Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Physical Culture Magazine Added To DMR

Students and scholars in diverse disciplines ranging from health and physical education to art, history, and journalism now have 24/7 access to a rich new historical resource for study online through the Ball State University Digital Media Repository (DMR), a project of the University Libraries.

Issues of Physical Culture Magazine are the newest digital collection in Ball State’s Digital Media Repository, http://libx.bsu.edu. The magazine began in 1899 to promote the virtues of healthy diet, exercise, and natural healing. Published articles, fiction, advice columns, testimonials, photographs, and a wide range of advertisements can be located through the search functions available in the DMR.

The collection of magazines was donated to Archives and Special Collections by Physical Education professor David R. Pearson and the Ball State University Student Chapter of the National Strength and Conditioning Association. While a complete set is not yet available at this time, the digital collection currently consists of 40 issues from 1910 to 1939. More will be made available as they are acquired and donated by Professor Pearson and the NSCA student chapter.

“To be able to help start a collection of these magazines with the help of our student NSCA organization has been very exciting,” said Professor Pearson. He was also pleased to see the publication made available digitally. Professor Pearson said that because of the access provided through the Digital Media Repository, “… not only will our exercise students benefit from this collection, but others in art, marketing, and women’s studies will find a rich history with them.” For more information, contact John B. Straw, Ball State University Libraries’ Assistant Dean for Digital Initiatives and Special Collections, JStraw@bsu.edu, 765-285-5078.

Friday, October 19, 2007

World War II Exhibit on Display in Bracken

by Hannah D. Cox, Archives and Special Collections Supervisor

Shared Sacrifice: Scholars, Soldiers, and World War II, will be on display from October 15, 2007 through January 4, 2008 outside the University Libraries’ Archives and Special Collections and the Geospatial Resources and Map Collection on the second floor of Bracken Library.

This exhibit will focus on Ball State University’s contributions to the war effort, soldiers from Muncie, and life on the home front, as well as additional resources found in the Archives and the Geospatial Resources and Map Collection.

Ball State’s contribution will be documented through photographs from the Army Specialized Training Program. The activities of Muncie’s soldiers will be shown through photographs, letters, and other ephemera from former Dean Victor Lawhead’s papers and Joseph Fisher’s scrapbook, as well as books featuring the recollections of local soldiers.

The home front section of the exhibit will contain ration books, Red Cross materials, newspapers, and government publications.

An additional feature of this exhibit will be World War II resources such as items from the Nazi Collection and the 376th Bombardment Group Archive, as well as other printed materials and wartime maps.

An online exhibit will also be available later in the month at www.bsu.edu/library/collections/archives/exhibits. For more information, please contact Hannah Cox at HDCox@bsu.edu, (765) 285-5078).

Assignment and Title Changes

Philip J. Deloria has accepted a new assignment as Archivist for Digital Projects and University Records. University President Jo Ann M. Gora has made this appointment effective October 1, 2007.

Maren L. Read has accepted a new assignment as Archivist for Manuscript Collections. President Jo Ann M. Gora has made this appointment effective October 1, 2007.

John B. Straw has accepted a new assignment as Assistant Dean for Digital Initiatives and Special Collections in University Libraries. President Jo Ann M. Gora has made this appointment effective September 1, 2007

Conference Showcases Methods to Make Audio Resources Digitally Accessible

by Amanda A. Hurford, Digital Initiatives Multimedia Developer and Maren L. Read, Archivist for Manuscript Collections

At the September 20, 2007 Ball State Oral Histories Conference, one of the sessions was Search and You Shall Find: Making Oral Histories Searchable with Transcripts and Metadata. View the PowerPoint presentation at www.bsu.edu/library/media/pdf/ReadHurfordPresOHC07.pdf.

As members of Archives and Special Collections and Metadata and Digital Initiatives, we worked very closely with the Middletown Digital Oral History Collection(http://libx.bsu.edu/MidOrHist/midorhist.php). This project provided an opportunity for us to become familiar with two tools that make searching oral histories possible: transcripts and metadata. We spoke about this hands-on experience in our conference presentation.

In this session we talked about the advantages of full-text oral history transcripts and provided guidelines for creating them. We addressed how to decide whether or not to embark on a transcription project or outsource to a commercial transcription service.

We also discussed suggestions for what to do with existing transcripts, how to train transcribers, and the tools to make the process easier. In addition, we spoke about some of the difficulties we encountered in our project and the lessons learned.

Creating metadata for a digital oral history project was another key topic covered. Our discussion highlighted the importance of providing structured resource description in the form of metadata records.

We also stressed the need to pre-plan metadata creation. Factors to consider when undertaking metadata for digital oral histories are assigning personnel, determining how detailed your metadata should be, deciding at what stage in the project to create it, and outlining how to use metadata standard Dublin Core.

Another point we addressed was how transcripts and metadata work in conjunction to provide access to digital oral histories. In our project we presented transcripts in PDF format alongside streaming audio interviews in the Digital Media Repository. A plain text version of that transcript is also stored in the metadata record of the audio file. Using transcripts and metadata together in this way enables the retrieval of two records for each interview: an audio interview and corresponding transcript, distinguished by custom thumbnails. Providing the two records simultaneously allows for the best user experience.

For information on the process of transcribing, describing, and presenting oral histories online, contact Amanda A. Hurford, AAHurford@bsu.edu or Maren L. Read, MLRead@bsu.edu.

Digital Initiatives and Special Collections News

by John B. Straw, Assistant Dean for Digital Initiatives and Special Collections Digital Oral History Conference Hosted by University Libraries

On September 20, 2007, 84 librarians, archivists, and information technology professionals from 14 states attended Can You Hear Me Now? Digitizing the Voices of the Past, a conference on digitizing oral history hosted by the Ball State University Libraries. The one-day conference, which was held at the Alumni Center, was co-sponsored by the Society of American Archivists, Center for Middletown Studies, and the Ball State Department of History.

Attendees came from as far away as North Dakota, Utah, Louisiana, and Pennsylvania to hear presentations by University Libraries’ personnel and external speakers from the University of Louisville, Kent State University, Indiana State Library, Indiana State University, IUPUI, and other institutions to discuss issues related to best practices, standards, metadata, transcription, and other topics on audio digitization.

The conference began with a session on “Planning and Funding an Oral History Project.” Brenda L. Burk, Philanthropic Studies Archivist at IUPUI, outlined the steps for developing an oral history project using a problem solving technique called STAIR (State the problem; Tools; Algorithm; Implementation; Refinement).

Connie Rendfeld, Library Services and Technology Act (LSTA) Consultant for the Indiana State Library, followed with a presentation on “What Do Funders Look For?” Focusing primarily on LSTA grants, she discussed elements of good proposals, including clearly defined goals, staff expertise, budget, and following grant guidelines.

Cinda May, Coordinator of Library Digital Initiatives at Indiana State University and project manager of the Wabash Valley Visions and Voices Digital Memory Project, concluded the session with an overview of the oral history component of a digital history project. She used examples of planning, research, and interviewing from the “O Miners Awake” oral history project.

Fritz Dolak, Copyright and Intellectual Property Manager of the University Copyright Office and Special Assistant to the Dean of University Libraries at Ball State, presented a session on copyright issues for digital oral history projects. In his presentation “Friends, Romans, and Countrymen … Lend Me Your Ears: An Audible CliffsNotes Trek through Copyright Issues in Your Oral History Projects,” he discussed some copyright basics, important dates relative to copyright law, fair use, privacy and confidentiality concerns, and important elements of oral history project forms.

Keynote speakers Luke “Eric” Lassiter and Elizabeth Campbell described the “Other Side of Middletown” oral history and ethnographic project that they conducted with Ball State students as part of a Virginia Ball Center for Creative Inquiry class during their time at Ball State University. Lassister is now Director of the Graduate Humanities Program at Marshall University Graduate College and Professor of Humanities and Anthropology. Campbell is currently a Ph.D. candidate in Composition and TESOL at Indiana University of Pennsylvania.

Lassiter and Campbell were joined by Hurley Goodall, former Indiana State legislator, who delivered a few well received brief words on the importance of the “Other Side of Middletown” project that documented African-Americans in Muncie, Indiana. Audio and transcripts of the interviews from the project are available in the University Libraries’ Digital Media Repository, http://libx.bsu.edu/, as part of the Middletown Digital Oral History Collection.

James A. Bradley, Head of Metadata and Digital Initiatives at Ball State University Libraries, and Jeffrey Green, Senior Sales Engineer at Sweetwater Sound in Fort Wayne, Indiana, started the afternoon session off with presentations on the audio digitization process. In his presentation “Going Native: A Process Oriented Approach to Digital Oral History,” Bradley discussed definitions, standards, and processes for audio digitization. Green followed with useful information on examples and costs of audio digitizing equipment.

Amanda A. Hurford, Digital Initiatives Multimedia Developer in the University Libraries, and Maren L. Read, Archivist for Manuscript Collections for the University Libraries, shared their experiences in developing metadata and transcripts in “Search and You Shall Find: Making Oral Histories Searchable with Transcripts and Metadata.” They have provided a brief synopsis of their session in an article in this issue of the newsletter.

The conference concluded with a session describing some current digital oral history projects. Carrie Daniels, Associate Director of the University Archives and Records Center and Co-Director of the Oral History Center at the University of Louisville, discussed using CONTENTdm to provide access to oral history collections at that institution.

Kathleen Medicus, Special Collections Cataloger at Kent State University, described the project to digitize and catalog oral histories about the 1970 shootings on the Kent State campus. John B. Straw, Assistant Dean for Digital Initiatives and Special Collections at Ball State, gave a brief overview of the Middletown Digital Oral History Collection project that was just completed. Responses to conference evaluation surveys indicated that attendees found the information useful and the conference well organized. The conference presentations are available at www.bsu.edu/library/conference/oralhistory.

To see photos, www.bsu.edu/library/conference/oralhistory/photos. For more information, contact John B. Straw, Assistant Dean for Digital Initiatives and Special Collections, JStraw@bsu.edu, (765) 285-5078.