AMIA Symposium 2018

Student presenters, professional panel, and AMIA exec.

The student chapter of the Association of Moving Image Archivists held their annual symposium this past Friday. It featured presentations of current and recent projects by SIS students, as well as a panel discussion with several information professionals working in the audiovisual archival field.

Student Presentations

Our first presenter was Sarah Lake, with “Transitioning to the Cloud: Giving Access to Oral Histories”. Sarah spoke about her experiences working at Concordia’s Centre for Oral History and Digital Storytelling; in particular, about the challenges of migrating a large project from hard drive to cloud storage. Sarah spoke about the workflow involved in this process, as well as best practices for future maintenance of the collection and long-term preservation planning.

Next, Kat Barrette spoke on “Mapping Past and Present: Special Collections and Public Outreach”, an overview of engaging the public with material from special collections, in this case maps and photographs. She worked on creating a series of workshops for high school students at LaurenHill Academy using History Pin, an open source web program that lets users pin JPEGs to maps, showing photographs from the past overlaid on current locations. She shared the steps involved in organizing a project like this, as well as recommendations drawn from her experience to make the process go as smoothly as possible.

Albe Guiral then presented “From a Mouldy Box to Internet Sensation: The Photographs of the Fonds de l’Aqueduc at the Archives of the City of Montreal”. While working at the archive Albe was involved in digitizing and sharing with the public a collection of glass-plate photographs, and took us through the whole archival process, with a focus on preservation and outreach. She She spoke of the challenges involved in cleaning and scanning such delicate photographs, as well as best practices for dealing with contaminated materials. She also explained the process of digitally restoring them and sharing with the public on social media.

Finally, Rachel Black presented “Preserving Memory: Personal Archive Creation and Management”. Rachel has been working on creating a family archive of photographs, documents, and physical objects, and shared with us some of the lessons learned from this experience. She explained the process from beginning to end, focusing on the importance of planning the workflow of a project like this. she also spoke about the importance of preservation planning and records management in maintaining a personal archive.

Student presenters

Panel Discussion

Our panel opened by telling us about themselves and their current jobs. They took us through a typical day of work, the consensus being that there is really no such thing as an information professional. We then discussed the challenges of working with both analog and digital archival materials, and some of the current projects our professional panel members are working on.

Opening the floor to questions from the audience, our panel spoke about their educational backgrounds and gave advice to current students, speaking about useful skills and knowledge to acquire during the program. The most common advice was to try and take a bit of everything in order to have a well-rounded skillset – and you never know what might turn out to be an area of interest!

Finally, our panel gave us the names some free resources for audiovisual archiving. There are may free webinars available and a lot of conferences are livestreamed online. Specific resources recommended include the Digital Library Federation, where students can get involved in online work groups, the Access Tech Conference (which is livestreamed), and large libraries such as Library of Congress and BANQ. Other resources include Bay Area Video Collection, which includes a compendium of common video errors one might run across, and IASA TC-04, which provides a how-to on audio preservation. Finally, Project Naming, which works with identifying indigenous peoples in photographs and then restores those photographs to the communities in which they were taken.

Panel discussion

Professional Panel Members
Bios provided by Kat Barrette, AMIA-McGill Co-President

Sarah Severson, Digital Library Services Coordinator, Digital Initiatives, McGill University Libraries
Sarah is in charge of the McGill digilab, overseeing the digitization of rare books and documents, as well as the creation of digital exhibits of images and 3D objects.

Melissa Pipe, Documentation Technician (Audiovisual Archive), Marvin Duchow Music Library at McGill University
Melissa is responsible for the sound and audiovisual collections at the Marvin Duchow Music Library. This includes accession, preservation, and digitization of various materials.

Louis Rastelli, Administrator and Founder of Archive Montreal
Louis founded Archive Montreal, which houses sound, audiovisual, and various ephemeral materials, mostly dating back to the 1960s. They perform digitization of images, graphic material, sound and moving image in-house in an effort to preserve Montreal’s underground culture.

Molly Bower, recent graduate
Molly co-founded the multimedia archive of the Maagdenhuis occupation, now housed in the Amsterdam City Archive (Amsterdam Stadsarcheif). She also organized Westmount Library’s first Home Movie Day.

Gordon Burr, former Senior Archivist, McGill University Archives
Gordie is the former senior archivist at McGill. He still teaches courses at SIS, and is the AMIA Faculty Rep.

 

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