Annual Conference

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Past Conferences: 2013 | 2012 | 2011

Spring Conference 2014

Building Capacity: Discovering Archival Collections in the 21st Century

The Society of Ohio Archivists' Spring Conference will be held on Friday May 16, 2014 at the Lakeside Conference Center at OCLC in Dublin, Ohio. 

Registration is now open! The registration fee is $40 for members, $30 for students, and $60 for non-members. Register online at: http://www.ohiohistorystore.com/workshops/soa-conference-2014.aspx.

A pdf version of the registration form is available for those who do not wish to register online. Download the form here. Pre-conference registration will close on Friday May 9. Onsite registration is available, but lunch is not guaranteed for onsite registrants.


Schedule & Program

8:15-9:00 – Registration and Silent Auction


9:00-10:00 – Welcome and Plenary

Plenary Speaker: Chris Prom

A More Product, Less Process Approach to Digital Access

In this wide ranging talk, Chris Prom will reflect on the challenges posed by bulky sets of born-digital archives and will describe methods the University of Illinois and other institutions are using to provide low-barrier access to a variety of digitized and born-digital materials.  By putting a few simple principles into practice, we can help users discover and use digital resources that meet their needs—whatever systems or resource we may have at our disposal.


10:00-11:00 Concurrent Sessions

What’s Behind that Locked Door? Providing Behind-the-Scenes Tours

Presenters:  Dorothy Gruich, Center for the History of Psychology; Lisa Wood, Ohio Historical Society

Archivists and museum professionals may be wary about letting groups of people into the closed stacks area of the archives. While there are concerns with this type of tour, there are also great benefits to providing an educational and outreach opportunity through a behind-the-scenes tour. Dorothy Gruich, Coordinator, at the Center for the History of Psychology (Akron, Ohio), will give an overview of the Center's tour program, discuss the benefits of behind-the-scenes tours, and give some examples of new audiences reached through tours. Lisa Wood, Curator and History Services Manager at the Ohio Historical Society, will share the Society's experiences hosting behind-the-scenes-tours as paid programs. Time will be allotted for session attendees to share their experiences with behind-the-scenes tours.


I Fall to Pieces: Deconstructing Finding Aids for Catalog Searching

Presenters: Jennie Thomas, Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum; Adam Wead, Pennsylvania State University

The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum had a unique opportunity not usually afforded in this day and age: to build a brand new library and archives from the ground up. Now in its third year of operation, the Rock Hall's Library and Archives has aimed its archival discovery tools at the cutting edge: identifying relevant individual pieces within a traditional finding aid inventory, without losing the context of these pieces within the collection as a whole. Currently, the Library and Archives is aiming to provide this same form of access to its digital materials by integrating traditional archival arrangement and description with the features of an asset manager to ultimately work in conjunction with the Library's discovery interface. In this session, the Rock Hall's Head Archivist and Systems and Digital Collections Librarian will explain the decision to build rather than buy such a system, the process and collaborations that have gone into building and tweaking the design, how the design of the system has affected archival processing and reference, and plans for future development. See how a small shop did this on their own!


11:00-11:15 Break and Poster Session


11:15-12:15 Concurrent Sessions

Digitizing Small Institutional and Community Colllections; or How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Scannabago

Presenters: Aaron O’Donovan and Angela O’Neal, Columbus Metropolitan Library

Columbus Memory is a collaborative project between the Columbus Metropolitan Library and the Columbus Historical Society providing access to thousands of images, primary documents, maps, and artifacts about Columbus, Ohio. Aaron O’Donovan and Angela O’Neal will discuss the Columbus Memory Project and the opportunities to help smaller institutions and community members digitize their collections both in house and “on the road.” Panelists will discuss the caveats of creating these partnerships and the work that it entails. Topics to be described include: selection, criteria, metadata requirements, technical specifications, and outreach efforts to individuals and organizations. Panelists will also explain how to say “no” to certain items, and the operation of a “Digitization Road Show.” Participants will have the opportunity to discuss real work examples of possible items for digitization.


Building the Foundation: Archival Surveying and Collections Metadata

Presenters: Cate Putirskis and Morag Boyd, The Ohio State University

The Ohio State University Libraries Special Collections Description and Access Department is currently undergoing a broad transition to modern, efficient technical services workflows; largely in preparation to incorporate ArchivesSpace into our daily work.  Cate Putirskis and Morag Boyd will present these challenges and discuss some of the projects involved in modernizing OSU workflows (including a hidden collections survey, batch/large-scale metadata creation, and metadata cleanup projects, and the general restructuring of the day-to-day work).  In their discussion of this journey and the projects involved, Putirskis and Boyd aim to demonstrate a scalable workflow that could be adapted by other archival institutions in Ohio which may be currently struggling with similar challenges.


12:15-1:45 Lunch and Business Meeting


1:45-2:45 Concurrent Sessions

Digital Burma: The Baptist Missionary Archives at Denison University

Presenters: Joshua Finnell, Heather Lyle, and Jonathan Moore, Denison University; Jacob Heil, Ohio 5 Digital Scholar; Sherry Harlacher, Denison University Museum Director

Founded by American Baptists, Denison University's institutional identity is historically linked to the religious denomination. Less apparent, however, is Denison's connection to Myanmar (Burma). Through successive waves of missionary activity, Denison University has accumulated personal narratives, photographs, and significant museum holdings associated with the country. This session addresses the planning and development of a significant digital humanities project at Denison University funded by an Andrew W. Mellon Grant, "Digital Collections From Projects to Pedagogy and Scholarship." This session will provide an overview of the project, with special emphasis on avenues for multi-institutional collaboration. With the Center for Burma Studies at Northern Illinois University and the American Baptist Historical Society identified as partners, the ultimate goal of this project is to digitize Denison's historical documentation, link scattered collections to each other (by place, time, and topic), and to create a pedagogical tool through which the collection can be disseminated to interested scholars.


Grants for Archives & Digitization Projects

Presenters: Andy Verhoff, Ohio Historical Society; Missy Lodge, State Library of Ohio

The first part of the session will introduce the Ohio Heritage Partnership. The Partnership, led by the State Library of Ohio, the Ohio Historical Society, the Ohio Museums Association and others is made possible by a grant from the Institute of Museum and Library Services’ Connecting to Collections initiative.  Missy Lodge will discuss the needs of Ohio’s collecting institutions and the programs the Partnership has implemented as well as the current and future activities that encourage partnerships and collaboration.  In the second half of the session, Andy Verhoff will provide an introduction to the History Fund, the Ohio Historical Society’s newest grant program.  The History Fund is intended to support local history in all of its many forms – including archives.  In its first year, the fund gave grants for digitization and collections care projects.  What other archival projects will the History Fund Support?  What else does the History Fund, fund?  How do you apply?   The application deadline is in the fall of 2014, so now’s the time to start thinking of grant-worthy projects.


2:45-3:00 Break and Poster Session


3:00-4:15 Combined Session

Moving On Up! Migrating Digital Collections and Catalogs to New Platforms

Presenters: Keith Manecke, Ohio Historical Society; Andrew Harris, Wright State University; Arjun Sabharwal, University of Toledo; and Stefan Langer, Worthington Libraries

Your repository needs a new catalog system or digital library platform, but moving is daunting. Join Keith Manecke of the Ohio Historical Society, Andrew Harris of Wright State University, Arjun Sabharwal from the University of Toledo, and Stefan Langer of Worthington Libraries to find out how they made the leap. Keith will discuss the challenges, surprises, and lessons learned from the Society’s project to move collections data from an integrated library system to a collections management system and include images of museum object in the online display. Andrew Harris will explain Wright State’s planning process and workflow for successfully migrating diverse collections from DSpace to Digital Commons.  Arjun Sabharwal will describe how migrating UT’s digital collections from DSpace to UTOPIA (CONTENTdm) has presented new possibilities for their Digital Initiatives program.  Stefan Langer will share the advantages and challenges involved in moving the Worthington Memory project from a home grown Cold-Fusion based system to Islandora, an open source framework.


Poster Session

Realism or Idealism?: Finding Aid Conversion and Display in the Age of Web 2.0

Presenters: Stefanie Hunker & Samantha Ashby, Bowling Green State University

Finding aids are an essential component of special collections and archives, aiding patrons in the discovery of unique resources held by archival collections. Bowling Green State University’s (BGSU) finding aids detail the holdings of the rich collections available in both the Center for Archival Collections and the Browne Popular Culture Library. Currently available on our web site and coded in HTML, we recently needed to find a better way to host them as BGSU is in the process of moving to a new web design powered by a new content management system (CMS). Due to the sheer volume of finding aids (1000+), putting them into the new CMS was not an option. We needed to move them into a new system and soon. Should they stay in HTML or move to EAD? Where should we put them? We settled on creating a new instance in Omeka to both host and display them, and decided against EAD at this time. This poster will outline the process by which we decided on the location, format, and conversion process of these resources.


Digitizing Murder: Content and Platform Challenges

Presenters: Rebecca Mattson, Sue Altmeyer, Beth Farrell, and Lisa Smilnak, Cleveland-Marshall College of Law

In September 2012, the Cuyahoga County Prosecutor’s Office donated its materials regarding the Sam Sheppard trials to the Cleveland-Marshall College of Law Library. Dr. Sam Sheppard was a prominent doctor in Bay Village, Ohio when he was accused of murdering his wife in 1954. He was tried and convicted amidst a media storm. The Supreme Court of the United States ordered a retrial, and he was retried and acquitted in 1966. In 1999, Sr. Sheppard’s son, Sam Reese Sheppard, sued the state of Ohio for wrongful conviction. The Prosecutor’s office donated the files to the library with the stipulation that the library digitize the files, create a web exhibit, and store the files in the library for the public to access. This poster will address some of the challenges associated with digitizing and publishing items in a case file for a high-profile murder case, such as privacy, copyright, and possibly offensive material. The poster will also discuss the library’s decision to use Bepress as an online platform and some of the challenges associated with that decision.


A Captive Audience: Using Anniversary Celebrations to Build Archival Awareness

Presenters: Judith A. Wiener and Kristin R. Rodgers, The Ohio State University Health Sciences Library Medical Heritage Center

2014 marks the centennial anniversaries for The Ohio State University Colleges of Medicine, Nursing, Dentistry and Optometry. The OSU Health Sciences Library Medical Heritage Center is using this celebratory year to launch a new social media campaign and to increase the awareness of their collections and programming. This poster will highlight the Center’s use of Twitter to provide a digital timeline of facts about the Colleges and the MHC as well as detail the MHC’s other programming, exhibit, and collection efforts that will be enacted during this year.


The goals of these programs are to leverage the historical interest that is heightened in anniversary years into greater collection use and awareness as well as the development and growth of champions for the center. Audience members will acquire an understanding of the planning, staffing, support, and resources that are needed for the execution of a successful anniversary celebration as well as learn about metrics that can be put into place to assess the success of the effort after the celebration has passed.


Working with Moving Image Collections: Simple Solutions for a Difficult Medium

Presenters: Seth Huffman, Kent State University

Moving images, from mass produced films to rare home movies, provide a wealth of information that is at risk of being lost as a result of various types of decay and damage. Common types include mechanical damage, mold and mildew, acetate decay, and shrinkage. This poster will utilize a case example to demonstrate how film archivists can identify these issues when working with their various collections. Practical solutions that will be discussed include cleaning, improved storage, digital copying, and physical repair. With these strategies in hand, film archivists can help to preserve the life of their moving image collections and ensure their use for years to come.


Ohio Heritage Partnership: A Connecting to Collections Initiative

Presenters: Missy Lodge, State Library of Ohio

The State Library of Ohio, the Ohio Historical Society, and the Ohio Museums Association in partnership with other institutions and organizations have received an Institute of Museum and Library Services Connecting to Collections grant for the Ohio Heritage Partnership. The project heightens awareness of the preservation needs of Ohio’s cultural heritage collections and brings together library, museum, history, and archival communities across the state. While the results of the Ohio Connecting to Collections survey, conducted as part of the original planning grant, shed some very positive light on the state’s preservation activities, the survey discovered a number of trends which cultural heritage institutions must address to continue safeguarding their treasures. The planning partners have implemented a number of activities that address preservation needs in the state and that encourage partnerships and collaboration. The statewide preservation needs assessment survey, current activities as well as future programs will be highlighted at the poster session. The infrastructure for cooperation and partnership between and amongst Ohio’s preservation organizations and collecting institutions will also be featured.


Let the People Speak: Utilizing User Research to Develop an Iterative Processing Model

Presenters: Jodi Berkowitz, North Carolina State University Libraries

This poster will detail findings from user studies conducted during “Acting for Animals: Revealing the Records of the Animal Rights and Animal Welfare Movements,” a two-year project funded by a Council on Library and Information Resources Cataloging Hidden Collections grant that is currently underway at the North Carolina State University Libraries. It will demonstrate how the findings were applied to create a more usable finding aid for the collection that served as a use case. The poster will include charts to clearly provide project context, user study findings, and next steps. Over the course of this project, collections comprising over 1200 linear feet of materials documenting the animal rights and animal welfare movements will be made accessible to researchers. In addition to processing these collections, a series of three user studies will be conducted throughout the project to test the value of various levels of processing. We will examine how efficiently researchers are able to locate material in a collection processed at varying levels and derive an iterative processing methodology based on user feedback. In May 2014, the project will conclude and final results from the user studies will be available.


Scholarships Available

The Society of Ohio Archivists (SOA) is pleased to announce four scholarships available to students (2 awards total in this category) and new archival professionals (2 awards total in this category) with three years or less experience in the workplace to attend their annual spring conference on May 16, 2014 at the OCLC Conference Center in Dublin, Ohio.

The scholarship consists of conference registration (including lunch), a one year membership to SOA, and a $100 travel stipend. Awardees are required to write about their experience for publication in the Ohio Archivist newsletter.

Applications should include the following information:

  • Applicant's name, mailing address, and e-mail address.
  • Students should list their school's name and academic program;
  • New professionals should list their employer and number of years working within the field;
  • Description about how the conference will benefit the applicant professionally;
  • Brief description of the applicant's scholarship and contribution to archives. This will be taken into consideration along with the applicant's number of years in the field or academic study;
  • Statement of the applicant's need for financial support to attend the conference;
  • Applications are due by March 28, 2014.

Applications and inquiries can be sent via e-mail or mail to Devhra BennettJones. Email: Devhra@Lloydlibrary.org Address: Lloyd Library, 917 Plum Street, Cincinnati, Ohio 45202.

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