Jessica Venlet – Library Fellow for Digital Archives

In October we welcomed Jessica Venlet to the Institute Archives as our two-year Library Fellow for Digital Archives [see prior post].  Since joining us, she has been learning about the MIT Libraries by meeting with staff from across the departments, engaging in work with the Digital Sustainability Lab, and jumping into existing digital archives infrastructure work as well as conducting background and analysis in some new areas.  Her work will expand and build upon the already established foundations of our digital archives program.jmvenlet

Her Archive Hour blog serves two purposes for her professional development during the Fellow experience.  As she writes on her blog’s About page,

“The first is a structured way to keep up on my professional reading and place my work within the professional landscape. Each week, I set aside “coffee hours” during which I will read a technical report, article from an information science journal, or blog posts from peers. After reading, I’ll post a short response. The second part of this blog will be a record of projects I’ll be working on as part of the MIT Institute Archives and Special Collections team.”   []

Jessica is a 2014 graduate of the University of Michigan, School of Information, with an MIS degree and a specialization in Library and Information Science and Preservation of Information.  She has a BA in English literature from Aquinas College.  Jessica was most recently a digital processing assistant at the University of Michigan’s Bentley Historical Library and previously spent time as an electronic records intern at the Michigan State University Library.

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Engineering Digital Sustainability

A new initiative at the MIT Libraries that the Institute Archives is a partner in with Curation and Preservation Services is the Digital Sustainability Lab. The DS Lab is a physical space in which hardware, software, and workflows are investigated through experimentation and testing to provide the MIT Libraries and the digital archives, digital curation, and digital preservation communities with assessments and workflow tests.  Our first two events of the Digital Sustainability Lab were:

    • Bit Curator and Digital Forensics lab set-up and training with Cal Lee and Kam Woods, UNC Chapel Hill School of Information and Library Science and the BitCurator Project.  during their two days at MIT Libraries, Cal and Kam gave an open presentation to MIT Library staff and joined by colleagues from Harvard University and Tufts University.
    • Remote installation and configuration of the open-source digital preservation system software Archivematica 1.1 and 1.2 along with Access to Memory 2.0, by Artefacutal staff supported locally by MIT Library ITS staff.

Nancy McGovern discusses the Digital Sustainability Lab with Kam Woods and Cal Lee.

Kari Smith with Kam Woods and Cal Lee look inside the F.R.E.D. computer.

Kari Smith with Kam Woods and Cal Lee look inside the F.R.E.D. computer.

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How Practicing Professionals can get Hands-on Experience

One of the frequent questions I am asked is about how to keep up to date and where to get hands-on experience with digital archives and digital curation. In June, I was invited to talk at the Lyrasis Town Hall on “How Practicing Professionals can get Hands-on Experience in Digital Curation.” My presentation was focused on models and suggestions for working professionals who cannot take time out from their current job to do an internship or residency.

Learning (while) on the job – Kari R. Smith, June 2014.
Lyrasis_001From the LYRASIS website:

“As the final event in LYRASIS’ NEH-funded Preservation Town Hall series, LYRASIS hosted a town hall meeting showcasing three different models for gaining hands-on experience in digital curation. Three speakers, George Coulbourne (The Library of Congress), Andrea Goethals (Harvard University) and Kari R Smith (Massachusetts Institute for Technology), presented on different education/training opportunities, followed by an open panel discussion with attendees to explore existing models, as well as existing needs.”  Read More…
Video Clip of Smith presentingThe Town Hall was held June 24th, 9:00 AM – 12:30 PM ET at Georgia Tech Global Learning Center. This Town Hall meeting was webcast live. Recordings are available on YouTube at: Lyrasis YouTube Channel

Featured Speakers for the Town Hall at Georgia Tech were George Coulbourne: “The National Digital Stewardship Residency Pilot Program – The Year in Review”
Andrea Goethals: “NDSR in Boston ”
Kari R Smith: “Learning [while] on the Job”

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