholars, ethnographic research engaging with YouTubers, close-textual analysis (of videos and YouTube’s architecture), and what I call YouTours, where students link together a set of YouTube videos to make an argument inside of and about and with its holdings. I also have them author their own “Texteo” as their final (the building blocks, or pages, of my video-book; texteo=the dynamic linking of text and video), where they make a concise argument about some facet of YouTube in their own words and the words of videos they make or find (of course, this assignment allows them to actually author a “page” of my “book,” thereby putting into practice web 2.0′s promise of the decline of expertise and the rise of crowd-sourced knowledge production).

Students choose the videos and themes we study on YouTube. I like this structure (giving them this “control”) because they both enjoy and know things I would never look at, and they give me a much more accurate reading of mainstream YouTube than I would ever find on my own. My own use of the site tends to take me into what I call NicheTube (the second, parallel structure of YouTube, underlying the first where a few videos are seen by many many people, and these are wholly predictable in their points of view and concerns. On YouTube it’s easy to find popular videos. On NicheTube content is rarely seen, hard to find and easy to lose; everything might be there, but very few people will ever see it.

Now that YouTube Studies has developed, I also assign several of the book-length studies written about it from a variety of disciplines (I list these below). When I first taught the class in 2007, my students and I were generating the primary research and texts of YouTube Studies: producing work that was analytical and critical about the site, in its vernaculars, and on its pages.

Julia: What were some of the challenges of publishing an academic work in digital form? A large part of the work depends on linking to YouTube videos that you did not create and/or are no longer available. What implications are there for long-term access to your work?

Alex: I discuss this in greater length in the video-book because another one of its self-reflexive structures, mirroring those of YouTube, is self-reflexivity: an interest in its own processes, forms, structures and histories.

While MIT Press was extremely interested and supportive, they had never “published” anything like this before. The problems were many, and varied, and we worked through them together. I’ve detailed answers to your question in greater details within the video-book, but here’s one of the lists of differences I generated:

  • Delivery of the Work
  • Author’s Warranty
  • Credit
  • Previous Publication
  • Size of the Work
  • Royalties
  • Materials Created by Other Persons
  • Upkeep
  • Editing
  • Author’s Alterations
  • Promotion
  • Index

Many of these differences are legal and respond directly to the original terms in the contract they gave me that made no sense at all with a born-digital, digital-only object, and in particular about writing a book composed of many things I did not “own,” about “selling” a book for free, making a book that was already-made, or moving a book that never needed to be shipped.

One solution is that the video-book points to videos, but they remained “owned” by YouTube (I backed up some of the most important and put them on Critical Commons knowing that they might go away). But, in the long run, I do not mind that many of the videos fade away, or that the book itself will probably become quickly unreadable (because the systems is written on will become obsolete). It is another myth of the Internet that everything there is lasting, permanent, forever. In fact, by definition, much of what is housed or written there is unstable, transitory, difficult to find, or difficult to access as platforms, software and hardware change.

In “On Publishing My YouTube “Book” Online (September 24, 2009)” I mention these changes as well:

  1. Audience. When you go online your readers (can) include nonacademics.
  2. Commitment. Harder to command amid the distractions.
  3.  Design. Matters more; and it has meaning.
  4.  Finitude. The page(s) need never close.
  5.  Interactivity. Should your readers, who may or may not be experts, author too?
  6.  Linearity. Goes out the window, unless you force it.
  7.  Multimodality. Much can be expressed outside the confines of the word.
  8.  Network. How things link is within or outside the author’s control.
  9.  Single author. Why hold out the rest of the Internet?
  10.  Temporality. People read faster online. Watching video can be slow. A book is long.

Now, when I discuss the project with other academics, I suggest there are many reasons to write and publish digitally: access, speed, multi-modality, etc. (see here), but if you want your work to be seen in the future, better to publish a book!

Julia: At this point you have been studying video production since the mid 90s. I would be curious to hear a bit about how your approach and perspective have developed over time.

Alex: My research (and production) interests have stayed consistent: how might everyday people’s access to media production and distribution contribute to people’s and movement’s empowerment? How can regular citizens have a voice within media and therefore culture more broadly, so that our interests, concerns and criticisms become part of this powerful force?

Every time I “study” the video of political people (AIDS activists, feminists, YouTubers), I make video myself. I theorize from my practice, and I call this “Media Praxis” (see more about that here). But what has changed during the years I’ve been doing this and thinking about it is that more and more people really do have access to both media production and distribution since when I first began my studies (and waxed enthusiastically about how camcorders were going to foster a revolution). Oddly, this access can be said to have produced many revolutions (for instance the use of people-made media in the Arab Spring) and to have quieted just as many (we are more deeply entrenched in both capitalism’s pull and self-obsessions then at any time in human history, it seems to me!). I think a lot about that in the YouTube video-book and in projects since (like this special issue on feminist queer digital media praxis that I just edited for the online journal Ada).

Julia: You end up being rather critical of how popularity works on YouTube. You argue that “YouTube is not democratic. Its architecture supports the popular. Critical and original expression is easily lost to or censored by its busy users, who not only make YouTube’s content, but sift and rate it, all the while generating its business.” You also point to the existence of what you call “NicheTube,” the vast sea of little-seen YouTube videos that are hard to find given YouTube’s architecture of ranking and user-generated tags.” Could you tell us a bit more about your take on the role of filtering and sorting in it’s system?

Alex: YouTube is corporate owned, just as is Facebook, and Google, and the many other systems we use to find, speak, navigate and define our worlds, words, friends, interests and lives. Filtering occurs in all these places in ways that benefit their bottom lines (I suggest in “Learning From YouTube” that a distracted logic of attractions keeps our eyeballs on the screen, which is connected to their ad-based business plan). In the process, we get more access to more and more immediate information, people, places and ideas than humans ever have, but it’s filtered through the imperatives of capitalism rather than say those of a University Library (that has its own systems to be sure, of great interest to think through, and imbued by power like anything else, but not the power of making a few people a lot of money).

The fact that YouTube’s “archive” is unorganized, user-tagged, chaotic and uncurated is their filtering system.

Julia: If librarians, archivists and curators wanted to learn more about approaches like yours to understanding the significance and role of online video what examples of other scholars’ work would you suggest? It would be great if you could mention a few other scholars’ work and explain what you think is particularly interesting about their approaches.

Alex: I assign these books in “Learning from YouTube”: Patrick Vonderau, “The YouTube Reader”; Burgess and Green, “YouTube” and Michael Strangelove, “Watching YouTube.” I also really like the work of Michael Wesch and Patricia Lange who are anthropologists whose work focuses on the site and its users.

Outside of YouTube itself, many of us are calling this kind of work “platform studies,” where we look critically and carefully at the underlying structures of the underlying structures of Internet culture. Some great people working here are Caitlin Benson-Allott, danah boyd, Wendy Chun, Laine Nooney, Tara McPherson, Siva Vaidhyanathan and Michelle White.

I also think that as a piece of academic writing, Learning from YouTube (which I understand to be a plea for the longform written in tweets, or a plea for the classroom written online) is in conversation with scholarly work that is thinking about the changing nature of academic writing and publishing (and all writing and publishing, really). Here I like the work of Kathleen Fitzpatrick or Elizabeth Losh, as just two examples.

Julia: I would also be interested in what ways of thinking about the web you see this as being compatible or incompatible with other approaches to theorizing the web. How is your approach to studying video production online similar or different from other approaches in new media studies, internet research, anthropology, sociology or the digital humanities?

Alex: “Learning from YouTube” is new media studies, critical Internet studies, and DH, for sure. As you say above, my whole career has looked at video; since video moved online, I did too. I think of myself as an artist and a humanist (and an activist) and do not think of myself as using social science methods although I do learn a great deal from research done with in these disciplines.

After “Learning from YouTube” I have done two further web-based projects: a website that tries to think about and produce alternatives to corporate-made and owned Internet experiences (rather than just critique this situation), www.feministonlinespaces.com; and a collaborative criticism of the MOOC (Massive Online Open course), what we call a DOCC (Distributed Open Collaborative Course): http://femtechnet.newschool.edu.

In all three cases I think that “theorizing the web” is about making and using the web we want and not the version that corporations have given to us for free. I do this using the structures, histories, theories, norms and practices of feminism, but any ethical system will do!

Categories: Planet DigiPres

Digital Preservation Sustainability on the EU Policy Level

OPF Wiki Activity Feed - 5 September 2014 - 11:48am

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Digital Preservation Sustainability on the EU Policy Level

SCAPE Wiki Activity Feed - 5 September 2014 - 11:48am

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Categories: SCAPE

Evaluation of the number of medical cases for a given period

OPF Wiki Activity Feed - 5 September 2014 - 6:15am

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Evaluation of the number of medical cases for a given period

SCAPE Wiki Activity Feed - 5 September 2014 - 6:15am

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Categories: SCAPE

DPOE Working Group Moves Forward on Curriculum

The Signal: Digital Preservation - 4 September 2014 - 1:03pm
DPOE WG 2

The working group at their recent meeting. Photo by Julio Diaz.

For many organizations that are just starting to tackle digital preservation, it can be a daunting challenge – and particularly difficult to figure out the first steps to take.  Education and training may be the best starting point, creating and expanding the expertise available to handle this kind of challenge.  The Digital Preservation Outreach and Education  program here at the Library aims to do just that, by providing the materials as well as the hands-on instruction to help build the expertise needed for current and future professionals working on digital preservation.

Recently, the Library was host to a meeting of the DPOE Working Group, consisting of a core group of experts and educators in the field of digital preservation.  The Working Group participants were Robin Dale (Institute of Museum and Library Services), Sam Meister (University of Montana-Missoula), Mary Molinaro (University of Kentucky), and Jacob “Jake” Nadal (Princeton University).  The meeting was chaired by George Coulbourne of the Library of Congress, and Library staffers Barrie Howard and Kris Nelson also participated.

The main goal of the meeting was to update the existing DPOE Curriculum, which is used as the basis for the Program’s training workshops and then subsequently, by the trainees themselves.  A survey is being conducted to gather even more information, and will help inform this curriculum as well (see a related blog post).   The Working Group reviewed and edited all of the six substantive modules which are based on terms from the OAIS Reference Model framework:

  • Identify   (What digital content do you have?)
  • Select   (What portion of your digital content will be preserved?)
  • Store   (What issues are there for long-term storage?)
  • Protect  (What steps are needed to protect your digital content?)
  • Manage   (What provisions are needed for long-term management?)
  • Provide   (What considerations are there for long-term access?)

The group also discussed adding a seventh module on implementation.  Each of these existing modules contains a description, goals, concepts and resources designed to be used by current and/or aspiring digital preservation practitioners.

Mary Molinaro, Director, Research Data Center at the University of Kentucky Libraries, noted that “as we worked through the various modules it became apparent how flexible this curriculum is for a wide range of institutions.  It can be adapted for small, one-person cultural heritage institutions and still be relevant for large archives and libraries. ”

Mary also spoke to the advantages of having a focused, group effort to work through these changes: “Digital preservation has some core principles, but it’s also a discipline subject to rapid technological change.  Focusing on the curriculum together as an instructor group allowed us to emphasize those things that have not changed while at the same time enhancing the materials to reflect the current technologies and thinking.”

These curriculum modules are currently in the process of further refinement and revision, including an updated list of resources. The updated version of the curriculum will be available later this month. The Working Group also recommended some strategies for extending the curriculum to address executive audiences, and how to manage the process of updating the curriculum going forward.

Categories: Planet DigiPres

Evaluation of the patients gender for a given period

OPF Wiki Activity Feed - 4 September 2014 - 10:35am

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Evaluation of the patients gender for a given period

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Categories: SCAPE

Evaluation of the number of medical cases for a given period

OPF Wiki Activity Feed - 4 September 2014 - 9:47am

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