Month: July 2011

Archiving Frustration

A few months ago I started a small archiving project (see my last post about it by clicking here). It’s been a slow process due to procrastination, but I’ve physically gone through each piece of material that needs to be archived (there are hundreds), and I’ve decided to store it digitally. What this means is that instead of just storing everything in a box and having it all sit in an excel file, I want to create a digital online collection or exhibit of the material. I have categorized the materials by format medium and correspondence type, and I’m ready to start inputting. So here’s my problem…

I’ve sat here for three hours today searching online for a free or low-cost exportable software or web-publishing platform that includes the following:

  • ability to import images and scanned files [as images if need be]
  • ability to link these items in order to create categories or collections that are publicly viewable
  • a utility that allows me to create a timeline based on already-uploaded images and their metadata element sets, which brings me to:
  • the ability to create an element set for each uploaded image (i.e. to add a field for dates to create the above timeline, location, contributors, tags, etc)
  • ability to use HTML within those above fields in order to add relevant links and tags OR have a ‘related links’ field or plug-in

I have discovered Omeka, ePrints, ScholarPress, Scribe, and  LifeSnapz.  I want the ease of Omeka mixed with the academic integrity of EPrints, the thoroughness of Scribe, and the aesthetics of LifeSnapz. The ScholarPress site is down so they aren’t even in the running. If I had to narrow it down even farther I’d want an Omeka mixed with LifeSnapz assuming Omeka would allow me to edit the dublin core’s look on the public site (see I’ve learned all kinds of things today)… but I can’t stand any of them enough to warrant the number of hours I’ll have to spend with whichever platform I choose.

I just found something called Memory Miner… and that’s exactly what I’m looking for… except it would do nothing for all of the newspaper clippings I’ve got… and I need to share it publicly (and with a largely academic community).

So – that’s where I am – someone shoot another option at me… please?

Local, National, Digital: Bye, Bye Borders!

I’m a nerd – I buy books. There’s a great little shop in New Orleans called Octavia Books. It’s where I’ve bought all of the Harry Potter novels on my shelf in an attempt to keep things local. Actually there are several amazing small bookstores in New Orleans. Before I moved to NOLA, my two favorite shops were The Book Bear in West Brookfield, MA and Raven Used Books in Northampton, MA (There’s also a great spiritual book shop in Santa Monica, CA that I love called Thunderbolt Books, but they don’t have a site).

Anyway – I remember being angry when I moved to the city so many years ago and saw how big corporations like Borders and Barnes & Noble were monopolizing the industry and putting small book shops out of business.  I vowed never to step foot in them (I was trying to be a good lil hippie), and then something happened. I walked into a Borders or a Barnes & Noble and found their sale racks, their bargain book racks, and I fell in love. So – shoot me already. I found myself getting off the St. Charles streetcar in New Orleans with my partner just to hang at the uptown Borders that had been transformed from a funeral home (only in NOLA).

Now folks are buying textbooks online. I have a Google Books and Kindle app on my iPhone, and I buy literary ethnographies to read on it. I can fit thousands of books on my telephone. That’s insane to me. Regardless,  I can’t bring myself to purchase digital textbooks. I’m the kind of person who needs to feel the paper and turn some actual pages. I make notes in margins, and I like to doodle (yes, I said it). I like to read in bathtubs. Then, the other day I took my iPhone to the bathtub… too much info? It bugs me. I didn’t drop it – I was able to read just fine on it. I was even able to make digital notes in the margins. It just… represents change, and I know I’m ranting like crazy here but I’m bothered by the whole thing.

My parents never took me to book stores or libraries when I was little, and I was always jealous of the kids whose parents did. I want kids – I want to bring them to bookshops and sit in a corner and let them read for hours. By the time I have kids,  they’ll be learning to read on kid-friendly iPads. I guess maybe this is a “good ol’ days” post – or maybe I’m just grrr-ing at the fact that I don’t mind when I get tea-stains on my paper pages. It doesn’t ruin the book – just gives it more character. My dogs like books – they like to chew on them. I can’t spill anything on my iPhone or future iPad.. my dogs can’t take a bite out of my partner’s favorite crime novel. They’d be toast!

Okay enough for now… I went to the local Borders closing sale when it opened this past Friday. I was sad to see it go, and it bugged me because I used to think of the little guy… and then somehow they became the little guy, and now they’re gone.

Cheers [to hurricane season]

I just realized it’s hurricane season. In NOLA, it’s a time when folks dig out MRE’s, axes, & candles, and they start the squirelesque process of ‘stocking up’ on non-perishables. There are some who make a ritual out of the 1st day of the season – trips to the hardware store (I know because I used to work there), the occasional shot of bourbon in between reminiscent tears and making sure your important documents are enclosed in Ziploc bags (a great travel tip, by the way).  Of course there are an equal number of people who, like me, just sigh, try to remember you need to buy a few candles on your next trip to the grocery, and go about their day.  Now that I live in a land-locked safe zone, I don’t have much to worry about, but my insides still buzz at the thought of it. Nature humbles me (though the Army corps of engineers just angers me).

It’s hard to forget, and I don’t want to (hence the newest ink). Though it was an unbelievable tragedy, losing everything led to some great changes for me. It landed me on this trajectory after all, and I’ll always be reminded that I can live happily with just the clothes on my back and the support of friends and family. I think that’s a good thing to remember sometimes… That’s all for now. Sorry for the mush 🙂