Behind the Curtain: Nick Homenda, Digital Initiatives Librarian

dsc_0472Title: Digital Initiatives Librarian for IU Libraries

Role: Nick assists the IU Archives with digital projects and the ongoing use of services and workflows that his department manages.

Educational Background: BA in Clarinet Performance from the Peabody Institute of the Johns Hopkins University; MA in Clarinet Performance from the Jacobs School of Music at Indiana University Bloomington; MSIS with a specialization in Music Librarianship from the University of Texas at Austin

Previous Experience: Nick has worked in libraries and archival repositories since 2001, first as an undergraduate intern, followed by working for the Digital Library Program scanning sheet music while attending IU. When he worked as an orchestral musician in West Virginia, he also worked at a public and an academic library in paraprofessional positions. Nick’s first professional job was as a music librarian at the University of South Carolina.

Favorite item in the collection: Nick loves the Archives Photograph Collection– he notes that it’s really interesting to see how our campus has grown over the past 200 years and he likes photos of familiar places from long ago.

Old Crescent, 1900
Old Crescent, 1900. Archives image no. P0035214

Current project: Lately, he has been working with collections of materials described in different ways- uniquely-formatted spreadsheets, databases, etc., and using XML technologies like XSLT and XQuery to quickly turn them into EAD container lists for Archives staff.

Favorite experience with the IU Archives: Working on the IU Folklore Institute student papers finding aid has been great. Carrie Schwier, Outreach and Public Services Archivist, recently collaborated with Nick to programmatically produce an EAD container list from an Access database, and it was really gratifying to do. With the collection now publicly accessible, it was recently promoted at the American Folklore Society conference.

What he’s learned from working with the IU Archives: Nick has learned how to have a successful social media strategy in a University department. The @IUBArchives twitter presence is really impressive, and other library units and centers on campus should use it as an example of how to reach out to thousands of potential users and share enthusiasm for really fascinating content.

Behind the Curtain: Tyler Davis, Summer Intern

Role: Intern at the Indiana University Archives

Educational Background: Tyler received his bachelor’s degree in English Literature from Miami University, Ohio in 2015. He is currently entering his second year of the Master of Information and Library Science graduate program at IUB, where he is specializing in Archives and Records Management.

How he got here: This is Tyler’s first time working in an actual archives. Before he joined the MLS program, he spent a year volunteering for the special collections department of a library in Ohio, where he was able to process an amazing collection of memorabilia from a World War I aviation historian. He also worked for a digitization project in undergrad where he scanned and preserved photographic negatives from the 1940s-1960s. These experiences helped him to know that archival work was something that he wanted to pursue further.

He has been studying archives and records management in the MLS program and when it came time for an internship, Tyler wanted to get as much hands-on experience in these areas as possible. When he spoke to the staff at the IU Archives and learned that he would be able to work on some great projects with both an archivist and a records manager, he knew he’d found the right place!

Favorite Collection in the IU Archives: Tyler’s favorite item(s) that he has encountered in the Archives so far is the Kathleen Cavanaugh scrapbook collection (C617). Cavanaugh made these scrapbooks by hand as a student at IU in the early 1960s, and they are full of amazing memorabilia from that time – everything from photographs and cards to matchbooks and corsages from school dances. These scrapbooks are fun to flip through, and it is a very unique and personal way of interacting with the IU student experience of the 1960s.

Current Project: There are quite a few projects in the works! Tyler has been doing some web archiving work, including crawling and preserving all IU-affiliated social media accounts on Archive-it.org (see his previous post “Tweeting and Pinning: Archiving IU’s Social Media sites” on that project). He has also been processing a few incoming collections, as well as imaging born digital media in the Born Digital Preservation Lab. Recently, he began doing research into state laws and University policies to help compile a records retention schedule for the School of Informatics and Computing as they prepare to make the big move into Luddy Hall this winter.

Favorite experience in the IU Archives: Tyler’s favorite experience has been getting to know the staff, who are great to work with and are excellent at what they do. He is glad to have had the opportunity to learn from their example!

What he’s learned from working here: In addition to learning many useful archival practices, Tyler has also picked up some fun facts about IU history by working with the collections. For example, when he was processing the Institute for Urban Transportation records (C682), he learned that Bloomington’s first public transit system was established in 1973 by a collaboration between the institute’s founder, Dr. George Smerk, and a geography professor at IU, William R. Black. In the University’s early years, the city and the campus were obviously small enough for students to get around without automotive assistance, so he thinks this goes to show how much the University has steadily grown and expanded over the years.

Behind the Curtain: Sylva Osbourne, Summer Intern

Role: Summer Intern at the IU Archives

Educational Background: B.A. in Music from the University of Chicago. Current graduate student in the School of Informatics and Computing seeking a Master of Library Science (MLS) with a specialization in Archives and Records Management and interest in preservation/conservation.

How she got here: Before coming to IU, Sylva spent most of her undergraduate years working at the Regenstein Library, the University of Chicago’s main library. As a student assistant in circulation she became very familiar with the complexities of maintaining a large stacks collection. After graduation, she switched gears landing a part-time position in the technical services department of the law library for Sidley Austin LLP in downtown Chicago. It was here she decided to pursue a career in librarianship, leading her to IU and the MLS program.

This internship has been her first experience working in any kind of archival repository. Prior to this, her main work and library experience have been more on the technical services side of things. Her previous experience is what led her to decide that she wanted to do more hands-on work with library materials, sparking her interest in archives and preservation.

Favorite Collection in the IU Archives: Sylva’s favorite collection at IU is the collection of yearbooks housed in the archive reading room. Before the University became too big, the yearbooks contained pictures of all the students at IU each year. They also include pictures of all student organizations, sports teams, and faculty members, just like a traditional yearbook. Following the student population explosion after WWII, the yearbook however had to adapt. Rather than just pages of pictures of students, the yearbooks started to include interesting pieces on and photos of the various events and activities that happened around IU each year. At the end, you will still find portraits of the graduating class and student organizations but the majority of the books offer a fascinating glimpse of IU life as the years go on.

Current Project: Currently, Sylva is processing a recently acquired collection from the Commission on Multicultural Understanding (COMU). Despite the occasional papercut, she is enjoying being able to dive into the folders and get an in-depth look at the work COMU did for IU. She is also researching the story of a student at IU from the late 1910s who was accused of building “infernal devices” with various mechanical parts found in his room. He was an expert watchmaker who was cleared of all charges as all of the parts were found harmless. Using ancestry.com and different parts of the IU Archive collection, Sylva is trying to track documents relating to this man’s life to be used in a future active-learning exercise for instruction sessions at the archives.

Favorite experience in the IU Archives: Sylva’s favorite thing about being an intern at the archives is the chance to learn from some amazing people. Having had very little experience with archives before, she has gained a lot of practical knowledge.

What she’s learned from working here: Sylva has learned a great deal about some of the key figures in IU’s history from sifting through the papers of the president office, in particular President William Lowe Bryan (1902-1937). It’s nice to be able to connect buildings and things around town to the people for which they were named!

Behind the Curtain: Brad Cook, Curator of Photographs

Role: Curator of Photographs

Educational Background: B.A. in History from IU; MLS with a specialization in rare books and manuscripts from IU

How he got here: Brad was working on his history degree and decided to visit the Archives to see if they had any materials on is grandfather who graduated from IU in 1939.  He had not previously thought of archives as a potential career, but he knew that he wanted to pursue a career in the field after this visit.  He filled out an application and started working part-time as a student assistant.

 Favorite item in the collection: His favorite photograph is the one shown here of the IU football team in the locker room after winning IU’s only undisputed Big Ten football title in 1945.

1945 football team in locker room after beating Purdue
1945 football team in locker room after beating Purdue, IU Archives Imave no. P0023419

Current projects: Brad is helping the Athletic Dept. finish their branding of the newly-renovated Assembly Hall by locating and providing photographs.  He is also working with a producer who is putting together a documentary about IU’s 1975-1976 basketball team, the last team in college basketball history to go undefeated and win the national championship.

Favorite experience in the IU Archives: Acquiring the photograph collections of Will Counts and Dave Repp

What he’s learned from working here: Brad says everything he’s learned about IU’s history he’s learned from 24 years of working in the Archives.

Behind the Curtain: Heidi Kelly, Digital Preservation Librarian

dsc_6248

Title: IU Libraries Digital Preservation Librarian

Role: Heidi runs the Born Digital Preservation Lab (BDPL), which works to preserve born-digital media, like floppy disks, CDs, hard drives, and electronic file directories. She works regularly with the University Archives to transfer media from physical collections to create disk images and store exact copies of the original media in IU’s secure long-term storage, SDA (Scholarly Data Archive). SDA is managed by the UITS Research Storage team. She’s been working extensively with IU Archives Assistant Archivist Mary Mellon to set up basic procedures and workflows for preserving born-digital media in the IU Archives’ collections.

Educational Background: Heidi holds an MLIS from Wayne State University in Detroit and took part in the inaugural National Digital Stewardship Residency (NDSR) program at the Library of Congress in 2013. She does not have any archival training, which has been a challenge in some of her work with the BDPL because she’s not a digital archivist.

Previous Experience: Heidi’s first job out of library school was at Nazarbayev University in Kazakhstan, where she ran the Digitization Centre and acted as subject liaison for the School of Humanities and Social Sciences. She had some previous background in working abroad prior to that, so she was looking for a librarian position abroad and got lucky to find one that basically let her set up a whole department. From there she took part in the NDSR program- which involved surveying digital assets at  the Dumbarton Oaks Research Library and Collection, a small Harvard research collection for Byzantine, Pre-Columbian, and Garden and Landscape Studies.  She received training from the top experts in digital preservation, like Nancy McGovern and former IU faculty Jake Nadal. When that finished she moved to The Hague and worked at a Royal Dutch Academy of Arts and Sciences institute, Huygens, to try and figure out long-term sustainability of their digital scholarly editions. Heidi got homesick for the Midwest though, and ended up here at IU.

At IU, Heidi has taken part in open source development by taking over as the product owner on HydraDAM2, which is the preservation repository for all of the audiovisual content coming out of the large MDPI project.

Favorite items in the IU Archives: The collections that have really unique media and present digital preservation challenges are probably the most interesting.

Current project: It’s sort of ongoing and varied. She’s been imaging content from different collections as it comes, so it’s too broad to really say.

Favorite experience in the IU Archives: She got to plug in an old hard drive of Mike Pence’s last month, to figure out how to preserve the content on it. That was pretty timely, and reminded her of the relevance her work.

What she’s learned about IU: Dina Kellams gives a great presentation on the history of the IU Libraries, including the story behind the architectural design of the Herman B Wells Library. She stole Dina’s use of the term “triscuit architecture” when describing the building.