PARS Committee and Interest Group Reports, Annual 2014

Committees and Interest Groups of the Preservation & Reformatting Section of ALCTS share their activities in these reports from the 2014 ALA Annual Conference, held in Las Vegas, Nevada.

Executive Committee

The Preservation & Reformatting Section Executive Committee met on Monday, June 30, 2014. The meeting began with a visit from ALCTS President Genevieve Owens and President-Elect Mary Page who updated members on the ALCTS Executive Director Search, the ALA Strategic Plan and the ALCTS Strategic Plan. PARS will need to provide some input into the ALCTS Strategic Plan. Midwinter modifications were discussed including the idea of doing an “Angels Project” which would involve volunteering at a Chicago Library to re-house collections. In the end, it was decided that “Preservation Week” is our collective “Angels Project,” and we decided to focus on enriching the current format of Preservation Week and to seek new ways to get the word out. The Standards Committee is working on getting metadata standards for audio-visual materials on the website. The Committee will become the custodian of the Preservation Statistics gathering and publishing, and the Library Binding Institute/National Information Standards Organization binding standard comes up for review in 2016. The Paper Permanence Standard is overdue for review and revision. The Program, Planning and Publications Committee presented ideas for upcoming events, and everyone agreed that the “Analog vs. Digital” Debate at the Preservation Administrators Interest Group meeting was an enormous success. We may scale “the Debate” to a program that might be of interest to a larger ALCTS or ALA program.

Submitted by Becky Ryder

Preservation Standards and Practices Committee

The Preservation & Reformatting Section Preservation Standards and Practices Committee met on Monday, June 30, 2014. Because of Annie Peterson’s election to PARS Chair, our new chair starting in July will be Dawn Aveline. The vice chair will be Emily Shaw.

Annie Peterson has been working hard with Holly Robertson on the Preservation Statistics effort Holly started. The number of libraries participating is down. They have decided to give it one more big push this year, and if the number of participating libraries does not reach 75 they will drop it. Emily Shaw from our committee has volunteered to help with this effort.

Our committee partnered with the Music Library Association Metadata Subcommittee and a task force was created to review and update the publication, Metadata Standards and Guidelines Relevant to Digital Audio which is an ALCTS publication and is on our website. Our PARS rep is Emily Shaw, a member of our committee. The MLA Rep is Lisa McFall (Hamilton College) and she asked Kimmy Szeto (Baruch College) and Molly O’Brien (Binghamton University), to work on this project. The task force met Saturday afternoon, and reviewed the work they had accomplished in the past few months, which is extensive. Kimmy did a great deal of work with this. Emily has a few items to update, then she will contact the ALCTS office to get the updated publication on the web so that the Music Library Association (MLA) folks can link to it. As we learned at midwinter, these changes do not need to be reviewed by ALCTS. The updates can just be added to the website.

Gena Chattin has been working on a document on preservation related organizations and standards that was scheduled to become a web publication that would help professionals keep a better handle on what other organizations are doing and changes in their standards. She has learned since that Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) has a document almost exactly like what she was doing, so she has accepted the charge to work with IMLS to provide them with the data she has collected that they do not have in their document, then PARS will link to the IMLS site. She will have more to report at the next meeting of this committee.

The Digital Conversion Interest Group is looking for people to help contribute to the AV Artifact Atlas, and seemed to generate a fair amount of interest in this project during their meeting.

The Book and Paper Interest Group had a great program about various enclosures. Several people spoke, and their slide presentation was timed so that the slides changed automatically. This made the speakers stay on topic and on schedule and it was very effective. They plan to turn this format and topic into a program for a future ALA conference to provide general information and preservation training to the broader ALA audience.

Reported by Brian Baird

Program, Planning, and Publications Committee

The Preservation & Reformatting Section Program, Planning, and Publications Committee convened on Monday, June 30, 2014 at 8:30. The meeting opened with approval of the 2014 ALA Midwinter Conference meeting minutes and then followed with reports from the PARS Liaisons for ALCTS Planning, the Promoting Preservation Interest Group, and the ALCTS Program Committee.

The committee followed up on the status of the Preservation Education Directory, which a sub-committee had been working on updating between Midwinter and Annual 2014. The directory is nearing completion and should be finished well before the Midwinter 2015 meeting. Once the directory has been fully updated and has the approval of PARS Executive committee, it will be published online and a link to it established in the Wikipedia entry for Preservation.

The committee has multiple authors it is working with for potential publications, and several ideas were developed for conference programs. We hope to have 3-4 proposals submitted to the ALCTS Program Committee before the deadline.

Our final order of business was to determine what the optimal number of committee members might be to best serve the Program, Planning, and Publications Committee. After some discussion, it was decided that about half a dozen members, plus one virtual member and one intern, is sufficient to accomplish the work needed.

Reported by Jessica Phillips

Book and Paper Interest Group

The Preservation & Reformatting Section Book and Paper Interest Group met at the Annual Conference on Sunday, June 29, at 1pm in Caesars Palace, Las Vegas, Nevada. There were 40 attendees.

On April 24, 2014, co-chairs sent a call for presentations to the Preservation Administrators Interest Group (PAIG) e-mail discussion list as follows:

“2014: A (Library) Space Oddity

Everyone’s collections contain weird and wacky items that don’t fit neatly onto a shelf or into a standard workflow. These may be things that are very large or extremely tiny, artist’s books or altered books, ephemera, medical instruments, etc. These oddities pose challenges to preservation staff. How do you make the oddball, not-square item safely fit on the shelf? How do you repair things too large to fit in the press? What do you do with a book that is only 1-inch tall? And what about that issue of Décollage that contains a full-sized chocolate bar in a piece by Joseph Beuys?

Beth Doyle and Dawn Aveline, co-chairs of the Book and Paper Interest Group are seeking speakers to participate in an exciting series of fast-paced presentations focused around the theme of Curiosities and Oddities in the collections. Join us to share your story of housing, repairs, or otherwise making unusual items accessible in some manner.

The presentations will be formatted in the style of “Ignite” talks, whose motto is “Enlighten us, but make it quick!” Ignite presentations consist of 20 slides that advance automatically after 15 seconds each, for a total speaking time of 5 minutes per presenter. This format encourages fun, engaging and energetic sessions. Presentations will be followed by Q&A.

To propose a five-minute talk, please contact Dawn and Beth (e-mails below). We need several presenters to make this exciting, so don’t be shy. Show us your weird things and tell us your tips to preserve them!”

Eight speakers presented in “Ignite” style. Participants, their institutions and the topic of their talk are listed below. All participants’ slides are available to the public in one PDF at http://connect.ala.org/node/226277:

  • Veronica Sorcher (University of Cincinnati/Cincinnati Public Library): “Old Mother Hubbard Gets a New Cupboard”
  • Barbara Sagraves (Dartmouth College): “Canes of Dartmouth College, 1800-2008”
  • Ann Kearney (University at Albany, SUNY): “National Death Penalty Archive: Diverse Collection Poses Conservation Challenges”
  • Nancy E. Kraft* (University of Iowa): “Mini to Macro”
  • Moriah Niels (University of Washington): “Handling Housing: Preparing for the future at the University of Washington Libraries”
  • Jacob Nadal (ReCAP (The Research Collections and Preservation Consortium)): “The Swiss Cheese Problem, or, Chesterton Redeemed: Being a response to, and enlargement upon, his long-awaited opus, “The Neglect of Cheese in European Literature”, through a comparison of the formal qualities of caseinetic foodstuffs to problems in Library Economy.”
  • Miranda Nixon (University of Pittsburgh): “Artists’ Book Collection at Frick Fine Arts Library: Preservation Survey and Assessment”
  • Katherine Risseeuw (Northwestern University): “Death Comes to Preservation: The Michael McDowell Death Collection”

*Nancy Kraft could not be present at the session, so Beth Doyle read her script on her behalf.

Reported by Dawn Aveline

Digital Conversion Interest Group

The Preservation & Reformatting Section Digital Conversion Interest Group (DCIG) met on Saturday, June 28, 2014, with 45 people in attendance.

This summer’s Digital Conversion Interest Group meeting approached the topic of digital conversion related to analog video content. With that, the group was lucky to hear from Kimberly Tarr (NYU Libraries), and Kristin MacDonough (Bay Area Video Coalition). Tarr focused her thorough and detailed discussion on establishing the framework behind the preservation of analog video through digital conversion, and the consideration of vendor outsourcing to achieve this. Within Tarr’s presentation she discussed the ideas of why and when to reformat, as well as the importance of preliminary planning. MacDonough spoke more specifically on her work with the Audiovisual Artifact Atlas software, including its history, purpose, and future. MacDonough demonstrated her thorough knowledge of the software and its application through screen shots and examples of the capabilities of this Bay Area Video Coalition project.

Both Tarr and MacDonough demonstrated their expertise in the reformatting of analog video from varying perspectives, giving the audience the opportunity to understand both the framework and approach to digital conversion of analog video, as well as the technical components and challenges facing the field today.

With the remaining portion of the DCIG meeting, co-chair Roger Smith led an open discussion on the challenges facing smaller institutions when approaching the idea of establishing digital conversion projects and infrastructure.

This meeting was the last meeting with David Mindel as co-chair, and the DCIG looks forward to sending out a call for those interested in taking over Mindel’s position. Additionally, the DCIG will gauge the interest level regarding a possible meeting during ALA Midwinter, or if an annual meeting better meets expectations.

Reported by David Mindel

Preservation Administrators Interest Group

The Preservation & Reformatting Section Preservation Administrators Interest Group met on Saturday, June 28, 2014; 80 people were in attendance.

Ellen Cunningham-Kruppa (Adjunct Assistant Professor, Department of Art Conservation, University of Delaware) presented updates on library and archives conservation education programs. Cunningham-Krupa elaborated upon curriculum changes to the New York University and Buffalo State conservation programs, including new classes at Buffalo State taught by Gary Frost, and integration of courses that had been taught through Simmons College into the University of Delaware conservation curriculum.

Adrija Henley (Chief of Preservation Reformatting Division at the Library of Congress) gave updates from the Library of Congress Preservation Directorate. Ongoing projects at the Library of Congress include scanning audio materials with IRENE, digitizing the Alan Lomax collection, studies on natural aging in the Preservation Science division, and more. More information is available on the Library of Congress’ preservation site at http://www.loc.gov/preservation/ .

Holly Prochaska (Head, Preservation Services and Lab, The Preservation Lab) presented on the collaborative model for preservation employed by the University of Cincinnati Libraries (UCL) and the Public Library of Cincinnati and Hamilton County (PLCH). The two libraries pooled their resources to create the Preservation Lab that serves both institutions. Prochaska elaborated on the process of establishing the collaborative operation, the system that the lab uses to track and allocate treatment time, future plans for the lab, and some lessons learned from the process. More information on the Preservation Lab is at http://thepreservationlab.org/ .

Jeremy Linden (Senior Preservation Environment Specialist at the Image Permanence Institute (IPI)) presented on IPI’s latest research on mechanical system shutdowns in library storage areas. The research took place over four years, supported by an IMLS National Leadership Grant. Five partner libraries worked with IPI to schedule controlled, regular shutdowns of heating and cooling systems to evaluate the effects of the shutdowns on the conditions in library storage spaces. The research found that some climates fluctuated very little as a result of the shutdown (e.g., the New York Public Library’s underground storage), while others experienced a much wider temperature and humidity range as a result of the shutdown (e.g., the Birmingham Public Library in Alabama). There were significant energy and cost savings associated with the shutdowns as well. More information about the project, including registration for a series of upcoming, free workshops is at http://www.ipisustainability.org/ .

Kim Tarr (Head of the Media Preservation Unit at New York University Libraries) highlighted a new publication from the Video at Risk project: Digitizing Video for Long-Term Preservation: An RFP Guide and Template, which is available at http://library.nyu.edu/preservation/VARRFP.pdf .

The program concluded with two 30-minute, Oxford style debates on two preservation topics. The first topic debated was “The next generation of preservation librarians does not need training in caring for analog objects.” Howard Besser (Director of Moving Image Archiving and Preservation, New York University) and Dawn Aveline (Preservation Officer, UCLA), debated for the affirmative side, while Emily Shaw (Digital Preservation Librarian, University of Iowa Libraries) and Jacob Nadal (Executive Director of ReCAP) debated on the negative side. The debaters were assigned to positions by the moderator, so the sides that they took in the debate were not necessarily reflective of their personal or institutional views. The second topic was “As libraries emphasize digital collections, the traditional role of the preservation administrator becomes obsolete.” Jeanne Drewes (Chief of Binding and Collections Conservation/Deacidification Program, Library of Congress) and Katie Risseeuw (Preservation Librarian, Northwestern University Library) debated for the affirmative side, while Julie Mosbo (William and Susan Ouren Preservation Librarian, Texas A&M University) and Tom Clareson (Senior Consultant for Digital & Preservation Services, LYRASIS) debated for the negative. Both debates were lively and provided different perspectives on problems often discussed among preservation administrators, and a new method and arena for discussing the challenges currently facing the field of preservation.

Reported by Annie Peterson

Preservation Metadata Interest Group

The Preservation & Reformatting Section Preservation Metadata Interest Group met on Saturday, June 28, 2014, with 46 people in attendance. A brief business meeting of the Preservation Metadata Interest Group preceded the program, and Co-Chair Chelcie Rowell noted that at the January 2014 ALA Midwinter Meeting in Philadelphia, at the request of the co-chairs, the PARS Executive Committee voted unanimously to change the name of this interest group from the “Intellectual Access to Preservation Metadata Interest Group” to the “Preservation Metadata Interest Group.” Chelcie also recognized outgoing Co-Chair Sarah Potvin for her service and welcomed incoming Co-Chair Drew Krewer, Digitization Operations Librarian at the University of Houston Libraries, who will serve a 2-year term from July 2014 through June 2016.

The session focused on digital forensics, with an overview of the BitCurator project by Principal Investigator Cal Lee, as well as lightning talks by BitCurator Users Jarrett M. Drake (Princeton University) and Rebecca Russell and Amanda Focke (Rice University). Slides of each presentation are available in the Preservation Metadata Interest Group’s community on ALA Connect.

Reported by Chelcie Rowell

Web Working Group

The PARS Web Working Group did not meet at the 2014 ALA Annual Conference. Since Midwinter, the Web Working Group has been focused on three target activities:

  • Supporting the Preservation Week Working Group in the ongoing development and review of their websites.
  • Creating a how-to document for using GoToMeeting, to facilitate its use by PARS committee and interest group chairs.
  • Developing a draft set of social media guidelines for PARS members.

Reported by Helen Bailey