Friday, September 30, 2011

Link Friday

Some of the interesting stuff I came across this week, all of which could potentially spur individual blog posts - but in most cases someone else has already done a great job of summarizing it.  
  • Culture Days is this weekend.  A lot of local museums, historic sites, and art institutions have free programming.   Check out what's going on in your area or follow the hashtag #CultureDays
  • Nuit Blanche is on in Toronto this upcoming Saturday. 
  • Library and Archives Canada announced this week that it has digitized the Canadian Gazette from 1841-1997. 
  • The Canadian Air & Space Museum is being faced with eviction from its historical building, and is slated to be replaced with a hockey rink.  Some of this year's MA Public History class at UWO blogged about this recently (The cost of history in the 21st century and Hockey vs. History).
  • Next Wednesday at 4pm is October's #builtheritage twitter chat.  This month's topic is community revitalization.

Monday, September 26, 2011

Banned Books Week

The American Library Association's national banned books week started on Saturday September 24th and runs until October 1st.  The week is meant to celebrate the freedom to read and brings attention to the issue of intellectual freedom and book banning.

During this week bookstores and libraries throughout the United States prominently display books which have made it onto banned books lists or which are in danger of being banned.

A map of the book bans and challenges from 2077-2011 in the US can be seen here.  The ALA has also set up a YouTube channel which features videos of people reading excepts from banned books.   You can also follow and comment on the week's events using the twitter hashtag #bannedbooksweek

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Archives and Google Analytics

The Spring/Summer issue of the American Archivist has been sitting half read on my coffee table for weeks taunting me.  I finally got around to finishing it and found the article, "Using Web Analytics to Improve Online Access to Archival Resources" by Christopher J. Prom particularly relevant.

Prom's work provides a step by step look at the implementation of web analytics in archival digital development. The article focuses on the case study example of the University of Illinois Archives' use of Google Analytics to track user trends.

This case study highlights how analytics can help garner information about which portions of the site are most used, common searches, user interaction with the site, and other specifics about site usage.  Prom also presents examples of Analytics shaping site development and facilitating the reconstruction of digital initiatives to suit the needs of users.

I know many heritage organizations use analytics to compile site statistics, as these stats often serve as useful tools to show boards that the site is working because it received X number of hits.  However, I would be intrigued to know if other institutions have taken a similar approach to the University of Illinois Archives and used analytics to gain more knowledge about the effectiveness and useability of their site and digital content.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Indigenous Knowledge and Mapping

Washow Sectional Map, Manitoba Historical Maps
One of the project's currently being undertaken byOne of the project's currently being undertaken by Carleton University’s Geomatics and Cartographic Research Centre (GCRC) focuses on the display of Indigenous knowledge and culture through the use of cybercartography.  

This initiative has resulted in the creation of cybercatrographic atlases which incorporate interactive perspectives  on themes such as homelessness, place names, traditional language, traditional knowledge, and others. These atlases and the project as a whole are completely open source and do an excellent job of blending geomatics, historical landscapes, and technology. Each atlas contains interactive features such as media clips, photographs, video, traditional languages, and historic maps.

Currently the GCRC is working on nine different atlases focusing on different aspects of Indigenous knowledge and culture.  The atlases include: 
The "Living Cybercartographic Atlas of Indigenous Perspectives and Knowledge" is a good place to start if you're interested in exploring the variety of resources complied in each atlas.

    Sunday, September 18, 2011

    Sylvan Circle

    Sadly the area I live in doesn't have any Doors Open events going on this year.  Despite this shortfall, the area does have a number of self directed art tours going on this fall.  This weekend I took in the Sylvan Circle Tour which features 12 stops and over 50 artists and artisans.

    • Getting a chance to go into the old community halls and churches that served as venues for this tour.
    • The three studio stops on the tour, which let you visit the artist's workshop. 
    • Seeing the variety of pottery, paintings, and crafts which are made by locals. Some high points for me were:
      • Weaving done by Russ Mason
      • Seeing Susan Levesque's unique style of using gourds as canvas for painting
      • Stone jewelry by Jeanne Dumas
     Sadly, most of the artists that participated on the Sylvan tour do not have an online presence.  But in most cases a short bio and contact info can be found here.

    Wednesday, September 14, 2011

    Our Roots Our Future

    CC licensed, Steven Burke.
    This week the Sudbury CBC radio programs Morning North and Points North are running a series called Our Roots: Our Future.  This series is focusing on the history of immigration in Sudbury.  Despite having lived in Sudbury for awhile, I had no conception of the diverse cultural past of the city's residents.

    So far the series has included segments on: 
    Well worth a listen if you're interested in local history or immigration patterns.

    Monday, September 12, 2011

    Engaging Our Community Conference

    On the weekend I spoke at the Engaging Our Community Conference held at Algoma University.  The panel I took part in, Beyond Paper: Participatory Past in the Community Archives,  focused on the concept of archives as places of engagement.  My presentation looked at the Shingwauk Residential Schools Centre as an example of an archival institution that strives to involve community partners through outreach programming and participatory practices.

    My portion of the presentation can be seen here.

    Thursday, September 8, 2011

    Musarians: Libraries, Museums, and Archives

    The Centre for the Future of Museums blog featured an interesting guest post by  AAM staffer Lauren Silberman, entitled  "Musarians: The bastard children of museums and libraries."

    Silberman paints an interesting portrait of a combined Librarian/Museum professional and highlights some of the overlapping interests of both professions.  Silberman's post also sparked my thoughts about the overlap between libraries, archives, and museums.

    One of the first cultural heritage organizations I worked in contained a museum, archive, and a local history library.  However, despite containing all three types of institutions the organization was dominated by museum practices -- the archive was more of a paper museum than an archival institution.  Librarians, archivists, and museum professionals all have different skill sets and strengths, there are overlaps but I can see value in each distinct profession.  The idea of a Musarian is interesting but I think would be more of a compromise between professions than an ideal sharing of resources.

    Friday, September 2, 2011

    Remembering the Triangle Factory Fire

    The July/August issue of Archival Outlook published by the Society of American Archivists contains an interesting article on the history of the Triangle Factory Fire and the redevelopment of a commemorative website about the fire.

    The re-launched site in January 2011 by the Kheel Center for Labor-Management Documentation and Archives at Cornell University's ILR School. This relaunch was timely as 201l marks the centennial anniversary of the fire. Despite including a detailed description of the development and content of the website the Archival Outlook article didn't actually include a link to the site.  Thankfully Google came to my rescue, and the site can be found here.

    Some of the unique parts of the site include:
     The site includes a mix of primary and secondary sources and is a great place to start for students and others looking to learn more about the Triangle Factory Fire of 1911.