Lauretta Lyons

My name is Lauretta Lyons. This course drew my interest for a few reasons. Hands-on experience with digitization appealed to me as a valuable and timely skill for any librarian. The opportunity to work on documenting the lives of 9/11 victims through the Voices of September 11th  project is a real way to support this important cause. And, of course, the chance to take a class on campus is always a bonus.

ILS 652 will mark the half-way point for my MLS degree.  I am pursuing the public library track and have minimal experience (so far!) with the software programs mentioned by Professor Florio. I’ve done some work with HTML and creating web pages. But that is really it. I am looking forward to learning new skills as well as contributing to the Voices project. I have been volunteering in my public library’s Historical Room and would love to undertake some digitization projects with the amazing collection there.

Try it!

2012-07-26 15:24:17 lauretta

The past five weeks have been a great experience. I’ve learned a lot — about Omeka, WordPress, file formats, video and audio archiving, and everything else in between. One lasting impression from this class is that much of the technology that I’ve been intimidated to try is much more user-friendly that I expected. For instance, creating an online tutorial with Jing. When I first watched Nancy’s tutorial on a WordPress item, I thought to myself, “How did she do that?”

So I’ll leave this class with the courage to try new techology. As the old Life cereal commercial says, “Try it, You’ll Like it!”

Thank you, Nancy for a wonderful class.


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Proofing metadata

2012-07-23 07:54:10 lauretta

I have found proofing the metadata files for the exhibits to be an almost never-ending process.  It illustrates a couple of things to me. First, that you absolutely learn things as you go while you catalog items. That, of course, is a good thing. However it does create a consistency conundrum. Secondly, the devil is in the details with a large number of items. I have spent a lot of time checking the placement of commas. (And yet, I still feel like I’ve missed some out there!)

Looking back on the process, I think a style sheet would be an efficient way to streamline the process. The task of maintaining consistency is time consuming. I makes me wonder about large scale projects where many people are inputting metadata on one collection. The quality control issue is a big part of the workflow.


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The end user experience

2012-07-16 14:16:53 lauretta

I enjoyed our skype meeting with Bailey Smith and Anne Wooten (whom I found inspiring for their accomplishments especially melding the technical and the creative aspects of digital archiving). One take away from our discussion was the importance of the user experience. Their focus on both the producers (or archivists) as well as the consumers of the audio digital archives seemed important to me. The Pop Up Archive was developed for people with not too much technical expertise (like us or me anyway) and limited resources.

For the last 3 weeks, we have been immersed in metadata, scanning and learning new software. I can see how it’s easy to lose focus on the end user. Other issues, such as internal institutional concerns or technical limitations, can easily get in the way.

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Gaining intellectual control

2012-07-09 22:37:57 lauretta

Right now, after spending some time going through the myriad of items and photographs in Bobby King Jr.’s file, I am a bit frustrated trying to put everything together correctly and properly. Intellectual control seemed a lot easier when we had the folder in our hands with  tangible items to review. During our day at Voices, we scanned the fronts and backs of photos, trying to manage the process in a fast, but sensible order. Yet now working on Omeka and a separate dropbox (to preview photos and assign the correct metadata) it requires time and effort to put everything together. Photos and the backs don’t seem to naturally match up as easily as I expected. I worry that I will misidentify a family member.

I gather this is the preparation necessary for a thorough digitization project, but I do wish I could speed up the pace.


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Opening the folder

2012-07-02 21:01:06 lauretta

I have been thinking a lot about the people and items within the folders handed out to us on Saturday. The victim assigned to our team was Robert King Jr.  He was a firefighter, father of three and a woodworker. (Born the same year as me.) The task at hand –regardless of the final destination of our work– feels weighty. The families are entrusting important memories to us. I don’t want to seem overly dramatic here. Yet when you look at the folder and the materials one mother took the time to assemble, it makes you stop for a moment.

I like the personal nature of the 9/11 Living Memorial. It reminds you that there are thousands of stories to be told about 9/11. And as Mary mentioned in her talk, it’s not just the families of the victims. The survivors’ stories should be documented as well. The gentleman mentioned by Mary who felt compelled to carry around a parachute in case of future attacks was particularly startling.

I would guess that as you get deeper into this project, some of the shock goes away, but for the time being it continues to be top of mind.


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