09/12/16

Fall Update: Teaching and Conferencing this Week

Greetings, dear readers. It’s been a while but I have been doing a lot of different things this summer! Now that the semester has started I can share the syllabus for the course I am teaching. It is my first time being 100% in charge of my own class and so far (two weeks in) I am really enjoying it. The course is INST643: Curation in Cultural Institutions. Here is a link to the syllabus. I put in a lot of work designing this course- let me know what you think in the comments!

In unrelated news, I will be travelling to Denver, CO this week for the 8th Plenary Meeting of the Research Data Alliance. This will be my first RDA meeting, and comes after I was awarded an RDA/US Data Share Fellowship this summer. For this fellowship, I am studying the use of controlled vocabularies in agricultural information access systems. I am super excited to see old colleagues and make new ones at this conference. Look for me in the poster hall Thursday, Friday, and Saturday.

03/3/16

Amsterdam and IDCC

Last week, I traveled to Amsterdam to attend and present at the International Digital Curation Conference. I wrote a post about the conference here on the Archives Lab site but I wanted to add a more personal touch here. Amsterdam was a beautiful city which I was happy to explore in between conference events.

Being me, I had to find an archive or library to slip into. I ended up popping in at the Staadsarchief, Amsterdam’s City Archives. It was a beautiful building which houses a few exhibition spaces as well as information about the UNESCO World Heritage sites in the area, including the entire city canal ring. The lower exhibition includes some of the city’s founding documents including the charter. It was a real treat!

Staadsarchief, Amsterdam, NL

Staadsarchief, Amsterdam, NL

As always, I was inspired by the conference and excited to attend IDCC again in the future. Thanks to everyone who stopped by my poster. Here’s a picture of it, via Twitter, and a link to it via the conference website.

09/4/15

New Position!

I figure that the first week of classes and the beginning of Labor Day weekend is a good a time as any to make a quick post about my new position. In July, I formally began work as a Postdoctoral Scholar in the College of Information Studies at the University of Maryland. The primary project I am working on here is a collaborative effort between iSchool researchers (myself and Ricky Punzalan) and the staff in the Knowledge Services Division of the National Agricultural Library. We are working together to develop a digital curation program for scientific data at the library.

Currently, the Knowledge Services Division, or KSD as it is known internally, is working on a number of systems related to the management of scientific data on USDA projects and one of our goals is to develop some policies and plans to support this work in the long-term. I am currently working on our first paper which I hope to share on this blog soon! Stay tuned, there’s more to come…

05/13/15

In which something I co-authored appears on the internet

Last week, an article I co-authored with Ixchel Faniel and my dissertation advisor Beth Yakel was finally published in the Journal of the Association for Information Science and Technology (JASIST).  The article reports on the results of a survey we conducted of 1,480 academic authors who cited ICPSR data in peer-reviewed publications, and is part of the larger DIPIR project which I was a part of for more than two years as a research assistant while in graduate school.

In the paper, we present a literature-based model to represent the relationship between data quality and user satisfaction with data in a reuse context. We tested this model with our survey data, using multiple regression analysis. The results of our survey indicate that data completeness, data accessibility, data ease of operation, data credibility, and documentation quality all correspond significantly with data reuser satisfaction. These findings suggest that repository managers should look to these areas when creating or updating guidelines or policies for data deposit and evaluation.

The paper is live on the JASIST website here. It’s not open access 🙁 but I’m really proud of this work! Email me if you want to talk about it or any of my other work.

03/20/15

Dissertation: Defended

I am happy to report that yesterday I defended my dissertation! It was an incredible experience and I am relieved/proud/happy/tired/overwhelmed/excited all at the same time.

In the interest of posting something to this blog every month (which I try to do), and in order to give everyone a chance to get a bit of a window into my work, here is the title and abstract of the dissertation.

Dissertation Defense

The Changing Landscape of Digital Access: Public-Private Partnerships in US State and Territorial Archives

This dissertation examines the network of public archives and private sector organizations engaged in the work of digitizing historical records.  It focuses on the recent expansion of public-private partnerships involving US state and territorial archives and their effects on citizens’ access to digitized materials. It seeks to understand the ways in which government archives engage with the private sector around digitization of records documenting birth, death, land ownership, and other events central to life in a democratic society.

I employ a theoretical framework combining ideas from archival studies, government information, public finance, and economics. I argue that archival materials are public goods as understood by economists and public policy scholars, and assert that this designation merits a new perspective on government archives. The dissertation project employs a mixed-methods research design, combining a survey, interviews, and document analysis to follow the trajectory of these partnerships, from the motivations of each group of organizations through contract negotiation, records selection, digitization work, challenges, and the implications for access to digitized government records.

My results demonstrate widespread engagement between state and territorial archives and private sector organizations. More than 75% of survey respondents reported that their organization engaged in public-private partnerships. These partnerships largely focus on genealogical records which contain information about individuals. This makes sense from a business standpoint but threatens to undermine the public goods designation which protects government archives from market forces. I identify the negotiation period as a time when archivists have learned to leverage their unique holdings in order to advocate for their institutional interests. Through information sharing among government archives, they work to obtain the best contract terms on behalf of their holdings and users. I also highlight the impact of public records and freedom of information laws on the interactions between public archives and private firms.

This dissertation documents an information environment in transition. The number of partnerships has increased in recent years but research has not kept pace. This project is the first comprehensive study of public-private partnerships involving state and territorial archives in the US, and serves as a basis for future work.

01/8/15

ARCHIVES 2015 Call for Student Paper and Poster Presentations

Below is the call for Student Papers and Posters for the Graduate Student sessions at this year’s SAA Conference. I am a member of the Student Program Subcommittee this year, let me know if you have any questions!

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The 2015 Student Program Subcommittee is accepting proposals for two special sessions dedicated to student scholarship during ARCHIVES 2015 in Cleveland, Ohio, August 16-22, 2015. Work from both master’s and doctoral students will be considered.

Graduate Student Paper Session: The work of three current archives students will be selected for presentation during a traditional open session format.

Graduate Student Posters: Individual posters may describe applied or theoretical research that is completed or underway; discuss interesting collections with which students have worked; or report on archives and records projects in which students have participated (e.g., development of finding aids, public outreach, database construction, etc.). Submissions should focus on research or activity conducted within the previous academic year (Fall 2014-Summer 2015). Student Chapter posters may describe chapter activities, events, and/or other involvement with the archives and records professions. Poster dimensions: 32 inches by 40 inches (may read vertically or horizontally).

Further details regarding these sessions, including the proposal form, are available at http://www2.archivists.org/am2015/program/student-call.

Proposals are due on February 2, 2015.

10/30/14

Upcoming Conference- ASIS&T Annual Meeting

Next week I will be at the 77th Annual ASIS&T Annual Meeting in Seattle, WA. I am participating in the Doctoral Seminar and am excited to attend this conference where I presented a paper last year (Kriesberg et al. 2013). This year’s program is here, it looks like a great set of sessions.

If you are going to be in Seattle, leave a comment or drop me a line- see you there!

ASIS&T Annual Meeting 2014

09/30/14

Dissertating

Seeing as it is the last day of September, I feel I am overdue for an update on here about what I’ve been up to. This summer was very busy! I attended three conferences, collected a majority of the data for my dissertation, and wrote as much as I could. I am very nearly done with my data collection and am currently working on analysis while also making progress on other areas of the dissertation.

The fall semester is in full swing here in Ann Arbor and I am currently serving as the Graduate Student Instructor in SI629: Access Systems for Archival Materials. Here is a course decription. Other than this, I am writing as much as possible! The picture below should give you a good sense of where I’m at as I write this post.

Seated portrait of a man with a beard writing a document.

This is not a photograph of me. But look at that chair. And that beard.

With accommodations as luxurious as this, it’s no wonder I’ve been a writing fool…and now before I make any more nonsense jokes about anonymous historical figures posing for pictures composing text at small desks, I will mercifully end this post and return to my dissertation.

06/16/14

Upcoming Conference- International Conference on Digital Government Research

Just a quick note that I’ll be heading to Aguascalientes, Mexico for the 15th Annual Conference on Digital Government Research this week. I am participating in the doctoral colloquium and presenting a poster at the poster session on Thursday (6/19).

The conference website and full schedule and is here. If you’re at the conference stop by and say hi!

02/14/14

A First in the Library

This week I encountered what I suppose could be considered a graduate school and library milestone. A book that I had checked out, The Logic of Collective Action: Public Goods and the Theory of Groups (WorldCat), had been renewed too many times and was being recalled despite the fact that no one else at the University of Michigan seems to want it.  It was a good book that laid the foundation for much of the subsequent work on public goods and helped me explore a new area of literature for my dissertation proposal. One of Olson’s main lessons in the book was that as groups increase in size, their ability to act collectively act in the service of common goals decreases because the logistics of organizing become increasingly difficult. It also becomes easier for people to become “free riders” and benefit from collective action without contributing to its acquisition.

In any case, the main point of this post is that I’ve never had a book recalled because I renewed it too many times. When I return to writing my literature review for my dissertation I’ll be back in library to get it once again.