Category Archives: Conference Reports

OSU Archives Presents: Calling all Extension Offices!

This week the Archives staff was invited to talk to a group of staff from the Extension Offices. This post includes links and files from that presentation.

Their site says it best: “The Oregon State University Extension Service engages the people of Oregon with research-based knowledge and education that focus on strengthening communities and economies, sustaining natural resources, and promoting healthy families and individuals.” The collections at OSU Archives document the long and important history of how the Extension offices have impacted their communities; additionally, the individual character of those communities is reflected in the records.

Please click here for all the presentation slides, handouts, and links.

2008 Online Northwest Conference — 22 Feb 2008

This was an excellent conference with a dynamic keynote speaker and very good individual sessions. A full summary of the program is available online. Take-aways (for me) from keynote and sessions I attended:

KEYNOTE Jared Spool
Why Good Content Must Suck: Designing for the Scent of Information

  • content emits scents; users follow scent of content
  • content “sucks”/”draws” the user toward it
  • scent communication through trigger words (can determine important trigger words by looking at terms used for searching in search engine logs)
  • users don’t mind “clicking” if with every click, they get closer to content (scent gets stronger)
  • when good designs work, we don’t notice them
  • things that prevent scent
    • search engines
    • information/content “below the fold” especially if there is a horizontal line suggesting bottom of screen page
    • navigation panels are “scentless”; often include jargon; often mirror admin organization or “silos”
    • short links don’t emit scent
    • 7-12 words in linkis optimal for success of user; links need trigger words
    • short pages reduce scent and horizontal rule stops scrolling
  • site map = the page where we hide all the scent
  • on A-Z list, scent arranged ‘”randomly”
  • traditional approach to design is to start with home page; should start with “content” and put links in all the places where someone might look for that “content”

Session 1 Platform for a New Kind of Library Catalog?
Amy Crawford, OCLC Western

This session would have benefited by having a “user” of or worldcat local.
Presenter described new model for library catalogs: synthesize => specialize => mobillize

Session 2 — Facebook 101: What Librarians Need to Know
Laurie Bridges, OSU Libraries

Great introduction to Facebook:

  • “fan pages” allow you to “push” content/announcements to your “fans”; “groups” are more static
  • users spend more time (20 min/dayis this right?) on Facebook than any other website (which avg less than 5 min/day)
  • advertising may be a cost effective way to reach students and young adults (priced per click or per “thousand views”)

Session 3 — Navigating User Understanding of the OPAC Interface: Case Study from OHSU’s Web Usability Testing
Laura Zeigen, OHSU

Laura provided some background on usability testing; results of the testing of the OPAC interface; and the changes they made at OHSU. Her powerpoint and a list of resources are available, as is this site she referred to in her presentation. It would be useful to have similar compilation for “archives” terminology.

Elizabeth Nielsen

Library Instruction Workshop: 7/27/07

Early/Other Instruction Models

  • Madeline Hunter model: 7 Step Lesson Plan:
    • objectives
    • standards
    • anticipatory set
    • teaching
    • input
    • modeling
    • check for understanding
    • guided practice/monitoring
    • closure
    • independent practice
  • Heinich & Molenda: ASSURE Model
    • Analyze learners
    • State objectives
    • Select instructional methods, media, and materials
    • Utilize media and materials
    • Require learner participation
    • Evaluate and revise
  • Both good models for new teachers who are learning their way around the classroom. Is there another way? Yes, this one.

Dynamic Systems

  • Modified from Newell (1986), which was initially a discussion about motor development, moved to learning skills, called it a “model of constraints.”
  • These 3 systems interact: you change one thing and it changes the system– not all 3 have to change for the system to change. This is in opposition to the motor skills development theory.
  • Individual: you bring what you are: skills, body, intelligence
  • Environment: physical arrangement, equipment
  • Task: what are you/they trying to do?
  • Outcome: the system will achieve a steady state, will emerge from the interaction. The system struggles with chaos, but it will resolve itself.
  • How can you change the constraints of an individual? Model different behavior, give them information, engage them immediately and pique their interest, motivate. Conditioning happens over time. Are they being graded?
  • How can you change the structure of the environment? Layout of classroom/room, surface stability, environmental level of predictability (static/dynamic), grouping people based on task.
  • How can you change the task? Motor skills theory related (change speed trajectory of movement), equipment (type, length, size, weight, texture, etc.), c complexity/simplicity, options.
  • Research is a dynamic activity
  • What decisions do people make when they do research?
  • What knowledge do they need to have to use research tools?
  • What skills do they need to have efficiently use tools?
  • Are poor choices and/or a lack of knowledge/skills okay? Who says it’s a poor choice? It’s only poor if we/faculty says it is. They have to be given choices.
  • Manipulating Outcome: what are the desired behaviors? How does discovery learning fit into the classroom?
  • Make sure there are choices wherever they are rather than a sequence of events or stations.
  • The purpose is giving them experiences. Learning retained.
  • Warnings: you can lose them with a lot of instruction, lose them with a complex first task. Make sure you increase the complexity with each task. However, if this is an entirely new skill or new subject matter, don’t be afraid to give them instruction (though if you can make it dynamic, do).

Dynamic Systems Teaching Model

  1. Establish the task goal: structure the environment, give information about the task, do not demonstrate (but you can provide instructional support).
  2. Provide choices: one size doesn’t fit all, have a selection of skills/movements/equipment available, allow safe student decisions. Get them to looks at the choices and the outcomes. Give them feedback about the choices they have made/are making. Ask “what do you notice when you ___?”
  3. Modify the variable: “restructure” the environment for the group and the individuals who are ready.
  4. Provide instruction: only after the first 3 steps, instruct about skills students have selected, instruct about “teacher preferred” skills.

Example: Use good keywords

  • Research task: Ask them to search for something/an article, may not discuss specific results.
  • Restructure task: Ask them to find a synonym, repeat their search multiple times.

Example: Use varied databases

  • Research task: ask them to find an article in a database, do not set any limiters. If they ask, you can define “scholarly source.”
  • Restructure task: ask them to explore the advanced search page for limiters (ie specific journals). Give them different databases to use to search for scholarly sources. Ask them to compare magazine to scholarly journals.

Example of lesson plan for one-shot instruction session (library focus)
Visit the Wikipedia current events section for topics that are very recent and from the past couple of months.

  • Give students a topic and ask them to find a relevant/suitable article (don’t limit or define your terms here, let them explore & come back with anything).
  • Discuss with the students/instructor to see what they define as “suitable.”
  • Ask the student to find articles with as much bibliographic information as possible, from a variety of sources.
  • Discuss the difference between broadcast & print, how important permanence is in academia. Search for print sources in databases, tell them they have to use certain databases (ie Lexis/Nexis, EBSCO).
  • Where did you find more?
  • Discuss the publication cycle and how it is not suitable for very current events (periodical database isn’t going to provide you with articles if the event happened yesterday.
  • Ask them to “experience” different databases.

How can archivists use this? Tiah’s Dynamic Systems lesson planning model

  • Task 1: Research w/o constraints. “Find something in the yearbooks that is interesting to you.”
  • Discussion outcomes: “What did you find? Why was it interesting?”
  • Task 2: Research with some constraints (change the task/environment): “Look at another yearbook that is at least 20 years older or 20 years more recent than your first choice.”
  • Discussion outcomes: “What differences did you notice?”
  • Task 3: Research with more constraints (change the task/environment): “Look at another yearbook that is at least 20 years older or 20 years more recent than your first or second choices. This time look for a similar topic or subject.”
  • Discussion outcomes: “What did you find?” “What differences did you notice?”
  • Task 4: Research with more constraints (change the task/environment): Give them a set of photographs and ask them to discuss what they see. Ask them to date the images given what they learned in their experiences with the yearbooks.”

Northwest Archivists Annual Conference 2007

Northwest Archivists Annual Conference
Moscow, Idaho
18-19 May 2007

As always, it’s a pleasure to attend this small conference (about 75-100 attendees) and connect in person with regional colleagues. In 2008, the NWA will hold its first annual conference in Anchorage! Here’s a summary of the sessions I attended.
Friday Plenary Session: NARA (National Archives) Strategic Planning

Thomas Mills provided an overview of the National Archives collections and programs and the recent strategic planning process. Key challenges and strategies that have emerged are:

  • embed records management in business processes of federal agencies to deal more effectively with electronic records; are working on “plug in” modules that can be added to IT systems to facilitate records management
  • gain control over huge backlog of unprocessed holdings
  • de-classification and re-classification
  • preservation and security
  • electronic records archives
  • re-envisioning the nature of research services and environment; fewer researchers are doing genealogical research in NARA research rooms because many of the most frequently used records have been digitized by vendors and are now available through commercial (or non-profit) sites
  • developing public/private partnerships; affiliated archives program plus more
  • civic literacy – bringing people into the archives that are not researchers

Panel: Building a National Archival Network: Roles of National and Regional Projects and Organizations

Panel members were: Ann Lally (UW); Leigh Grinstead (CDP@BCR); Max Evans (NHPRC); and Steve McCann (Digital Projects Librarian at UMontana). The panel chair/facilitator was our own Jodi Allison-Bunnell.

Most of this discussion focused on how to move regional projects and organizations to sustainable programs. Some of the ideas from panelists:

  • strong partners that are able to “institutionalize” a project as part of daily operations
  • finding a “sugar daddy” that is not a federal agency
  • affiliating with a university or other cultural heritage organization
  • make the member organizations your customers and provide the services they need
  • partner with “for profit” organizations

Session: Regional Film Preservation Projects

This was a more traditional session with presentations about several regional projects:

Alex Merrill (WSU) described a film preservation project recently undertaken at WSU for the J. Elroy McCaw Memorial Film Collection. A subset of the Collection (55 films) was transferred to digital format and described with detailed metadata. The digital files currently reside in an “unpublished” ContentDM collection – planning to provide streaming files.

Nicolette Bromberg (UW) described the Washington Film Preservation Project, lead by UW, which preserved films from 9 institutions in Washington; offered preservation clinics; and transferred a subset of films (92 reels) to digital masters. UW and OCLC have applied for a $0.5 million grant from IMLS for a 2-year project in Washington, Idaho, and Montana.

Anne Frantilla (Seattle Municipal Archives) described her repository’s successful participation in the Washington Film Preservation Project. As a result of the project they had about 11,000 feet of film preserved (cleaned, cored, and canned) and 3-5 films transferred to digital master. Through the project they gained experience working with films; learned more about their film holdings; and are able to provide better access to films.

Session: Using Expressive Metadata Formats to Support Preservation in Digital Repositories

Presenters were Al Cornish, Greg Matthews, and Jon Scott — all from WSU Libraries. This session was way over my head. But what I did learn was the distinction between metadata used for resource “discovery” and metadata for resource “harvesting”. The presenters talked about metadata schemes that are more robust that OAI-PMH – such as mpeg21 didl and mets as well as the Object Reuse and Exchange (ORE) protocol, which supports harvesting so that an an object can be re-used, re-purposed, etc.

Saturday Plenary Session: The White Glove Treatment: Using Special Collections in the Literature Classroom

Augusta Rohrbach, a WSU English faculty member, eagerly described her use of special collections materials for a history of American literature class. She has taught a similar course at Oberlin, Brown, and WSU – and has learned that repositories at all of these places have primary source materials that are appropriate for this course which focuses on the material context for literary history. She emphasized the “situational and regional” approach to learning literature and the importance of students learning from period publications and published artifacts. For the most recent offering of the class (spring semester 2007), there were 8 students in a 300-level class; project was to prepare a display using primary materials for the special collections reading room. Their project report included not only what they chose to include (and why) but what they left out … or what they couldn’t find.

This was an excellent presentation and a great example of the way that primary sources can be incorporated into undergraduate instruction.

Session: Archivists in Web 2.0 World: How Can We Make Social Software Tools Work for Us?

This was an excellent session with two OSU presenters (Anne-Marie and Tiah). Anne-Marie introduced Web 2.0 by focusing on four main points:

  • web as platform
  • user focus (users interact with each other)
  • micro-content (songs vs albums as new unit of measure for music; individual images or film clips … not photographic collections or full films). This has significance for archives; we emphasize context as essential in describing materials and we have typically described materials at the collection or sub-collection level – only rarely at the individual “item”-level. Current trends are toward even less granular description. Ummm… we are working in interesting times …
  • radical openness

See Ann-Marie’s blog for links. Tiah described various Web 2.0 applications that are being used by archivists:

  • blogs and wikis
  • flickr
  • rss feeds
  • second life (the digital archivist)

She encouraged all to explore/experiment in order to become aware/familiar with the tools our researchers (and future donors of materials) are using.

Ann Lally (UW) described the project at UW to add links in Wikipedia articles to UW digital collections; also created Wikipedia articles where there was no appropriate article Strongly suggested becoming a “registered user”.

Here is a link to her May 2007 D-Lib magazine article about the project.

Elizabeth Nielsen

The Archivists Join Friends & Colleagues in Moscow, Idaho

dance.jpgIt’s that special time of year, the time for NW archivists to congregate for our spring conference. Several OSU Archivists are heading east to the greater Pullman/Moscow area for the Northwest Archivists Conference this week: “Dynamic Archives: Preserving the Past and Speaking to the Future” will take place from May 17-19, in Moscow, Idaho.

On the program are two plenary sessions by Thomas E. Mills & Augusta Rohrbach, as well as sessions that address leadership skills for archivists, coordinating national and regional projects, online tutorials, disaster planning resources, the challenges in working with ephemera, MPLP processing standards, and how archivists can flourish in a Web 2.0 world.

Our hours on Friday, May 18th will be shortened, so please contact the desk at (541) 737.2165 or with questions.

Online Northwest 2007 Conference Report

General notes and thoughts about Online Northwest 2007 (Feb 16, 2007), by Elizabeth Nielsen

OSU Libraries were well represented on both sides of the podium. I attended the keynote and 3 sessions A full program summary is available.

Highlights (take-aways) of the sessions I attended:

Keynote by Stephen Abram

  • added values of libraries (and librarians) is to improve the “quality of the question” and the user experience
  • Google (commercial search engines) can answer “who, what, when, where” questions; libraries do best at answering “how” and “why” questions
  • in academic setting, library “instruction” needs to be linked at the “lesson” level (assignment, project, or task)

Session One: Creating Online Library Tutorials with Macromedia Captivate: Process and Product (Karen Munro, UC Berkeley)

  • strongly recommends flash files (*.swf) for delivery of tutorials — are seamless for user
  • keep tutorials short (3 minutes max; 1 minute may be better)
  • Captivate now an Adobe product
  • develop tutorials that can be used for a variety of purposes (across classes, courses, or disciplines)
  • adding audio doubles the development time
  • storyboard each action and write script
  • importance of tying tutorial to an assignment
  • put tutorial at the point of need
  • her powerpoint
  • sample tutorial (in beta testing)
  • her own “post mortem” of the session

Session Two: Observing Student Researchers in their Native Habitat (John Law, Proquest)

nothing astounding here

  • qualitative research (observing students doing research for class research project) and quantitative (survey)
  • used Facebook to place ad to solicit research participants (didn’t mention library or Proquest in ad)
  • many students started their research at course website
  • little evaluation of whether resource was appropriate for the specific task (used what they were familiar/comfortable with)
  • strong brand recognition
  • student researchers chose library resources because librarian visited class; professor required or suggested it; or brand awareness
  • students use google for primary research; to supplement research (make sure they didn’t miss anything); quick reference to get background information; or to locate known resources (known websites; major newspapers; library resources)
  • why students chose google for primary research: unfamiliar with library e-resources; bad experience with library (trying to search catalog for article; authentication issues; e-resources web page unclear)
  • students indicated do NOT use myspace or facebook for coursework or research — might use for group projects
  • once in library databases, users don’t have difficulty conducting research
  • full text is prerequisite; abstracts are essential

Session Three: Digital Archiving on a Shoestring: Development of the Oregon Documents Repository (Kyle Banerjee and Arlene Weible, Oregon State Library)

presentation outline
document repository

  • difficulty of distinguishing between publications and public records (perhaps a reason to use same repository for both)
  • use MARC records for description/metadata — allow integration of description of paper/electronic document
  • returning native file format not essential; most important to retain content
  • not trying to preserve the experience of using the original format
  • design determined by workflow