• The Ephemera of the Past and the Ephemera of the Future

    A couple of the things I’d be interested in talking to other THATCampers about are loosely tied together. First, as a digital librarian at a state school in a historically very underfunded state, I’m interested in ways of reaching out to smaller libraries, historical societies, and museums and helping them expose their collections online. Since many lack the technical skills and manpower to do extensive digitization projects, I’ve been brainstorming what might be the best way to do a one or two day workshop that gives them a simple package of tools and expertise to digitize parts of their collection, while still adhering as closely as possible to best practices. I know similar workshops have been offered by other libraries and I’ll be looking to those offerings for models. The development of Omeka.net is also looking very promising as a tool with a low barrier to entry, and I’d be interested in talking to anyone who’s worked with it (I have experience with the standalone Omeka, but not the hosted version) or has experience in working with small cultural heritage institutions.

    I’m also starting to think about what sorts of content we’ll have in the archives and special collections of the future, especially when it comes to digital content. I find it interesting that a lot of the “collecting” being done now is happening outside the structure of libraries, museums, or academia. (Although this does seem similar to the way that ephemera and/or popular culture items have been collected in the past.) I can easily visualize future research that could make extensive use of comprehensive collections of modern language and practices like UrbanDictionary.com or KnowYourMeme.com. So what is the role of libraries as “private” or for-profit sites like these eventually go out of business?


  1. Terry Brock says:

    Really like your idea about engagement with local libraries, historical societies, etc. One thing I might suggest would be to not only establish workshops, but also work with your university’s career center or student outreach department to see if you could establish internships. Pairing a local institution with a student to work on the project would be a neat way to go about such a project.

  2. How to digitize the collections of local institutions is an interesting discussion. Additionally, it would be worth discussing how to help these same institutions “market” their collections. Getting them online is the first step and such programs as Omeka make that easier. Getting them exposure should be the goal.

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