THE SYNTHESIS OF THEORY AND INFORMATION
Outcome 4a. Apply library and information science theories, principles, and research to professional practice.
This analog collection, The Howard El Project-1985, was digitized to serve researchers exploring Chicago history, clothing, identity, and ethnicity in 1985 Chicago before cellphones and social media. It was determined that this collection would have educator and researcher interest, when added to resource consortiums, such as the Chicago Collection.
Responsible digitization requires a policy that addresses how a collection will be formatted for current and potential future use, will use persistent globally unique identifiers, can be authenticated, described and associated with metadata (scope, format, restriction on access, ownership, information concerning authenticity, integrity, and interpretation). A digital collection is curated through active management during its lifecycle, made broadly accessible, respects intellectual property rights, has mechanisms for usage data, is interoperable, integrates into user workflows, and is sustainable over time. Good metadata conforms to community standards that is material appropriate, supports collection users, uses authority control and content standards to connect to related objects (NISO, Standards and Publications, Accessed February 25, 2018).
Decisions and plans were made on how to present the collection on a website that would best serve the original presentation of the collection, as well as provide complete contextual information for each image. The manager of the project oversaw quality control of the digitization, website design, metadata, and research results and written narrative. The role of an educator is in expressing the value of the collection to Chicago Collections, and the many roles the photographer took in the production of the portraits, then documenting the emotional connection to these portraits to the photographer’s experience. Creation and management of digital collections require librarians to wear many hats; educator, legal expert, manager, negotiator, researcher, and technologist.
The value of a digital project is often based on community demand. Digital librarians make artifacts of knowledge available for researchers to create new knowledge. This happens through the evaluation of resources focused on the aspirations of the community and the fulfillment of organizational mission that makes the creation of the collection possible.
Outcome 4b. Describe how library and information science theories and practices inform and improve emerging technologies.
Librarians are committed to professional values that demand conversation and engagement with their communities. Users are often overwhelmed, as librarians are too, by the fast change of technology platforms, the data created by them, and new problems of preservation that were an after-thought to profit-making enterprises. Public libraries have responded to their user’s great interest in Genealogy, as generations take their stories to the grave. Digital recording tools have thrown the idea of access to Grandma’s family history photo box on its head.
As the world has globalized, users are hungry for knowledge about their origins. Yet have been completely unprepared to unlock their recent history from digital tools that became obsolete in a matter of years. Digital preservation is going mainstream from museums and special library collections to a public that realizes the metal boxes containing bytes of information have little comfort compared to Grandma’s handwritten notes on the back of fading paper photographs.
This poster promotes a community program and supports connecting people around a common interest, with librarians facilitating knowledge creation that enables stewardship of individual family history and stories. The workshop is a platform and innovative curriculum creating access to cultural heritage. Alignment of resources to community need is the goal of the organizational mission and in accordance with the values of lifelong learning for library staff and members.
From these preserved resources, new learning can be shared with the community in the form of exhibitions, mutual understanding of historical events, and embedding library professionals with individuals and the community as trusted problem solvers. This project is also an opportunity to use the expertise of community members to supplement the facilitation by library staff, further joining community users in mutual respect and learning.
Outcome 4c. Demonstrate teaching and learning principles in relation to professional practice.
This software website would not have been possible without the long path of planning and execution in the M.C.C. Specification paper in Goal #2. To retrace a few steps, I designed a system to show functional, behavioral, data, user interface, screen layout, reporting, and security requirements. Use cases formed the basis of how to design the user interface that was efficient for both the user and the organization. This is how I broke down a complicated goal into steps that a user can figure out reasonably well, have resources to call upon, and succeed at having small institutions gain access to a digital consortium online.
Each page of the website is represented in these slides, giving instruction through common website design elements such as role overs with a mouse, prominent placement of important tabs, drop-down menus, and choice boxes. The end goal was to design an interface that would minimize the amount of additional inquiry for librarians, while providing a service for critically underfunded, untrained and understaffed small institutions who are denied access and exposure of their collections because they do not have the expertise to overcome the obstacles of effective data harvesting on the World Wide Web. These institutions are then left to operate on who walks through the door or word of mouth.
Digital Consortiums have been growing in leaps and bounds. Teaching and learning are a constant for professional practices that are continually evolving and improving. Inclusion is paramount over the idea of competing collections. Collections that are not found, will not be used, and the internet has provided information providers with a new way to feature their unique collections, and benefit from exposure across the globe. Researchers benefit when they can study without expensive travel, and online exhibitions can feature multiple collections drawn together on a common subject.
Effective websites also provide a community space for comments and tagging, making them not only more relatable to younger users, but also more discoverable by search engines through the use of common language for indexing, and social media.