The next phase in Graduate Assistance…

The next phase in Graduate Assistance…

Happy Thursday, Bloggers!

This past week has been pretty exciting. For starters, I am in the beginning stages of learning how to create and edit a video. The UALR Center for Arkansas History and Culture (CAHC) has an enormous collection of interviews from Japanese-Americans who were relocated from California to live in internment camps all across the United States after Pearl Harbor was bombed by Japan. Two of these camps were located in Arkansas – the Jerome War Relocation Center and the Rohwer War Relocation Center.  These interviews include not only the people interned at the camps in Arkansas, but also the people living outside the camps. Most of these interviews are around one and a half to about two hours in length. As awesome as it is for me to hear the entire interview, it may not catch the attention of everyone – but there are keywords and topics that may ignite someone’s interest. My job is to take these longer interviews and edit them into a short, 3-5 minute video that will be highlighted on the UALR CAHC’s Youtube page for the world to see! The link is above, so when you have time click on it and watch a few videos. I will upload a direct link to mine when I am finished and it is posted.

The Mary Lee Harris Papers, the collection that I am slowly processing, has a pretty cool section with books, pamphlets and documents about being a midwife. One of the women highlighted in this collection was a midwife, and many of her belongings were kept and donated to the UALR CAHC (aka the Mary Lee Harris Papers). I am pretty excited about this because this means I am going to be doing a Facebook series post! I will post about 5-6 times and showcase an individual item each time, bringing them all together to focus on the information I found in the midwife section. Again, once these are starting to be posted I will put the link up here so that you can all view it as well. This is a great way for me to start getting a little more in-depth with the collection as well as learn how to tie in a general “theme” when working with Facebook posts at an archive.

So next week should be an even greater amount of information and fun things for you to look through. Until then!

Digitization, Processing and everything in-between

This week in GA world has brought new tasks and therefore new challenges. I am the “guinea pig” in digitizing an entire collection – basically scanning everything in a processed collection without regard to its significance. Mainly, I am doing this to time myself and see how long it could take an archivist to do this so we can properly plan for the future. The Collection I am scanning -The John Rice Homer Scott Collection – can be viewed in person at the Arkansas Studies Institute. Scott studied law and was admitted to the bar in 1848. During the Civil War, Captain Scott commanded four Calvary companies and took part in the Pea Ridge/Elk horn Mountain battle in northern Arkansas. He also was a state Senator for Pope, Conway and Searcy counties in 1873. Most of the documents in his file are from 1861-1862 but there are a few towards the end that expand out in time. Its a time consuming project but its cool to read through another collection that has been processed – kind of like a cross reference for when I finish processing MY collection.

Speaking of MY collection – the Mary Lee Harris Papers are getting more interesting by the minute. I love reading through her correspondence (though I do wish I had her letters in response to gauge the conversation better). I have started actually processing the papers though, which is a positive step! There are many dead ends and unrelated documents and pictures, but with the help of the Archivists and some Genealogy expertise hopefully I can fill these missing gaps on who some of these people are, how they are related and why they are put together in this collection!

One thing I am looking forward to in the future (aka next week) is the start of creating a video with the Life Interrupted series and learning how to rip a DVD and covert to a different medium. I have not worked with video in this situation before so it will be a great experience and something new to add to my resume!

As for the “everything in-between”, I have learned how to inventory an unprocessed collection; basically creating an itemized list of what is in the folder, but nothing too specific since it has not been processed. I am slowly learning my way around the research room in the Arkansas Studies Institute building and actually attempted to assist a patron yesterday in their research! (Crazy, I know.)

I leave you with an interesting document I scanned from the Mary Lee Harris Papers. These are instructions on what should be consumed during and after labor and gives informative examples. A larger section of these papers contain information booklets and instruction manuals on the process of becoming a midwife, the rules on being a midwife and how to help the family before during and after pregnancy. These are recommended foods and liquids “during labor and the lying-in period.” Enjoy!Image

UALR Center for Arkansas History and Culture: Mary Lee Harris Papers

UALR Center for Arkansas History and Culture: Mary Lee Harris Papers

Welcome back!

I have begun my Facebook postings, which is part of my Graduate Assistance and helps show the public the papers I am processing from the Mary Lee Harris papers. It’s a great tool, especially in these early stages of processing since the archivists and I are the only ones who get to see this until I organize the entire paper collection!

Besides Facebook posts and updating this blog, another world I have delved into is the great and wonderful METADATA! I have to admit, I was very daunted when I first looked this over. Where do I even begin, what does this mean, how does it end? Luckily, I have great resources and in a short amount of time I find myself able to read (and dare I say) understand the XML Metadata that is brought to me. (Though I wouldn’t put this to a graded test.)

We start this metadata adventure with XML (eXtensible Markup Language) which is, in basic terms, the metalanguage for creating and defining a more specific markup language. In essence, everything you see online has raw data in the background. How do you or I read it, and more importantly, how do we read it through different machines that need a common code? That’s where you get things like HTML and XML. HTML deals with content and structure as well as the format, but cannot be customized like XML. XML also deals with the content and structure of documents but is much more extensible. For example, you could go and create your own “flavor” of XML while you could not with HTML. The XML schema is defined by a Document Type Definition, or DTD. It is also machine-readable! You can have many different types of programs (“flavors”) that display or interpret XML; the main one that we use in this field is EAD. EAD is Encoded Archival Descriptions and is used as the data standard for describing archives.

Now, without getting to complex, I should say that I won’t necessarily be writing this out to start, but it is helpful to read and understand because this is the language used for us to take a processed collection and display it for you to see online.

I have also begun my work in Archivists’ Toolkit, which lets me type everything out like I am now and it converts this to the metadata language to display online.  I have just started with Archivists’ Toolkit so expect wonderful things in the future!

While you are web-surfing, check out the wonderful Facebook page for the UALR Center for Arkansas History and Culture to get a better idea of not only my collection, but other collections and events going on as well!

%d bloggers like this: