USC Archives Bazaar!

The 8th Annual Los Angeles Archives Bazaar
by Jennifer Vanoni

On Saturday, October 12th the University of Southern California (USC) Libraries played host to the 8th annual Los Angeles Archives Bazaar, organized by L.A. as Subject, an alliance of libraries, museums, and other archival and cultural organizations. The annual event was held in the landmark Doheny Memorial Library and was free and open to the public. The Archives Bazaar was for everyone including, “scholarly researchers, journalists, history buffs, and those simply interested in exploring the stories of Los Angeles” and featured public exhibitions from organizations such as The Writer’s Guild Foundation, The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences and the Center for the Study of Political Graphics.

The event ran from 9 a.m. – 5 p.m. and in addition to the wonderful exhibits of Los Angeles history some other programming highlights included an Antiques Roadshow inspired session where attendees were able to bring in “historical materials like documents and photographs, get them assessed by the Los Angeles Preservation Network and then digitized and placed on a USB drive to take home” and a session dedicated to craft beer brewing in L.A.

My first stop upon arrival was the Writer’s Guild Foundation exhibit where I chatted with Joanne Lammers, Director of the Archive. She was extremely friendly and thrilled that the event would be covered by SLA-UW and shared with students at the University of Washington. She was eager to connect with us via Twitter (@WritersGuildF). The Foundation’s Archive houses an unbelievable collection of scripts, both current and rare, and the absolute highlight of their artifacts at the Bazaar was the handwritten draft of The Empire Strikes Back script laid out on the table. The Foundation had also taken the opening scroll portion of the draft and turned it into postcards for visitors to take with them.

After browsing around many of the higher profile exhibits from media and historical organizations I made my way to an eye-catching exhibit in the far end of the hall where the Center for the Study of Political Graphics (CSPG) had set up their space. The “CSPG is a non-profit, tax-exempt educational and research archive that collects, preserves, documents and circulates domestic and international political posters relating to historical and contemporary movements used for social change.” This was my favorite stop of the day. Not only were they very charming but had a really eclectic collection of posters on display and offered me an internship! Score.

Center for the Study of Political Graphics –

Writer’s Guild Foundation –

The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences –

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Digital Archives Assistant at the UW Library Media Center

Digital Archives Assistant at the UW Library Media Center
by Rachel Price

It’s bitterly cold across the country this fine January so I have decided to reminisce on memories of my summer just a little bit more. My last post discussed the internship I did at Sub Pop Records, so this time around I’ll discuss one of the other fun jobs I had this summer, as a digital archives assistant at the UW Libraries Media Center.

I spent part of my summer doing all sorts of activities around the Kearney Barton Collection, which is a collection of thousands of analog recordings engineered by local Seattle audio recording legend Kearney Barton. Together with Light in the Attic Records, the media center has been sorting through boxes upon boxes of analog recordings, digitizing them, researching the bands who were recorded (which range from local garage bands to the Beatles), and working towards making them accessible through the library. This is a fascinating collection that really provides a window into the heart and soul of the Pacific Northwest’s music scene from the 50’s through the 80’s. It’s been said that Kearney Barton is responsible for shaping the “Seattle Sound” and paving the way for Seattle’s thriving music scene.

As part of my duties, I worked with John Vallier on a variety of tasks around the collection. I learned how to digitize analog recordings from their original tapes to MP3’s and WAV files using special equipment and audio programs. I also did a lot of sleuthing on the bands represented on the recordings and even contacted any band members I could find to let them know we had their recordings! There were a few happy emails back and forth from band members who did not think their recordings even existed anymore. Finally, I worked on designing LibGuide pages for the Kearney Barton collection and getting samples from the collection up on the media center’s SoundCloud page. For this particular aspect of the project I designed standards for the media center’s SoundCloud metadata practices, which was a great experience! Working within such a system designed for commercial use, it was a challenge to try to incorporate useful archival metadata within SoundCloud, but designing best practices was a great first step in making sure that as we utilize more and more tools that allow access, we retain the level of information necessary to make the collections truly useful to users.

Working in the media center gave me unique insight into the ins-and-outs of working with unique media collections, from metadata concerns to archiving practices, licensing issues to access rights quandaries. I loved my time at the media center and got a lot out of it, and recommend it if you are curious about media or unique collections!

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NLM: The Biggest (Medical) Library in the World!

NLM: The Biggest (Medical) Library in the World!
by Kimberly Tate

The National Library of Medicine, the largest medical library in the world, is located in Bethesda, Maryland and is part of the National Institute of Health. Charged with the dissemination of the most recent health information (both for health professionals and for patients), the library has an extensive collection which is open to the public. I was able to visit the National Library of Medicine this past summer for a scholarship I received and meet with Reference Librarians, the Assistant Director of NLM and a number of other librarians.

During my time there, I was able to learn about the Associate Fellow Program, a 1 year program (with an optional second year) which takes new MLIS  graduates and trains them how NLM is run while the fellows complete a series of projects. As I am especially interested in medical reference librarianship, I was thrilled at the opportunity to sit and observe (and answer a few questions) with one of the reference librarians. She explained the necessity of ensuring that all the library’s programs and facilities were ADA compliant as she showed me some of the cool technologies they have to ensure this. Some of these included screen magnification software, speech synthesizers, and adjustable tables. They also have a Kurzwell machine which scans English language text and reads it to the visually impaired researcher.

I found interesting that after 9/11, the increased security and building of a fence around NLM had drastically reduced the number of public visitors. One way that NLM is able to reach the public is through their Regional Libraries. If you weren’t aware, the NLM Regional Medical Library Group is located here on the UW campus!

Charged with carrying out NLM’s mission in the Pacific Northwest, the RML provides outreach and funds for health education to the community and the health professionals. I learned about some of the great initiatives that NLM RML’s are working on in the coming year, specifically increasing health education/outreach in the K-12 and community college setting. Each person that I met had a very unique vision for their position (something which has always drawn me to medical librarianship).

All in all, my trip was a success. I was able to view a beautiful library, meet passionate people in the profession and learn more about why medical librarianship is more important  than ever. The way that technologies are changing the way medical professionals interact with and utilize data is a rich and growing field. One that I look forward to working in and growing with.

I would be happy to chat more if anyone wants additional details about NLM, the Associate Fellows Program (the application is now open!), or any other aspects of medical librarianship! Let’s continue to learn together.


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iSchool Exploration Seminar: South Korea

iSchool Exploration Seminar: South Korea
Co-authored by Kimberly Swenson and Danielle Trierweiler


Danielle (L) and Kimberly (R)

Danielle (L) and Kimberly (R)

The University of Washington iSchool Exploration Seminar, titled “Information, Technology, and Society,” was held in South Korea over late July-August of summer 2013. Along with several UW students from various undergraduate programs, Library and Information Science degree students such as SLA Treasurer Danielle Trierweiler (MLIS ‘14) and Secretary Kimberly Swenson (MLIS ‘14), enjoyed the amazing opportunity to travel to the city of Seoul and other major tourist sites while experiencing Korean Information Technology culture first-hand. Our sight-seeing took us to places like the port city of Busan, the infamous North Korean political border of the Demilitarized Zone (also known as the DMZ), and to several prestigious South Korean Universities, museums, and cultural hubs.

S. Korea

Seoul at night

As part of our seminar, we participated in a number of class sessions covering a number of interesting topics related to course title themes such as Korean history and tradition, social media research, and implementation of new technologies. Additionally, we kept personal travel blogs to record assigned activities and reflect on our experiences.

Libraries in S. Korea:
We visited four Korean major graduate institutions: Kyung Hee University (KHU), Seoul National University (SNU), Sungkyunkwan University (known by the acronym SKU), and the Korean Advanced Institute of Technology (known by the acronym KAIST). Of the four, we paid special visits to the KHU and SKU libraries:


Korean books!

We were able score a personal tour with one of the librarians (courtesy of the iSchool’s own Sam Oh and Matt Saxton), and were taken through the very basic layout of the library. SKU is somewhat unique in that its entire campus, and its structure and teachings were built upon Confucian teachings. The space was open and offered a blend of traditional print materials as well as several computer stations, reservable study rooms, and a media kiosk. Similar to UW Libraries own Microsoft-affiliated Suzzallo/Allen graduate library, the SKU library was also notably supported by major South Korean technology companies such as Samsung.
KHU: Although our time in KHU’s library was much shorter than SKU, we immediately noticed a traditionally Western-inspired design of the university buildings. The library was no exception to this design preference with a domed ceiling, several spiral staircases, a prominent reference desk and study carols.
Information Science in S. Korea:

At Seoul National University, we participated in a collaborative activity with our fellow UW and SNU Korean grad students. We engaged in some very interesting discussions; at one point, we broke out into small groups to share our perspectives of our respective country’s preferred search engine interfaces, plus our own individual information preferences, strategies, and search styles.

DaumScreenshot 2013-11-17 at 2.40.35 PM

Meet the Google and Bing of South Korea:


Final Impressions:
The seminar in South Korea was a valuable experience- we learned a lot about Korean heritage and culture, challenged our perspectives of both cross-cultural systemic and human-centered information design, took lots of pictures, and ate very well.

If you are interested in applying for this iSchool Exploration Seminar, feel free to contact us with questions or Associate Dean of Academics Matt Saxton!  Applications for iSchool Seminars have traditionally become available during Winter Quarter.

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Internship Report: DAM Rock Musicians!!

© 2013, Sub Pop Records

© 2013, Sub Pop Records

DAM Rock Musicians!!:
Being a digital asset management and archives intern at Sub Pop Records
Rachel Price, co-vice chairperson, SLA-UW
2nd year residential MLIS

I spent my summer doing a lot of learning…at one point I was juggling 5 jobs concurrently just to cover all my interests! This sounds terrifying, but it was actually insanely fun and I learned a lot. Today I will discuss one of the five hats I wore this summer, as an intern at Sub Pop Records.

The job title: Digital Asset Management and Archives Intern

The company: Sub Pop Records, an independent record label based in Seattle, Washington. Notably, one of the cooler places I have ever gotten the chance to work.

The status: 8 hours per week, unpaid. Rewarded with concert tickets, music, and t-shirts.

The nitty gritty: I came in one day per week and worked under Meghan Madonna, an iSchool MLIS alum. I spent my time split pretty evenly between three categories:


I updated the archival records (using Microsoft Access) with new album releases and physically archived new releases for preservation. This was a great chance to learn about developing archival best practices for a unique organization like Sub Pop, as they are still working out the details of how they want to go about preserving albums – such as where to store things, how many copies to preserve, and what parts of the packaging should be preserved.

Digital asset management:

Basically, this entailed looking at file structuring and storage and making sure it makes sense for our intended usage of the files. This involved a lot of renaming files, uploading huge file batches for digital content platforms, and working with file-naming best practices and implementing them. I also got my hands dirty entering metadata for audio files (like licensing codes, ISO country codes, rights-holders, and more).

Content management and strategy:

This was closely tied into the batch file transfers we were doing as a partnership with a digital music licensing platform. Essentially, we were using a content management system to create band pages to go along with audio tracks that we were uploading to the system, so I got to come up with a layout and content strategy to incorporate within each band page, then actually enter all the information (taking band bios and basic information from the Sub Pop documentation and putting it in this third party content management system). This entailed all the normal stuff – what is the necessary content, and what is the necessary metadata that goes along with this content (title, description, picture alt-tags, associated names to dedupe band names with different spellings, etc.)

There you have it! Life as an intern at Sub Pop was pretty cool, so if you ever get the chance to apply, I definitely recommend it! Internships are a great way to dabble in fields to better understand if it is something you think you might enjoy as a career when you’re done with your degree. The wider the variety of internships you can land, the better!

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NBBJ Library Crawl

By Laura Horan

There was a great turn out. Here we are outside of the stacks.

There was a great turn out. Here we are outside of the stacks.

On a drizzly Wednesday afternoon, I took a break from my studies to attend a SLA-PNW library crawl at NBBJ – a major architecture firm in Seattle. A little background on NBBJ: the firm was founded after four architects came together during the 1940s to tackle a big project: camouflaging Boeing Field during World War II! Today NBBJ focuses on several different building types including healthcare, civic/justice, corporate, urban planning, and even stadiums. You’ve probably seen their handiwork around town: buildings designed around Seattle include the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation HQ, the Seattle Justice Center, and SafeCo Field. In addition to their headquarters in Seattle, NBBJ has offices in San Francisco, Boston, New York, Los Angeles, London, Shanghai, and Columbus, Ohio. Laura Dushkes, the firm’s librarian, supports all of these offices (although she unfortunately doesn’t get to travel often!)

If Laura’s name sounds familiar, it may be because she is also an instructor at the iSchool. This quarter she’s teaching LIS 527 Business Information Resources (full disclosure: I’m currently taking it, and it is excellent!)

Photo by Chelsea Nesvig

Photo by Chelsea Nesvig

One theme that came up during the crawl was how the library relates to the mission of the firm. NBBJ exists to design buildings. Note that the word library doesn’t occur in that sentence. However a library is essential to supporting the work that goes on at NBBJ, by providing access to up-to-date building codes, design resources, and conducting research critical to their projects.

Being that NBBJ is an architecture firm, the design of their office is important their brand. The office is designed with a very open floor plan, and the library is no different.

Architecture and design magazines are prominently displayed in the library.

Architecture and design magazines are prominently displayed in the library.

The flexibility of the space allows staff to change desks to work closer with project teammates. It is not uncommon to see staff carting their belongings to a new location as projects ebb and flow at the firm. Laura remarked that the library and the model shop were among the few things that have not moved!

While the library is very aesthetically pleasing, the layout was different from what I expected. There are no walls or doors. Outside there is a reading area with lounge chairs and a long table displaying design magazines. Tall white stacks create an enclosed area with a table. During the crawl we discussed the pros and cons – some features of the space, including lighting and shelf height are not ideal for library use. Again, reflecting its location within a firm whose mission isn’t centered around a library. However, I think the openness of the library makes a statement; that it is an important company asset that is accessible to anybody in the company at any time. Also the open floor plan doesn’t seem too unusual. Later in the crawl when I spoke with Kathryn Nelson, another architecture firm librarian in Seattle, she mentioned that her library was moving this week to a similar set up!

Material samples help architects communicate their design vision to the client. Librarians help keep it organized

Material samples help architects communicate their design vision to the client. Librarians help keep it organized

The library is physically located at the heart of the building: it’s one of the first things you see as you enter the main floor, it’s near the model shop and most importantly, the coffee. Laura’s desk is located near a major walkway – which actually works out really well. People often stop by her desk to ask a quick question or follow up on a research request; being accessible helps her better support the needs of the office.

On the tour we also discussed some of the practical details of the library, including the classification system. The NBBJ library isn’t classified by Dewey or LCSH, but instead by a home-grown classification system that specifically fits the needs of NBBJ employees (this isn’t unusual for special libraries). It organizes the materials into different architectural categories, codes, design, ect. As in any library, weeding happens. Generally, Laura weeds when she needs more space. Sometimes books go missing – someone might be in a rush on a project and forget to fill out a check out card (or just forget a book is in their office). Laura notes that most of the leakage occurs in the visually stunning architecture books – the ones you might find on a coffee table. Collection development also happens at the NBBJ library. Once a year, Laura gets to head down Peter Miller (a bookstore specializing in architecture and design) and go on a shopping spree for books – it’s a particularly fun day of the year. Laura will also purchase books by demand. If a book is critical to a project she’ll order it right away, but she also keeps a list of “it would be nice if…” book suggestions for when she’s making purchasing decisions.

Paint chip storage in the materials library

Paint chip storage in the materials library

In addition to touring the library, we also went upstairs to visit the materials library. This space is a repository of paint chips, flooring samples, fabric,  tile, trim… These resources help architects at the firm make design decisions and also communicate their designs to a client.

We also stopped upstairs to check out a stunning model of downtown Seattle! This impressive model lays out all the buildings in the central part of the city and is updated regularly. I was even able to find my apartment on the map!

The very impressive model of downtown Seattle.

The very impressive model of downtown Seattle.

After touring the library spaces at NBBJ, we gathered in a conference room to mingle over wine and cheese. This was a great opportunity to meet information professionals from around Seattle, other students (not just from UW – there was an online student from Wayne State too), and recent grads.  The crawl-happy hour format was a very accessible introduction to the local SLA chapter, and an informal way to learn more about the work that goes on in special libraries.

If you’re an online student, I’d encourage you to reach out to your local SLA chapter – they may host events similar to this one. All the professionals I met at the crawl were incredibly friendly and very happy to talk to students. It was a great way to get out there and make some connections!

Seattle Area folks – stay on the look out for information about a SLA-PNW sponsored crawl at the Microsoft Library in January!

Photo by Chelsea Nesvig

Photo by Chelsea Nesvig

A new perspective on the I-90 I-5 Interchange

A new perspective on the I-90 I-5 Interchange

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SLA Library Crawl: STG and Cornish College of the Arts

UW-SLA members outside The Paramount

UW-SLA members outside The Paramount

SLA-UW’s first library crawl of spring quarter 2013 brought us to the Seattle Theatre Guild (STG)’s and Cornish College of the Arts’ libraries, where we got a look at two very different kinds of libraries on a beautiful spring day.

STG volunteer Bonnie shares her wisdom with the group

STG volunteer Bonnie shares her wisdom with the group

First, Bonnie, a volunteer at STG’s Paramount Theatre (who holds an MLIS from the University of Maryland) graciously showed us around the recently opened Historic Theatres Library of STG. STG is a non-profit arts organization here in Seattle that operates the Paramount, Moore, and Neptune Theatres. They present more than 400 shows annually, bringing diverse and exciting performers to the Seattle area. However, another important component of their mission is preservation, both of the historic theatres themselves, and the legacy they represent. This is where the Historic Theatres Library comes in. Housed in an old apartment in a tower connected to the theater that used to be used for artists in residence, the STG library is a small but growing collection of theater memorabilia, posters, programs, books, photographs, architectural drawings, and more with materials dating back to 1928, the year the theater opened. There are some very unique items, including original tickets to an early show and memorabilia signed by the actors and actresses themselves. They are also working on creating a complete list of what has been performed at the theaters, which is an ongoing project. The library covers materials from the history of the Paramount, Moore, and Neptune Theatres, providing a great resource for those interested in the fascinating history of theater and the performing arts in Seattle. Continue reading

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