ARCHIVES & INSTITUTIONAL MEMORY
WEEK 1: January 28
Introductions & Overview
Getting Acquainted with TNS’s Archives
Engaging Administrivia (Or, Having Fun with Bureaucracies’ Detritus)
- Kate Theimer, “A Distinction with Exploring: ‘Archives’ and ‘Digital Historical Representations,’” American Historical Association Conference, Washington, DC, January 3, 2014.
- Shannon Mattern, “Bureaucracy’s Playthings” Reanimation Library: Word Processor (October 28, 2013).
WEEK 2: February 4
Institutional Memory & Mnemonic Structures
Archives & the Discipline of Organizing
LAB: Organizing Personal Archives
- James. P. Walsh & Geraldo Rivera Ungson, “Organizational Memory” The Academy of Management Review 16:1 (1991): 57-70. [stop @ “The Role and Utility of Organizational Memory” on p. 70 – or, if you’re interested in the role of organizational memory in management, skim through the end]
- Brien Brothman, “The Past the Archives Keep: Memory, History and the Preservation of Archival Records” Archivaria 51 (Spring 2001): 48-52, 58-62, 71-80 [skim “Record Life Cycle and Records Continuum,” pp. 52-58; “Philosophy, Technology…” and “Science and the Plastic…,” pp. 63-71].
- Michael J. Paulus, Jr., “Reconceptualizing Academic Libraries and Archives in the Digital Age” portal: Libraries and the Academy 11:4 (2011): 939-952.
- Robert J. Glushko, “Foundations for Organizing Systems” In The Discipline of Organizing (Cambridge, MA: MIT Press 2013): 1-36.
- Skim quickly through the New School Archives & Special Collections’ “Archives of Individuals + Organizations,” “University History Collections” + “Digital Archives” [Note that the "Digital Archives" area is in "beta" (consequently, some links will lead nowhere!). TNS's archivists are still working with Collective Access on its development, and we'll have an opportunity to contribute to that development.]
WEEK 3: February 11
Meet in Kellen Archives @ SW corner of Lobby in 66 5th Ave.
Our Own Archives & Institutional Memory
History of Media Studies @ TNS
Guests: TNS Archivists Wendy Scheir & Liza Harrell-Edge
Guests (@5:30): Kit Laybourne and Peter Haratonik, Founding Faculty of the Media Studies Program
About the Readings: Don’t freak out! It looks like a lot, but you’re reading only short excerpts from some texts, and much of the archival material is browsable.
- A Proposal for an Independent School of Social Science for Men and Women (New York: Marchbanks Press, 1918) [13 pp.] [Ryan scanned the original document; here it is in color!]
- Excerpt from Sally Bick, “In the Tradition of Dissent: Music at The New School for Social Research” Journal of the American Musicological Society 66:1 (Spring 2013): 129 – 141.
- Excerpt from Ira Katznelson, “Liberty and Fear: Reflections on the New School’s Founding Moments (1919 and 1933),” Columbia University, October 31, 2008, pp. 11-19.
- Browse through http://thenewschoolhistory.org/, the product of Julia Foulkes and Mark Larrimore’s “Who New? A History of The New School” University Lecture class.
- Sample Archival Materials
- The New School for Social Research, “Announcement of Courses of Study, October 1919 – May 1920”
- The New School for Social Research, “Graduate Faculty of Political and Social Science” (1933-1934)
- The New School, “Courses of Study, 1943-44”
- Skim Alvin Johnson, “Ideas Are High Explosives”
- New School Bulletin 20:3 (Fall 1962-63)
- New School Bulletin 33:1 (Fall 1975) [see p. 113 re: Center for Understanding Media].
- The New School for Social Research, “Announcement of Courses of Study, October 1919 – May 1920”
- Siegel + Gale, “The New School” branding campaign [Have you noticed other “branding” or “graphic identity” shifts as you’ve skimmed through the archived course guides and scrapbooks?]
- Skim Parts and Labor & Vera List Center, By Any Name: A Tiny Archive of Critical Viewpoints on The New School (Vera List Center, 2009).
- The New School’s 2013 Mission Statement
- Sample Media Studies Archival Materials
- Herbert Croly, “A School of Social Research” The New Republic (June 8, 1918): 167-171 [Envisioning an infrastructurally-light, faculty driven institution committed to “social science [that] is useful in supplying a technique of social progress.”]
- “A Statement by Charles A. Beard” The New Republic (December 29, 1917): 249-251 [Katznelson mentions the “Columbia University firings… and resignations”; this piece reveals the boring institutional politics behind the “academic freedom” origin myth!]
- Ann Snitow, “Refugees from Utopia: Remembering, Forgetting and the Making of The Feminist Memoir Project” In Yifat Gutman, Adam D. Brown & Amy Sodaro, Memory and the Future: Transnational Politics, Ethics and Society (New York: Palgrave, 2010): 144-148 [On women central to The New School’s early years].
WEEK 4: February 18
Understanding the Finding Aid
Field Trip (4 to 5:15): NYPL w/ Thomas Lannon, Assistant Curator, Manuscripts and Archives, NYPL (meet in Astor Hall, the main lobby off the 5th Ave entrance, near the south staircase)
LAB: (5:30-6:45, back in the classroom): Imagin(ary)/itive Finding Aids Brainstorm
Again, about the readings: yeah, it’s a long list — but you’re reading only excerpts from most of these texts, and most are filled with illustrations.
- Excerpt from Francis X. Blouin, Jr., & William G. Rosenberg, “The Turn Away from Historical Authority in the Archives” In Processing the Past: Contesting Authorities in History and the Archives (New York: Oxford University Press, 2011): 14-22. [Thomas has asked that you read this in order to gain some perspective on the evolution of the archives’ institutional identity and approach to records management. Read from “The Advance of Records Management” through the end, pp. 14-22.
- Browse through some of the Library of Congress’s finding aids and some of the collection guides in TNS’s institutional collections
- Browse through Princeton’s finding aids (which recently won the Society of American Archivists’ C.F.W. Coker Award), and see their “Using Princeton University Library Finding Aids” video
- Browse through the NYPL’s archives and manuscripts catalog
- Excerpts from Ciaran B. Trace & Andrew Dillon, “The Evolution of the Finding Aid in the United States: From Physical to Digital Document Genre” Archival Science 12:4 (December 2012): 1-19 [Focus on “History of the American Finding Aid,” pp. 4-7, and “The Finding Aid as an Exemplary Genre” & “Finding Aids as Digital Representations,” pp. 12-16. The first passage addresses the pre-1970s history of the finding aid (the Daines & Nimer reading will address its more recent history). There’s quite a bit of specialized language in this section. Don’t get bogged down in the technicalities; instead, look for major shifts in archival “inventorying” practices and their ideological and user-experience implications. The second passage examines the finding aid as a “genre” – one whose schema we might reconceive for the digital age.]
- Excerpts from Magia Ghetu Krause & Elizabeth Yakel, “Interaction in Virtual Archives: The Polar Bear Expedition Digital Collections Next Generation Finding Aid” The American Archivist 70:2 (Fall-Winter 2007): 282-314 [Skip “Findings,” pp. 296-305].
- J. Gordon Daines III & Cory L. Nimer, “Re-Imagining Archival Display: Creating User-Friendly Finding Aids” Journal of Archival Organization 9:1 (2011): 4-31.
- Trevor Owens, “Implications for Digital Collections Given Historians’ Research Practices” Trevor Owens [blog post] (December 13, 2012) [See the comments, too!].
- Jefferson Bailey, “Disrespect des Fonds: Rethinking Arrangement and Description in Born-Digital Archives” Archive Journal 3 (Summer 2013).
- Richard Cox, “Revisiting the Archival Finding Aid” Journal of Archival Organization 5:4 (2007): 5-32.
- Cory Harper, “Linked Open Communism: Better Discovery Through Data Dis- and Re-Aggregation” Presentation at Code4Lib Conference, Chicago, February 2013.
- Michelle Light & Tom Hyry, “Colophons and Annotations: New Directions for the Finding Aid” The American Archivist 65:2 (Fall-Winter 2002): 216-230.
- Mary Samouelian, “Embracing Web 2.0: Archives and the Newest Generation of Web Applications” The American Archivist 72:1 (Spring-Summer 2009): 42-71.
- Elizabeth Yakel, Seth Shaw & Polly Reynolds, “Creating the Next Generation of Archival Finding Aids” D-Lib 13:5/6 (May/June 2007).
WEEK 5: February 25
Understanding Metadata & Encoded Archival Description
Guest (4 to 5:15): Archivist Jenny Swadosh
- Jenn Riley & Devin Becker, “Seeing Standards: A Visualization of the Metadata Universe” [data visualization] (2009-10).
- Steven J. Miller, “Introduction to Data for Digital Collections” in Metadata for Digital Collections (Neal-Schuman, 2011): 1-23.
Guests (5:30 to 6:45): Seth Kaufman, Lead Developer; & Julia Weist, Senior Consultant, from Collective Access
Supplemental [Warning!: this might make your head explode!]:
- Dublin Core, “User Guide” + “Creating Metadata”
- Library of Congress, “Encoded Archival Description”: “About EAD” + “Design Principles”
- Library of Congress & Visual Resources Association, “VRA Core 4.10 Introduction”
- Public Broadcasting Meta Dictionary Project, “PB Core: About”
- SNAC: The Social Networks and Archival Context Project
- Timothy W. Elfenbein, Metadata Pragmatics: Toward a Unified Semiotic Framework. Master’s Thesis, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, April 2013.
- Jason Thomale, “Interpreting MARC: Where’s the Bibliographic Data?”code4lib 11 (2010).
WEEK 6: March 4
Envisioning an Archival Commons, a Living/Animated Archive
Guest (4 to 5:30): Ben Vershbow, Manager, NYPL Labs
- Scott R. Anderson & Robert B. Allen, “Envisioning the Archival Commons” The American Archivist 72:2 (Fall/Winter 2009): 383-400 [Some of this will repeat ideas presented in our readings on finding aids. Consider this a refresher – and a proposal, with concrete tactics, to link separate archives into digital collections.]
- Jeffrey Schnapp, “Animating the Archive” First Monday 13:8 (August 2008).
- Jefferson Bailey, “Disrespect des Fonds: Rethinking Arrangement and Description in Born-Digital Archives” Archive Journal 3 (Summer 2013) [“Fonds Essentialism” through the end].
- Tate Britain, Transforming Tate Britain: Archives & Access
- Scan through the program for the 2009 “Animating the Archives” conference at Brown University. Now, watch Ramesh Srinivasan’s talk on “De-stabilizing Archives through Performance, Incommensurability, and Fluid Ontologies” by searching iTunes for “Animating the Archives,” selecting the “Animating Archival Structures: Part 1 of 2” video, and watching through 46:20. You’re encouraged to watch any additional sessions or talks that are of personal interest.
- Explore the work of NYPL Labs
- Timothy A. Thompson, James Little, David González, Andrew Darby, and Matt Carruthers, “From Finding Aids to Wiki Pages: Remixing Archival Metadata with RAMP” code4lib 22 (October 14, 2013).
- Alexandra Eveleigh, “Welcoming the World: An Exploration of Participatory Archives” International Council on Archives, Brisbane, Australia, August 2012.
WEEK 7: March 11
Revisiting the New School Archive & Considering Final Project Options
- Look more closely at the New School Archives & Special Collections’ “Archives of Individuals + Organizations,” “University History Collections” + “Digital Archives”
- Review your three assignment options, described in the “Assignments” section of the syllabus, above; and begin formulating ideas for your own final project; you’ll be submitting a proposal next week.
- Shannon Mattern, “Interface Critique, Revisited: Thinking About Archival Interfaces” Words in Space [blog post] (January 22, 2014) [This piece, which you might regard as an extension of our readings on archival finding aids, will ideally help you to think of your final project as an “interface” to the archive, and will help to prepare you for your interface critique on April 1.]
- Browse through the wiki for the “CURATEcamp Exhibition: Exhibition in and of the Digital Age” unconference (April 2013). You’ll find links to GoogleDoc notes for some sessions within the schedule grid. [You'll notice that I moved this text, and the following one, up from April 1.]
- Jennifer Mundy & Jane Burton, “Online Exhibitions” MW2013: Museums and the Web 2013 Conference, Portland, OR, April 2013.
WEEK 8: March 18
Guest (4-4:15): Liza Harrell-Edge [to discuss Collective Access's "lightbox" feature]
Final Project Proposals Due: Short (Seriously!) Presentations of Proposals In Class
LAB: Platforms Overview & Group Critiques
- As TNS’s archives aim to open up their collections to other classes, and as their further digitization efforts make possible the creation of “multimodal” scholarly projects by more and more scholars, practitioners, and students, both internal and external, the library and archives staff hopes to identify scalable, sustainable, compatible platforms for these online scholarly activities. As Jennifer Vinopal, NYU’s Librarian for Digital Scholarship Initiatives, said in a recent interview with Library Journal, “For a number of years, we were trying to help scholars build websites in a way that was custom built for their needs, and after doing that for years, we realized that if you’re building one-off websites, there’s no way to make them scalable and sustainable. So we learned from that that we have to be clearer about what we can do and the importance of building reusable infrastructures.” We need to help the NS Archives and Special Collections identify platforms that allow for the dynamic presentation and contextualization of archival materials and are also sustainable and compatible with the archives’ existing infrastructure.
……….Possible platforms to consider include: Omeka; WordPress; Scalar; Racontr; Zeega; Microsoft’s Rich Interactive Narratives + Digital Narratives; Stanford’s new Spotlight (see this and this, too). Please come to class with some ideas regarding what platforms — from among my list, or via your own suggestions — we should seriously consider for our own projects. To identify other options, you might try searching for online archival exhibitions – e.g., the National Archives’, Columbia University Libraries’, Harvard Libraries’, MoMA’s – and identify what platforms they use. In our next class we’ll critique the execution of individual online finding aids and exhibitions. We’ll complete our critique in class; the only thing you need to do in advance of class is think about what platforms are worth investigating.
- Abby Smith, “New-Model Scholarship: How Will It Survive?” (Washington, D.C.: Council on Library and Information Resources, 2003).
March 25: No Class: SPRING BREAK
WEEK 9: April 1
ARCHIVAL INTERFACE CRITIQUES: Student Presentations
- Recall the readings from March 11.
- Review some sample interface critiques: Joey Marburger and Sarah Sampel, “A Design Critique of HealthCare.Gov” Washington Post (October 6, 2013) + Alexis Madrigal, “How Facebook Designs the ‘Perfect Empty Vessel’ for Your Mind” The Atlantic (May 2, 2013).
- Now, choose an exemplary online archival interface or finding aid, or an online exhibition using archival material, and tell us what we can learn from it – either what to do or what not to do. You’ll find more detailed instructions in the “Assignments” section of the syllabus, above.
You’ll preset your 10-minute critique in class on April 1 and take notes on the ensuing discussion, and then you’ll have one week – until April 8 at 11:59pm – to post a roughly 900-word critique (containing at least three screenshots) to our class website.
WEEK 10: April 8
Field Trip: 4:00-5:30: Visit to ArtStor, 150 5th Ave., 5th Floor, with Mary Finer and Siân Evans
LAB: Tutorials as needed
Shannon out of town
WEEK 11: APRIL 15
User Experience in the Archive / Public Engagement with the Archive
Guest: Jane Pirone, Faculty, Design & Technology
LAB: Designing a Usability Test for Collective Access
- Kellie Snow et. al., “Considering the User Perspective: Research into Usage and Communication of Digital Information” D-Lib 14:5/6 (May/June 2008).
- Shaun Ellis & Maureen Callahan, “Prototyping as a Process for Improved User Experience with Library and Archives Websites” code4lib 18 (2012).
- Michael Corbett, “Usability Testing in Libraries: A Student Perspective” SLA New England (September 27, 2012).
- Browse Lukas Mathis’s “Ignore the Code” blog; see in particular “You really, really need to do usability tests” (June 22, 2008).
- Laura Browder & Patricia Herrera, “An Archive, Public Participation, and a Performance” Imagining America 1:1/2 (2012).
- Christine L. Borgman, “Why Are Digital Libraries Hard to Use” & “Making Digital Libraries Easier to Use” In From Gutenberg to the Global Information Infrastructure: Access to Information in the Networked World (Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 2000): 117-168.
TO DO: Conduct Usability Testing on Your Own Project
WEEK 12: April 22
- Learn about PechaKuchas here. See also Olivia Mitchell’s “Five Presentation Tips for a Pecha Kucha or Ignite Presentation” Speaking About Presenting [blog post], and check out some videos of Ignite presentations. PechaKucha presentations typically involve presentations consisting of 20 slides, with 20 seconds dedicated to each. Depending on our class enrollment, we may need to cut the number of slides.
WEEK 13: April 29
LAB: Independent Work & Consultations
WEEK 14: May 6
LAB: Independent Work & Consultations
WEEK 15: May 13
Guest Critics: Wendy Scheir, Liza Harrell Edge & Others To Be Confirmed
 I must thank the brilliant and generous Julia Foulkes for her advice regarding appropriate readings for this section.