Somehow February has passed and I'm just now getting to a blog post. The month of February brought a post-Valentines snow day, a slow recovery from the cold I caught in January, a loss of news coverage in favor of political coverage, and some progress at work. Oh... and February spiders = 1. Only one. One lethargic early "spring" spider. I expect his compatriots to launch a full-scale invasion within the next few months.
In Collections and Technical Services, I've continued making revisions and refinements to the design of our new electronic journal review database "Albatross". If you are unaware, we've named our database after a metaphor about a seafaring bird that symbolizes a weight of psychological pressure becoming a curse that prevents success. It's a bit of a joke, I guess. See The Rime of the Ancient Mariner by Samuel Taylor Coleridge for the original story that spawned the metaphor.
In addition to dealing with birds around my neck, I've begun working on migrating some image collections from their current home -- a system called MDID -- to Artstor's Shared Shelf product. I'm currently moving the Archivision collection which doesn't actually take much brain power. It's a standard collection, so Artstor was able to supply us with the metadata. We just upload the metadata records and then upload the images and voilà! it's all done. So far, I'm half-way through migrating the first of 10 collections and I've been at it for almost a week. Uploading takes time. Once I'm done with Archivision, I'm will be working on documenting our application of the standard metadata schema for the images in our Art and Architecture image collection. We currently use a modified version of VRA Core 3.0. I'm going to be ensuring that our custom application of the standard has been documented. I'll also be making sure that our current metadata functions as smoothly as possible within the new system. I'm sure it sounds boring to many of you but I'm thrilled to be doing this work! I really enjoy digging in to work with metadata!
My work for Special Collections has gained some attention. The Virginia Tech LGBTQ Oral History Project was nominated for the President's Principles of Community Award. This project is the one that I helped index oral histories and curate a physical exhibit for back in October. All of the faculty involved in the project were nominated for the award as a group. Pretty cool to be nominated!
I'm also working with a really cool collection of theatre playbills and other theatrical materials. This is the first collection of any size that I'm processing. I've already surveyed what there is and come up with a general plan of how things should be organized. There was minimal organization in the collection when I first looked at it and I'm keeping that and adding a little bit more. The collection itself covers a time period of about 100 years from 1890 through about 1980. It has lots of playbills and programs from New York, DC, Chicago, San Diego, and Charlottesville, VA.
There are also items from around the world, including Japan, Poland, England, South Africa, and Israel. There are things related to early motion pictures (talkies!), theatre, opera, orchestral concerts, ballet, kabuki, puppet theatre, and circuses. I have been having a blast!!
Outside my departmental work, I've been collaborating with the Association of College Research Libraries (ACRL) Residency Interest Group (RIG) to determine how to reorganize and redesign the group's website. I recently submitted a proposal for a research grant with colleagues from West Virginia University and the University of Iowa. I'm working on preparing a poster presentation for an upcoming conference with a colleague from American University. And, I'm one of the judges for the Adult category (as opposed to the Youth category) of the Virginia Library Association (VLA) Graphic Novel Diversity Award. This is the first year for this award and I'm one of three judges for my category. So, I'll be reading the nominees over the next few months - but I won't be sharing my opinion of them. You'll just have to wait until October to learn who wins the award.
That's it for now. I may post again in March since this was supposed to be a February update. Or, I may wait to post until April. We'll see what I have time for. Hopefully, it's clear that my days are full of fun and interesting things.
I'm the Community Collections Archivist, Community and Cultural Centers Librarian & Resident Librarian at Virginia Tech.