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Special Interest Group Archive: Archives SIG 01/05/2021

These are the notes from meetings dating back to 2015.

January 5, 2021

The Archives SIG was held on Tuesday, January 5, 2021 via Zoom.


Welcome : Carolyn, Jen

Updates from attendees:

  • Clif Patrick, Town of Chester. Continuing current projects.
  • Helene, Bard archives : planning a Rare Book Survey and re-addressing an old disaster plan
  • Debbie, Bard archives : Bard is looking to accession a digital collection
  • Nicole Scalessa, Vassar : welcoming new staff member, mostly focusing on digital preservation. Setting up 3,2,1 storage with Drop Box and AWS storage. Testing best method for running Fixity; looking at Fixity pro. Also working on Bit Curator. Moving from LDAP to SSO. Herbaria grant kicked off: looking to migrate RAW to TIFF files, to be converted to JPEG. Islandora grant. Laura finished cataloging 3500 gpns; will put these into Islandora. Working toward a migration in fall of 2022. LOTS more. Visit Vassar Digital Library
  • Alicia Mauldin, West Point archives: answering reference, putting things away. With Elaine, creating a Civil War exhibit.
  • Jen: building a new system for the creation of finding aids in Drupal. More to come!
  • Grace, Somers Historical Society. Still separated from collections in two locations. Working with digital collections, students and teachers. Have had many requests for community service from students, and requests from teachers for content for lesson plans.
  • Elaine Mcconell, West Point. Working with others to create Civil War exhibit. Alicia suggested waiting to launch this until students are studying Civil War, specifically West Point’s role.
  • Mary Jo Russell, Vassar Brothers hospital (Nuvance Health) archives. Moving patients into new hospital building this Friday, Jan. 8. Maro Jo has been documenting this move in real time. Continues to document global pandemic. Has created a time capsule box with images, and stories, etc. to document the effects of this pandemic locally. New building will be beautiful; direct patient care, new ER services with helicopter service to roof. ALL private patient rooms; will help with privacy and infection control. VBH historical collection is on New York Heritage.
  • Toni H: Working from home, but trying to deal with a leak in her archives today. She will be speaking on the importance of local history at an upcoming school event. She was also recently appointed the Fishkill town historian. Mentioned the Madam Brett Homestead (oldest home in Dutchess County); she is working to rewrite the narrative to include the history of enslaved people at the homestead.
  • Rajene Hardeman, private archivist. Works with Wikipedia libraries user group. Introducing Wikidata and Wikipedia to librarians. Would like to present at SENYLRC sometime soon.

General discussion:

  • Accessioning Digital Collection advice? Nicole at Vassar: they are planning for this. Her area is digital scholarship. Currently they accept student work as born digital objects; they are accepting digital media as well. They use spreadsheets to document metadata. Most collections have started as physical collections. She suggests considering Bard’s digital accession as a loan, tracking how, why, when it was digitized.
  • Nicole mentioned a Ketchum Family History project. ( She is related to the Ketchum Family and is scanning 1000 plus letters, ledgers, ration card stubs, etc.
  • Debbie: how is Nicole converting videos? This is being outsourced by Northeast Digital Imaging.

Discussion on COVID stories projects

There are projects around the state to collect COVID stories. At least one project is collecting information without last names. How do people feel about this?

  • Alicia: this will be unhelpful to future historians. They should assign an identifier to each submission that links the story to a full name for future reference.
  • Debbie: agrees. There may be multiple people with the same first name.
  • Helene: Bard’s survey had to be run through the IRB, and participants were given the choice of remaining anonymous. The value might be to illustrate pandemic experiences for future novelists, not historians.
  • Elaine: Mentioned a collection at West Point that was captured in the moment. What people felt at 18 they may not feel decades later.
  • Alicia : Agrees that people might want their stories known in the future; mentioned a specific example of someone who later wanted their stories told.
  • Elaine: Some Revolutionary War era materials have names cut out.
  • All in agreement: It might make sense to collect all identifying information and not publish immediately.

Next meeting March 2, Alicia’s birthday.


Southeastern NY Library Resources Council
21 South Elting Corners Road | Highland, NY 12528
Phone: (845) 883-9065