Monthly Archives: November 2018

Call for Proposals: Safeguarding and Activating Digital Video Information in Art Museums

In today’s digital media landscape, video has assumed an increasingly central role in supporting both the inner workings and outward-facing activities of many arts institutions. With regular users numbering in the hundreds of millions, video streaming portals like YouTube have particularly incentivized museums to generate content related to their exhibitions, performances, events and lectures. Sharing these videos online offers organizations the chance to reach new potential audiences while also fulfilling their educational directives. Meanwhile, digital media such as artist interviews and installation videos often serve vital functions within museums, providing staff with the tools they need to properly conserve and display complex artworks. While access to these materials is typically limited, they nevertheless hold great documentary value, at times containing otherwise unpublished information about the artists and artworks represented in museum collections. Whether intended for public or internal use, both these forms of digital video content represent fundamental components of institutional memory and deserve to be safeguarded for future access. But implementing effective storage and access infrastructures for digital video can prove daunting, especially for museums equipped with limited funding and staff. From navigating issues of copyright to weighing the costs of storage scalability in digital asset management systems, cultural organizations must contend with major challenges as they strive to activate and preserve their digital media. Hosted by the Metropolitan New York Library Council (METRO) and organized in connection with the National Digital Stewardship Residency for Art Information (NDSR Art), this panel will provide a space for archivists, librarians, digital preservationists, and specialists in the field of audiovisual production to share their experiences working with digital video assets in the context of art museums and other cultural heritage institutions. Interested participants are invited to submit proposals for case studies, lightning talks, or presentations on any topic they believe to be relevant to discussion, but may consider the following:

  • Balancing the technical requirements for audiovisual preservation against institutional needs for low implementation and maintenance costs
  • Designing online access environments for digital video content
  • Building digital storage and access systems with multi-tiered access restrictions
  • Streamlining audiovisual production workflows for newly-generated museum content
  • Establishing best practices for appropriate technical and descriptive metadata
  • Methods for exerting control over the copying, downloading, and sharing of web-based digital media

The panel will be open to the public and held at METRO on January 31st from 4:00 to 6:00pm. To be considered, please submit a proposal of three hundred words or less by no later than December 17, 2018 to Jean Moylan, panel moderator and NDSR Art resident at the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum:

Cristina and Molly go to iPRES in Boston

Image result for ipres 2018 conference


We had the opportunity to attend iPRES 2018 in Boston last month thanks to the Portico funded Sponsored Registration for Underrepresented Students and First-time Attendees. Throughout the four days at Harvard University and MIT, there was the chance to meet a great group of digital preservation professionals for all over the world and participate in all-day workshops, panels, and discussions.

Check out the conference website for all the details, but here are some of our highlights:


Cristina’s Highlights: Attending in-depth workshops and gathering new insights and connects into her NDSR residency project.

As part of our Portico sponsorship, we were able to take two workshops during the first day of the conference. I decided to take a workshop titled: Digital Curation Workflows Based on Open-Source Software. While this workshop touched on open source tools, what stood out to me was the conversation surrounding the sharing of workflows among institutions. Interestingly, the discussion around sharing may have taken the most time out of our breakout groups. Mainly, participants cited common insecurities with sharing their work: concerns about it being seen as “correct” by their peers or being embarrassed about current state of collections. Another issue to take into consideration is how to communicate when workflows are aspirational or incomplete. As a new professional, I completely related. However, people citing these insecurities were not all new professionals but more so folks accomplished in their field. Apparently, we are all human.

This discussion was very interesting to me as one of the reasons I chose MICA’s project when applying to NDSR Art was that they emphasized not only wanting to create a new model for the collection, preservation, and, access to visual arts thesis, but also wanting to share this new model. How, why, and with whom documentation is shared needs to be evaluated. Furthermore, how do you tackle concerns from staff that feel they’re giving away their work without receiving credit? I have managed other projects in which I’ve developed workflows that I view as public. I’ve often shared these workflows with colleagues at other institutions when asked, but I’m now realizing that I’ve failed to be proactive in my sharing. Sharing requires intention and requires time. When developing workflows to make students’ art discoverable and accessible at MICA, I need to think about strategies that make our workflows and documentation discoverable and accessible as well.

Also, Molly learned a few phrases in Spanish!

Molly’s Highlights: Meeting professionals working on similar projects at different institutions and seeing Cristina’s lightning talk.

One of the reasons I wanted to attend iPRES was the chance to connect with a wide-variety of people from different types of institutions, but all working on or around digital preservation. It’s a unique conference that brings together a diverse, relatively small, but focused group. My NDSR project is centered on preserving interactive apps, web content, and other in-gallery media; all formats in the relatively nascent stages of having consensus on best practices and standards for archiving. This means that talking to people currently experimenting with these media types tends to be great sources of insight and guidance. The team at Rhizome and Web Recorder are shaping the the next iteration of models for web-archiving, so it was great to attend their half day workshop and walk away with ideas to test out on my institution’s newly retired website(s) following a recent redesign project. I got an impromptu email-archiving tutorial from one of the developers at Preservica during a group discussion, and connected with Smithsonian archivists about sharing policy and workflow examples. I also got to be part of a collaborative edit-a-thon for COPTR (Community Owned digital Preservation Tool Registry) with one of my project mentors at Digital POWRR and folks from the Digital Preservation Coalition.

I also had the good fortune to attend and support Cristina during her lightning talk on Tuesday. During her session, she shared an overview and update on her residency project which is focused on preservation and access to non-traditional art and design theses work. Her talk and topic added a missing piece not represented in the other conference presentations that I think many attendees were grateful to learn about; I know there were a number of audience members eager to follow her project and the outcomes she develops. Here’s a photo of Cristina in action: