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Documenting the Movie Industry’s Paper Promotional Materials

September 27th, 2010 · 2 Comments

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Illustrators are often the least known and most quickly forgotten members of the art world and as such, so many of their artistic creations are lost in our disposable society. Illustrators are the creative forces behind the images on everything from greeting cards to cereal boxes to advertising – including movie posters. All too often, the work of illustrators survives only because of the relationships between dealers who sell the ephemera and the collectors who drive the market. Scholarly information tends to be severely lacking, patchy, or extremely incomplete on movie poster ephemera. Often with collectibles, the best reference guides are written and compiled by collectors.

Ed and Susan Poole have been avid collectors of the movie industry’s “paper accessories” beginning with their first purchase in the mid-1970’s – a poster for one of Susan’s favorite movies: Gidget. Because of their decades long interest in the subject, the Pooles are regarded as experts in their field and have published several favorably reviewed books on movie posters. In addition, they maintain a website, Learn About Movie Posters (LAMP), where interested individuals can learn more about movie posters and buyers and sellers can connect to trade their wares. At the beginning of 2010, the Poole’s announced their commitment to developing an online archive of movie ephemera, Movie Poster Data Base. In early April, according to a posting to the Association of Moving Image Archivists listserv by Ed Poole, they already had developed a robust collection of information in their database including:

  • 3,000+ silent studios worldwide
  • 15,000+ NSS trailer numbers for identifying unknown trailers
  • 25,000+ production codes for identifying unknown stills
  • 30,000+ NSS poster and accessory numbers for identifying titles and reissues
  • 81,000 poster images online in our archive and cross referenced

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Category: Friday Fun Site · Preservation

Developing A Digital Collection: Skill Five: Project Management

May 10th, 2010 · No Comments

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Skill Five: Project Management

Perhaps the most important skill a librarian or archivist must possess for a successful digitization initiative is that of project management. Project management is a complicated endeavor comprised of: planning, budgeting, prioritizing, scheduling, coordinating, communicating, collating, visualizing, selecting, delegating, programming, designing, organizing, overseeing, overhearing, marketing, and sometimes even cheerleading. This list is reminiscent of a song by Bob Dylan or R.E.M., and is very likely incomplete, but each aspect of project management listed above is significant. A good project manager has the ability to see the big picture as clearly as the smallest details of the collection. If this sounds harder than comprehending metadata, rest assured, the National Information Standards Organization (NISO) comes through again with excellent advice in A Framework of Guidance for Building Good Digital Collections, the guide mentioned in our first installment, Evaluating the Collection. The success or failure of a digital collection is decided by the quality and effectiveness of its project management.
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Category: Archiving Challenges · Developing A Digital Collection

Developing A Digital Collection: Skill Four: Metadata Standards

April 26th, 2010 · No Comments

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Skill Four: Metadata Standards

Metadata is defined as data about data, information about information. If this sounds confusing, TechTerms.com provides a simple definition of how metadata “describes other data” citing examples such as: image size, document length, and creation date. A much more comprehensive guide called Understanding Metadata was published in 2004 by The National Information Standards Organization (NISO).

The NISO publication is meaty, but concise at just 15 pages and that includes a resource list and a glossary! Though the word “metadata” sounds enigmatic to librarians and laypersons alike, compiling metadata is really similar to standard cataloging using MARC 21 – which is itself a metadata standard. There are three types of metadata as defined by NISO: descriptive metadata, structural metadata, and administrative metadata. Anyone working with digital collections should become intimately familiar with all three.
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Category: Archiving Challenges · Developing A Digital Collection

Developing A Digital Collection: Skill Three: Knowledge of Technologies

April 12th, 2010 · No Comments

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Skill Three: Knowledge of Technologies

Librarians and archivists who develop digital collections must be technology savvy. This sounds much more intimidating than it really is. To be skilled in technology does not mean one has to have mastered every program and piece of equipment ever created. This would be nearly impossible because technology is constantly changing and evolving. Rather, being skilled in technology means one has mastered some programs and equipment, has an overall understanding of how things work, and is capable of learning new skills. Fortunately that describes most of today’s librarians and archivists. Staying informed about the latest developments in hardware and software is equally as important as nurturing an enthusiasm for learning new tools and the possibilities they bring.
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Category: Archiving Challenges · Developing A Digital Collection

Developing A Digital Collection: Skill Two: Needs Assessment

March 29th, 2010 · No Comments

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Skill Two: Needs Assessment
After deciding to create a digital exhibition, the librarian/archivist should perform a needs assessment to list anything required for the project. The list will include everything from staff and supplies to time and workspace. After compiling a list, the librarian/archivist will determine which resources are readily available and which needs will need to be acquired. The library/archives may already have sufficient supplies, a large workroom and staff members who are knowledgeable in technology, but it may need to acquire a scanner, a digital camera, digital storage devices and software. Each new purchase should be researched for quality, specifications and suitability. The librarian/archivist will likely be the one to select and recommend the new purchases. It may help to look at other collections during your own needs assessment.
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Category: Archiving Challenges · Developing A Digital Collection

Developing A Digital Collection: A Series of Installments

March 2nd, 2010 · 1 Comment

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Skill One: Evaluating the Collection:

The five skills essential for developing digital collections have collectively been my mantra since I “inherited” over 4000 images from a university archivist’s external hard drive. These images were uploaded into Luna Insight, without a plan, and their catalog records are extremely incomplete.

My task has been to organize the collection into subject areas and develop a metadata schema. Remembering the five skills is a tremendous help! These skills include: evaluating the collections, needs assessment for the project, knowledge of technologies, metadata standards and project management. Each skill listed above is actually a multifaceted aspect critical to the creation of a digital library. Today, we will discuss Skill One– Evaluating The Collection.
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Category: Archiving Challenges · Developing A Digital Collection

Intellectual Property and Access – a European Model

October 29th, 2009 · No Comments

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Who could have imagined the Europeans, with their centuries of battles over land, wealth, and power, would set an example for the world of collaboration and sharing? While we Americans — smug in our democracy — tussle with issues of intellectual property, copyright, and royalties, the Europeans have banded together to create an unprecedented, free information resource. Europeana.eu is a web portal to the virtually combined collections of one hundred libraries, archives, museums, universities, and other cultural institutions. Visitors to Europeana.eu have free access to books, newspapers, letters, journals, photographs, drawings, paintings, maps, sound recordings, videos, and films. While it is currently a prototype, the European Digital Library (EDL) Foundation intends to present a business model in 2010 that will allow the site to become self-sustaining.
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