HCLE Summer 2016 Progress Report
Our staff of 1.4 FTEs, several volunteers and many outside collaborators reached the following milestones in the winter (July through September) of 2016.
- We updated our strategy to take advantage of our Oral History Workshop and our Make versus Buy process.
- The initial phase of our Make versus Buy process resulted in a trial of Collector Systems and a potential $300K savings.
- The content of the Oral History Workshop is being edited prior to publication.
- Liza’s presentation at the Geekfest 2016 Berlin conference was well received.
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.
A Pioneer has passed
Seymour Papert, co-founder of the MIT Media Lab (then known as the AI Lab). Liza worked with him briefly in the 1980s and taught his childrens programming language, LOGO, in several California schools.
Although Seymour’s work is already well documented, his death highlights the urgency of our museum’s oral history work. Other prominent Pioneers are approaching the end of their lives. Many have not had a chance to provide such a complete legacy. We are working on a virtual exhibit to highlight Seymour’s numerous advances and accomplishments within the field of education and computing. His work is appreciated. His loss is felt.
We updated our fundraising strategy to take advantage of our inaugural Oral History workshop (see below), the opportunity to refine our Cal Humanities proposal, and the preliminary results of our Make Versus Buy process (see below). In general, we intend to use feedback from our recent CalHum proposal to update our appeals. The results of the workshop are also an opportunity to demonstrate some of what we hope to preserve and accomplish. The results of the Make Versus Buy process help demonstrate one way we intend to support the creation of the museum.
After we’ve incorporated the feedback from CalHum, we intend to contact Foundations and NGOs with the news of the various updates.
If there are no direct responses, we intend to revisit the Kickstarter campaign, contact key foundation board members for advice, referrals, and hopefully resources.
We’re revisiting our list of foundations and so far have researched candidates to contact from:
We welcome suggestions about who to contact.
In preparation for the next Kickstarter campaign that will target funding our Proof of Concept, we’ve drafted a series of interview questions from which we’ll create a video interview of Liza. A good video is highly recommended for Kickstarter campaigns, which is why we are focusing on a simple, yet hopefully effective approach.
- social media
Our social media campaign is predominantly for advocacy, collaboration, and fund raising, but it has also been uncovering and collecting digital artifacts, online collections, and oral histories. We conducted a review of the discoveries and compiled them for eventual inclusion in our Catalog.
- Catalog Maintenance System – Make Versus Buy
We completed the main selection phase of our Make Versus Buy analysis. After reviewing approximately two dozen candidates, we decided to begin a trial of Collector Systems. Estimated savings are of ~ $300,000 and a shortening of the software timeline of approximately six months. Collector Systems was chosen because it is a cloud-based solution, with relatively low recurring and non-recurring costs, that is somewhat customizable, and that can be readily scaled as needed. The cost of the study was ~$800.
Our preliminary evaluation of the trial is inconclusive because of an interruption in communications, plus a miscommunication about the particular software package we should be using. Liza’s conversations with their CEO enabled a free extended trial until we’ve made our decision. At the close of the quarter, Collector Systems was shifting us to the software package more appropriate for museums, and using our map of the metadata crosswalk to modify their displays to match our needs. They were very receptive to suggested improvements such as including social media in the contact information. A gallery was created with relative ease, but will be probably be replaced after the account is switched to the museum system.
Concurrently, we will continue to use HCLE’s Catalog Maintenance System because it is our established process and we may need to return to it.
One consequence of our review has been an improved documentation of our current digitization, cataloging, and artifact management process. If we choose Collector Systems, we will similarly document the process.
We continue to improve our Catalog Maintenance System by fixing bugs and improving functionality.
- Student Project
Liza attended the Sonoma State Internship Faire to recruit interns to work on any of eleven tasks.
Our current team of volunteers and consultants continue to help with specific issues with the Catalog Maintenance System and miscellaneous system administration tasks.
Kimberly Loop has been contracted to edit the videos from the Oral History Workshop held in June.
The primary event was Liza’s participation as a presenter at GeekFest 2016 in Berlin. It was a two day event that “brings together the founding fathers of the early personal computer era and the first Hacker scene and there will be a panel of memories from this era.” Liza was invited partly because of her involvement in the Homebrew Computer Club and the West Coast ComputerFaire. Videos of the presentations are available on YouTube.
We are also preparing a workshop for next year’s Society of California Archivists Annual General Meeting (AGM) April 27-29 in Pasadena. The workshop will convey our experience with our Catalog Maintenance System Make Versus Buy process, and will help others modify HCLE’s process to meet their critieria and situation.
- blog posts published
- Social Media Traffic Report
We continue to refine the videos from the Oral History Workshop that was conducted in June with Leuphana University in Luneberg, Germany. The goal is to create a series of videos, one for each presentation.
We are also in discussions about possible publications, both informal and academic, based on the event.
No decision has been reached on holding a similar event in 2017, partly because of insufficient funding.
Inspired by the event, we are considering producing a monthly series of Oral History videos and podcasts. Each video would be an interview with an HCLE Pioneer. Questions would be standardized. The interviewee would have the opportunity to present several slides, which is one of the benefits of a video rather than a podcast.
- Thanks to some auspicious networking, we are in discussion to create a demonstration exhibit using virtual reality.
- There are continuing efforts to improve our processes within CiviCRM and our gallery exhibits.
- No significant support efforts were required in the quarter.
- A web site and domain name audit was begun to manage site and file proliferation.