Today, I was able to join IFLA’s Information Technology Section SC, the Women, Information, and Libraries SIG, and Northwestern University Libraries for their "UnConference, Women in Open Technology & Culture - Empowering Women’s Participation in Open Technology & Culture”. The unConference covered topics surrounding women and technology in the workplace, and featured keynote speaker, Amy Buckland. 

Amy Buckland is the Institutional Repository Manager at the University of Chicago, and Vice-chair of the ACRL’s Research and Scholarly Environment Committee. Previously she was Coordinator of Scholarly Communications at McGill University. Her professional life revolves around open access initiatives, publishing support, copyright, and research data services. Prior to joining libraryland, Buckland worked in publishing for 14 years, and left that industry to build a better system with libraries at the centre.

This unConference was amazing and inspiring! The sessions that I attended include:

  • Practical Project Management for Getting it All Done in 40 hours a Week or Less
  • Leading through Inclusion: Including Aspiring Leaders in the Conversation
  • HR Tactics for Dealing with Difficult Employees
  • Women & Open Digital Publishing Tools
  • Gendered Nouns at Work
  • Careers and Kids

The sessions and environment were conducive for great discussions and conversations amongst all the participants. I am so glad I was able to attend this unConference, perfect way to wrap up my internship.

Metadisco & BBQ

This Friday, I started to take inventory of some born-digital images. To quickly import filenames of the images into Google Sheets, I dragged the folders over to Text Wrangler. Next, I saved the Text Wrangler file as a .txt then, I imported the .txt file into Google Sheets. I cleaned up the cells and placed the file names and subfolders in the proper columns.

In the afternoon, I started another side project of writing accession numbers on a collection of glass negatives. There are about 5-6 boxes of these glass negatives that have already been to preservation. Another day of handling fragile materials! 

Earlier this week, I received a tour of Metadisco or Metadata and Discovery Services. Metadata & Discovery Services help connect users and resources through a variety of tools, systems and resources. As a leader in cataloging, metadata and discovery platform communities, the metadisco department acquires, creates, maintains and shares metadata for library resources. I also attended a lovely Library Staff BBQ. 


Inventory & Preservation

Today I began a new project since the developers are working on fixing bugs and coding for MENU. The project is titled [Trans] Souvenir of Auto trip to SF 1915,the goal of this project is to create item-level records for all of the images in the scrapbook and make them available to the world in Repository|Images. The deadline for this project is in December 2016, the images will hopefully be digitized in the next couple of months. A spreadsheet was created and I took inventory of the photos included in the scrapbook. This included the amount of photos on each page. For each photo, front and back, I created a descriptive title. The other cells in the spreadsheet included - Date, Accession Number, Dimensions, Content Notes, Entry Date, Inventory-er, Scanned, Production Notes, Production Errors and Who Scanned it. 

I had to wear white gloves and use a tool to help turn the pages. The scrapbook and/or photos were approximately created in 1915. The photos are so interesting! I am not sure of who these people are but a group of people drove to San Francisco in their automobile. Some of the photos included scenes of their camp, Pike's Peak in Colorado, wildlife and other sites along the way. 

After lunch and a little bit of work, I took a tour of NU Library's Conservation Lab. Such a wonderful space in the basement of the library. The lab was renovated about a year ago.

The Preservation Department is responsible for the preservation of library collections in all formats, including books, archival materials, audio, film, and digital collections. The department includes the conservation lab, which has conservators and technicians who perform a broad range of conservation treatments aimed at preserving both general and special collections as well as supporting exhibits and outreach.

Side Projects and Tours

After finishing up a volume of La Caricature, I was given a side project to fill in time while I wait for new scans of volumes of La Caricature. The project is to search the Vernon McKay collection of photographs and clean up the metadata. An intern three years ago transcribed the metadata exactly as it was written on the card. For example, the intern typed titles in all CAPS, because that how it was written on the card. Other problems in the metadata include unnecessary dashes, semicolons, and some locations did not have a corresponding id number as well as the photographer did not have an LC id number.

In the afternoon, I met with Evviva Weinraub, the Associate University Librarian (AUL). Several teams of people report to her and Evviva reports to the Dean of Libraries, Sarah Pritchard. We discussed her role as an AUL and I asked her advice about what to ask in during a job interview. I also had a chance to tour the Melville J. Herskovits Library of African Studies collection and Transportation Library. Its scope is as wide as the continent of Africa itself; its subject matter ranges from art, history, literature, music and religion to communications, management and cooking. The Africana collection is a resource for the entire university, and most of Northwestern's disciplinary programs are reflected in the collection. In addition to serving the NU community, the Herskovits Library staff also serves regional, national and international scholars. The tour was given by the wonderful Esmeralda Kale, the George and Mary LeCron Foster Curator.

After meeting with Esmeralda, I got a brief tour of the Transportation Library. The Transportation Library was founded in 1958 to support the curricula and research programs of the Transportation Center and the Center for Public Safety. Containing more than 500,000 items, the Transportation Library is one of the largest transportation information centers in the world, encompassing information on all transportation modalities, including: air, rail, highway, pipeline, water, urban transport and logistics. It includes significant collections on law enforcement, police management and traffic enforcement. Its collection of environmental impact statements is one of the most complete in the world.


This morning I attended a Library-wide staff meeting in the Norris University Center. I saw a lot of familiar faces and a lot of new ones. The meeting was led by Sarah Pritchard, Dean of Libraries, starting first by introducing new staff. Next, Clare Roccaforte discussed the launch of the Library's new website. The website is actually separate from the University's overall website, which I found interesting. I also think the redesign is gorgeous, intuitive, visually pleasing to the eye, easily accessible and organized very well. Afterwards, Catherine Grove & John Blosser talked about the implementation of multi-factor authentication on some library resources. It was explained that over the course of a few months, hackers had been attaining old NU username and logins to access journal subscriptions and downloading all sorts of academic papers. The idea of someone going to all that trouble to download papers and journals NEVER crossed my mind. So many questions and what if's went through my head. What a mess that is to clean up, dealing with legalities, technology messes, and staying ahead of the hackers. I have never really appreciated those who keep student, staff and faculty etc information safe, as well as keeping an eye on what is being downloaded. A couple months ago, IU asked for me to download an app that could authenticate one my logins, I didn't quite understand why they had me do it and now I do. 

An update on document management committee was given by Mike Perry, a brief reminder about identity theft protection was given by Sarah, and FOSM updated the library staff on the strange library odors that were appearing due to renovations. All of these topics were interesting and great to hear about but my favorite part of the meeting was the update on the Deering Conceptual Planning. Topics in the outline included Capital project planning, budgeting and review, Committees and its members, fundraising, approvals and other processes, and project constraints. It was made known that for the design of the space that the committee wanted to hear feedback from all library staff no matter what the circumstances were. I thought this was great, working as a team to better serve themselves and their users. The end of the meeting ended on a bittersweet note, Sarah told the staff that she had received an anonymous hate letter, sent to her personal home address. The letter expressed dislike and unhappiness about their job, the library, and its administration. I thought this was sad but Sarah exclaimed that the person who sent the letter is only a part of the problem and that they should have scheduled an appointment with her to discuss issues. She thanked the staff for listening and said thank you to those who come to work with a positive attitude. 


This last Friday, I was able to attend a Scrum meeting with stakeholders for the R&DC. The R&DC uses Scrum, an iterative and incremental agile software development framework for managing development. It defines “a flexible holistic product development strategy where a developmental team works as a unit to reach a common goal. In this case with R&DC, the project is the Repository | Images site. Those who attended were either the Scrum Master, team members and/or the scrum product owner. My supervisor, Nicole, is the product owner. She met with 4 other people to discuss their most recent two-week sprint. They discussed the interface of the Repository | Images site and also bugs that happen on the back end of it.

I realized how important it is to keep track of error messages and the wonky things that happen when working with MENU. It just goes to show that project planning is vital, especially when you get into the groove of inputting metadata and a bug makes you lose the work, those minutes add up and that in itself does not help with official deadlines.  I was only allowed sit in for the first part of the meeting. They also discussed and gave me a background on what they based their interface on. They also discussed the functionality and how they chose which collections to make public. I found it interesting that they were able to see how much progress they had made in their most recent two-week sprint via charts and graphs. One of the attendees of the meeting was a developer. I really love the amount of communication and productive teamwork between the three teams that make up the R&DC. It is very inspiring to see teams of people working together and making progress. 

Signatures & Secrets

The more and more I work on cataloging these images, the more and more I wish I would have kept up with learning French. I took two years of French in high school, so I am able to understand bits and pieces of what the images are saying but not completely. The project doesn't exactly require me to be fluent in French but it would definitely help. 

One of my favorite things about this project is seeing all the artwork of the La Caricature covers and researching the artists and engravers who created them. Below you can see that the artist named is "Draner", this merely an anagram of the artist's last name - Jules Jean Georges Renard. When I first start cataloging I thought the name was strange and did some research. I use the Getty's Union List of Artist Names to find artists' and their ref id numbers to include in the metadata. 

Vogel's signature in the right-hand corner.

Vogel's signature in the right-hand corner.

Going back to being fluent in French, I was cataloging an image and the printed artist's name ranged from Vogel, A. Vogel and L. Vogel but the signature was the same on every cover. I did some research and didn't really find any clarity until I used France's Wikipedia. I came to the conclusion that it was Hermann Vogel. Thankfully, technology (Google Translate) exists and I was able to investigate further and have french pages translated. Vogel is also included in ULAN. There have been other mystery signatures that I have solved and there are some that I have no clue who they are. The most recent signature that I am having a hard time with is, "Rip".

For awhile now, I have been thinking about taking a French language course in Spring 2017. I am surprised that foreign language is not required in library school. If I am not able to take a language class, I will pursue it outside the classroom.

Week Two

This past week, I have been able to sit down and focus on the metadata for this project. I have finished about four volumes of La Caricature images. 

There have been a few bumps along the way when working on this project. Since the repository is homegrown, it's not perfect. There are several bugs that need to be worked out. For instance, sometimes after I add the metadata through MENU and press publish, the image kicks back and disappears completely from MENU. This issue still has not been solved but I have been keeping track of the image filenames in a spreadsheet and adding error messages or things that need to be addressed. Another bug that has been a bit of an annoyance is that when you publish an image with metadata, it doesn't leave the queue. Since the queue never empties it makes it a little difficult to find images, especially since the filenames are numerical. When I first started cataloging, I would click publish and MENU would give me a null error. The image still gets published and shows up in the Images repository. My supervisor told me that they are aware of this error message and are trying to work on it as well. One thing I find interesting is that my supervisor and her colleagues discuss these issues with the developers of the database. Back at my workplace in Bloomington, I have never talked with or discussed issues to any developer about Photocat, database and online repository made for cataloging images. 


Getting Acquainted

Today was full of meeting new faces! I was able to attend the Staff Enrichment Breakfast where I met several people who work at NU's Library.

This included:

  • Nicole Finzer - Visual Resources Librarian at Repository & Digital Curation (R&DC) - My supervisor
  • Cara List - Head of the Art library
  • Karen Miller - Monographic Cataloger & Metadata specialist
  • Carolyn Caizzi - Leader of R&DC 
  • Jennifer Young - Librarian in the R&DC
  • Dru Parrish - Digitization & Metadata Coordinator for R&DC
  • Patrick Sifuentes - Public Services Music Librarian
  • Sigrid Perry - Library Assistant in the Charles Deering McCormick Library of Special Collections

I thoroughly enjoyed meeting with Cara at the Art Library. She explained to me the library's history and was kind enough to give me a tour. The Art Library holds over 160,000 books and journals about art, architecture, and design, with particular strengths in western 19th century art and architecture. Materials are located in the Eloise W. Martin Reading Room and the Architecture Reading Room on the third floor of Deering Library. This distinctive collection supports the research, teaching, and learning of Northwestern's departments of Art History and Art Theory and Practice; serves the art information needs of the entire Northwestern community; and provides art information to visiting scholars, students, artists, and researchers from around the world.

I sat down with Carolyn and she gave me the run down on the Library's Re-Org plan. And also how the R&DC's Plan and explained the three teams that make up the department: Repository Software Developers & Admin, Digital Curation & Metadata, and Collections Digitization. 

The R&DC Workgroup creates, acquires, and archives digital objects for long-term preservation and develops as well as deploys software to support the discovery, across, and use of digital resources by members of Northwestern University, scholarly communities, and the public. 

After absorbing all this information and meeting so many people, I walked over to the Mary and Leigh Block Museum of Art to see "a feast of astonishments: Charlotte Moorman and the Avant-Garde 1960s-1980s. The exhibition was organized by the Block in partnership with Northwestern’s Charles Deering McCormick Library of Special Collections, home of the Charlotte Moorman Archive. Scott Krafft, the Curator at the Charles Deering McCormick Library of Special Collections gave new staff and I a tour of the exhibition, along with Corinne Granof?, Curator of Academic Programs.


This morning I got to work adding metadata to images of La Caricature. With MENU, you can either fill in fields with text or use the XML feature to add or edit records. I typically use text and fill in the boxes but I have experimented with using XML to fill in fields that don't change e.g. subject headings, the ALMA number, and the call number...etc.

After getting into the groove of filling out the fields and using XML, my supervisor and I decided that I should be able to catalog 15 or more images day. Our goal for the internship is to have 345 images cataloged, which is roughly three volumes of La Caricature.

While I was inputting information, I was notified that there were a couple bugs that needed to be addressed before I could publish any more images. Meaning, I could save the metadata and publish the image later. 

In the afternoon, while I was waiting to hear from the developers to see if the bugs had been fixed in MENU, I attended the Staff Service Awards. This gathering was created to celebrate achievements for NU's Library staff. They recognized those who had been there in increments of five years. It was really great to see people who had just been hired to people who have worked there for more than 30 years. 


In the beginning...

After filling out employee paperwork, meeting other staff of the Repository & Digital Curation department and getting a brief tour of the library and staff areas, I began getting acquainted with my project. 

For my internship, I will be cataloging multiple volumes of images from 'La CaricatureLa Caricature was a satirical weekly published in Paris between 1830-1843 during the July Monarchy. Its cartoons repeatedly attacked King Louis-Philippe, whom it typically depicted as a pear. This collection resides in Northwestern University’s special collections. Holley Clayson, Professor of Art History and Bergen Evans, Professor in the humanities asked the Digital Curations department to reformat and ingest the images into Haithi (object level) and Repository | images (item level). The data entry will happen in MENU (Metadata Editor Northwestern University) a locally developed web-based tool, which uses VRA Core.

The Repository and Digital Curation advances the University's teaching and research mission by providing digitization services and support to Northwestern faculty and graduate students. We partner with other Library and University departments to provide these services and to undertake special digitization projects that bring Northwestern's unique and rare collections to researchers around the world. The department is responsible for the development and administration of the Library's digital repository. This repository provides the infrastructure for preserving and making accessible digital content on a wide variety of web sites.

My supervisor gave me an orientation on the Digital Image Library, as well as, the history of project Hydra. I also read about Fedora, which stands for Flexible Extensible Digital Object Repository Architecture. The Digital Image Library is an image database that houses over 114,000 high-resolution images with item-level descriptions. Personally, The goal of this project is to make the images available for search and discovery in Northwestern University Library's repository. I will be gaining experience in structured project management, work flows, tools and best practices for managing digital content. As well as, VRA Core, and becoming more knowledgeable about image repositories and their corresponding software/applications/plugins.