Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Deliverables Update

As I mentioned in my last post, while the overall shape of the project really hasn't changed, some of the deliverables will, if only slightly. This morning, I spoke with Stew about the project to check in and let him know how it's going. I mentioned that while there were many photographs of the artwork, some would be unusable for the ultimate goal of producing finding aids with photos of the works.

A limitation for me personally is that I am not a professional photographer with professional cameras, lights, etc. Otherwise, I would do my level best to replace some of the photos with ones that could be used in a professional archive. The rooms in the Special Collections area are not suitable for this type of work due to the fluorescent lighting. However, much of the Alexander Library is an atrium, with lovely natural lighting.

While we were chatting, I remembered that at the Zimmerli museum, a photographer was hired to come when new works were to be displayed or added to the collection. I wondered aloud to Stew if I ought to suggest teaming with the Zimmerli or obtaining the photographer's contact information to get a quote for photographing the artists' books collection in a professional environment. He thought it was a good suggestion. I will mention it to Michael Joseph later today.

If it turns out that there is no budget for the photographer, at Stew's suggestion, I'll document the photographs that need replacement for a time when funding does appear.

In the meantime, in the Suellen Glashausser artists' books' descriptions, I can note where new photos need to be provided.

With regard to some of the conservation challenges, I contacted a high school chum who works at the Metropolitan Museum to pick her brain. She was enormously helpful and suggested contacting a friend of hers who is a book conservator at the National Archives. I am enormously grateful to be able to gain new knowledge on the topic as well as professional contacts in the field. It seems that each challenge seems to come with its own gifts.

Last week, I also had the good fortune to meet with Caryn Radick, a processing archivist at Alexander Library's Special Collections. She is an EAD specialist, and spoke to Michael and me about how to use the digital archiving structure to produce finding aids. One of the things we will have to do is to plan where we can store the works because that cataloging information will be an important part of the finding aid. A typical way of doing that would be to label the boxes once we have had boxes made for the books by the conservation department.

Caryn asked me to provide her a sample of some of the entries I have already produced in order to best compose a structure for us to use. I emailed them to her on Friday, but have not yet heard back. I might stop into her office on Thursday, and ask if there is anything further I could provide to her.

Finally, one of the outstanding questions in my mind (especially due to my online courses this semester on digital libraries and such) is where we stand with copyrights. Do we have permissions to publish photos of the artists' works? Will our material be copyrighted? Do we need to provide usage notes or does Rutgers already have that covered? Does the library have its own policy? I posed these questions to Michael Joseph, and we will most likely discuss them further on Thursday.

Today, working from home due to big, costly car problems, I will be resizing and examining all the photos that Michael provided of a past Suellen Glashausser artists' books exhibit. I'm a novice Photoshop Elements user, but it's high time I learned how to use the program. I love technology and learning new things, so it should be fun. The object will be to match the images to the descriptions I have been working on during the past week.

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