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Faculty Abstracts

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Seattle, WA
August 21-23, 2017



Virtuous Uncertainty
Thomas Padilla, Humanities Data Curator, University of California, Santa Barbara

Fake news. Surveilled dissent. Social monetization. All of the prior predicated on increasingly ubiquitous computation churning through seemingly endless data tributaries. Lives are punctuated by technical incursions arising from agendas that can be difficult to discern let alone critically engage with. These are uncertain times. Yet uncertainty is nothing new. It might be said that uncertainty is a defining feature of lived experience, a motivating force propelling individuals throughout their lives. Cultural heritage organizations have long supported that journey.  A predominately data focused paradigm makes some aspects of this work uncertain but uncertainty is not the same as not knowing. Uncertainty suggests the presence of alternatives.[1] In what follows collections as data  and the notion of virtuous uncertainty will be combined and considered in light of an opportunity to increase the contemporary resonance of commitments to the communities that we serve.

1. a maxwell, candor is the brightest shield

Concepts in Digital Preservation

Frances Harrell, Senior Preservation Specialist, NEDCC
Digital preservation is a field with its own concepts and terminology, sometimes without full consensus on their scope and definitions. This session introduces issues in digital preservation, beginning with basic terminology and a broad discussion of digital collections. After an introduction of concepts the session will review professional groups and communities of practice in the digital preservation field.

Role of Standards & Best Practices
Roger Smith, Director, Digital Library Development Program, University of California, San Diego

Standards and best practices are a central component of crafting, managing and preserving digital collections. That said, some aspects of standards and best practices are a moving target and the subject of lively and ongoing discourse in the preservation and digital library communities. This discourse is a healthy thing, assuring that the community continues to strive for more effective and efficient solutions for the development of digital resources.

The development of digital content, whether reformatting analog holdings or working with born digital content, can represent a substantial investment in institutional resources. The application of sound project management principles in the planning and execution of your endeavors will enable budget management, milestone tracking and the delivery of clear expectations to all stakeholders. Assessment of a completed project will enable refinement of institutional best practices and the opportunity to learn from mistakes. Digital content adheres to expectations with respect to resolution, bit depth, file formats and a host of other considerations. We will talk about the importance of having well documented standards for digital content both for in house reformatting and vendor contracted work.

We will explore existing and emerging standards that inform transformation and management of content in various formats. Metadata standards are critical to enabling discovery environments that work for users, facilitate reuse, support preservation and provide for future needs. Metadata standards cover technical, structural and preservation information. We will talk about UC San Diego’s choice of Resource Description Format (RDF) and linked data as a cornerstone of metadata structure.  Preservation of digital content carries its own set of best practices and standards. The Open Archival Information System (OAIS) model provides the framework for exchange of content across repositories. The Trusted Repositories Audit and Certification (TRAC) process provides a mechanism for determining the stability and reliability of a digital preservation environment.

Establishing a digital collection development policy that covers both the accessioning and deaccessioning of content will help guide your institution’s choices. Having a clear sense of how your collections and their presentation meet user needs is central to maintaining a flexible approach to collection and UI development. We will talk about methods of collecting and analyzing user data that will inform your infrastructure purchase or development decisions and enable creative use and reuse of your content. Finally we will explore how funding is critical to all of our work. We can use digital collection data to express the investment we make in preserving content in terms of risk, value added for our patrons, and overall alignment with institutional goals. 

Assessment Using the DCC Curation Lifecycle Model
Devan Ray Donaldson, Assistant Professor of Information, Indiana University

This session will present the Digital Curation Centre (DCC) Curation Lifecycle Model, describing its purpose and components. Next, the session will explore findings from a case study analysis of how Indiana University Bloomington applies the DCC Curation Lifecycle Model to its Media Digitization and Preservation Initiative (MDPI). Finally, session attendees will practice using the DCC Curation Lifecycle Model as a lens understanding for digital curation efforts at their institutions. 

Understanding Rights & Responsibilities
Greg Cram, Associate Director of Copyright and Information Policy, New York Public Library

Copyright law is pervasive in the work of information professionals and has a direct impact on how we access, process and use information. Despite its effects on our work, fear and uncertainty about copyright law plagues cultural heritage institutions. This uncertainty can slow efforts to achieve goals and missions.

This session is designed to empower you to feel more confident about copyright and digitization of collections. You will learn the fundamentals of copyright law, including the duration of protection for both published and archival items. This session will also cover how items can be used without the permission of rightsholders through fair use. You will hear about how rights metadata can help manage large repositories of digitized works and help users understand how those items can be used. Finally, this session will review how a library digitized and used two collections in furtherance of its mission, despite the ambiguous copyright status and ownership of the items.

Digital Project Planning

Emily Gore, Director for Content, Digital Public Library of America


Setting the Stage: Managing Digital Collections

Greg Colati, AUL, Archives, Special Collections & Digital Curation, University of Connecticut

Managing digital collections is just like managing physical collections, except when it is different! Find out why and how the things you already know can combine with some new ways of thinking and working to help you effectively and efficiently manage your digital collections. A combination of theory and a little bit of practice will help you think like a digital manager and answer some questions for your own situation, including: "What are we trying to save?" and "What are we trying to manage?"  

Breakout 1: Selection for Digitization

Frances Harrell, Senior Preservation Specialist, NEDCC
When planning digitization, selecting materials for the project is an integral first step. Selection includes many criteria, including user needs, preservation priorities, format, copyright, and more. Methods of evaluating the value and purpose of a given item or project are included as part of the selection process. Discussing the tenets of selection prepares participants for designing and conducting their own successful projects.

Breakout 2: Metadata  Basics
Jessica Branco Colati, Library Services Solutions Architect, Iron Mountain


Breakout 1: Digital Imaging

Terrance D'Ambrosio, Director of Imaging Services, NEDCC
We create, manage, see, share, like, and live with digital images every day of our lives. But their technical underpinnings are not often well understood. And when you add in the exacting requirements of digital image creation for the purposes of digitally preserving library, archival, and special collections materials, these technical underpinnings become, seemingly, that much more complex and opaque. But they’re not, really, as this session will demonstrate. It will begin with a general discussion of the motivation behind and objectives of digital imaging in a cultural heritage environment. From there it will move on to address the fundamentals of digital imaging, getting started where the image does, with pixels, and expanding out from there to image quality and the guidelines in place for assessing it, the metrics those guidelines use, the tools we have to create images that live up to the guidelines, the methodologies available to do so, and the file formats we have available for storing and disseminating the images we create. By the end you will have a solid understanding of the fundamentals of digital imaging, specifically as it relates to preservation-oriented imaging in the world of libraries and archives.

Breakout 2: Prioritizing and Preserving Legacy Audiovisual Media

Rebecca Chandler, Consultant, AVPreserve
Understanding how to prioritize materials for preservation is an integral part of collections care and management. Audiovisual materials can present particularly challenging issues, and many collection managers feel we do not have the knowledge or skills required to appropriately care for these materials. Prioritizing and Preserving Legacy Audiovisual Media is designed to familiarize attendees with audiovisual basics in order to support informed decision-making with regard to the preservation of their audiovisual recordings. The process of outsourcing the digitization of audiovisual assets, including the Statement of Work, will be discussed. While it won’t turn attendees into engineers, this presentation will provide a framework for them to use when tackling the sometimes daunting technological aspects of working with audiovisual media.

Breakout 1: Building a Digital Lab

Terrance D'Ambrosio, Director of Imaging Services, NEDCC
The opportunity to build a digital imaging lab from scratch presents an enormous opportunity: to identify and put in place the spaces, equipment, and workflows that meet the specific needs of your institution and its collection. But with enormous opportunities come enormous challenges, in that you must figure out what these needs are, what spaces, equipment, and workflows will meet them, and how those all fit together into a functional-in-the-real-world production-oriented imaging lab. And if you already have some pieces of a digital imaging lab in place, the challenge is no less great, and often greater, when trying to make those existing pieces work when you’re tasked with building out your lab even further. The objective of this talk will be to give you advice and information to help make these undertakings a success. And we’ll start with the question, does it make sense for your institution, with its collections and resources, to have an imaging lab. And if so, what kind? And then assuming the answer to the first question is yes, we’ll move on to consider the decisions you'll make and options you'll have available in answering the second, including space planning and environment, hardware and software, and ending with some resources available to you as you take on this challenge.

Breakout 2: Metadata for Digital Preservation

Erin O’Meara, Department Head, Office of Digital Innovation / Stewardship Associate Librarian, University of Arizona
This session will cover the principals of preservation metadata – why should you care, what is it used for, and how to collect it. Metadata schemas like PREMIS will be discussed, as well as how preservation metadata relates to the larger goals of the Open Archival Information System. Practical approaches will be covered in how to begin to incorporate preservation metadata collection and management as part of your larger digital preservation efforts. 

Breakout 1: The Basics of Information Security
Devan Ray Donaldson, Assistant Professor of Information, Indiana University
This presentation consists of three parts. First, it will explore notions of security in computer science and digital curation literatures. Second, it will discuss findings from a recent study on digital repository staff members’ perceptions of security, including their perceptions of security criteria in standards for Trustworthy Digital Repositories. Third, attendees will participate in an interactive exercise where they will explore what security means to them and discuss their approaches to securing digital collections and repositories.  

Breakout 2: Digital Storage: More questions than answers

David Minor, Director, Research Data Curation Program, UC San Diego Library
In this presentation I’ll be exploring the range of storage options available for your needs. I’ll be focusing on several major themes:

  • Defining your storage needs. Are you concerned mostly with access, preservation or both? Are there certain performance measures you need to meet? What are the criteria that you use to begin to make decisions?
  • Surveying the storage landscape. I’ll take a quick trip around the storage universe, focusing on the differences between local solutions, cloud offerings and hybrid choices. Picking a storage type should be based on a rigorous, logical examination of your own particular needs.
  • Starting to think about costs. Often cost discussions around storage can get confusing, especially when commercial offerings are in the mix. I’ll present some basic strategies and guides for approaching this issue.

In general, we’ll be covering a wide range of topics. My goal isn’t to give you specific “correct” answers, but to help situate your storage decisions within appropriate thought processes and evaluation concerns.

Breakout 1: Panel - Funding Q & A

William Veillette, Executive Director, NEDCC and Frances Harrell, Preservation Specialist, NEDCC
This session will discuss the different approaches to planning and securing funding for a digitization or digital preservation project. After a brief discussion of funding strategies, including grants, private funding, and self-funding, the session will transition to an open Q & A forum. 

Breakout 2: Connecting Users to Collections/Considering User Needs

Roger Smith, Director, Digital Library Development Program, University of California, San Diego
I look forward to leading a discussion centered on digital collection user needs and assessment. I believe we can start our conversation considering how content selection occurs, including the needs to preserve material as well as enhance discovery. Both of these motivations are very closely aligned, and I look forward to hearing from participants how they have crafted a matrix, both formal and informal, to determine what content is digitized, how it is managed and made available. We will cover the concept of user driven digitization. Increasingly at UC San Diego and particularly in our Special Collections and Archives we are making use of user selected digitization and following up with the scanning of content that completes or compliments those collections that indicate high demand. This session will also cover assessment of use of existing digital collections. One sentence I like to start this conversation with is “you may know what content is being used and when, but do you know who is using it and why?”  At UC San Diego Library we are currently working through options to answer this question including focus group, user surveys, web traffic monitoring with heat maps and more. As we continue to refine and develop our digital collection infrastructure, we have found how important it is to have actionable data at hand when making decisions about UI design. Furthermore understanding how well collections meet research and teaching needs facilitates the selection of complimentary content for your repository. Knowing how readily discoverable that content is helps shape priorities for tasks such as search engine optimization (SEO) and metadata sharing / harvesting to additional discovery platforms that broadens the points of access for your collections. Finally, we will touch on how well your content is able to be used and reused by your constituency. This concept includes the ability to facilitate data mining, and to express content visually in chronological or geographic terms, among other ways. 


Managing Digital Collections for Access

Greg Colati, AUL, Archives, Special Collections & Digital Curation, University of Connecticut
An examination of how to be a good digital steward in the Age of Ubiquity. We will look at how access in the digital age challenges us to think in ways that may seem foreign, but are actually firmly anchored in the principles of the profession. Access and Digital Collections continues the examination of digital collections begin in Managing Digital Collections and adds some new questions to think about including: "What do people want to do with our collections?" and "Where and how do they want to do it?"  The answers will help you make decisions about how to manage and create access to your digital collections. 

Transformation and Users

Emily Gore, Director for Content, Digital Public Library of America

Advocacy Inside and Out

Erin O’Meara, Department Head, Office of Digital Innovation / Stewardship Associate Librarian, University of Arizona
During this session, Erin will talk about tools and techniques for taking the information you learned over the course of the workshop back to your institution. There will be a reflective exercise to build a bridge to your local context including outreach and community building. 

Where to go from here

Ann Marie WIller, Director of Preservation Services, NEDCC






August 9, 2017


Dear Conference Participant:


We are excited about your attendance at the Digital Directions conference in Seattle, WA on August 21-23, 2017. As part of your registration, you elected to join a lunch discussion group with a faculty member on Day 1 to confer on digital topics, share experiences, and ask questions. 


The following faculty members will host a lunch discussion group and will be available to talk about their session topics:


Day 1, August 21, 2017

¨  Rebecca Chandler, Consultant, AVPreserve

¨  Greg Colati, AUL, Archives, Special Collections & Digital Curation, University of Connecticut

¨  Jessica Branco Colati, Library Services Solutions Architect, Iron Mountain

¨  David Minor, Director, Research Data Curation Program, UC San Diego Library

Please select a faculty preference and send your response promptly to reserve a space. Please note that each group is limited to 7 individuals.


There will be a buffet lunch served and it will include both vegan and gluten-free options.

Please respond by Monday, August 14th, at the latest, in order to reserve your space at a faculty table.



Kim O’Leary, Technology & Events Coordinator

NEDCC Northeast Document Conservation Center

Voice: 978-470-1010 x226             Fax:  978-475-6021