PARS Committee and Interest Group Reports: 2017 Midwinter Meeting

ALCTS committees and interest groups submit reports to the ALCTS Office after each conference. Following are the reports submitted by the Preservation & Reformatting Section committees and interest groups.

Executive Committee

The Executive Committee met during the 2017 Midwinter Meeting on Sunday, January 22. The minutes from the Annual Meeting dated June 27, 2016 were approved.

The Preservation and Reformatting Section (PARS) was approached by Special Libraries Association (SLA) to join its Emergency Preparedness Recovery Advisory Council. Emergency preparedness links were shared with SLA, and PARS will investigate other potential involvement.

Working Group Reports:

The Web Working Group (WWG) invited discussion on the role of the WWG, its membership and the content of PARS web pages. The Executive Committee will follow up with the WWG chair (Sean Buckner) to solicit his vision for the WWG and recommend contacting Committee chairs concerning website content.

Jeanne Drewes gave a progress report on the Oral History Project Working Group (OHPWG). The OHPWG has been formed: Jeanne Drewes (chair), Cecilia Salvatore, Peter Verheyen, George Blood, and Ellen Cunningham-Kruppa. Work on training materials, selection of interviewees, metadata assistance and interview questions has begun. The OHPWG was the focus of the PARS Forum on January 21, 2017.

There was discussion on the topic of digital preservation and membership engagement. Themes of outreach to ALA and liaisons with other groups, crossovers with other areas within and beyond ALA, digital preservation-related interest groups, and what the next steps are for continuing this conversation were raised. The topic of the new Annual Conference Model extended the discussion on outreach and membership.

Vicki Sipe, ALCTS President, and Mary Beth Thomson, ALCTS President-Elect, reported on Division programs and activities.

Committee Reports:

Preservation Standards & Practices will be requested to continue the Preservation Statistics gathering process and to review and revise the ALA Institutional Repository Guidelines for ALCTS, to be presented to the ALCTS Board.

Preservation Outreach: the new organizational structure is in place and working well. Social media is being considered and employed strategically for Preservation Week (PW). Webinars are in the works. PW will exhibit biannually at the Public Library Association conferences. Preservation in Action has confirmed (post-Midwinter) that Rebuild Foundation in Chicago will be the project site.

The Nominating Committee reported that potential leadership candidates expressed difficulty in attending two meetings a year in person.

Kris Kern and Jeanne Goodman are creating PARS-specific documentation for chairs and committee members.

Submitted by Kris Kern

Preservation Administrators Interest Group

The Preservation Administrators Interest Group (PAIG) met during the 2017 ALA Midwinter Meeting on Saturday, January 21, with 23 attendees.

PARS Chair Report

Kris Kern, Chair, provided updates on recent interest group activity:

• There was a migration of listservs, and many people have been disconnected from the PAIG list. Members should confirm check their subscriptions at

ALCTS News is looking for a new editor by spring. If interested in applying for the position, send a CV to Maria Collins, chair of the ALCTS News search committee,

• There will be a PARS Oral History forum meeting for the first time at this conference

• ALCTS mentoring program kicks off

• ALCTS is celebrating its 60th anniversary this year

• ALCTS Exchange is starting in May 2017, which will be an on-line event and part of the upcoming 60th anniversary of ALCTS. The ALCTS Exchange celebrates and highlights the intersections of collection management, acquisitions, metadata, preservation and technology with 4 afternoons of interactive opportunities

Update from the Library of Congress

Jeanne Drewes, Chief, Binding & Collections Care Division and Deacidification Program, Library of Congress reported on recent activities:

• Carla Hayden and Mark Sweeney send their greetings

• Director of Preservation position is still not filled. A new round of interviews will be conducted in January and February

• A new website is live and includes digital preservation

• The Spanish language salvage wheels have been in circulation now for two years and 8,000 have been distributed

• An IFLA satellite meeting will take place at LC on storage

• All conservation work has been completed on the Rosa Parks papers, which are on a 10 year loan

• National digital newspaper chronicling America – 2016 Alaska, Maine, and New Jersey joined 22 others, digitizing newspapers from previous NEH grants

• FADGI (Federal Agencies Digitization Guidelines Initiative) is the same acronym but has a new meaning. It has broader scope and now includes selected aspects of born digital content and reflects this growing area

• PREMIS (Preservation Metadata: Implementation Strategies) Data Dictionary for Preservation Metadata is the international standard for metadata to support the preservation of digital objects and ensure their long-term usability. Right now, LC is working on implementation with the international community

ALCTS Councilor’s Report

Andy Hart, Head of Preservation at University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill

Andy wanted to comment on the controversy in ALA following the Presidential election. The timing was difficult and the emotions were diverse, ranging from mournful to jubilant. He noted that ALA is not a monolithic organization, yet it issued a statement from Washington shortly after the election that prompted a hash tag to spring up #notmyALA.

Instead, he suggests that everyone should resist the temptation to think to think about #notmyALA hash tag, and instead make it “our” ALA.

The Show Must Go On! Emergency Preparedness for Performing Art Organizations

Tom Clareson, Senior Consultant for Digital & Preservation Services, LYRASIS, reported on the three-year implementation grant from the Mellon Foundation that will move forward working with the performing arts community on disaster preparedness and archiving issues. The work will build upon the findings from the previous planning grant, which is that very few organizations even have a disaster plan for their collections because their focus is keeping performances and shows going. The grant will focus on outreach and community engagement, offering various tools, training sessions, sub-grants for disaster planning, and more. There is an opportunity for four circuit trainings in 2018 and 2019. Can your organization be a host? How can libraries help? The grant will be able to use existing disaster networks sometimes, and in other places develop new networks. More information to come!

Collective Impact: the preservation of Federal government information through the Federal Information Preservation Network

David Walls, Preservation Librarian, Government Printing Office, reported on the preservation of government information. In the absence of large-scale funding to address the preservation needs of the national collection of U.S. government publications, the U.S. Government Publishing Office is developing a national network of partner libraries working collectively to preserve federal government information. David’s talk discussed how collective impact through expanding library partnerships is successfully preserving the geographically distributed national collection of federal government information. The collection spans from the South Pacific to Puerto Rico, 80 percent of which is unique. The collection begins in 1789 with the signing of the Constitution and continues to this day. The historic collection of tangible Federal Government publications and the born digital Federal Information are priceless information assets for the American people. This information tells the story of the work of our democracy in action over the more than two hundred years of our history. Yet, this information asset is vulnerable to decay, neglect, damage, theft, content degradation, and obsolescence. GPO is tackling this challenge by collaborating with public and private sector entities with government information. There is not an earmarked budget yet but there is a lot of support. GPO will build and elevate on local actions, and it is essential to be collaborative. FIPNet (Federal Information Preservation Network), will provide the leadership and expertise, and stakeholders can contribute and participate in the preservation of Government information. One of the challenges facing this effort is that first it will be beneficial to map preservation that has already been done, but there is a lack of bibliographical control and no requirement to catalog. This effort will have to reach out to stakeholders. Some partners want to focus only on born digital materials but others want to focus on digitizing. Currently there is progress and momentum – more to come!

Scaling up: preserving monographs at regional and national levels

Mary Miller, Director of Collection Management and Preservation, University of Minnesota Libraries, first provided some context and background for this project. During a PARS forum in 2013, Tom Clareson and Ian Bogus reported that many institutions were withdrawing monographs but a lot of information was lacking, such as use statistics, climate conditions, and a general lack of consistent vocabulary. Two groups formed out of this: one looking into current policies for withdrawal, and the other looking into the risk of withdrawal.

Mary and her group designed and posted a survey, to which 99 institutions responded. The questionnaire asked such information about policy, decision-making process, and what other information was used to determine withdrawal. The results showed that a lot of faith is being placed in HathiTrust. The rest of the information ranged from institutions using such criteria as brittleness, bookplates, decorative bindings, duplicate copies, marginalia, and more. However, it is noted that within these criteria, each category need more explanation and qualifiers. For example, how does an institution define ‘decorative binding,’ or what is considered valuable “marginalia” compared to “heavy annotations by a student.” Also, a consideration that was brought up during the discussion after Mary’s presentation is whether deacidification or reformatting are used in the decision making process. What institutions even note in the 583 field if deacidification has occurred, and if so, is it only reflected in the local record?

The next step is to conduct another survey. There is an emphasis on the need to be tied into a shared print program, needing to balance the threshold of number of copies retained alongside the analysis of the condition. Where does microfilm and digitization replace the artifact? It would be a huge shame to discard an item that has been deacidified, but with no national registry of items deacidified, it may become a barrier since each item will have to be checked in the local record if the information was even recorded. Another barrier will be to check if institutions really have the item that is reflected on a record. So next steps are to design and conduct another survey that delves deeper and gathers more data.

Submitted by Kate Contakos

Preservation Outreach Committee

The Preservation Outreach Committee met virtually on January 13, 2017 prior to the ALA Midwinter Meeting. Topics of discussion were our upcoming Preservation Week webinars, the Preservation in Action initiative, our social media presence, and fundraising.

Textile preservation will be the subject for our two Preservation Week (PW) webinars in April. One webinar will be geared toward the general public and the other for people in the profession. Miriam Nelson, the PW coordinator, has been in contact with several potential presenters. The addition of a possible third webinar on diversity in preservation was discussed as well.

The Rebuild Foundation, who does a lot of community outreach in Chicago, will be the site for our Preservation in Action event at Annual. They have several potential projects that would work well for hands-on training and education projects. Katie Risseeuw, the Preservation in Action Coordinator, has also been in touch with a vendor who is interested in becoming the sponsor for this year’s Preservation in Action event.

The remainder of the meeting focused on discussions about our social media presence, fundraising, and ways to promote the work of our committee, specifically Preservation Week. Krista White, Social Media Coordinator, and Miriam Nelson, reported on their efforts to proactively schedule social media posts and a discussion of our intended audience followed. Nancy Kraft, Fundraising Committee Liaison, reported on her work with the ALCTS Fundraising Committee and Preservation Week sponsors. The cost of funding the Preservation Week booth at conferences was once again a topic of discussion. We agreed to scale back our attendance at conferences and brainstorm new ways to promote Preservation Week.

Submitted by Robin Hutchison

Program, Planning, and Publications Committee

The Program, Planning, and Publications Committee (PPP) met via conference call on Wednesday, January 25. The first order of business was to introduce ourselves since several members were unable to attend the PPP meeting at the 2016 ALA Annual Conference in Orlando. Meeting minutes from the Annual meeting were reviewed and approved by the committee.

The first agenda item discussed was the Preservation Education Directory. Sean Buckner (now serving on both PPP and as chair of the PARS Web Working Group) has been working on transitioning the publication from a PDF to an active online version. The directory is still under construction but is viewable to the public here. Sean is seeking feedback on the current draft version. Not all links are active and some formatting still needs to be completed. Sean has also requested suggestions for an alternative image to replace the image in the PARS box. Feedback from PARS members and users is welcomed at this time. The goal is to complete the broken link resolution and reformatting by 2017 ALA Annual Conference.

The committee reviewed the PARS-sponsored ALCTS programs and pre-conferences for the 2017 Annual Conference. Suggestions were made to the program organizers for speakers to complete their programs. PARS-sponsored programs include:

ALCTS Pre-Conference: Building Successful Digital Programs at Small Institutions

This preconference will highlight each step in the digital lifecycle, including selection, metadata creation, access, and digital preservation. At the end of this preconference, participants will have a greater understanding of all of the elements required to maintain local digital collections. This program is intended to provide tools for practitioners and managers who want to learn more about what is required to sustain a complete digital program, from start to finish. Selecting items for digitization, creating item-level metadata, best methods for access, and preserving your digital collection are all covered. Leads for this preconference are PPP Committee members Alice Pearman and Carmen Cowick.

ALCTS Program: Preservation Showdown: Audiovisual Edition!

Two teams will go head to head in debate on a controversial topic in libraries. Teams will include members from the Preservation & Reformatting Section (PARS) and the Video Round Table (VRT), bringing their different perspectives to each side of the issue. Audience members will be expected to ask questions during the debate, and the debate will be followed by an open discussion with the audience and the debaters. The topic for our debate will be “The preservation of analog audiovisual media is the single most important preservation issue facing libraries (and archives and museums) in 2017. Teams of three will be composed of members of the Preservation and Reformatting Section, and the Video Round Table. Each team will be comprised of members of each section, to encourage a collegial debate and collaboration across sections. The lead for this ALCTS program is PPP Committee member Moriah Caruso.

ALCTS Program: Audiovisual Materials and Issues with degradation and storage

Film, video, and audiotape are increasingly at risk for physical degradation due to poor storage environments and their chemical properties, known as “inherent vice.” These vulnerability issues continue to gain attention. Likewise, knowing preservation best practices of analog objects is growing in importance, especially as digitization isn’t a feasible option for many institutions. This panel will discuss the science of this deterioration and ideal vs. practical solutions for storage through case studies and discussions. The lead for this ALCTS program is PARS member Katie Risseeuw.

There was a discussion about how to make the Preservation Showdown more attractive to potential speakers. Last year, the organizer (Julie Mosbo) had several individuals who expressed interest in participating but were reluctant to do so because of the debate format. Moriah Caruso (current organizer) has been facing the same issue. In the future, if we continue with the Preservation Showdown program, there should be a discussion about whether or not it should be a debate or a panel discussion.

Program and pre-conference organizers were asked to let the committee know if they needed any assistance for advertising their program or finding co-sponsorship opportunities.

Julie Mosbo, chair of PPP, was asked by PARS Chair, Kris Kern, about opportunities and ideas for ALCTS Forums and webinars. PPP members should make suggestions to Julie and she will send them on to PARS Exec. Two webinar topics that were discussed were HVAC basics for preservation and conservation professionals and how to develop digital preservation services in an environment in which your developers are using a sprint model. The latter topic needs additional discussion before moving forward. Julie will be taking the HVAC webinar idea to ALCTS for a possible future webinar.  

At 2017 Annual, there was a discussion about moving forward with the development of Fundamentals of Digital Preservation. There were efforts in developing the course a couple years ago but those efforts have since been stalled. There have been a couple volunteers to start the process again. PPP will be investigating those efforts and Julie will reach out to those volunteers to see if we can get any momentum.

The ALA Conference Program Remodel sent out to ALCTS committee members was reviewed to determine the impact it will have on PPP. It appeared to be too early to tell. Further discussion should occur at 2017 Annual.

Submitted by Carmen Cowick