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  • WikiLeaks & the Archives & Records Profession: a Panel Discussion

    UPDATE: The text of my remarks can be now found online at I am honored to be one of the speakers at "WikiLeaks & the Archives & Records Profession," a panel discussion organized by the Archivists Roundtable of Metropolitan New York and the Metropolitan New York City Chapter of ARMA International. The panel will be on January 25, 2011 at the Center for Jewish History. From the announcement: Do WikiLeaks and its complex, attendant issues shift our conceptualization of our roles as information professionals? How might WikiLeaks change the public's views on usage of and access to archives and records? To what extent is the most recent release of diplomatic cables a product of information mismanagement? Addressing these and many more questions, our confirmed speakers include Trudy Peterson, former Acting Archivist of the United States (1993-1995) and current representative for the Society of American Archivists on the Department of State's Historical Advisory Committee; Fred Pulzello, Solutions Architect in the Information Governance practice at MicroLink LLC; Jim Fortmuller, Manager of Systems Security at Kelley Drye & Warren LLP in Washington, DC; M.
  • Code4lib 2010: Southern Hospitality

    I recently returned from a trip to Asheville, North Carolina for this year's Code4lib conference. Despite the unavoidable hiccups that some attendees experienced as they tried to head home from the conference, I believe that this year's conference was the most successful one that I happened to attend. If I'm right, I think this year had a record number of attendees, a record number of new attendees, and much tighter organization to make the new folks feel welcome. The social activities were certainly more planned and organized than last year, which was a welcome change. While I certainly didn't mind hollering out to the crowd that I would be going to see some bands or to a particular restaurant like I had in previous years, it was nice to see other folks take the lead. The newcomer dinners seemed to go pretty well; the brews cruise and barbecue excursions went smoothly; and even the game(s) of Werewolf seemed to take a life of their own.
  • API Fun: Visualizing Holdings Locations

    In my previous post, I included a screenshot of a prototype, but glossed over what it actually does. Given an OCLC record number and a ZIP code, it plots the locations of the nearest holdings of that item on a Google Map. Pulled off in Python (as all good mashups should be), along with SIMILE Exhibit, it uses the following modules: geopy simplejson and, of course, worldcat. If you want to try it out, head on over here. The curent of the code will soon be able as part of the examples directory in the distribution for worldcat, which can be found in my Subversion repository.
  • Idle Hands Are The Devil's Plaything

    I've had my hands full lately. Two weeks ago I was at the MCN conference (wherein, among other things, I have continued my dominion as Archduke of Archival Description by taking over the MCN Standards SIG chair position from The Bancroft Library's Mary Elings), and next week I'm off to Philadelphia for the PACSCL Something New for Something Old conference. I hammered out the coherent, written version of my paper I gave at EAD@10. I prepared a proposal for next February's code4lib conference in Providence (ahem, vote for mine, if you're so inclined): Building on Galen Charlton's investigations into distributed version control systems for metadata management, I offer a prototype system for managing archival finding aids in EAD (Encoded Archival Description). My prototype relies on distributed version control to help archivists maintain transparency in their work and uses post-commit hooks to initiate indexing and publishing processes. In addition, this prototype can be generalized for any XML-based metadata schema. On top of that, I'm working with a fine group of folks on the RLG Programs project to analyze EAD editing and creation tools, doing hardcore schema mapping at work, and somehow finding enough time to play a little Doukutsu Monogatari to unwind.
  • An Open Letter to SAA Council and the 2009 Program Committee

    I apologize for using my blog to soapbox, but I felt like this was a significant concern that I should share with my readers. If you wish to support my position, please consider sending an e-mail to SAA Council and the 2009 Program Committee Chairs. Dear 2009 Program Committee Members and SAA Council Members, I understand that we are nearing the deadlines for submission of proposals for sessions at the 2009 Annual Meeting of the Society of American Archivists. I also understand the reasons behind having an earlier deadline than past years. However, I am deeply concerned with the decision to have the deadline set to be October 8, 2008, which is Yom Kippur and the day which the Jewish High Holidays end. As is often the case, conference proposals often coalesce at the last minute, and this is further complicated by the fact that the beginning of Rosh Hashana fell on September 29, 2008. I recognize that the deadline is most likely immutable at this point, but I am asking that SAA Council and future Program Committees pay attention to when the High Holidays fall in future years.
  • Matienzo, The San Francisco Treat

    I'm packing up and heading out to SFO this evening for SAA2008. Right now I'm frantically backing up my Zotero repository, making sure I have a bunch of sources to peruse on the plane as I hack away on my slides for EAD@10. You might be surprised that my idea of me jumping out of a cake in the shape of an <archdesc> tag wearing a bathing suit was not even considered, so it looks like I'll actually have to put some coherent thoughts together. I've got to make a grand entrance somehow. I'll be chairing the Description Section meeting as well, so behave yourselves, kids.
  • Behind The Times: Where I Finally Speak Of code4lib 2008

    OK, OK. A post about code4libcon 2008 is long overdue. The minor details: the weather was nice, food was decent, good beer was abundant, and live music was enjoyable. Onto the real meat... This time around, I felt like I got a whole lot more out of attending; I'm not sure if this is due to the changing nature of my job, increased attention, or some other factor, like neckferrets and dongles. The great majority of the talks, be they keynotes, traditional presentations, or even just lightning talks, were excellent. Furthermore, this time around I felt a whole lot more connected to the miasma - so much so, in fact, that I ended up giving two lightning talks (or three, depending on if you consider the one I gave with Gabriel Farrell on kobold_chiefain Fac-Back-OPAC). The most impressive thing overall, though, were lolcats that came out to play: Thanks to the work of Noel Peden and Dan Scott, the videos should be up soon enough.
  • Archives Camp: Talking About Archives 2.0

    ArchivesNext recently discussed the possibility of having some "Archives 2.0"-themed events this summer, and I think it's a great idea. Now, we may not be able to throw something together in time for SAA, but it seems like the idea of at least meeting up informally is percolating. There's a wealth of opportunities available for archives and archivists to improve access to their holdings through social software and the like. My vision, as I said in a comment on the post, would be to end up with an unconference along the lines of a Library Camp (or more generally, a BarCamp), maybe with lightning talks if enough of us have something to show off or talk about. Like Library Camp, I'd like to see a "bridging the gap" session where we learn and share ways about how to talk to IT staff and other stakeholders essential to our ideas taking off. I facilitated a such a session at Library Camp East, and although trying at times, it was really instructive.
  • MARAC Friday Afternoon Report

    The mid-Atlantic archivists are in a brief recess between now and the final session of the day, and it's been thoroughly interesting to say the least. I missed the caucus meetings this morning, unfortunately, but the plenary session was well worth it because it's got the gears turning about archival access systems even though it wasn't directly about them. Paul Israel of the Edison Papers Project spoke at length about Edison's legacy and collaboration with others. The talk emphasized that Thomas Edison was much more than a great inventor and owed a great deal of his success to his entrepreneurial nature, which I didn't know much about. While we didn't get to see him give us an interactive presentation of the site, I noticed how exhaustive the digital edition was. While the architecture of the site is a little confusing for me, there's so much content I didn't know where to begin or even what to search for! The series notes are a great way to browse through the collection, though.
  • Morristown Calling: MARAC Fall Meeting

    I'm at the Westin Governor Morris in Morristown, New Jersey for the MARAC Fall Meeting. I just got back from visiting the Morris Museum with a few folks, and now I'm enjoying the (expensive) wireless connection here. This time around I don't know so many folks here, so shoot me an e-mail or comment if you're in attendance. Expect a more detailed post soon; I'm exhausted from being up early to catch Amtrak!
  • Library Camp East post-mortem

    I know this post is well overdue, but the last few weeks have kept me extremely busy. Library Camp East was amazing; fun, thought-provoking, and inspiring. John Blyberg and Alan Kirk Gray (as well as the rest of the Darien Library Staff) did a heck of a job preparing for all of us descending into the auditorium. They even gave me a cool mug that my co-workers envy. I also finally got to meet Dan Chudnov and Casey Bisson, whose blogs I've followed for a while now. Jessamyn West and John posted nearly exhaustive lists of posts by LCE attendees for reference. (For what it's worth, Jessamyn also tips her hat to ArchivesBlogs and apologizes for us not meeting at two conferences so far. I share the blame!) Fortunately for my readers, I have precious little to add in terms of comments (although I tagged some Library Camp-related links on Unalog). I actually was called into service to lead a session by accident (I happened to be scratching my nose), but I was happy enough to moderate the discussion on how techies and non-techies can learn to talk to each other.