The following is a transcript of the talk I gave at #HASTAC2013 this year. I was on a panel with other HASTAC Scholars - Fiona Barnett, Viola Lasmana, Ernesto Priego, Alexis Lothian, and Jesse Stommel - that was celebrating the 5-year anniversary of the Scholars program and exploring the question of creating communities online. I took a rather personal approach, offering a few anecdotes about the things I have learned and people I have met through HASTAC. You might recognize some of the text from other blog posts I've written about my encounters with HASTAC in the past.
MITH is pleased to announce that Google has selected us as one of a hundred seventy seven mentoring organizations to participate in the 2013 Google Summer of Code (GSoC). Google is offering students a stipend to work with MITH and other organizations on open source projects, giving students an opportunity to see software development and open source culture outside the classroom.
If you are a student interested in programming and literature, music, or some other aspect of the humanities and libraries, check out our page of ideas and our GSoC homepage. Feel free to drop us an email or join us on IRC to discuss potential projects.
About Google Summer of Code
Google Summer of Code is a global program that offers student developers stipends to write code for various open source software projects. Google works with many open source, free software, and technology-related groups to identify and fund projects over a three month period. Since its inception in 2005, the program has brought together nearly six thousand successful student participants and over three thousand mentors from over a hundred countries worldwide, all for the love of code.
Through Google Summer of Code, accepted student applicants are paired with a mentor or mentors from the participating projects, thus gaining exposure to real-world software development scenarios and the opportunity for employment in areas related to their academic pursuits. In turn, the participating projects are able to more easily identify and bring in new developers. Best of all, more source code is created and released for the use and benefit of all.
To learn more about the program, read the 2013 Frequently Asked Questions page.
This post was written by Eric Cartier and also appears on the Special Collections blog.
In mid-March, the Tools subgroup met FRED, our Forensic Recovery of Evidence Device. The subject lines we’ve shared since then (e.g., “tinkering with FRED today”) reflect the approach we’re taking: careful, playful, open-minded. We marveled at all the ports, laid out and photographed the various cables and adapters included in the toolbox, and took turns at the keyboard. There was much to do before any imaging occurred, though.
We spoke at length about network security, viruses, connecting to the Internet, and safeguarding personally identifiable information, which we’re sure to obtain in future images we make. Porter noted that Digital Intelligence, the company that manufactures FRED, assumes that one will connect the machine to the Internet, while Josh played the devil’s advocate, acting Thomas Pynchon-paranoid. The immediate action we took at the conversation’s conclusion was to connect to the Internet via a USB network adapter to install Microsoft Security Essentials. Next we updated all the Windows, Adobe, and Java applications. A clean machine, we agreed, should be virus protected and fitted with all the latest software updates.
The FRED system has two drives, one of which is dual partitioned into Windows 7 Ultimate (64 bit) and Win98 DOS. This is the operating system environment we initially worked in, where we made other essential downloads including BitCurator and Oracle VM VirtualBox. Later, because BitCurator is native Linux, we chose to install SUSE Linux 12.1 on FRED’s empty DATA drive.
Returning to Windows 7, the first device we connected to the UltraBay 3D Hardware Write-Blocker was Digital Stewardship’s 2 TB external hard drive, which contained images of some media from the Bill Bly Collection. Tableau Imager didn’t recognize it, nor did it register a 2 GB thumb drive that we inserted in the USB 3.0 port, although each device was visible on the list of the computer’s drives. Reading through the text-based instructions again, we discovered that the UltraBay has a power supply independent of the FRED tower (Digital Intelligence does not include diagrams or screenshots in its instructions), which, once turned on, allowed us to image the thumb drive. No matter which target directory we selected, however, the external hard drive repeatedly failed to image, due to lack of storage space. Tableau Imager offers EnCase E01 and Raw Disk dd imaging options, both of which are set to capture all the bits, so 2 TB was a bit much to ask of the machine.
Our progress configuring FRED has been fun and sometimes frustrating, but always steady. Over the next couple of months, our goal is to attempt to image every imaginable format on FRED and our BitCurator Digitization Workstation. Which system, with which software (BitCurator, Tableau Imager, FTK Imager), works most effectively? Learning what’s possible to accomplish with our equipment will be a beneficial exercise to complete before the arrival of our National Digital Stewardship Residency fellow in September.
Before getting to the first post from our Policy & Procedures Group, I’d like to sharing a link to Jennie Levine Knies’ “Alas, poor Metadata!” post. I neglected to post it at the time it was written–sorry, Jennie!
The following post was written by PoliProc members Robin Pike and Joanne Archer.
The Born-Digital Working Group, Policies and Procedures subgroup, has spent February examining the changes we will need to make to existing policies to accommodate born digital material. The goal of the subgroup over the course of the next few months is to:
- examine current Special Collections policies such as collection development policies, donor agreements, and the UM processing manual
- review policies that consider born-digital or electronic media at other institutions, especially within the AIMS project
- create modular policies and agreements for the UMD Libraries that consider born-digital media
- identify the input we will need from the Administrative and Tools subgroups that will determine the content of some of the policies.
Special Collections does not currently have an overarching collections policy. Instead each subject area within special collections has smaller, separate policies, none of which specifically address collecting born-digital material. Our subgroup will develop a policy for born digital material that will provide Special Collections staff who are working with donors a clear understanding of our capability to provide long term stewardship of digital material. It will also give guidance on the type of information that should be gathered at the early stages of donor development. We expect that we will draw heavily on the born-digital sections of other institutions’ existing policies.
Examining the existing donor agreements at first glance seems to be the most straightforward aspect of our work. Special Collections uses a standardized deed of gift form which is modular in format and takes into account various rights, privacy, and use restrictions. We plan to add points and revise current statements to consider born-digital media. However, some of the questions we need to reflect in the donor agreements include how born-digital material will be transferred or captured, donors’ preference in terms of files previously deleted but recovered in the transfer process to the library, the scope of what we can provide in terms of preservation of the born-digital material, and specific conditions on access to materials. Although the donor agreement seemed the easiest place to start it become clear that establishing what we can and are willing to collect (i.e. the collection policy) is the critical first step for this group. It’s also clear that we need to work closely with our tools group to understand what will be technically feasible at the University of Maryland.
While part of the scope of this group will be making changes to the Special Collections Processing Manual it is already clear that this will happen much later down the road once the tools group has made recommendations for ingesting and accessing born digital materials.
Fortunately, we are not the first to begin work on these issues and we will be relying heavily on the work of other institutions. Our first steps are to examine the following resources:
- AIMS Born-Digital Collections: An Inter-Institutional Model for Stewardship, January 2012 (http://www2.lib.virginia.edu/aims/whitepaper/AIMS_final.pdf)
- SAA Campus Case Studies
- SAA E-records listserv (for examples/templates)
The BDWG has started it’s work in earnest at this point and it’s the questions we need to answer are becoming more clear. Our FRED (Forensic Recovery of Evidence Device) has arrived so soon we will be able to start thinking more concretely about workflows and procedures.
MITH is pleased to announce that it will be hosting the U.S. East Coast Open Annotation Data Model Rollout on Monday, May 6th. This meeting is free, but registration is required due to space limitations. Lunch will be provided. Visit the rollout page for more information, including an agenda and registration. Please register by April 19th.
The Open Annotation Data Model Rollouts are a series of three meetings organized by the members of the Open Annotation Consortium and Annotation Ontology to introduce the Open Annotation Data Model Community Specification developed through their collaboration as the W3C Open Annotation Community Group. This series of meetings is made possible by generous funding from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.
These day-long public rollouts will inform digital humanities and sciences computing developers, curators of digital collections, and scholars using digital content about the W3C Open Annotation Community Group’s work. Topics will include the Open Annotation Data Model, the W3C Open Annotation Community Group, existing implementations of Open Annotation producers and consumers, and developer tools and resources.
The May event is the second in the series. Other rollouts are being held at Stanford University in April and at the University of Manchester in June.
MITH and University of Maryland Libraries Collaboration Selected as a Host Institution for Inaugural National Digital Stewardship Residency Program -- Maryland Institute for Technology in the Humanities
The Maryland Institute for Technology in the Humanities (MITH), in partnership with the University of Maryland Libraries, is pleased to announce our selection as a National Digital Stewardship Residency (NDSR) host site.
This program offers an opportunity for recent graduates of Master’s degree programs in relevant fields to complete a nine-month residency at institutions actively engaged in the acquisition, stewardship, and preservation of born-digital materials. The residency will begin in September 2013, with a two-week workshop at the Library of Congress. Prospective applicants should visit the NDSR website for application information.
MITH and the University of Maryland Libraries are proud to join such organizations as the Folger Shakespeare Library, The National Library of Medicine, and the Smithsonian Institution Archives among others as host institutions for this timely program. The survival of important collections—particularly born-digital collections—depends on their discoverability, accessibility, and usability by diverse constituencies. The interfaces and the service models that welcome interested researchers are important points of human connection between collections and communities. As more and more institutions add born-digital materials to their collections, they will need individuals capable of developing and implementing policies and access models where none existed previously. A residency at MITH will help provide the necessary background to successfully articulate issues surrounding access of born-digital archival collections and the expertise to provide solutions. In particular, the Resident will have an opportunity to engage with unique born-digital literary collections from two prominent authors at the leading edge of experimental electronic literature. At the same time, the Resident will contribute important research and be well positioned to provide leadership on issues that every library and archive will confront in the coming years.
As an NDSR Host, MITH and the Libraries will provide guidance and resources for the Resident to prototype access points to born-digital materials (including their physical carriers) to better enable researchers to discover and work with the Libraries’ born-digital collections. Matthew Kirschenbaum, Associate Director of MITH and Associate Professor in the Department of English at the University of Maryland, and Joanne Archer, Special Collections Librarian at the University of Maryland Libraries along with staff from MITH, the Human-Computer Interaction Lab of the University of Maryland iSchool, and the University of Maryland Libraries will work with the Resident to aid them in gaining demonstrable experience with reference models, user-centered design, and prototyping. MITH Director Neil Fraistat observes that “the NDSR is a key component of the groundbreaking partnership MITH and the Libraries initiated in 2012, to collaborate on research and services related to born-digital collections. The Resident will be embedded with this interdisciplinary, cross-divisional team, the Born-Digital Working Group.”
For more about the potential scope of an NDSR residency at MITH, see our formal host statement.
The Maryland Institute for Technology in the Humanities (MITH) is a leading digital humanities center that pursues disciplinary innovation and institutional transformation through applied research, public programming, and educational opportunities. MITH has been a partner and MITH directors have served as PI or co-PI for a range of projects on born-digital cultural heritage, digital forensics, digital curation, and the preservation of computer games, interactive literature, and virtual worlds.
The University of Maryland Libraries conduct a broad range of digital projects including digitization of materials from the UMD Libraries’ special collections and archives as well as digital preservation programs and planning. The Libraries take an active part in usability analysis and design activities pertaining to accessibility and findability of our digital collections and our Web content. For a complete list of past and ongoing projects, please consult http://digital.lib.umd.edu/.
Back in October, we introduced the MITH/UM Libraries Born Digital Working Group (BDWG) with a post about processing the Bill Bly Collection. Since then we’ve firmed up our goals (“start collecting/working with diverse born digital materials in the libraries” being a bit nebulous and… huge) and divided ourselves into sub-groups to conquer them. Goals and groups decided upon, we’re going to try to give bi-weekly updates on our work, cross-posted to the MITH and Special Collections blogs. We’ll be cycling through the groups to ensure every area is covered; those areas are: tools, policies/procedures, metadata, and administration.
Originally called “Technology/BitCurator/hardware/software/tools,” this subgroup is dedicated to pre-processing work–everything that happens before an acquisition is deposited in the digital repository. The Tools group is led by Jennie Levine Knies and includes Amanda Visconti, Eric Cartier, Matt Kirschenbaum, Porter Olsen and Rachel Donahue.
Dedicated to developing the many guidelines necessary to implement new digital workflows in the libraries. The Policy/Procedures group is led by Joanne Archer and includes Caitlin Wells, Daniel Mack, Rachel Donahue, Robin Pike, and Trevor Muñoz.
Dedicated to data about data. Specifically, this group will look at everything that’s needed to create a properly-described submission information package (SIP). The Metadata Group is led by Joshua Westgard and includes Eric Cartier,Jennie Levine Knies, and Rachel Donahue.
Dedicated to providing the high-level support needed by change agents everywhere. Administration was originally lumped in with Policy/Procedures, but we broke it out to keep things specific and manageable. The Administration group is led by Trevor Muñoz and includes Daniel Mack, Jennie Levine Kniees, Joanne Archer, Matthew Kirschenbaum, and Rachel Donahue.
As you read our posts in the future, bear in mind that we’re essentially starting from scratch. We’re unlikely to have anything amazingly groundbreaking to share, but we hope that being transparent about our work might help other organizations undergoing similar changes.
We are delighted to announce that Raffaele Viglianti will be joining MITH as a Research Programmer in early February 2013.
Raffaele comes to MITH from the Department of Digital Humanities at King’s College London (KCL), one of the foremost institutions in the world for digital research in the humanities, where he was most recently a Post-graduate Research Assistant. At King’s, he contributed to several major digitization and text encoding projects while also completing an MA in Digital Humanities and pursuing his PhD. Raffaele holds a BA in Digital Humanities from the University of Pisa (Italy).
Raffaele’s research focuses on the production and publication of digital scholarly editions of music, and he brings to MITH valuable expertise in the performing arts. His dissertation investigates digital approaches in musicology through a case study of a critical edition of Carl Maria von Weber’s opera Der Freischütz, a project in which Raffaele is collaborating with the Weber-Gesamtausgabe at the University of Paderborn (Germany). Raffaele is also an advisor for the Music Encoding Initiative (MEI), which produces guidelines for the digital representation of music notation with a focus on scholarly requirements, and the convenor of the Text Encoding Initiative’s Special Interest Group (SIG) in Music, which addresses issues and delivers recommendations for the digitization of texts with music notation.
At MITH, Raffaele’s deep knowledge of encoding practices and theory and his experience in developing software and systems for humanities research will be an invaluable addition to projects such as the Shelley-Godwin Archive and ANGLES. The MITH staff and its partners are delighted to welcome Raffaele!
Follow Raffaele on Twitter as @raffazizzi
Failure is a product. We really want lunch and would like to leave these crazy people. Resistance to DH is futile!