Our staff of 1.4 FTEs, several volunteers and many outside collaborators reached the following milestones in the winter (April through June) of 2016.
- Several new and experienced volunteers have asked to help.
- We engaged in a make versus buy decision for the Collection and Catalog management software.
- We co-created a computing and education conference at Leuphana University in Luneberg, Germany.
This quarter was dominated by our Collaborative inaugural conference and the Catalog Maintenance System make versus buy process.
Please pass our news along, especially if you know someone else who will want to contribute money, know-how, artifacts, stories, or connections. Even by glancing at what we’ve done, you’re helping make HCLE happen as you pass along the story. Thank you.
- Our application for a CalHum Oral Histories grant was unsuccessful. Liza will contact them to identify improvements we can make in subsequent attempts.
- We are considering collaborating with museums that have high capacity digitization facilities to more readily scan certain types of documents, like newspapers. This might be done on an hourly rate or a per page rate, and may use HCLE personnel or their personnel. If we decide to try this, we’ll probably test the process with one box from the Collection. The typical round-trip shipping cost is $50. The digitization costs have not been established. A benchmark has been set by Internet Archive (archive.org) which digitizes documents at roughly $0.10 per page, though a museum digitization would probably cost more to account for a fuller metadata set.
- Another possibility is to pay for the travel for HCLE’s project manager (Tom Trimbath) to travel from his home north of Seattle, WA to the Collection in Guerneville, CA and dedicate a week to the digitization effort. Two advantages would be to: 1) facilitate coordination and 2) gain an appreciation of the Collection and the digitization process. The travel and labor costs are approximately $3,000.
- Normalizing existing metadata remains a high priority. Thanks to Liza’s attendance at the annual meeting of the Society of California Archivists, she is now familiar with the OpenRefine utility program, which will greatly facilitate the task.
- We have begun harvesting our social media posts for artifacts and items to include in our Collection.
- We located a Collection Calculator which will aid in estimating and comparing the costs of various digitization processes.
- We began a Make versus Buy process to compare the time and money costs of meeting the necessary Catalog Maintenance System needs. This significant effort was initiated because we have accumulated enough information about our specific needs, constraints, and resources. We collected about two dozen candidates that ranged from full-service, full-scale packages to simple, cloud-based, Software as a Service (SaaS) services, with many varieties between those extremes. The major costs identified so far are the costs of maintaining local software and hardware, paying for full-service packages that may exceed our needs, and paying for data migration from our existing system to any subsequent system. Four final candidates have been identified. They are all cloud-based and appear to be relatively low cost, especially if we conduct the data migration in-house. The candidates will be compared to our internal software development effort which has the benefit of being customized to our needs. An internal development may take longer than shifting to an external service, and have less well-defined costs. Preliminary estimates of using an external service are a potential savings to HCLE of $200,000 and 2 years of software development time. The total project savings would be approximately 3 to 9 months. Society of California Archivist members confirmed that no satisfactory content management system currently exists, so compromises will be necessary with any solution. We were reviewing interfaces and customization options at the end of the quarter.
- Anna completed an alpha version of “Full View” for the existing Catalog Maintenance System at a cost of $450. Testing is underway by Liza and Marilyn. If we decide to move to a commercial catalog system there will still be plenty of programming work for Anna and Stan developing our web site and interfaces to the catalog.
- Marilyn has completed about 50 new catalog entries. Identify screens and interim filing are done.
- Liza met Adrian Turner of the Online Archive of California (OAC) at the Archivist conference and agreed that HCLE will create an OAI-PMH file with about 5 items to test the intake procedure from HCLE to OCL. Being on OAC will make any item in our catalog easily discoverable through any web search engine (Google, Yahoo, DuckDuckGo, for example).
- Anna Narbutofsky completed an alpha version of “Full View” for the existing Catalog Maintenance System at a cost of $450.
- Catalog team Members
- Stan Crump returned from a hiatus and has improved the presentation of critical fields in the Catalog Maintenance System. He also requested a prioritized list of needed changes.
- Collection team Members
- Marilyn Riley (paid staff)has helped with organizing the Collection and are being trained in proper digitization and cataloging techniques. Marilyn is also testing the Catalog Maintenance System interface.
- We initiated a search for a phpMyAdmin expert to improve some of our self-hosted functions.
- Events – A variety of spring 2016 conferences and seminars were attended:
- Society of California Archivists, Santa Rosa, CA, April 7-9
- Shift Control new media, Stanford, CA, May 6-7
- Oral History Workshop, Luneberg, Germany, June 7
- see Collaborations
- blog posts published
- Social Media Traffic Report
- Events – A variety of spring 2016 conferences and seminars were attended:
- The HCLE wiki continues to act as a communications center and as a digital loading dock.
- The home page was deleted by our host, Wikispaces, for a few hours on May 20th. A WikiSpaces admin was able to restore it. No edits of that page were involved, but it was blank for a while. We apologize for any interruption.
- The largest collaboration was the development of the inaugural conference about the cultural history of education and computers with Jeremias Helberg (new LO*OP Center board member) from Leuphana University in Luneberg, Germany. The Oral History Workshop, “How Education Made Computers Personal”, was conducted on June 7 at Leuphana University as part of their “Complexity or Control” project where Jerry is a postdoctoral fellow. Liza attended in-person and was one of the key presenters. HCLE Pioneers, Howard Rheingold and Lee Felsenstein joined Liza and Jerry as presenters. The event was open to the public both on-site and online. A preliminary report is available on our blog. Other reports are planned from the various participants. More formal publications are also being considered. The video of the event is being edited into several versions: full length (minus extraneous moments), separate videos of each presentation, and a short synopsis. These options should be useful to researchers who want in-depth access to the seminar presentations and to people seeking an overview before devoting more time to a deeper experience. Inaugural events always lead to lessons, which are being reviewed as we discuss subsequent events. Any constructive feedback is appreciated. As always, increased funding leads to an improved experience. Live tweets of the event are available on Twitter under the hashtag: #LLOHW.
- The main focus this quarter was furthering oral histories via our Luneberg workshop, and ensuring that simple galleries will be available as part of any candidate Catalog Maintenance System.