SAA ’13: Day Five and Six

SAA’ 13 Day 5 and 6

Hey everyone since day 6 was only the morning, I thought I would just go ahead and roll it into day 5 of SAA ’13.

Day 5

Today we got up slightly earlier because the panels started at 9:30 instead of 10:00. Felicia and I actually attended the same panel — which is somewhat unusual for us. The panel was “Part of the Process : the When, Why, and How of Routine Digitization.” Digitization is a big part of what we do at Sam and we are always looking at other examples to see if there are things that we can do better. This panel certainly provided an interesting view of digitization. Each panelist talked about how digitization fits into their workflows and effects the processing of the collections (organizing each collection). One presenter did things the standard way by digitizing at the end of the process while the other digitized somewhere in the middle or near the end. We follow this approach. Felicia processes a collection at Sam Houston then I digitize the collection using the order and arrangement she has chosen. I use this order to reflect the collection in a digital environment. It creates a connection between the collections in both physical and digital form.

In contrast, the last presenter on this panel does things very differently. She worked at a experimental library that digitized at the beginning and didn’t really process at all because the way archivists currently organize materials is not really how researchers search and use online materials. The digital environment dictates the order of the collection. Felicia and I really didn’t get it but argued about it for 15 minutes — talk about nerd love! I am not sure if its something we want to do at Sam Houston but I would love to see how it goes for this library.


For me the afternoon was dominated by data preservation. Sam Houston has decided to tackle our archival digital records that are on physical media. We have business records, photographs, etc. stored on things like cds, dvd, magnetic tape, and hard drives. We have to find a way to remove this items from the media and place them in a safe environment to make sure researchers can use them in the future. Sam Houston took part in the Jump In Initiative which challenged institutions to begin the first steps to managing these digital records.

Sam Houston completed the challenge and wrote about the experience. I then participated in a discussion about the initiative at the Manuscript Repositories section meeting. It was a fun experience and I was glad to contribute in some way.


At 6:50pm, we headed out to the All-Attendee Reception that was held at the World War II museum. The event was catered by John Besh’s American Sector restaurant. We had muffaletta and sloppy joes plus a number of wonderful items. It was a fun evening as we reconnected with friends and colleagues under giant WWII planes.

Day 6


Well, this is the end. Sort of. We had one more panel before we called it a day. The panel was on descriptive standards and how they can apply to digital objects. When people talk about born digital/ digitized material, they rarely talk about how to describe them in ways that users can understand. When they do, it is in very general terms. This panel tried to broach the topic with only an hour and 30 minutes. We found some of the presenters informative and felt like Sam Houston was on the right path with how we describe objects online. Hooray!!

Now it is the end! We quickly packed and checked out of our hotel. Its a 6 hour drive to Huntsville which gives us plenty of time to sing along in the car.

Thanks for reading! I hope you enjoyed our small adventure. This blog will return to its regular awesomeness next week.







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