Travelling to UNC Chapel Hill, NC, for SEI 2017 (Summer Educational Institute for Visual Resources & Image Management) proved an incredibly rewarding experience. Over the course of three and a half days, we were exposed to experts in the fields of visual resources and image management. The attendees ranged from recent graduates to early, middle, and late career professionals with backgrounds in predominantly academic libraries and museum institutions, with only one participant from the commercial sector, a photo archivist for the Chicago Tribune.
The first day covered intellectual property pertaining to image rights that included many interesting case studies, such as artist Richard Prince’s Instagram series. Our instructors were Nancy Sims (Copyright Program Librarian, University of Minnesota) and Anne Young (Manager of Rights and Reproductions, Indianapolis Museum of Art), both contributors to the highly useful publication Rights and Reproductions: The Handbook for Cultural Institutions (2015). As with many of the other sessions, attendees participated in hands-on exercises addressing such murky topics as Fair Use. It was a great start to the week and ended with a welcome reception at the Ackland Museum, which is currently showing “Color Across Asia,” “Court and Capital: Art from Asia’s Greatest Cities,” and “Los Trompos.”
Day two focused on digitization and metadata for cultural materials. Lisa Gregory (Program Coordinator, North Carolina Digital Heritage Center), Greta Bahnemann (Metadata Librarian, Minnesota Digital Library, University of Minnesota), and David Riecks (owner, ControlledVocabulary.com, and independent metadata consultant) made up the team of specialists. Beginning with digitization basics, we then moved on to metadata – discussing all three aspects: technical, descriptive, and administrative. Migration issues, selection of appropriate schema standards, and metadata cleanup were all engaging topics. During the day, we enjoyed a field trip across campus to the North Carolina Digital Heritage Center, which included an impressive array of high end Zeutschel scanners. In the afternoon attention turned to a practical lesson on embedded metadata using Adobe Bridge.
The next day was structured around the theme of digital asset management (DAM), and digital humanities projects. Instructors Justin Schell (Learning Design Specialist, University of Michigan Library), Will Shaw (Digital Humanities Technology Consultant, Duke University), Laura Fu (Project Manager, Park Library, UNC Chapel Hill School of Media and Journalism), and Julie Rudder (Repository Librarian, UNC Chapel Hill Libraries) delved into DAM core competencies. Participants were also encouraged to share their own experiences with various DAM software on the market (MDID, Shared Shelf, or custom-built/open source), as well as digital humanities web applications, and the logistics to sustain such projects (e.g., cost, IT support, and preservation). The William Blake Archive, a Duke University-run digital project provided a good sounding board to pitch ideas and problem-solve.
The final half-day concluded in an informal “un-conference” that gave us the opportunity to flesh out other areas of interest or take a deeper dive into subjects already covered. After voting it was determined that data mining, Shared Shelf, OpenRefine, and color calibration techniques for digitization needed more coverage. SEI offers an excellent learning opportunity for anyone working in image management, and I left equipped with new tools and confidence in my abilities.
~ Millie Fullmer, Kress Foundation Scholarship recipient for SEI 2017
A selection of useful tools:
Federal Agencies Digital Initiatives (FADGI)
DLF’s Digitization Cost Calculator
OpenRefine (a tool for cleaning up messy data)
Artists Rights Society (ARS)
Rights & Reproductions: The Handbook for Cultural Institutions (epub) $4.99
Rights & Reproductions: The Handbook for Cultural Institutions is the first comprehensive resource to focus solely on the rights and reproductions guidelines, established standards and emerging best practices at cultural institutions. This publication was co-published in 2015 by the Indianapolis Museum of Art and American Alliance of Museums. With intellectual property laws and rights and reproductions methodologies ever-changing with new technologies, this digital publication, produced using the Online Scholarly Catalogue Initiative (OSCI) Toolkit platform, will be a living document that can be updated to remain current with trends and best practices.