The Colorado Historical Records Advisory Board (CHRAB) processes several applications for continuing education scholarships in archival studies. With funding from National Historical Publications and Records Commission (NHPRC),one scholarship of $1,000 was awarded, as well as, a few smaller scholarships were awarded to applicants interested in attending in or out of state or online courses given by archivist based organizations such as the Society of American Archivists (SAA) or professional conferences such as SAA's annual meeting. Below are summaries written by past awardees detailing their experience and future application of their discovered knowledge.
Joan Gandy, CHRAB Continuing Education Scholar 2021-2022
Archivist - Douglas County Libraries Archives and Local History
Taking this course has started me on the process of earning the Digital Archivist Certification from the Society of American Archivists. Our archives has not been accumulating digital materials because staff lacked knowledge about digital archives. We have now purchased a digital preservation software and this course helped me learn how to use in most effectively. We are now beginning to move material into the digital archive and collect born digital materials.
Viviana Guajardo, CHRAB Continuing Education Scholar 2021-2022
The CHRAB scholarship was incredibly beneficial to my growth as a museum and digital asset management professional. I applied the grant to courses offered through Library Juice Academy. Because of this opportunity I was able to become well versed in organizing my own digital exhibit with the Omeka platform. I thoroughly enjoyed this course and was extremely proud of my completed virtual exhibit. Other courses such as, “ Metadata and Description for Digital Special Collections” greatly enhanced my ability to apply metadata principles to a grant funded project I was assigned to with a large collection of archival items. This helped me elevate my contributions to the project and assist my teammates with their workflows.
Torrie Nickel, CHRAB Continuing Education Scholar 2021-2022
Assistant Curator of Collections - Heritage Lakewood Belmar Park
The generous funding from NHPRC allowed me to access and learn from the Society of American Archivist’s online course: Copyright Issues for Digital Archives. This course clearly outlined the ethics and laws collecting institutions such as Heritage Lakewood Belmar Park ought to be aware of when reproducing archives. This proved valuable as we write and finalize procedures for public access to our archive collection. We recently established and opened a new research lab for patrons. One resource we are eager to provide our guests is the opportunity to purchase prints/copies of our photograph collection for their own research or private use. To offer this resource, I needed to better understand the regulations outlined in this course to maintain best copyright practices. Of most value, I learned about fair use criteria, how to document good faith efforts to contact owners if necessary, and how to phrase our donation paperwork to accommodate copyright concerns. Overall, this course will further my career by kickstarting the valuable experience of evaluating, problem-solving, and addressing the documentation complexities related to ever-evolving technology and use rights.
Past Scholarship Summaries:
With the generous funding provided to me to continue my professional education I
attended the Society of American Archivists Conference of 2021. The 2021 annual conference
of SAA was held online due to the ongoing effects and dangers of the COVID-19 pandemic. The
conference provided me with valuable information regarding reparative descriptions,
addressing harmful pasts, and creating more inclusive archives. The webinars that had the most
impact on me were, “Language Matters: NARA and LAC Tackle Reparative Description,” and
“Temporal Ties: Addressing Harmful Pasts, Towards Imagining Just Future.” The Language
Matters webinar focused on how archival repositories can work towards tackling inappropriate
descriptions within collections, and taking action to create appropriate titles and historical
notes without erasing the harmful history. The Temporal Ties webinar addressed archival
description, archival access, and an overview of the LAMBDA Archives. This webinar tackled the
difficult subject of whose moralities are being described within the collections? Whose ethics?
As archivists it is important we use multiple or alternative vocabs to create cultural competency
and understanding through our collections. With this new knowledge I plan to work towards
curating ethical, sustainable, and impactful archives.
The SAA Conference in Austin, Texas was an amazing learning opportunity! I learned very practical information that is relevant to my digital archive project. I am currently working on digitizing information about the families that are buried in the Lone Tree Cemetery, in Telluride, Colorado, that make up the history of Telluride. This includes oral histories, newspaper articles, photographs, and genealogical information.
At the conference, I not only learned how to make my project more accessible to patrons, but also what exactly to digitize, how to preserve this information, how to recruit and retain volunteers, how to find digitization help, and how to promote my project. Specifically, I learned about how to make this project more accessible to patrons. I learned that the Oral History Archive Interest group is currently working on an element priority sheet that will help me to identify what metadata is important to include in Islandora records, to help family members to discover information on their loved ones. I learned about Wikidata and that strong subject headings in records increase the likelihood of patrons discovering my work. In addition, I learned to digitize popular items that are interesting and appealing to the public. This is how I will define the scope of my project. To ensure that nothing is lost, I learned to make three copies - one copy is in the digital repository, one copy is on an external hard drive, and another copy can be placed on an external server. To recruit and retain volunteers, I need to contact people that have personal, family ties to the cemetery. I have already been in touch with a man whose family I'm currently working on. He has provided family photographs and newspaper articles. This information would have taken me a long time to dig up, but was easily attainable by this gentleman. I also learned how important it is to develop and maintain professional relationships with volunteers so that they are likely to continue to help. Not only did I learn about volunteer recruitment, but also about many professional organizations that would be interested in my project and provide me with help. For example, the State Archives is an excellent place to ask for digitization help. And the State Genealogical Society will want to know of all of the genealogical information that I have recorded. Finally, project promotion is very important to gain community support not only to recruit volunteers, but also to develop strong community ties. Community members will have an emotional interest in this project, since their loved ones are buried in this cemetery. By doing a library program and utilizing social media, I can help get the word out there about my work. This also helps to promote the library, since the project will provoke interest in community members that have lived in Telluride for a long time.
With the CHRAB grant, I attended the American Association for State and Local History annual conference in Philadelphia, PA. The speakers, sessions, and exhibitors were all exceptional. Two sessions, however, really stood out in helping me achieve my current goal of bringing together archival material for the City of Loveland. The City has no formal archive, with material mainly spread out across the museum and library. In two sessions, Working Collaboratively: Digitizing the Records of Philadelphia's Historic Congregations and Exploring Digital Solutions to Preserve and Share Our Heritage, two organizations showcased how they were able to team-up with like-minded organizations to combine content with a streamlined online search. In the first session, the presenters shared their project called Philadelphia Congregations Early Records that was funded through a CLIR grant. Through this grant, they have been able to digitize historic records physically located throughout the city and bring them together in an online database. The Center for Knit and Crochet, who put on the second session, had a similarly interesting model that I am exploring. They have created a digital repository that both cultural institutions and individuals can upload to and use. For example, a search might yield you results of a knitted cap in a museum and the pattern that was used to create that cap in another institution's archives. Using this idea of a digital repository could work well for the City of Loveland to digitally bring together their physically separated collections. The ability to crowdsource is also an exciting idea once we identify gaps in our collection. This conference was wonderful to attend, sparking ideas on how we might be able to handle our records and discover information on the grants that are out there to help us achieve our goals.
With old media stashed away here and there in the American Alpine Club Library storage, I felt a sense of urgency to find out what is on the old floppy discs, CDs, and other old media that I have little experience using. The SAA DAS course, Digital Forensics for Archivists, seemed like the perfect learning opportunity to deal with this old media. The course is designed for archivists and librarians without a technical background, though I found it to be a bit advanced for my average technology experience and knowledge. Another sticking point is that I work with all Apple/Mac computers and brought along a MacBook laptop to the class. This provided me with a different experience from other attendees that had the good fortune of using PC laptops. There were certain activities that I just could not partake in with a Mac. Despite these challenges, I did learn several methods of how to find digital data on many different formats of media. It was also helpful to talk to the other attendees and hear about the media their institutions possess. The most interesting thing I learned is how to recover deleted or damaged file information. This course was helpful in learning all about files and bitstreams. With this knowledge, I plan to retrieve information from obsolete storage media.