The first day of my M-LEAD internship at the Brooklyn Museum's Digital Labs. Because we had previously come in to fill out our paperwork, we were mostly free to meet people and participate in orientation. During the day I met with Deborah Wythe, the Head of Digital Collections and Service, and my supervisor in the Digital Labs. Deb gave the Lab interns on overview of our projects, and the history of how digital projects were developed at the Museum.
In the afternoon, our IMLS Coordinator Jennifer Chisnell arranged for our Museum badges to be taken, then we had lunch and an orientation for the five M-LEAD interns working this semester at the Museum. We took a tour of the Museum Library and Archives, then participated in an interesting group discussion with several library staff, including Head Librarian Deirdre Lawrence and Archivist Angie Park, touching on issues ranging from the current state of libraries, to the future of digital information in the museum and library field.
I began phase one of the project training with Deb, learning to use the Lab's scanning equipment and the scanning formats used for various types of negatives. Started working on the Library transparencies collection, which included images from various periodicals ranging from 1820's through the 1950's.
Continued to scan images from the periodical (PER) collection. Today I also came across transparencies form the Library's Wilbur collection, including scans form the travel books of Wilbur himself. The more I scan, the more I learn about the collections within the library, little gems of images hidden inside books we rarely set eyes on.
Met with Jennifer and Deirdre for lunch to discuss Deirdre's participation in the 2010 Art Museum Libraries Symposium at the Peabody Essex Museum. We had a very interesting and lively discussion about the various programs and initiatives Deirdre learned about, specifically tackling the dual audience museum libraries cater to: the museum, and the general public. One example Deirdre mention was the MOMA incorporating its archives into exhibits and retail operations, in effect taking archival material out of the library and connecting it with the museum proper.
Uploaded my first batch of images and metadata to Luna today, with the guidance of Deb Wythe. Because the Luna software suite is not perfectly tuned to the needs of the Museum, we have to update an Access database to ensure the metadata and mapping files are error free and properly formatted. It is a bit tedious to do this, but it is impossible to get to the next step without walking through this first.
Participated in a tour of the Preservation unit, led by Keith Duquette, Library Preservation Associate. We learned all about the history of book preservation at the Brooklyn Museum, including the evolution of preservation methods used, and had the opportunity to look at various examples of Keith's work.
To make up for the time spent on the preservation tour, I worked for 5 hours on this date, scanning and editing photos.
Began compiling metadata for the scans compiled in the prior weeks. Because creating metadata and mapping files can be rather time-consuming, it is advisable to only process batches of 50 images at a time. Anything more than 55 or so creates its own set of problems, for if metadata information is inaccurate or with formatting errors, one has to log into the Luna software and manually map each image to its corresponding metadata and mapping information. Once can see how this could easily become an unwieldy process.
Uploaded second batch to Luna, which happens to be my final batch for the periodical transparencies collection. This was my first attempt alone, and though I did experience some hiccups with formatting and some erroneous metadata fields that I didn't catch on time, I was able to manually fix them and the resulting images on the Brooklyn Museum site showed up without issues. Deb discussed moving on to scanning the glass slides as part of phase two of my internship.
Phase two of my digitization project began today. Sarah Gentile, the Imaging Specialist at the Digital Labs, gave me an overview of the glass slide negatives, how they need to be handles, and how to scan them using the proper settings in Photoshop. I dove right in and began processing my first box. There are 8 outstanding boxes left, and my goal is to complete digitizing and uploading them to the Brooklyn Museum's website by the end of my internship.
Continued scanning of glass negatives, and received a tutorial on best practices for color correcting and black and white balance in Photoshop. Glass slide negatives are scanned in color, then converted to black and white, in order to retain the highest contrast and image fidelity possible. I unfortunately did not learn this ahead of time and had to re-scan some images! Goes to show how important process is to good digitization procedure.
Spent time color-correcting and editing black and white scans. As I do not have access to the original source object, it is a delicate art manipulating color and black and white values, attempting to reach the best balance between original intent and presentability for online display. Sarah showed me how to use The Museum System (TMS) software to navigate object bibliographic records, to ensure accurate accession number recording in my metadata sheet. Double checking this information took much longer than anticipated, as the Museum's version of this system is rather slow to query its database, but I'm glad I did, as some accession numbers were written incorrectly in the glass negative cover envelopes.
Uploaded first batch of the glass slides. This process varies from phase one, but not by too much, so I was able to predict the steps as Deb and I walked through them. Next batch I will be able to upload on my own. Because our internship began two weeks into the semester due to scheduling concerns, interns doubled up on some days when possible, to make up their required hours. I received permission from SILS to extend my internship through January, as my schedule made it difficult to complete my hours by the end of the fall 2010 semester.