Sharon Helgans

Hi Everyone!

My name is Sharon Helgans, and this summer I am working on my ninth and tenth classes towards my MLS.  I am currently on the School Media Specialist track.

I am a theatre arts teacher at a public middle school in Connecticut, certifed in both art and theatre.  I teach grades six, seven, and eight, and I really enjoy having the opportunity to share my passion for the arts with children, and to inspire their own creative thinking.  I am looking forward to directing The Princess Bride this fall at school.

This class interested my for a couple of reasons.  It definitely stood out as unique within the program, and I liked the idea of actually participating in digital archiving as opposed to just learning about it.  I have always been a very hands-on learner!  I am very interested to learn about and become involved with the VOICES project.

Regarding my experience with this type of work, I have some, but not very much.  I have a lot to learn this summer.  The summer after I graduated from college, I worked at The Center for American Decorative Arts, a part of Yale Art Gallery.  For that summer, I supported the Rhode Island Furniture Project, an online gallery of 18th Century Rhode Island furniture.  As part of my work there, I scanned, labeled, and added tags to various images which were to eventually become part of the collection.

The URL for the site is:

This summer I am also working on ILS 580.  For my research project, I am  working with the Visual Media Services department at Pratt & Whitney, investigating how employees conduct image searches within their online gallery of over 400,000 images.

I am very excited for this class.  I look forward to meeting you all  tomorrow! (…and reconnecting with some familiar faces!)

It never feels finished! And yet today is still the last class...

2012-07-26 12:03:21 sharon

Piggy-backing off of Nancy’s last entry —

We certainly have covered a lot throughout the course, and it is so satisfying to see it come together!  I feel like the endless possibilities of the digital format make it seem as though you never really are finished – I get that now.  In a museum exhibit, text goes to print, objects are set up, there is an opening for a set amount of time, but digital exhibits seem to be in a more constant state of “rearranging.”

I hope that Miguel and I have preserved Lloyd Rosenberg’s memory in a way that would his family would admire.  I can’t believe how many times I have almost cried (or actually teared up) during this class just thinking about his story and how his life was robbed from him just when he had begun his family.  It’s true that I will never think of 9/11 the same again.  It is so powerful to understand such an overwhelming event in history through the eyes of an individual, especially someone who is near to my current age.  I was 16 when 9/11 happened and my perspective on everything has evolved as I have come to better understand what happened on that day.  I am grateful to have had the experience of “getting to know” Lloyd (yes, I feel like I am on a first name basis with him…) by preserving his memory.

On a side note, I talked with the art teacher at my school and North Branford will likely be participating in Remember September Mail Art in 2012 🙂

Thanks to Nancy and all of the class for a great 5 weeks.  It was fun to share a great on-campus experience with you all, and I am glad to have made some new friends in the department.

Please keep in touch!  My email is

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The rhythm of inputing metadata...

2012-07-23 20:53:34 sharon

Has anyone else felt that sometimes inputing metadata is relatively relaxing, and everything goes well, and it is almost repetitive to the point of being meditative…

…And then there are times when it is so frustrating to be doing the exact same thing over and over again?!  Working on the files from Elgin public schools for the Remember September Mail Art project really made me wish that there was a way to batch metadata. There is a lot of repetition in that collection!  I guess it all depends on your mood going into a project and how many problems you run into along the way.

I have really been enjoying seeing the exhibits come together.  One thing that is very satisfying about a course like this one is that you really get to create something from nothing, and create a product that is polished, professional, and tells the story of your journey through the course.

On another note, I was so impressed with Chris Brown’s lecture on the history of sound recording.  Even though there was an entire course crammed into one lecture, I felt that I came away having learned a lot.  I am always so impressed by people with such great passion for something so specific.


See you all tomorrow!


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Digital Archiving so far...

2012-07-17 09:36:20 sharon

I have been enjoying seeing the collection come together digitally.  I like that we are getting the whole experience, from handling the materials from the folders at VOICES, to sorting through boxes of mail art to eventually see it come together in a digital collection.  I am looking forward to going in to class today to add metadata to our mail art collection.  I am also going to be working on an image-editing tutorial by using Jing.  I haven’t used it in a while.  I hope that it is as user-friendly as I remember!

It was great to conference with the Bailey and Anne last week.  I was definitely impressed with the way that they have forged their own path in the world of digital archiving.  They saw a need for material to be digitized, developed their own language, and created a user-friendly space to access material from the Kitchen Sisters.  It got me thinking about how digital archiving seems to find you sometimes…  Like how Mary at VOICES had no real background, just an idea that she made work…  Neat.

See you all in class today.  Sorry I forgot to post here last week.  I’ll make up for it later this week.  I had a major issue with my 580 project that kind of got in the way of my sanity and it slipped my mind!

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Some Thoughts...

2012-07-05 18:06:17 sharon

Wow.  I can’t believe how quickly the course is moving!

I am very grateful to have the opportunity to connect with VOICES of 9/11.  Like others in the class, I was very moved going through the materials submitted for Lloyd Rosenberg.  I like the way that the gathering of content takes place at VOICES — Giving the families a chance to be the curators of their own content.  The images that his wife Glenna included of his daughters growing up were very touching (He was survived by three daughters – all under the age of 5).

Probably in part due to the nature my 580 project, I have also been thinking a lot about the power of images.  While at VOICES, I found it amazing how quickly I felt like I knew Lloyd.  I think that images are very powerful instruments of communication.  I have always been someone who is interested in art, and very visual in the way that I think.  I often find that photos/art images have emotional impact that is more immediate than text.  Much of the research that I am going through for 580 points to the world that we live in becoming more visual, more digital, and more interactive.  I am glad to be taking part in such  forward-thinking collection.

Despite some initial apprehensiveness with Dublin Core, it is starting to make a little more sense.  Miguel and I are in the process of getting our photos in OMEKA and filling in the Dublin Core fields.  Our project is on a good track, and I am looking forward to getting started on the “Mail Art” project.  It fascinates me to see how children interpret visually.


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