DIG 500 is both an introduction to essential concepts in the field and a practicum in the first phase of the curation workflow, namely the acquisition of digital files. The class surveys the variety of digital artifacts that we consciously or unconsciously create and consume today, with a focus on how to collect and manage digitized and born-digital artifacts and their related data. Students learn technical skills such as how to digitize analog documents, photographs, and videos, as well as curatorial knowledge such as how selection criteria vary as a function of type of institution (archives v. libraries v. museums) and field (art v. archeology). The course also reviews methods for ensuring the ongoing integrity of the artifact and laws governing the acquisition and use of intellectual property, such as how copyright extends to images, editions, and future versions of a work. 3 credits. No prerequisites.
The course will consist of a series of video lectures, readings, and associated assignments broken up into week-long topics. Within each week you will be expected to:
* Watch all of the lectures and tutorials listed in the week*s introduction and read any assigned material.
* Submit the weekly assignment on the course web site (or as a link to another site or resource, as appropriate).
* Participate in the ongoing discussions on the course web site. It cannot be emphasized enough how important this is to successfully taking an online-only course. A significant part of what you get from the class will come in talking and listening to other students and the instructors as they discuss their own take on the material.
This course is designed to be completely asynchronous so there are no specific times for meeting with other students or the instructor. Instead, interaction will take place via the online courseware, where you will also be submitting assignments and giving feedback to other students.
Given the variety of backgrounds expected in students for this class, you will be expected to bring perspectives and questions based on your own discipline, expertise, and/or workplace. Everyone*s participation in peer-to-peer messages and presentations will be critical to the success of the class.
If the only time you post a message is when you're turning in an assignment then you will have little opportunity to display your understanding of the ideas being discussed and we will not have much information to use when evaluating your success in the class. Ask questions, throw in comments, and generally add to the discussion as much as possible, particularly if you think you missed something or you have a stupid question. Odds are other people are as confused as you are.
If you for any reason think you may have an issue, either on a specific day/week or overall, talk to us! It is much easier to make accommodations ahead of time than after the fact.
As with all classes, it is expected that you will treat others with respect. If you are repeatedly abusive toward your classmates you will be moderated out of the conversation and it will be considered an absence for purposes of the attendance policy.
Grading for your assignments is weighted equally across each week of the class, including the faculty's assessment of your participation; the final project counts for two weeks' worth of assignments. The criteria for participation will be determined by the quality and quality of your online conversations, including asking questions, posting related links, critiquing others' assignments, and responding to threads initiated by the faculty or your classmates.
The more you add thoughtful, insightful comments to the discussion the more both you and other students will benefit. Questions are always welcome and should be asked publicly so that everybody can see the answer unless there is a very good reason to ask privately. In many cases you will be expected to look at and critique other students* work as an absolute minimum level of participation.
This is a graduate level course and you are expected to perform accordingly. Meeting the requirements in an average manner will result in a "C" as the final grade. Better than average effort and execution will result in a "B". An "A" is reserved for those students who demonstrate exceptional creative development, application, innovation, effort, and an in-depth understanding of process. Under normal circumstances a C or lower grade cannot be used as a graduate student to count towards completion of your certificate. Failure to complete any of the required components of your grade with an average or better effort will result in a "D" or an "F" as your final grade.
The following statements are dictated by the University of Maine; aspects may not be applicable to this online class.
Students with disabilities who may need services or accommodations to fully participate in this class should contact Ann Smith, Director of Disability Services in 121 East Annex, (voice) 581-2319, (TTY) 581-2325 as early as possible in the semester.
Academic honesty is very important. It is dishonest to cheat on exams, to copy term papers, to submit papers written by another person, to fake experimental results, or to copy or reword parts of books or articles into your own papers without appropriately citing the source. Students committing or aiding in any of these violations may be given failing grades for an assignment or for an entire course, at the discretion of the instructor. In addition to any academic action taken by an instructor, these violations are also subject to action under the University of Maine Student Conduct Code. The maximum possible sanction under the student conduct code is dismissal from the University.
In the event of an extended disruption of normal classroom activities, the format for this course may be modified to enable its completion within its programmed time frame. In that event, you will be provided an addendum to the syllabus that will supersede this version.
The University of Maine is committed to making campus a safe place for students. Because of this commitment, if you tell a teacher about an experience of sexual assault, sexual harassment, stalking, relationship abuse (dating violence and domestic violence), sexual misconduct or any form of gender discrimination involving members of the campus, your teacher is required to report this information to the campus Office of Sexual Assault & Violence Prevention or the Office of Equal Opportunity.
If you want to talk in confidence to someone about an experience of sexual discrimination, please contact these resources:
For confidential resources on campus: Counseling Center: 207-581-1392 or Cutler Health Center: at 207-581-4000.
For confidential resources off campus: Rape Response Services: 1-800-310-0000 or Spruce Run: 1-800-863-9909.
Other resources: The resources listed below can offer support but may have to report the incident to others who can help:
For support services on campus: Office of Sexual Assault & Violence Prevention: 207-581-1406, Office of Community Standards: 207-581-1409, University of Maine Police: 207-581-4040 or 911. Or see the OSAVP website for a complete list of services at http://www.umaine.edu/osavp/
In this introduction, we broach the question of what defines digital curation, looking back to the history of curatorial practices as well as sampling some contemporary issues in the field.
After watching Justin Wolff's lecture on the history and concept of curation, please find the #what-is-curation Slack channel and by 11:59pm Saturday post a substantive analysis of the two required and/or suggested readings from week 1 that you found most illuminating. What about these readings appealed to you? What do you think others in the course should take away from the readings? How do they affect your conception of what digital curation is?
Once you've posted, you'll be able to see the other students' posts. By 11:59pm Wednesday, please respond to other posts to start helping one another think about the material. It's your responsibility to make this a learning space. We look forward to what you have to say.
In the Slack #bio channel, post a brief description of your background and what you hope to get out of this course.
See separate email for link to survey.
If you don't already have one, get a Twitter account. Then tweet a very brief response (less than 140 characters!) to one of the viewings or readings from this week's syllabus, and mention our official @DigitCurator account. It can be as simple as
We're watching Justin Wolff on #DigitalCuration this week in our @DigitCurator class http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BLAH
Ross Harvey claims "historians ignore the future of digital data at their own peril." @DigitCurator
Then paste your tweet and your Twitter username to the #general thread in Slack. (For more information, see How To Use Twitter.)
Learn how basic netiquette--etiquette for the Internet age--can help make classes with online components go smoother.
Long and abstract, but shows how a big institution like the Smithsonian tackles OAIS.
In this section, Justin Wolff, Paul Smitherman, and Jon Ippolito survey some of the huge challenges facing individuals and organizations that manage culture in the digital age.
Social bookmarks are one of the most barebones of today's "curatorial" networks, consisting merely of public bookmarks with tags added by the people who bookmarked them. For this assignment, you'll report on a recent article or resource tagged with "digitalcuration" on Pinboard, a successor to the original social bookmarking service, Del.icio.us.
First check the #pinboard channel in Slack to see what others have reported on to prevent redundant reports. Then visit Jon's news items tagged digitalcuration on Pinboard and look over the stories listed there. You may wish to filter the stories down to a set that interests you by adding another subject under "Related Tags" at lower right. (And if you like, you may also report on a related story or resource that is not currently in this Pinboard list, eg by visiting the list of stories tagged "digitalcuration" by all Pinboard users.)
Next write a 3-6 sentence description of at least one article, followed by one or more sentences describing whether any of the article's techniques or conclusions might be valuable for your own field or workplace. Post this in the #pinboard channel.
(Note that Pinboard is different from Pinterest, which is an image-oriented social network. For more on social media, see this tutorial.)
Choose an artifact characteristic of your field--a Word document, email, digital image or video, Web site--and write a narrative describing its hypothetical lifecycle.
In two or more paragraphs, imagine and describe the phases of its journey, including creation, modification, duplication, distribution, duplication, storage, future access, and death (the point at which it can no longer be retrieved or reconstituted).
Be as concrete as possible about which stakeholders are involved in its lifecycle, what platforms it morphs onto, and which media it morphs into.
Please post your narrative as a message in the appropriate discussion in the #birth-and-death channel in Slack.
Justin Wolff of the U-Me Digital Curation program introduces a roundtable on challenges of digital curation.
Today's new forms of publication, access, and even preservation are challenging the traditional role of the curator as gatekeeper to culture. This video introduces students to the politics of curating in the Internet age.
Richard Hollinger, the head of Special Collections at U-Me, talks about integrating curating into the very capture of digital materials.
U-Me Digital Curation faculty Richard Hollinger, Jon Ippolito, and Justin Wolff talk through existing and as yet undeveloped tools for digital curation.
Richard Hollinger, Jon Ippolito, and Justin Wolff of the U-Me Digital Curation graduate program talk about the challenges of preserving bits in the age of ephemeral digital media.
In a 2005 talk at REFRESH!, the first international conference on the history of art, science, and technology, Jon Ippolito lays out three challenges faced by historians and others who try to record and make meaning of this period in history.
Although delivered to an audience of art curators and critics, this talk includes advice that may be useful to writers working in digital curation more generally.
Digitization of Analog Materials
This week's "Introduction to Digitization" video is only a brief overview of digitization. Post a response covering one or more aspects of digitization the video does not cover, such as other analog objects, digitizing techniques, or output file formats. You could focus on a project that you have worked on or have been planning, or just something you are curious about. Post a description of the object(s), technique(s) and format(s) in the #digitization channel. Try to incorporate ideas from the readings or other articles you may find.
By Paul Smitherman
Even born-digital material often must be converted to a new format before it can enter a digital collection. This week looks at methods and issues related to this process.
It is necessary at times to convert digital objects from one format to another. This is required in order maintain accessibility and for long-term preservation. In the digital preservation world this is often referred to as normalization. It is a standardized procedure in the digital archiving process. Post a response about a digital format that would need a conversion for these reasons. There are many older formats to consider: documents, photographs, audio, video, websites, magnetic computer tape, etc. Discuss the original and final formats and the conversion process. Some objects may require conversion to an intermediate format as well. Post your response in the #04-born-digital channel.
You might want to look at the Guardian's guide to metadata, before you begin.
MoMA's Ben Fino-Radin explains to DIG students how to collect data from floppy disks. (Just watch 00:00-21:23.)
Post a response about one of the five processes listed in the video. Using a specific example, write about the background, the technologies involved, and the pros and cons of using that approach.
Originally developed for the preservation of space mission data, the OAIS reference model has become the de facto standard for digital archives, and has been codified as ISO 14721. Post a response in the Week 6 channel about some aspect of OAIS: a discussion of one of the information packages (SIP, AIP, DIP), or software that implents the model (e.g. Archivematica), or another aspect that you find interesting. Responses are due by Wednesday October 17 at 11:59 pm.
This week looks at a particularly hot topic in digital curation, crowdsourcing, using 3d scanning as a case study. This is the strategy of letting members of the public contribute to a task or project, typically over the Internet.
Create your own account on the 3d model sharing site Sketchfab. You'll use these credentials later.
Next, choose a three-dimensional physical object to digitize. This can be something from a personal or institutional collection, and doesn't have to be of intrinsic value. You can experiment with several options, but the best objects tend to be:
* Asymmetric rather than symmetric (a pitcher is better than a vase).
* Solid rather than stringy (a hat is better than a ball of yarn).
* Closed rather than open or perforated (castanets are better than a bugle).
* Matte rather than reflective (a wooden spoon is better than a silver one).
* Opaque rather than transparent (a beer stein is better than a martini glass).
The best backgrounds are:
* Flat rather than uneven (a table is better than grass).
* Variegated rather than solid in color (wood grain is better than paint).
* Easy to walk around (a coffee table is better than a shelf).
* Evenly lit (a cloudy day is better than a sunny one).
* Wide enough to prevent distant vistas from appearing in the frame.
If you can't accommodate these constraints, try sticking pieces of colored tape to the object or background as landmarks.
Then install one of the applications described in one of the articles on 3d scanning tools. Each offers a different method to create a 3D model from images of an object--via iPhone, Android phone, or via a Windows desktop application. Last year we used Trnio, but it gave us some trouble this year so we tested Qlone on iPhone, and it seems to work.
Most of these apps have video tutorials that show you how to create your 3D model. Once you're done shooting and processing your object, publish it to your Sketchfab account. You can do this in the Trnio app by linking to your Sketchfab account (under your user profile), and then choosing the Export to Sketchfab option when you're done processing your scan. Please apply the keyword "DIG500" so we can find your model when you're done. You can search Sketchfab for DIG500 to see some models created to date.
(Pros who want to download the 3d model can use Trnio to email themselves a PLY link, and use Meshlab to convert to OBJ if needed.)
Be forewarned that this is cutting-edge technology and doesn't always work as expected. Give it a few tries and if it fails tell us what you tried to do. You can learn something from trying it, even if you're not happy with the results.
Write a post to the appropriate forum consisting of at least 2 paragraphs. In the first part, describe your experience attempting to digitize a 3D object. What was harder than you expected, and what easier?
In the second part, step back from this particular technique to survey the range of crowdsourcing examples described in the videos/reading. What would be the advantages and disadvantages of applying a crowdsourced approach to your own field or workplace?
As always, be sure to cite specific examples in detail (from the reading, from your experience, or hypothetical) to support your argument.
Finally, respond to a classmate by asking a question or making a comment in reply to their post.
Watch this conversation on crowdsourcing between Scott and DIG students (requires Flash):
01:58-02:08 (from 1 hour 58 minutes to 2 hours 8 minutes)
For a complete topic list, visit DigitalCuration.UMaine.edu/teleconferences
This is a clearer version of the Photosynth demo mentioned in the "Unreliable Archivists" talk and in "Trusting Amateurs" text, which demonstrates crowdsourcing photos to map photographic detail onto a virtual model of Notre Dame.
This preprint on "unofficial" preservation practices and why they are sometimes more effective than professional enterprises reprises some of the arguments in the "Unreliable Archivists" video.
This week introduces the important topic of metadata: information attached to files or records that helps digital curators discover and come to broader conclusions about data.
In an era of information overload, metadata are the magnet that helps curators find the needle in the digital haystack. The readings for this week are meant to help clarify the variety of competing metadata standards. Please write a response to three of the readings in the appropriate forum.
NB: If the direct link doesn't work for the article list above, you can access this journal through the Science Direct database via Fogler Library's web-site.
This week's lesson introduces you to techniques for taming "Big Data" with metadata and visualization.
Apply one of the visualization techniques described in the tutorial (or another of your choosing) to some numerical data or text that interests you--preferably from your place of work. (If you're confused, Wordle is an easy one for beginners.)
Post the resulting image, and a link if appropriate, to the appropriate Week 9 channel, along with a description of what was revealed and hidden by that particular technique. (If necessary, take a screenshot; either way you can just drag the image onto Slack with that channel open.)
This tutorial gives you some basic tools for visualizing numerical and textual data. Watch the video, pass the quizzes, and earn the badge.
The script for the Visualize Data badge includes links to tools mentioned in the tutorial.
Explore some of the extraordinary data visualizations by this duo of artist-researchers, asking yourself what is revealed and what is concealed by each visualization.
This week you'll learn how to make your data accessible to a broad public--and keep it that way. You'll learn some of the legal and technical strategies for ensuring long-term access to media files, as well as how to plan out a database to organize your collection.
Assume you have been tasked with creating a database for your own personal or institution's collection (or part of it--a half-dozen tables are enough). Follow the instructions in the tutorial above, summarized in this diagram, to create your schema. Rather than a raster-based tool like Photoshop, it's easiest to use a vector-based image editor like Illustrator. You can also find special tools for making charts like Omnigraffle, Visio, LucidChart, Gliffy, or Creately. Or just hand-draw it on paper and post a scan!
Post an image to the Week 10 channel, along with a description of any questions or revelations you encountered.
Do one of the following and post the URL to the #share channel:
a. Use the techniques shown in the tutorials to find and add a legally shareable image, audio, or video file to your own Web page or blog.
b. Pick a media file or text you want to share, and embed a Creative Commons license next to it into your own Web page or blog.
(If you don't already have a blog, it's easy to make one quickly at WordPress.com.)
This tutorial teaches how to plan out a relational database, including table structure, data types, and relationships between fields. Watch the video, pass the quizzes, and earn the badge.
This tutorial shows you how to locate images and other content online that are free to use, how to give proper credit, and how to indicate legal use.
Learn how to make it easy for others to share and/or re-use your media. You'll learn how to add a Creative Commons license to your Web page that search engines can find automatically.
The second half of the access section focuses on virtual exhibitions, which are essentially Web sites whose content comes from databases.
Meanwhile, Anne Goodyear's presentation at UMaine's 2013 Digital Humanities Week tackles a serious questions for anyone working in digital curation today: with new media platforms blurring the lines between publication, exhibition, and education, what is the appropriate paradigm for a museum or archive that shares its collection? Is there any point in drawing distinctions between publishing scholarship in an online journal, didactic commentary on a museum Web site, or curatorial notes in an online collection record? Her talk draws on a number of new publication and exhibition initiatives she's been involved in as curator of the American Art Collection at the Smithsonian and president of the College Art Association, where in 2012 she conducted CAA's first THATcamp.
Your professors are keen to know what's working and what could be improved. You'll find a link to the Google Form in #reference. We appreciate your help in making our course better!
Choose 6 or more artifacts from your own personal or institutional collection. Using the technique shown in the screencasts for this week, create an online collection for these items. This is a class assignment, not an official Web site--so you can fudge some of the metadata if necessary. And you can use anything as a collection--videos of your dogs, photos of your guitars, songs you've recorded--whatever.
For each item, upload at least one media file, such as an image, PDF, sound file, or movie. Complete the site by adding the Exhibit Builder plugin and configuring a simple exhibition (a single page will do).
When you're done, post a link to the Week 11 channel along with a description of what you liked best and worst about Omeka.
This third week on Access examines the question of access control: how curators choose whether or not to share archival materials, given complex laws and norms governing intellectual property.
Copyright can be a headache for curators hoping to make the contents of their archives accessible to a broader public. Communities such as indigenous peoples have different norms for sharing cultural knowledge. These restrictions are not the all-or-nothing prohibition of Euro-American copyright, which is a blanket economic incentive, but more nuanced incentives meant to create social bonds.
Based on this week's readings and viewings, what do you see as the differing assumptions behind the rules for sharing established by copyright versus native traditions? Which norms would make the most sense for the kinds of materials you work with in a personal or professional context?
Watch these excerpts (11:18-65:12) and any others that interest you:
The final week/s are devoted to an end-of-term project agreed upon by student and instructors.
Your final written project in this class will be a text of 800-1200 words that will make up 20% of the course grade. You must get prior approval for your topic, based on a 2-3 sentence proposal you'll submit to the faculty. The following week you submit a draft, which will be commented on by both classmates and faculty. Your final revision will be due the following week, and can (and usually should) include enhancements such as links, images, screenshots, or other media.
Though you may suggest your own idea for topic and format, here are two options suggested by the faculty:
1) Visit the Resources page on the Digital Curation Exchange and check the options for "practice" and "tool" and/or "software." Peruse the list and review one of these resources with regard to its value to your own work or interest. In what context would it be useful? What difficulties do you see applying it? Does it work well with other tools? What technical platforms or requirements does it require? Would you recommend it to others in your field?
2) Examine an issue related to your work or interest that has come up in this course, preferably focusing on a case study with which you are familiar or have had first-hand experience. You'll get a better grade if you publish in a digital format that takes advantage of digital affordances, such as ThoughtMesh. (The book Permanence Through Change has some examples of case studies from a preservation context.)
All questions, proposals, and drafts should be posted to #final-project--preferably in a non-proprietary format (eg, not Microsoft Word).
The final week/s are devoted to an end-of-term project agreed upon by student and instructors.