Monthly Archives: October 2019

Library as Beloved and Underfunded ‘Third Space’

I found Lisa Peet’s interview with Eric Klinenberg helpful in clarifying some concepts. Others may have made this observation, but this was the first time I remember reading the distinction that the POPULAR opinion of libraries differs from the opinion of INFLUENCERS.

I think there’s a world of very influential people—affluent people, heads of major philanthropies and political power brokers—who don’t use the library in the way that typical Americans do and who believe that the library is an obsolete institution…. I don’t think that reflects popular opinion.

Peet, L. (2018). Eric Klinenberg: Libraries and Social Infrastructure. In Library Journal, Oct. 2018. Retrieved from https://www.libraryjournal.com/?detailStory=181003-Eric-Klinenberg-QA

When I thought about this, it definitely aligns with my experience at Biola: Our study space gets more crowded and our circulation numbers stay strong, but members of our administration question our funding and use of space.

I so greatly appreciate the focus of this class, that it is embracing the new options presented by advances in technology, and using them to keep connections with our communities fresh and vibrant. I think this is vital to keep our communities engaged, to keep them connected to library services, and continue to demonstrate our value to those in administration.

I mention the ‘Third Space’ concept, even though Klinenberg only said that he considers the library ‘a little bit’ of a third space as described by Robert Putnam. I still find it a helpful concept, and I love way the third space can lead to what Peet referred to as “collective effervescence… the spirited joy that you find when a group comes together and does something special” 2018).

Libraries are the perfect place to do that as a community. I will even dare to go so far as to say that when a person finds her book and a book its reader, that they also come together to do something special.

Reference:
Peet, L. (2018). Eric Klinenberg: Libraries and Social Infrastructure. In Library Journal, Oct. 2018. Retrieved from https://www.libraryjournal.com/?detailStory=181003-Eric-Klinenberg-QA

Crowd-sourced Archival Photo Description

Plan

Currently the Biola Archives has a collection of 6000+ photos that were digitized by our marketing department for our Centennial. There was no metadata captured. We now have custody of these photos, and they are in desperate need of arrangement and description. We have jpgs of these photos on Google Photos, and volunteers have been coming in to add names, locations, dates.

My proposal is to open this process up to the community. Start with 20 photos shared per week, ask users to list names, dates, locations, any additional context they would like to add.

Google Photos has a “Takeout” feature that allows the photos and any metadata (as a sidecar file) to be downloaded in batches. This metadata would then be mapped and migrated into Lightroom, where we have the TIFs stored until we can get a DAM system.   

Goals/Objectives for Technology or Service:

  • Improve quality of the descriptive data on our archival photographs
  • archival holdings
  • Increase community awareness of our institutional heritage

Description of Community you wish to engage:

  • Biola University students, faculty, staff, friends

Action Brief Statement:

Convince library leadership, faculty, and staff
that by engaging the Biola community in describing our archival photographs
they will have archival holdings with better descriptions and a more highly engaged community
which will raise the quality of our archival holdings, deepen community connection with institutional history, and raise the public opinion of the library and archives
because we have great content that needs description and people get excited about old photos.

Evidence and Resources to support Technology or Service: (URLS, articles to help guide you)

https://www.lib.ncsu.edu/projects/my-huntlibrary

https://github.com/NCSU-Libraries/lentil

Mission, Guidelines, and Policy related to Technology or Service:

Who might be involved in setting policies?

  • Public services librarians, archives team, technical services librarian (for possible metadata mapping)

Where might you look for example policies?

  • North Carolina State University, possibly nearby libraries contributing to DPLA, others with significant social media activity

What do you want to include in guidelines for use?

  • Contributors must be a verified member of the Biola community. This verification will happen through a controlled email authentication system; names/email addresses provided by Biola’s alumni office.  

Funding Considerations for this Technology or Service: 

  • Only requirement is buy-in from library leadership and a release of staff time. No additional personnel, subscriptions, hardware. 

Action Steps & Timeline:

Can your target Technology or Service be prototyped?

  • Yes definitely. Soft launch to a select number of people, followed by a test of the metadata migration.

What’s a reasonable timeline for this project?

  • Two weeks to draft a proposal, an additional two weeks to secure the approvals from necessary personnel. Two weeks to test/soft launch, then two weeks to review the results with stakeholders. Two more weeks padding for hiccups along the way. 10 weeks overall to launch.

 What are the project flow dependencies?

  • Users to get involved
  • Google Photos to not create hurdles
  • Clean exports of the metadata
  • Clean mapping of the metadata for migration into Lightroom
  •  

Who has to say “yes?”

  • Library Dean, Head of Public Services, Head of Technical Services, Archives Team

Staffing Considerations for this Technology or Service:

  • Public services time required would be to send the weekly link on our social media channels, and to help people connect if they have trouble.
  • Technical Services time would be weekly downloads of metadata and migration/verification of metadata.

Training for this Technology or Service:

Who gets trained?

  • Technical services/Archives staff are the only personnel needing special training.

Who designs the training?

  • Technical services staff on the Archives team (me)

When can training be effectively scheduled?

  • Per supervisor approval, during the 2 week soft launch/test phase.

Promotion & Marketing for this Technology or Service: 

How can the new technology or service be promoted? 

  • The hope is that this project promotes itself. If it doesn’t, it isn’t going as intended. A primary goal for this project is to use archival photos to catch the interest of community members.

Brainstorm some ideas to promote within your organization. Brainstorm more ideas to promote outside your organization.

Within the org:

  • Do you know this person?
  • On this date, 20 years ago…
  • This is what this event looked like 40 years ago

Outside the org: This isn’t in-scope for this project.

Evaluation:

What benchmarks and performance metrics will you use to evaluate the technology or service. 

  • Is 20 photos per week a good number? Can we do more? Should we do less?
  • Are we getting quality descriptions for these photos?
  •  

What stories are you envisioning telling about it?

  • I expect to tell stories about connecting people to events that we wouldn’t have been able to otherwise
  • I expect to find pictures of notable people that we didn’t previously know existed. For example, we found pictures of our immediate past-President when he was playing volleyball in 1956 at the groundbreaking for our current campus (Biola started in downtown LA in 1908, then moved to the suburbs in La Mirada in the late 50s).

How might you expand the service in the future?

  • We could do more than 20 pictures per week
  • We could open the program to people outside the Biola community
  • We could enlist volunteers to transcribe handwritten archival documents
  • We could enlist volunteers, with training, to write abstracts for approved archival records
  • We could enlist volunteers to translate archival records that we have in Chinese.

Reflection – Privacy

Image credit – https://towardsdatascience.com/detecting-personal-data-within-api-communication-using-deep-learning-9e52a1ff09c6

I chose to read about privacy, in part because in Mooradian’s class on Ethics in Records & Information Management, I wrote a couple of papers on privacy. That was summer 2017, so I wanted to get back into to the topic. So I read about privacy a week ago, and I’ve been mulling it over ever since… as a concept it touches on so many areas I’ve been having a hard time knowing where to start on this blog.

Instead of starting with a definition, I want to go back to my ethics course and start with the ethical/philosophical grounding for privacy. It is an inherent right. If we believe that it is a universal good that we do no harm to others (non-maleficence), and that no one person should assert power over another (fairness), then the right to privacy logically follows.

For someone to experience a sense of autonomy, that person must be able to control information about him/herself. This control happens in two ways: control of access to your personal information, and control of flow of your personal information (Mooradian, 2018).

Now, if we are to discuss the business side of things, it seems we need to set the ethics aside. We are all aware of how much information we surrender on a regular basis, but let’s look at one example.

Cory Doctorow describes what is needed to use public transportation:

“You now must buy an Oyster Card if you wish to buy a monthly travelcard for London Underground, and you are required to complete a form giving your name, home address, phone number, email, and so on in order to do so. This means that Transport for London is amassing a radioactive mountain of data plutonium, personal information whose limited value is far outstripped by the potential risks from retaining it” (2011).

That is for a service that the user is paying for. Also think about how often you provide personal information in exchange for “free” content online.

“If you’re not paying for the product, you’re the product.” Yes, this line is often quoted, and its source is dubious. It isn’t precisely true, but there is enough truth to it that it can sometimes be helpful. I see it as a lens to look through when considering what I’m offering in exchange for the content I’m receiving.

Pew Internet reports, “The majority of Americans [hold] views [that] are especially pronounced when it comes to knowing what information about them is being collected and who is doing the collecting” (2015).

Going back to the ethical argument, we as users should be able to control access to our info, and the flow of our info. We keep hearing about how big companies are being hacked and the user info for millions of customers has been compromised. Of course because of the Terms of Service statements we have all agreed to (without reading? guilty), we have no recourse.

I’m still not sure how to practically apply this to the hyperlinked library. I keep coming back to informing our users about these problems, and encouraging them to use our subscriptions to quality content so their personal info is with us, and the big deal providers only know that they belong to our community. Though some of the providers authenticate the institution for access and still require the users to have individual accounts.

Still pondering…

Doctorow, C. (2011). Personal data is as hot as nuclear waste. From his book Context. Retrieved from https://craphound.com/context/Cory_Doctorow_-_Context.xhtml#personaldatahot

Mooradian, N. (2018). Ethics for records and information management. ALA Neal-Schuman. https://www.alastore.ala.org/content/ethics-records-and-information-management

Pew Internet. (2015). Americans’ attitudes about security and surveillance. Retrieved from: https://www.pewinternet.org/2015/05/20/americans-attitudes-about-privacy-security-and-surveillance/

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