Mary Lee Harris

Mary Lee Harris

Finally, I can put a face to the name of the woman who’s donated papers I am processing! This great discovery not only produced a picture of Mary Lee Harris, but of her mother, grandmother and great-grandmother as well. In addition, it has opened up the doors for Colin, a fellow archivists, and I go to explore the rest of the collection at the Mosaic Templar’s Cultural Center. Next week we have the honor of visiting with the members of this center and hopefully learn something new that we could not discover with the collection given to us! You can view their site here:

At the end of last week I finished editing my first draft of the Life Interrupted interview that I was given and will have my second draft sometime after Spring Break. I also have finished processing the Mary Lee Harris Papers and sent the draft in to the archivists and am awaiting their response. My last goal before Spring Break is to be halfway done digitizing the Scott Collection. I think I can achieve this and be on my way to finalizing many of my projects by the end of April!

The great thing about this graduate assistance is not only the support team that surrounds me – from the digital team to the archivists to my fellow GA – but also the things that I am doing that are resume worthy. I will be able to say I have processed a collection and that I am able to edit a video to be put online. I can also say that I know the basics of a webpage, like this one, and I personally hope to expand on this in the future.

All in all its been a good halfway point and I look forward to continuing full force when I come back! Have a great week!

The Wonderful World of Metadata

Welcome back to another exciting addition of: Metadata!

Last time I posted about metadata I gave a brief description of what metadata actually is (basically, data about data. A specific description of the data you are putting up for viewing on the web) as well as information about XML (eXtensible Markup Language) EAD (Encoded Arvhical Descriptions) and DTD (Document Type Definition) – and how they all pertain to my job and what I am slowly learning.

As I dive into this world, one important tool that I have begun to use much more frequently is Dublin Core. Dublin Core is basically a way for people like me in my line of work to describe an image/move/collection/etc so that you can easily search for it and find it online. For example: If I was to put an image that I took of a Civil War battlefield here in Arkansas, would you search for “Nicolette Lloyd’s pictures” to find this image? Probably not. You may not know me and unless you knew that I took this picture, you probably would be searching for “Civil War Battlefields” or “Battlefields” or even just “Arkansas”. You may know specifics like “1862, March” or even specific names and locations, all which narrow down your search. You would not be able to find this image, however, if I didn’t put the correct identifiers for the search engines (like Google) you may use to find this image. Dublin Core is made up of 15 elements (Theme, Subject, Date, etc…) that improve document indexing and expand the catalog information for search engine programs. May seem complicated, but Dublin Core is actually pretty easy, as long as you use the mindset that someone who may not be familiar with the terms that you personally are familiar with is going to be searching for this item.

Test Example: Here is a link to my personal Omeka site (which is a site that uses Dublin Core – its a great site to put up a quick exhibit and showcase items of any kind in a collection for the world to view online) which is a work in progress.

If you click on any image in the site you will see the picture, and below that you will see the element boxes that have been filled out specific to the data. An important thing to remember with Dublin Core is to remain CONSISTENT. I decided to set “date” as the date that I took the picture. It is not recommended to change “date” to the date of the battle, for instance, midway through the list of items. If you want the date to be the date of the battle, no problem. Keep it that way from beginning to end, however. Little things like this need to be addressed so that you tell the entire story every time you put something online in Dublin Core format.

I have found that there are a few elements that are difficult for me to fill in, and you will see that all 15 of the element boxes are not represented with my personal site. Maybe there is no specific answer or term that can be placed in those boxes – or maybe I haven’t found the professional way of addressing them. Either way, its better to leave them blank than to put something that could confuse the process in these boxes.

Metadata may seem like a difficult and strange world, but the more experience I get in this field and better I feel about the shift into the digital world for archives and museums.

Next week I should be finishing up my Life Interrupted editing, so hopefully I can get that going and eventually posted on the UALR CAHC YouTube account and then here on this blog! Stay tuned…

Mary Lee Harris Midwife Series

This past week has been exciting and not just because we had a snow/ice day! It is the week of display for my midwife series which I am proud to announce went smoothly. It was great seeing a collection that only a few others have viewed become available for the public to study and learn. The midwife documents are only a small portion of the entire collection, but they are one of the most interesting. Each day focused on a different part of the story about being a midwife. The first day, we focused on the importance of the midwife bag and the instruction book she carried, not only for her benefit but the benefit of the pregnant woman. May 3rd UALR CAHC Facebook

The second day we explored a book that I found about planning for a baby. Inside are amazing notes and advice for the father and the mother, and include meal plans, what the mother and father need to have handy for when the midwife arrives during labor and what to expect after the baby is born. It is a great booklet from the past! May 4th UALR CAHC Facebook

The third and fourth days were devoted to recipes. You have seen the first recipe in my last posting, about foods to be consumed during labor and the lying-in period. I also added a page that I found about specifically meatloaf – complete with different meatloaf versions! May 5th UALR CAHC Facebook  May 6th UALR CAHC Facebook

Today was the last day of my series and it ended with important food to be consumed before the baby arrives. I thought that was an interesting piece of advice because a lot of the instructions were focused on labor and after birth, but only a few documents were about before the baby (and that wonderful book about planning for a baby!) May 7th UALR CAHC Facebook

I think it is fantastic that I am able to not only share these with the world but be able to do this in an academic setting. It stands to reason that it’s pretty awesome that the UALR Center for Arkansas History and Culture would allow me the opportunity to display my findings – EVERY DAY FOR A WEEK!  So share, like and enjoy those posts and look back there for more!

My week wasn’t all about the midwife series. Besides continuing to digitize the Scott Collection and Process the remaining folders in the Mary Lee Harris Papers I am also starting to learn about editing a YouTube video from an oral history interview. You’ll remember that last week I wrote about the Japanese-Americans who were relocated to Arkansas from California during World War II to live in the internment camps. Well, the UALR Center for Arkansas History and Culture are releasing these interview clips to lead into the opening of a new exhibit later this fall about the Japanese-American internment. One of the videos that I am editing will be a part of that! I am very excited. So far, my main task is to take a longer video, find a central theme and then edit it down to a small clip. I’ve got down to about 8 minutes…so close! Its really amazing that we have these interviews and I encourage you to go to the website,UALR CAHC YouTube, and check it out for yourself!

Next week I should have more information to you about metadata – you didn’t think I’d forget, did you?

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