PARS Committee and Interest Group Reports, Annual 2013

Executive Committee

The PARS Executive Committee met on July 1, 8 a.m.–12 p.m.

The committee heard reports on ALCTS Board business from ALCTS President Carolynne Myall. Special attention was given to philanthropy and outreach to under-served groups. The committee suggested that it could pursue incorporating "Donate to ALCTS" links on its webinars and related sites. Community Colleges emerged as a potential focus for outreach, and there was interest in drawing them into planning for future Preservation Week events.

Election results were announced, with Kara McKlurken, Chair; Ian Bogus, Member-at-Large; and David Low, Secretary.

Committee minutes from Midwinter Meeting were reviewed and unanimously approved.

Reports were received from other PARS committees, liaisons, task forces, and working groups. Of special note are the guidelines produced by the Minimum Capture Task Force and the Preservation Statistics Survey.

The Minimum Capture Guidelines were approved by the committee and forwarded to the ALCTS Board, where they were received and endorsed for publication. The Preservation Standards and Practices committee will administer the Preservation Survey for the next two ALA years.

In its discussion time, several topics were considered for further work in 2013–14. One suggestion was moving the PARS Forum into the Sunday 3pm slot to facilitate attendance at the ACLTS awards programs and reduce conflicts with other sessions. There was some discussion of a "lightning round" for the forum, to give a chance for news, tips, and questions to get out to the field.

Members requested clarification on how to requesting 60 or 90 minute time slots for IGs, noting that several places seemed to be inherited, rather than guided by the time needed for topics and programming, while also recognizing the value of having IGs as predictable times year-to-year. Members also requested section or division level recommendations on the preferred technology for Virtual Meetings and attendance. New members were reminded of the Emerging Leaders report which provided some guidance.

Several request for representatives or liaisons were considered. For Charleston Archives, Libraries and Museums Council (CALM), PARS resolved to send a PARS member-at-large to meetings at upcoming conferences and request a CALM member to attend PAIG and give an update on business.

Preservation coverage in Wikipedia was discussed, including ways of monitoring and assessing those articles. No clear consensus emerged, but there was lively discussion of formal and informal channels for making sure that the field paid attention to this information.

Preservation Standards and Practices Committee

The committee met on July 1, 2013 at ALA Annual Conference. The meeting was chaired by Vice Chair Brian Baird. The following topics were discussed.

Updating “Metadata Standards and Guidelines Relevant to Digital Audio”

In April 2013 Ian Bogus alerted the committee that the document “Metadata Standards and Guidelines Relevant to Digital Audio” needed an update. Jianrong and Brian met with Lisa McFall (MLA BCC subcommittee) before the meeting and agreed that the two committees should work together on the document. Emily Shaw volunteered to work on the document at the meeting. Lisa informed the committee later that Molly O'Brien from her committee would be working with Emily on updating the document.

Updating “Minimum Digitization Capture Recommendations”

Ian Bogus informed the committee that he and his task force members had finalized the document. Thanks to Ian’s compilation of a list of institution’s digitization practices, the whole process went a lot faster. The finished version is online. Brian would distribute the link to discussion lists and make more announcements about its availability.

Members felt that the document should be reviewed and updated periodically, and PS&P should do the updating. In addition, more information could be added to the document such as more citations and information regarding how to create a good image. Currently the document is a PARS standard. It is on the ALCTS Board agenda to become an ALCTS standard.

Preservation Topics in ALA

A discussion of digital preservation topics and where they are being discussed in ALA followed. Members thought that digital preservation was spread out through ALCTS PARS, LITA, and other ALA groups, and digital preservation/management of digital things happened in different places/departments of different libraries. It would be helpful if more coordination could exist between the division and groups in these discussions. It would be easier to identify a peer group of digital preservation librarians than people individually. Maybe within PAIG, a discussion of how to better coordinate with other groups who are doing similar work, both in digital preservation and preservation administration in general, should be carried out. This would avoid duplicating efforts. For example, AMIA, ARSC, AIC and SPNHC all talk about similar problems but they are not communicating with each other.

Updating Preservation Wikipedia Pages

NDSA standards working group worked on updating the digital preservation page on Wikipedia. Columbia people led the effort, got people from other institutions on board as needed for expertise in specific areas. Annie Peterson volunteered to coordinate an effort within PS&P to edit the library preservation page on Wikipedia, and any other related pages that could use editing.

Involving New Librarians in Committees

It seems that new librarians are often unaware that they can volunteer to serve on committees, or even what committees exist. PARS/ALCTS could do a better job with outreach to new professionals, encouraging them to volunteer for committees.

Preservation Statistics Update

Holly Robertson reported that the survey closed on June 25, 2013. Deadline was extended to the end of July. The survey records preservation activities, a continuation of the ARL preservation statistics, and is different from the Heritage Health Index. Fifty-one people finished the survey; most of them were from ARL libraries. Additional people say they will complete it by the extended July deadline.

Holly is looking for a survey coordinator; a publicity and outreach coordinator who can do data analysis and present the data visually and in other exciting ways. There are opportunities for publishing using the data. It is agreed that PS&P will be the keeper of the preservation statistics. Incoming Vice-Chair (Annie Peterson, in 2013) will be the primary survey person on PS&P and will pass it on the next year, to keep one person with past experience on the PS&P committee and allow for better continuity. Holly proposed creating a working group to formalize the statistics and make sure they happen again next year, and get them more embedded in the PARS structure. There is a need to get the statistics to be an ALA-sponsored agenda item so that it carries more weight. A home is also needed for hosting the data. Right now there is no place for it to be permanently stored.

Reports from Interest Groups

Each interest group provided a report of activity at Annual Conference. For detailed information, please refer to reports from individual interest groups, below.

Program, Planning, and Publications Committee

The PARS Program, Planning, and Publications Committee met on Monday, July 1. The committee heard reports from liaisons to ALCTS Planning, ALCTS Continuing Education, and ALCTS Programs.

  1. The committee reviewed successful PARS programming from the 2013 ALA Annual Conference, including:
    • Virtual preconference: “Loan Agreements for Exhibits Materials: The Basics”
    • PARS Forum: “Discussion to Plan a Study on the Impacts of Regional Climates on Library Collections”
  2. The committee formed a subgroup to review the scope of current work and potential activities, and to draft an updated committee charge. The group will liaise with the ALCTS Publications Committee, the ALCTS Programs Committee, and the ALCTS publications editors to better understand the role of each group in relation to the PPP Committee.  The subgroup will also identify venues for marketing and proposal solicitations for PARS-related programs and publications, including state and regional preservation discussion lists and web sites.
  3. The committee formed a task force to update the Preservation Education Directory.
  4. The committee identified, and will follow up on, the following potential publications, Annual 2014 programs, and webinars:
  • Short publication with case studies on loan agreements for special collections
  • Webinar on preserving architectural drawings, maps, and other oversize documents
  • Webinar on audio preservation on a shoestring budget
  • Webinar on using social media for promoting and fundraising for preservation
  • Town hall style program on preservation aspects of shared print collections and coordinated withdrawals of print materials
  • Program on preservation metadata

The committee also discussed potential opportunities to collaborate with organizations within and outside of ALA for programming and publications.

Preservation and Reformatting Section (PARS) Interest Groups

Book and Paper Interest Group

As a fitting topic for Chicago—the city of Frank Lloyd Wright, Studio Gang, and the first skyscrapers—BPIG discussed architectural archives and libraries. Architectural drawings pose unique preservation challenges, arising from their various reproduction techniques and chemistry, rolled v. flat storage, their large size, and the physical space needed for housing. Cataloging, digitizing, and access issues also arise frequently. In circulating collections, the books are often large, heavy, and usually scanned or photocopied. Summaries of presentations follow.

Dana Lamparello, Archivist for Architecture and Visual Resources, Chicago History Museum (CHM). Topic: “Architectural Archives and the Chicago History Museum.” Dana presented on the many challenges she faces in her current role at the CHM. The museum’s first architecture curator was hired in the mid-1970s, when many of the archival practices were established. During the economic downturn of the 1990s the museum dissolved the curator position, leading to a loss of knowledge of the collections. The collections are accessed most by professional architects for work, along with some academic and personal access. The collection is described on paper, organized in binders. Establishing electronic access identified as a first step; onerous, but in Dana's skill set. She developed a crosswalk to MARC from the description sheets in the binders; it was not an “all-or-nothing” approach. She used existing OPAC collection-level records as guide and added records as more descriptions were converted.

The storage of the physical materials also poses certain challenges. The collection is split between on-site storage and off-site storage at a warehouse without humidity control. The onsite space houses 3D architectural models, which occupy valuable space. Some flat files are overstuffed and therefore cause slumping. Potential solutions include adding more shelves for flat files, moving the 3D models offsite. Future work will include the development of a processing manual for current backlogs and to create a list of available on- or off-site storage.

Kim Soss, Head of the Graham Resource Center, Illinois Institute of Technology (IIT) College of Architecture. Kim presented on the rich history of the IIT’s Graham Resource Center, the main library for IIT’s College of Architecture. The library maintains a very valuable collection of art and architecture books. Kim is pushing to create a special collections space that would house the rare architectural volumes as well as create a place for valuable manuscript or other archival materials. However, Kim noted that the administration of the school has not always supported the retention of archival materials relating to its own history. The school boasts renowned current and former faculty members, chief among them former director Mies van der Rohe, who assumed his directorship in 1938 and remained until 1958. Currently, the Resource Center is undergoing construction and expansion, and Kim hopes that plans will permit the development of a robust Special Collections.

Katie Risseeuw, Preservation Librarian, Northwestern University Library. Katie reported on her recent visit to the library and archive of Skidmore, Owings, and Merrill (SOM)’s headquarters based in Chicago. SOM is responsible for the construction of many famous buildings, including the Sears Tower (now known as the Willis Tower), the John Hancock Center, and the Burj Khalifa in Dubai, currently the world’s tallest building.

The Book and Paper Interest Group Co-Chairs had invited Karen Widi, SOM’s Manager of Library, Records, and Information Services, to speak at our session, but unfortunately she was unavailable at the time of the conference. However, Ms. Widi generously offered to provide an in-depth tour of her office to BPIG co-Chair Katie Risseeuw before the ALA meeting. Karen Widi acts as reference librarian, public services librarian, records manager, collection manager, cataloger, archivist, and digital archivist. In these multiple jobs, Karen handles an extremely wide variety of materials dating from the 1930s (around the time of SOM’s founding) to current day. Architectural materials themselves are composed of a range of materials, including mylar, vellum, linen, and diazo. In addition, as records manager Ms. Widi maintains the records relevant to legal requirements of the firm, typically, construction drawings, specifications, and other documentation.

Katie presented a view of SOM’s library/archive comparing it along corporate v. institutional lines. Copyright, financial matters (for profit versus nonprofit), space constraints, time constraints that limit organization, are all challenges that are faced by the institutional, corporate archive. One of the biggest challenges (for both corporate and institutional archives) is the preservation of digital materials: proprietary files and software, improper filing (by staff), version control, duplicate files, and authenticity. Katie summarized the main differences been the types of archive, based on their goals. Architectural firms keep their drawings and files for reference, legal and business purposes. Public-sector or non-profit archives exist for research. SOM does also maintain their archive for historical and educational purposes as this firm has its place in architectural history. Researchers and publishers from around the world contact them to research their archives.

Jill Wiercioch, Graduate, University of Illinois Graduate School of Library and Information Science. Jill presented a project, “Assessment of Architecture Books stored in Closed Stacks at Illinois Institute of Technology’s Paul V. Galvin Library,” intended to inventory uncataloged and Dewey-classified architectural materials stored in the Paul V. Galvin Library’s Closed Stacks. The initial planning phase of the project aimed to assess the physical condition of the items, identify items not currently listed in the library OPAC, and determine which titles have already been digitized. The first step of the project was to develop an assessment framework. This included deciding what data about the materials to collect, creating a template to capture data and restricting input to improve consistency (such as a controlled vocabulary).

The next step focused on collecting the data about the materials, including identifying metadata and physical condition assessment with an eye to the potential for digitization of the materials (such as narrow margins and gutters, tight bindings and damage.) Titles then had to be researched, locating the item in IIT’s OPAC and in WorldCat and searching for a previously digitized copy of item in Google Books and HathiTrust. Overall, the project evaluated 288 items, of which 193 were not found in the OPAC. All but three were located in WorldCat. HathiTrust has digital versions of twenty-six items at varying levels of access. An additional forty-nine items are currently accessible by an alternate provider. Google Books has bibliographic records for at least 129 of the items, but at this time it is impossible to determine whether these digital objects are reasonable facsimiles to the physical items in Closed Stacks.

As a result, several actions were proposed for the materials in question: Assess unique value of individual items; consider relocation to Graham Resource Center; catalog and/or recatalog; rehouse (items in need of immediate attention were noted); move and/or reorient items on properly-sized shelves; locate missing plates; and reconnoiter digitization efforts of other institutions.

Digital Preservation Interest Group

The Digital Preservation Interest Group had a successful program showcasing many of the latest projects and developments in the field. Summaries of these presentations follow.

The NDSA Levels of Digital Preservation

The Levels of Digital Preservation is an initiative of the National Digital Stewardship Alliance (NDSA) that provides a tiered set of recommendations for institutions undertaking digital preservation. Created by a diverse team of practitioners from NDSA-member organizations, the Levels guidelines are agnostic towards institution size, resource level, and specific technologies. The Levels are intended to be easy-to-use and focus on specific best-practices instead of overall digital preservation program development. Jefferson Bailey, Strategic Initiatives Manager at Metropolitan New York Library Council and Co-chair of the Innovation Working Group of the NDSA, presented.

The Digital POWRR Project

The Digital POWRR project is funded by an IMLS National Leadership Grant that is driven by partners from five Illinois universities. The project team is investigating ways institutions with fewer resources can engage successfully in digital preservation. The team is testing different open source processing tools to determine their usability, scalability, and sustainability, all from the perspective of practitioners in the field who likely have smaller budgets, limited IT support, and/or few staff members. The team is also examining how well these tools work with popular back-end, dark archive options like DuraCloud and MetaArchive. At the end of the project, Digital POWRR will deliver detailed tool testing results and recommendations, a template for incremental, practical steps in building awareness and buy-in within smaller organizations, and potential business models for implementing digital preservation solutions at institutions with restricted resources. Presenters were Aaisha Haykal, Director of Archives and Special Collections at Chicago State University, and Patrice-Andre Prud’homme, Head of Digital Collections at Illinois State University.

Chronicles in Preservation: Preserving Digital News and Newspapers

The Chronicles in Preservation Project is a three-year program funded by the NEH to study, document, and model the curation of digitally preserved newspaper collections, both digitized and born digital. The Chronicles Project is testing and recommending a spectrum of tools and practices from essential to optimal. The presentation discussed how the use of open-source tools such as the DAITSS Description Service, UNT’s PREMIS Event Service, and implementations of the BagIt standard can automate the creation and monitoring of foundational digital preservation elements. Presenting were Matt Schultz, Program Manager, and Nick Krabbenhoeft, Project Manager, both of Educopia Institute.

Building a Robust Pipeline for ETD Ingestion with Rich Metadata

Michigan State University (MSU) is using Archivematica and a series of XSLTs to capture rich technical, preservation, and descriptive metadata relating to the preparation and ingest of files into a Fedora Commons Repository. Lucas Mak, Metadata and Catalog Librarian, discussed the background of this workflow, sources of metadata, metadata transformation, and tools utilized.

Preservation Administration Interest Group

Approximately 72 people attended the PAIG meeting. More detailed notes from the meeting are available on ALA Connect at

Jacob Nadal, Director of Library and Archives, The Brooklyn Historical Society, reported news from PARS, including news on the Digital Content Working Group, overall membership numbers, Fundamentals of Preservation’s need for instructions, dues change for retired members, and more. Nadal noted that Preservation Week has been a continuing success within ALCTS and ALA, and Steve Berry will continue on as its national spokesperson. Becky Ryder will be PARS chair, starting at the end of July, when all chairs switch over, because of the later than usual date of Annual.

Jeanne Drewes, Chief of Binding and Collections Care in the Preservation Directorate at the Library of Congress, reported on changes and news from the Library of Congress. Some of the changes include a budget for 2013 that is approximately what they had in 2006, a new Chief of Conservation, Elmer Eusman. The library is now doing 3D reformatting with IRENE, including wax cylinders. Research on sticky shed syndrome continues, the library is looking at third party digitization, and between 8,000 and 10,000 items still come into the library every day. LC is transitioning to online-only cataloging publications.

Ian Bogus, MacDonald Curator of Preservation at University of Pennsylvania, reported on the work of the Minimum Digitization Capture Guidelines Task Force. Their final document is available at

Brandon Butler, Director of Public Policy Initiatives at the Association of Research Libraries, presented on “Copyright and Preservation: Best Practices, Legislative Proposals, and the Latest Cases.” Butler spoke about copyright and fair use specifically within the context of preservation and reformatting. Section 108 covers reproductions and use for libraries, but fair use also allows space for preservation. ARL’s code of best practices for fair use is at

Three speakers talked about different preservation education programs: Ellen Cunningham-Kruppa, Adjunct Assistant Professor, Art Conservation, University of Delaware; Doctoral Candidate, American Studies, University of Texas at Austin spoke about the library and archives conservation training programs at NYU, Buffalo, and Winterthur. Roger Smith, Digital Library Program and Preservation Coordinator talked about the Preservation Management Institute at Rutgers. Julie Mosbo, Preservation Librarian, Southern Illinois University at Carbondale presented on the Fundamentals of Preservation online course through ALCTS. The overview of the different programs was followed by a discussion of the current state of preservation education along with questions and ideas to explore in the future.

Holly Robertson, Preservation Consultant, presented briefly on the results of the “Preservation Activities in Cultural Heritage Institutions” survey. The survey was created to capture data that used to be captured in the ARL Preservation Statistics. Only 51 institutions had completed the survey at the time of the presentation, and the deadline was extended until July 31st. The data will be released in August 2013.

Janet Gertz, Director of the Preservation and Digital Conversion Unit, Columbia University Libraries, gave an update on eJournal preservation efforts at Columbia. Columbia is working towards a project that will find practical, implementable solutions to eJournal preservation problems.

Kimberly Tarr, Moving Image Preservation Specialist, New York University Libraries, gave an update on the Video at Risk (VAR) project at NYU. Background information about the project is at , where the Section 108 guidelines for video can also be found. The next deliverable from the VAR project is an RFP template for libraries and archive to use when outsourcing video reformatting projects. The RFP is being pilot tested and then will be released.

Announcements included a position at Dartmouth College Library, new progress in deacidification from Dick Smith of Wei T’o, a pre-conference on digital media content from the Video Roundtable, and the new co-chair of PAIG is Scott Reinke, Preservation Administrator at University of Miami Libraries. For more detail on announcements and more see the minutes at

Intellectual Access to Preservation Metadata Interest Group

Business Meeting Announcements

Outgoing co-chair, Shawn Averkamp, welcomed incoming co-chair, Chelcie Rowell. In August 2013, Chelcie Rowell will graduate from the School of Information and Library Science at UNC-Chapel Hill, and will begin a position as the Digital Initiatives Librarian at the Z. Smith Reynolds Library of Wake Forest University. Chelcie will begin her two-year term with returning co-chair, Sarah Potvin.

Shawn made a call for future meeting topics. Suggestions can be submitted to the co-chairs or through ALA Connect.

The business meeting was followed by two presentations on preservation metadata in repositories.

PREMIS: To Be or Not To Be in My METS

Jennifer Eustis, catalog/metadata librarian, University of Connecticut Libraries, and David Lowe, preservation and data management services librarian, University of Connecticut Libraries, discussed the University of Connecticut Libraries’ process of selecting and implementing a Fedora repository and the issues they faced in integrating preservation metadata, towards TRAC compliance. In 2011, UConn created a working group to investigate alternatives to current repositories that would incorporate a more consistent preservation mission. After selecting Fedora, the group set out to develop a content model and design their METS profile. They determined the minimum metadata requirements -- an “Uberset” -- and assigned elements from this set to the appropriate split content levels: grouping, container, and media objects. This “atomistic” content model enabled metadata to be split across the three levels. The repository currently supports the recording of ingestion events in PREMIS.

During the process of integrating METS and PREMIS for their Fedora repository, the group encountered a number of issues, including incompatibility with Islandora (the chosen administrative model and presentation layer), difficulty retrieving consistent technical metadata from Archivematica, and problems getting PREMIS into the METS data stream. To remedy these issues, they decided to build their own administrative module (reserving Islandora for the presentation layer only) and to move away from the METS Uberset, towards a more modular solution for packaging and reusing preservation metadata. Next steps will include refining specifications for their metadata modules, determining how to handle PREMIS beyond ingest events, and exploring the incorporation of linked open data.

The Purdue University Research Repository: HUBzero Customization for Dataset Publication and Digital Preservation

Amy Barton, Metadata Specialist and Assistant Professor of Library Science, Purdue University Library, and Carly Dearborn, Digital Preservation and Electronic Records Archivist, Purdue University Library, presented on work done with Neal Harmeyer, Digital Archivist, Purdue University Library. Barton and Dearborn provided an overview of Purdue University’s research repository, PURR, and the metadata they collect and generate to support the long-term preservation of research datasets.

PURR is an instance of HUBzero, an open source LAMP-based platform with Joomla! content management system. Developed at Purdue, PURR was customized for data stewardship, including workflows for curation, publication, dissemination, and preservation of datasets. The project involves a team from the Libraries and serves as a collaborative effort involving the Libraries, Information Technology at Purdue, and the Office of the Vice President for Research.

Using TRAC as their guide, the group collaboratively developed mission statements, policies, job descriptions, and business plans. They decided to commit to preservation of all deposits for ten years, after which time content is subject to Libraries’ selection criteria for further retention. PURR accepts all file formats but recommends sustainable format solutions. Following the OAIS model, content producers submit content (SIP) and the content information is bundled together with Bagit (AIP). Because PURR uncompresses all files for the AIP, the DIP is derived from the original SIP.

PURR metadata incurs the weaving together of standards for preservation. METS is used as the wrapper to package metadata; dcterms is used for descriptive metadata; MODS, to designate dataset ownership and access condition for digital provenance; and PREMIS, for preservation metadata (including technical, rights, and digital provenance metadata). PURR currently records validation, ingestion, and capture events in PREMIS. In addition to capturing preservation events, PURR records the significant properties of datasets, determined through consultation with the content producers, which will aid in future file format migration. Subject specialists check submissions and add keywords to datasets. The presenters concluded with a walkthrough of a dataset submission.

After presentations concluded, speakers took questions from the audience. Attendees asked about Purdue's practice of deriving DIPs from SIPs rather than AIPs, questioned whether Dublin Core was sufficient for describing data, and requested further information about file formats received and migrated. They further asked about the appraisal process that could result in data being deaccessioned after ten years. Both sets of speakers responded to a question about data ownership and questions of terminology and policy. Slides are available on ALA Connect:

Web Working Group

The Web Working Group did not meet at Annual, as current membership in the group is just the chair, who was unable to attend. New committee members will be appointed this year, and the chair will work closely with the Executive Committee to determine how the group can function to best serve the needs of PARS and its members.

Over the past year, the Web Working Group completed actions in two major areas. At the request of the Preservation Week Working Group, the Web Working Group conducted a review of the Preservation Week website and provided feedback to help improve the site’s organization and navigation.

The group also worked closely with the Minimal Capture Guideline Task Force, led by Ian Bogus, to develop an interactive web version of the new Minimum Digitization Capture Guidelines publication. Together, we conducted research into possible tools for creating zooming, interactive images and worked with Christine McConnell to test these in Drupal. Unfortunately, the tools identified were not able to be successfully installed on the ALA Drupal server, however a web version with slightly fewer bells and whistles was completed. The web version of this document is now available to the public at