PARS Committee and Interest Group Reports, Midwinter 2014

Preservation Standards and Practices Committee

The committee met on Monday, January 27, 2014, at 8:30 a.m. Annie Peterson has been working hard with Holly Robertson on the Preservation Statistics effort Holly started. We want to give this a home in ALA, and have it at least begin its ALA life in our committee. Annie volunteered for this and has been making things happen. She will continue to lead this effort from our committee at least through the end of her term as chair.

There was some discussion about our group working with other preservation professionals to improve preservation-related Wikipedia entries. Jake Nadal has had a lot of experience working on this with his library school students over the years to create and edit preservation entries. He has some documentation on his efforts and Brian Baird will get with him to review this information. It was suggested that this might be a good activity for people to engage in during preservation week. The Preservation Week Working Group will be looking into this as an activity.

Our committee is partnering 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. This is an ALCTS publication, and is available on our website. Our PARS rep is Emily Shaw, a member of our committee. The MLA Rep is Molly O’Brien from Binghamton University, and she asked Kimmy Szeto from Baruch College to work on this project. This task force met Sunday afternoon, and reviewed the work they had accomplished in the past few months, which is extensive. Emily and Kimmy divided up the remaining standards listed on the report and will complete the work in the next few months. When the changes are complete and reviewed by the committee they can be updated on the website with the help of ALCTS staff. They do not need to be reviewed by ALCTS.

Claire Stewart was the on our committee for a few years and was tasked with the job of trying to fill Myron Chace’s (formerly from LC) very big shoes of liaising with various microfilm standard committees throughout the industry—particularly AIIM. She is off the committee now and can no longer fill her liaison role. There was a discussion of how best to monitor what other professional organizations—especially those in charge of preservation related standards—are doing. Gena Chattin created a short outline of some of these organizations that is two pages long. She accepted the assignment to flesh this document out more and turn it into a publication on the website that will assist our committee and ALCTS in at least passively monitoring and working with related organizations.

Martha Horan reported on the Digital Conversion IG she chairs. They had 78 people in attendance and had a good discussion about how to organize digital conversion projects and how to determine when to do them in house and when to outsource the work.

Action Items

  • Emily Shaw will work with Kimmy Szeto from the MLA to finish updating the Metadata Standards and Guidelines Relevant to Digital Audio web publication. We will review these updates as a committee and then get then get the publication on the website updated.
  • Committee will follow up with the Preservation Week Working Group to see how we can assist them in getting preservation related Wikipedia articles updated and created during Preservation Week.
  • Gena Chattin will work to flesh out her document on preservation related organizations and standards and turn it into a web publication so we can keep a better handle on what other organizations are doing and changes in their standards.
  • Martha Horan will work with her IG to investigate developing the program she had at Midwinter into a program for a future Annual Conference.

—Reported by Brian Baird

Program Planning and Publications Committee

The committee met on Monday, January 27, 2014, at 8:30 a.m. PPP reviewed the upcoming Annual 2014 programs and virtual preconferences and discussed presentations seen at the Midwinter 2014 interest groups and meetings that might do well to be expanded into a publication or elevated to a program for Annual 2015. We have a few exciting ideas in the pipeline. PPP has a group of volunteers from within the committee who are working on updating the Preservation Education Directory.

—Reported by Jessica Phillips

Book and Paper Interest Group

Following email discussions with members of PARS Executive Committee in October 2013, the BPIG co-chairs decided not to offer a session at ALA Midwinter 2014. This decision coincides with the recognition that we are all faced with dwindling travel budgets at our institutions and therefore focusing efforts on sessions at the summer meeting makes more sense for members.

—Reported by Dawn Aveline

Digital Conversion Interest Group

The Digital Conversion Interest Group met on Saturday, January 25, 2014, at 1 p.m., and approximately 80 people attended. The group tackled the topic of when to outsource and when to perform in-house conversion and preservation. To provide insight on the decision making process that preservation professionals go through when deciding whether to work in-house or outsource, the Digital Conversion IG invited four speakers to discuss their experiences and approaches in dealing with making such decisions.

Guha Shankar, Folklife Specialist with the American Folklife Center (AFC) at the Library of Congress, provided an overview of how the AFC prioritizes what to digitize and how to determine where to do the work, in-house or with a vendor. Brian Carpenter, Mellon Digital Archivist at the American Philosophical Society (APS), outlined the APS Library's 6-year Native American audio digitization project, and he discussed the hurdles the project faced in determining a budget, timeline, and workflow. Janet Gertz, Director of the Preservation and Digital Conversion Division of Columbia University Libraries, discussed how Columbia University Libraries built a program for preservation digitization of audio without building an audio lab, and how audio fits into the library’s overall digital preservation program. Martha Horan, Registrar at George Blood Audio and Video, L.P., presented on both institutional and vendor perspectives on this topic, and she gave insight into when vendor services can be beneficial.

It should also be noted that Martha Horan is the outgoing co-chair of this interest group, and she will be replaced by Roger Smith, Director of the Digital Library Program and Preservation Unit at the University of California, San Diego Library.

—Reported by David Mindel

Intellectual Access to Preservation Metadata Interest Group

During the 2014 ALA Midwinter Meeting, the Intellectual Access to Preservation Metadata Interest Group met on January 25, at 3 p.m. Thirty-five people attended.

A brief business meeting preceded the program, and the following announcements were made:

  • Outgoing co-chair Sarah Potvin announced that her term would conclude following the 2014 ALA Annual Conference in Las Vegas. The interest group is seeking nominations for a co-chair whose service would begin with planning for the 2015 ALA Midwinter Meeting in Chicago, and end with planning for the 2016 ALA Annual Conference in Orlando, Florida.
  • Sarah also made a call for future meeting topics. Suggestions can be submitted to the current co-chairs via email or ALA Connect.

Co-chair Chelcie Rowell then introduced the presenters, Lorraine L. Richards, Assistant Professor, Drexel University College of Computing and Informatics, and Adam Townes, Doctoral Candidate, Drexel University College of Computing and Informatics, who had responded to a call for proposals about working with content creators to help them develop metadata that supports long-term preservation of materials.

Richards and Townes’ presentation, “Decomposing Results Without Burying the Body of Evidence: A Modus Operandi for Developing Metadata and Digital Preservation Requirements,” centered upon their current work with a scientific agency to design a data repository that facilitates both preservation and re-use. This work was done in collaboration with co-authors William C. Regli, Professor, Drexel University College of Computing and Informatics, and YuanYuan Feng, Doctoral Student, Drexel University College of Computing and Informatics.

Richards and Townes described working directly with scientists, engineers and program managers in three participating labs at the Federal Aviation Administration’s (FAA) William J. Hughes Technical Center (WJHTC) to design a prototype data preservation environment that encompasses:

  • a repository capable of automatically generating some metadata;
  • custom controlled vocabularies for describing the agency’s data; and
  • rules and policies (such as access controls) for the agency’s data

The ultimate goal of this prototype data preservation environment is to facilitate the re-use of data sets generated both by simulations and experiments. Towards this end, the researchers have undertaken to understand the FAA context, workflows, and the nature of data collected there and to develop scenarios for re-use in simulations and experiments. Human factors play a significant part in this effort, and the Drexel researchers are focused on introducing outreach and cultural changes in the three participating FAA labs that will enable sound curation practices.

This work unfolds in the context of the emergence of a “fourth paradigm” of science, with data-intensive research generating huge data sets. Additionally, the work is spurred by federal policies, notably the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy’s 2013 directive to federal agencies with over $100 million expenditures, to develop an “approach for optimizing search, archival, and dissemination features that encourages innovation in accessibility and interoperability, while ensuring long-term stewardship of the results of federally funded research." Agencies are challenged to meet these requirements, operating as they often do with minimal data sharing and re-use, with hand-to-hand policies that require researchers to become aware of unadvertised, existing data and to personally contact project investigators to gain access to and context for that data.

As Richards and Townes explained, scientists rely on the principle of reproducibility of research, a requirement that depends on discoverable and trustworthy data. The development of a system for describing and maintaining research objects, then, must incorporate provenance tracking and “detailed information on how the data has been created and transformed during the experimental or simulation process,” including “results of the analysis” as well as “provenance information detailing the services used, intermediate results, logs and final results.” Intervening early in the data lifecycle affords the opportunity to capture preservation metadata that otherwise might be lost, consequently jeopardizing the data’s reusability.

Q&A followed the presentation. Attendees asked about scalability. Was this modus operandi intended as a model for other federal agencies? While context for the work processes of the data creators was specific to the FAA, method, taxonomy, and technical architectures are designed to be useful for others. Other attendees inquired about the process of automatically generating metadata. In an effort to support frequent re-use as well as versioning of data, the presenters envision scripts that would populate particular metadata elements by mapping repository fields to source system fields. Richards and Townes also responded to a question about the applicability to libraries and archives by pointing to shared interests in the creation of federated preservation systems and in maintaining authenticity and provenance; they provided examples of shared problems and solutions.

—Reported by Sarah Potvin

Preservation Administrators' Interest Group

Jacob Nadal, Executive Director at ReCAP, started the PAIG meeting, held Saturday, January 25, at 8:30 a.m., with a presentation that evaluated the series of events, both accidental and deliberate, that led to the survival and loss of Liberian documents in the civil war and post-war years. He described the strategies used to recover from a major conflict, and looked at the specific choices made in exhibiting some of Liberia’s great national documents, including Liberia’s original Constitution and Declaration of Independence that were presumed lost for decades.

Annie Peterson, Preservation Librarian at Tulane University presented the results of the fiscal year 2012 preservation statistics survey, followed by highlights of the changes made for the FY2013 survey. The survey looks at data collected from cultural heritage institutions on administration, activities, budget, and other aspects of preservation. A more thorough discussion on preservation statistics was scheduled to take place at the PARS forum the following day.

George Blood, owner of George Blood Audio and Video discussed how the adoption of standards simplifies communication with vendors and helps reduce costs. The presentation focused on a new specification for a proposed universal standard wrapper for the preservation of video files that is being worked on by the MXF AS-07 Working Group. It also provided a brief introduction to file wrappers for time-based media with a comparison between MXF with other wrappers.

Kara McClurken, Head of Preservation Services at the University of Virginia presented about developing a process where stakeholders from across the Library are working to unite preservation strategies and priorities so that the most important content, regardless of format, is appropriately resourced. She also discussed how U.Va. is moving beyond the digital/analog preservation divide through a unified preservation philosophy, a preservation assessment template, and assigned levels of preservation action that will determine needs and priorities across collections and formats.

Jennifer Hain Teper, Head of Conservation and Preservation Units and William Schlaack, Preservation Graduate Assistant, both at the University of Urbana-Champaign presented on their attempt to integrate the availability of shared access and holdings data to better inform current preservation and conservation decision making in light of widely available digital surrogacy and shared holdings. They also discussed how they actively seek ways to focus their staff towards the support of special and lesser-held materials, while shifting away from more widely held general collections materials.

Becky Ryder, Director of Library, Keeneland Association, Inc. provided updates from ALCTS and PARS on a range of topics, such as

  • the LRTS publication will become an electronic-only journal in January 2015
  • green open access
  • the President’s Program to transform introverts into leaders.

Mark Sweeney, Director for Preservation at the Library of Congress updated the audience on recent developments and ongoing projects in preservation at the Library of Congress.

Julie Mosbo, William and Susan Ouren Preservation Librarian at Texas A&M University talked about the New Members Task Force looking to expand opportunities for new members at ALA Annual. She also discussed interest groups that are available in PARS and stressed that volunteering was a great way to participate and get known in the profession.

Danielle Plumer, ALA co-chair, Joint SAA-ALA-AAM Committee on Archives, Libraries, and Museums (CALM) suggested that CALM and PARS may want to look at joint programming and creating a more formal relationship with liaisons on each other’s committees since there are overlapping topics of interest and common standards.

The program was concluded with announcements from PAIG members. Approximately 76 people attended.

—Reported by Scott Reinke and Annie Peterson