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 material. 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 v. laboratories) and field (art v. archeology v. astrophysics). 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.
Skills introduced include: • 2d and 3d scanning • Accessing open data • Collecting born-digital material • Crowdsourcing content and metadata • Designing a database • Digitizing analog material • Drawing a database schema • Finding shareable media • Making your media shareable • Putting a collection online with Omeka • Understanding copyright • Understanding metadata • Visualizing data •
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.
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 Monday post a substantive analysis of two of the elective readings or viewings 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? Cite specific examples from these readings.
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.
It may be hard to believe, but Twitter is a valuable resource for digital curation professionals. If you don't already have one, get a Twitter account. Then by 11:59pm Monday tweet a very brief response (less than 280 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 #DIG500 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BLAH
Ross Harvey claims "historians ignore the future of digital data at their own peril." @DigitCurator #DIG500
Then By 11:59pm Wednesday, please follow at least one classmate, whom you can find by searching Twitter for #DIG500.
For more information, see How To Use Twitter.
In the Slack #bio channel, post a brief description of your background and what you hope to get out of this course.
See the Slack #reference channel for a link to the survey.
A general introduction to what digital curation is and why it is needed.
A brief history of museums and summary of the contemporary challenges facing them.
A provocative, if academic, essay on the conflicting roles museums have played in history.
A news article on the popular adoption of the term "curation."
Another news article on the popular adoption of the term "curation."
A perky cultural critique that suggests curation has long been an unacknowledged feminine occupation.
Short guide to how scientists can keep their data secure and revelant in the long run.
A detailed history and explanation of one of the most cited, if also generic, conceptual models for digital curation.
Long and abstract, but shows how a big institution like the Smithsonian tackles OAIS.
An explanation in diagram and bullet points of a more concrete model of digital curation from the UK.
A deeper analysis of and proposed extension for the DCC model cited above.
A video interview with various experts describing what digital curation means to them.
Christine Borgman talk on varieties of data curation: "One person's data is another person's noise."
Learn how basic netiquette--etiquette for the Internet age--can help make on- and offline classes go smoother.
(Just watch the video by itself, or to earn this badge, just answer the quizzes as you go and enter your Maine.edu email at the end. Don't scrub the video forward or you won't earn the badge.)
In this section, Justin Wolff, Kendra Bird, 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--such as 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.
This tutorial introduces the cloud, which plays an increasingly important role in the lifecycles of digital objects. Watch the video, pass the quizzes, and earn the badge.
This academic paper describes some of the factors that influence the lifecycle of everyday digital objects such as emails or web bookmarks.
A feature on the problems families face coping with the digital legacy of the deceased, including a survey of "digital estate management" services that purport to solve those problems.
This paper proposes to manage the burgeoning storage needs for storage security videos through algorithmic transformations that excerpt only the useful content.
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.
Basically an infomercial for a service called Zapier, but describes a good workflow for managing photos from your phone and social media.
Focused less on how to manage photos across social media and more on the hardware and software used to organize them.
Some practical tips on naming and deleting photos.
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
A rambling but informative talk on the practical problems with scanning large volumes of paper documents to make them searchable, including the limitations of PDF and JPEG-2000.
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-normalization 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.
An international consortium based at the University of Michigan that stores, curates, and provides access to scientific data. From the website: "Data curation is akin to work performed by an art or museum curator. Through the curation process, data are organized, described, cleaned, enhanced, and preserved for public use, much like the work done on paintings or rare books to make the works accessible to the public now and in the future. With the modern Web, it's increasingly easy to post and share data. Without curation, however, data can be difficult to find, use, and interpret."
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 an application 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. (We've recently tested Qlone for iPhone, and works decently if you can print the base first.)
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.
Data curation for digital architecture and other design software.
Example of a firm specializing in 3d analysis, including 3D scanning and photogrammetry, for legal cases such as car accidents.
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. We study metadata in detail in DIG 510, but this assignment is a chance for you to post to #metadata any questions or thoughts about metadata, either based on the readings or your own experience. Feel free to be creative, polemic, or whimsical. You can choose your own topic or pick one of the prompts under "hot topics" below.
Ontologies versus folksonomies: are methods for classifying/organizing metadata such as ontologies really necessary?
Metadata and privacy: How much information about you is floating around in the cloud?
Methods for adding metadata to objects: Automated, manual, crowdsourced? Pros and cons of each method.
This week's lesson introduces you to techniques for taming "Big Data" with metadata and visualization.
First, find a chart, infographic, or other visualization under "Samples" below that interests you. Post the image or a screenshot to this week's channel with a one-paragraph description of why you think it is especially good or bad. (Tufte's principles can help here.)
Then apply one of the visualization techniques described in the tutorial (or another of your choosing) to some numerical data or text. Ideally this data set would come from your place of work, but you'll find plenty in the FreeCodeCamp compendium.
(If you're confused, WordClouds.com, is an easy one for beginners; it's a replacement for Wordle, which required the now-obsolete technology of Java applets.)
Post the resulting image, and a link if appropriate, in a second post to this week's 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.
Links to freely available scientific and political data sets, from the World Health Organization to the US Census to Yelp business reviews.
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.
An animated infographic created by the Thomson travel blog (the original is lost but this is a brief screen capture.)
A summary of some data visualization principles from the guru of graphic clarity, Edward Tufte.
The pros and cons of data visualization variations; assumes some understanding of statistics.
These two screencasts focus on specific graphic design techniques using Adobe Illustrator to create concise, visual representations of factual or statistical information.
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, LucidChart, Gliffy, Creately, or Visio ($5/month for web version). Or just hand-draw it on paper and post a scan!
By by 11:59pm Monday, post a draft image to the Week 10 channel, along with a description of any questions or revelations you encountered. By by 11:59pm Wednesday post a final image, incorporating any feedback you may have received.
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.
The second week of the access section focuses on virtual exhibitions, which are essentially Web sites whose content comes from databases. You have two options for this week's assignment in addition to the midterm review.
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!
This tutorial shows you how to translate a schema into a functioning database using the Airtable platform.
Follow the instructions in the tutorial or its script to build a functioning database with Airtable. You may work from the schema you made last week, but ideally your database should have some tables with one-to-many relationships and some with many-to-many relationships.
When you're done, click the "Share" button in the upper right-hand corner and choose "Create a shared link to the whole base." From here you can copy a private, read-only link. Post this to #access-exhibition along with a description of what you liked best and worst about Airtable.
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.
To get started at Omeka.net, click on "Learn which plan is right for you," then "Start free trial" (don't click the checkboxes or "upgrade plan"). Check your email to activate your account, click "add a site," and follow the instructions in the tutorial. Omeka's design has changed slightly, but the same steps are the same. (As a reminder, you don't have to fill out all the Dublin Core metadata for any collection or item.)
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 #access-exhibition along with a description of what you liked best and worst about Omeka.
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.
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.
Do one of the following and post the URL to the #access-3 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.
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?
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.
Wendy Seltzer's talk at the 2017 Digital Humanities Week, University of Maine
Watch these excerpts (11:18-65:12) and any others that interest you:
General recommendations for ethical data reuse.
General recommendations for ethical data reuse.
A more technical look at linked biological data.
Distinguishes between copyrighting data v. metadata v. a database.
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, e.g., as screenshots. All questions, proposals, and drafts should be posted to #final-project--preferably in a format that is easy to access and review (eg, a Google Doc rather than Microsoft Word).
For the style of your final essay: we emphasize real-world skills in our program, so write your final draft as though you will publish it on the web, eg on a blog. Colloquial, lively writing is fine as long as it's grammatical. Add a title and your name at the top of the document itself, but otherwise omit any prominent references to our class; this is your research and you should take the credit!
Though you may suggest your own idea for topic and format, here are two options suggested by the faculty:
Review a digital curation tool of relevance to your own work or interests. You can learn more and find suggested tools in the Digital Preservation Coalition's guide to tools.
Your review should answer these questions:
If you want to dive deep into a tool for a specific task but don't want to install it yourself, OpenSourceCMS.com will automatically create an installation of an open-source Content Management System that you can try for an hour or so. This could be an easy way to review a basic feature or two across multiple packages, or to choose a system to install yourself and explore in more depth later.
Drawing on your own personal or workplace needs, identify some analog material you would like to digitize or digital material you want to collect, then follow these steps:
1. Research and decide the best approach to digitize and collect your data or media. A good place to start is the Smithsonian's digital curation guidelines.
2. Earn the following badges:
(This badge is optional, and shows you how to use the free GanttProject software.)
3. Create a well researched budget and timeline based on these tutorials. (If your institution already has a template for either, feel free to use that.) What will it cost in money and staff time to complete the project? Remember, your goal is not just to get the material onto a hard drive, but to add appropriate metadata, a backup system, and potentially import the material into a preservation system such as Archivematica. You do not need to incorporate later stages of digital curation, such as adding the material to a database, making it searchable online, or preserving it in the future.
4. Add your timeline and budget to a text that explains your plan as well as the resources you would need to secure, in the form of specific grants, hires, or equipment, to collect this material accordingly.
The final week/s are devoted to an end-of-term project agreed upon by student and instructors.