Shin Nichibei – New Japanese American News: A Preservation Project

July 18th, 2014 § 1 comment § permalink

Ed. Note: This is a guest post from our newest Preservation student assistant, Hilary McCreery. Hilary is about to start her second year in the UCLA MLIS program, and is actively pursuing interests in preservation and conservation topics.

A current project of interest in the UCLA Preservation Department entails the review of and recommendation for the digitization of Shin Nichibei: New Japanese American News, a newspaper that was published in Los Angeles in the mid-20th century. UCLA Library is the only known institution to hold copies of this newspaper, making the preservation and digitization of the news source more important than ever. More than just rare, this newspaper offers a distinct perspective of life in Los Angeles in the mid-20th century. Because its intended audience was constituents of a specific diaspora in Los Angeles (Japanese-American), the content of the paper represents issues and news stories that reflected the interests and concerns of this population. For this reason, Shin Nichibei would not necessarily contain the same news stories as larger regional newspapers (e.g. The Los Angeles Times) or would at least offer a different and unique perspective on the same issues covered by more mainstream newspapers. This newspaper would be a valuable resource for anyone studying the Japanese-American diaspora in Los Angeles or Japanese immigration in Los Angeles, as well as for anyone looking for historical, alternative news sources published in Los Angeles in the 1940s-1960s.Image of front page
The newspaper is printed in English and Japanese and features articles, classified advertisements, commercial advertisements, photography and a daily cartoon illustration. While the newspapers are generally intact, the condition of the paper is brittle and somewhat faded. Many pages have sustained tears at the edges due to poor handling.

In researching ways to better preserve and digitize this material, I came across several resources that detailed specific methods for the storage and handling of newspapers, as well as suggestions for best practices for digitization.

  • Library of Congress: Preservation Measures for Newspapers —The Library of Congress provides basic protocol and recommendations for handling and storing newspapers, as well as touches on conservation treatment and reformatting options for newspapers. This resource served as a good starting point in determining storage and handling standards for the Shin Nichibei preservation project.
  • Northeast Document Conservation Center: Storage & Handling —The Northeast Document Conservation Center offers many sources of information for caring for collections, both physical and digital. I found the Storage Solutions for Oversized Paper Artifacts especially helpful in determining storage options and protocol for the Shin Nichibei newspapers.
  • North Carolina Digital Heritage Center: Digitization Guidelines —The North Carolina Digital Heritage Center promotes the high-quality digitization of cultural heritage materials and offers recommendations for best practice in doing so. This resource was especially helpful in determining what hardware to use to digitize the Shin Nichibei newspapers. The website also offered specific processes for and examples of newspaper digitization, all of which was incredibly relevant to the Shin Nichibei preservation project.

Shin Nichibei is an important resource for the UCLA library and implementing best practices for handling and storage are crucial to help mitigate the deterioration and extend the lifespan of this historical resource. Moreover, digitizing the newspaper will allow for wider access to this unique resource, which in turn, will allow the history of the Japanese-American community in Los Angeles to be remembered forever.


New Preservation Unit Head announced!

August 2nd, 2013 § 0 comments § permalink

Yesterday University Librarian Virginia Steel announced our new unit head, Dawn Aveline. Here’s an excerpt from her message:

I am pleased to announce the appointment of our new Head of Preservation, Dawn Aveline, effective today, Thursday, August 1, 2013.

For the past year, Dawn Aveline has served as the Preservation Specialist in the UCLA Library’s Preservation Department. Prior to that role, Dawn worked closely with Jake Nadal in Preservation as a Library Assistant from November 2010 – March 2012. From September 2006 – October 2010 she was a Business Development Manager for Fluidity Design Consultants in Hollywood, California. In 2002-2006, at Fox Entertainment Group, Dawn assisted the vice president in charge of information technology infrastructure services, where she gained broad expertise and understanding of state of the art digital and information technologies, project management and stewardship of digital assets. Dawn holds a Masters of Library and Information Science with a specialization in Archival Studies from UCLA. She also holds a Bachelor of Arts in French Language and Civilization with a minor in Italian from Indiana University, in Bloomington, Indiana, and a Baccalauréat in Literature from Lycée Gustave Monod, Enghien-les-Bains, France. Dawn is an active member of Preservation Administrators Group, Co-Chair of the Book and Paper Interest Group in ALA, Steering Committee Member of Los Angeles Preservation Network (LAPNet) and has presented on a wide variety of preservation, stewardship and collection management topics. Dawn is active in the letterpress, typography design, Arduino programming and maker communities. She is also an enthusiastic advocate in the value of collaboration, team-building, planning and stewardship.

 All of us in Preservation are excited to continue our work with Dawn and support her efforts as Head of our Unit.



The Cow of Plenty and the Five Laws of Library Science

May 1st, 2012 § 0 comments § permalink

I was sorting through a couple bins of damaged books from the Young Research Library yesterday and came across a 1957 edition of S.R. Ranganathan’s the Five Laws of Library Science (Madras, India: Madras Library Association, 1957). The half title page included the fabulous illustration above used by the Madras Library Association.

S.R. Ranganathan was a president of the Madras Library Association, but I don’t know if he was at the time this logo was designed or when the book was published. He also had a brilliant mind – one of the greatest in the library field ever. » Read the rest of this entry «

Thinking about thinking about preservation

August 12th, 2011 § 1 comment § permalink

I gave a talk for the Amigos “Digital Preservation: What’s Now? What’s Next” conference today in which I trotted out what I consider one of my better formulations of (one of) the model(s) I use for thinking about preservation. This model says that preservation consists in sustainable efforts, optimized over time. The change is from thinking of “preservation” and “preserved” as closed efforts or checklists of pre-defined actions to be completed. Instead, the focus is on ranking the “preservation” of things and having a process for “preserving” them.

With that distinction made, it becomes clearer that preservation/preserving is a function of strategy and management and that preserved/preservable is a function of technical knowledge about the specific types of objects in an archives’ care. For the strategic side of the process, I think Snowden and Kurtz’ Cynefin model is the most useful thing going, closely followed by Shenton and the British Library’s work on Life-cycle Collection Mangement.

For the objects themselves, I propose the following model:

  • Substrate: tangible substance(s) that carries media
  • Media: material(s) that record information
  • Transport: means(s) for perceiving media
  • Language: system(s) for interpretation of media

In this way, digital preservation and artifactual preservation can be dealt with as different instances of the same basic problem. Preservation succeeds when failures in all four factors are eliminated, corrected, or mitigated and there is a sustainable process in place that will support prevention and repair or recovery at appropriate times.

» Read the rest of this entry «

Preservation Week IV: Education for Preservation

April 28th, 2011 § 4 comments § permalink

Since I’m posting from my alma mater bibliotheca, we’re coming up on the deadline for our summer internships, and have several of our student assistants about to hit the job market, I thought I would share some thoughts on getting an education for preservation and conservation.

I got into this line of work by happy accident. I decided on Indiana University because I could dual enroll for music and library science. I took a part-time job in an early book digitization project that was co-funded by the Preservation Department and the Digital Library Program. One thing led to another.

At the time, UT Austin was the standard-bearer for library and archives preservation and conservation education, and the roots of that program were in the program at Columbia University, the first of its kind in the US. Outside of UT, Pittsburgh was the other center for preservation education, though to my knowledge Pitt didn’t have the same conservation options as UT. In the last few years, though, the preservation tracks in both of these programs have diminished or disbanded. In 2011, it’s very hard to give a concrete answer to the question of how a library and archival science student should get an education in either preservation or conservation.

» Read the rest of this entry «

Preservation Week III: Data

April 27th, 2011 § 0 comments § permalink

Today, I want to take a break from preservation administration think pieces and write a little bit about tools of the trade. Preservation administration is arguably a subset of management, and the old adage that “you can’t manage what you can’t measure” has led to lots of preservation data collection. Various projects have measured costs, environmental conditions, productivity, and condition of materials in the collection. All of this is part of what gets variously called “data-driven” or “evidence-based” practice, the gist of which is that before doing something, you ought to have some measurable indicator of success or failure so that you can assess the impact of your work.

When I started at UCLA, there wasn’t a lot of data to go on. We needed to do a condition survey and since we didn’t have much in the way of staff, we needed a clever way to get data quickly. I decided to repurpose some work I did at NYPL when we needed to get condition information for the Rose Main Reading Room on short notice. This survey started from asking what possible preservation outcomes we had available to us and then collecting a set of data that would guide us through that decision tree. Other condition surveys have tended to be descriptive, collecting data to describe the items in the collection. This was diagnostic, collecting data to sort the collection into categories for preservation action.

Both types have value, of course, so we put some flesh on the bones of that NYPL survey and did a few rounds of data collection and that was pretty good. But most preservation surveys trace their roots back to the Yale survey in the 80s and the methods Carl Drott developed for collection managers to sample for usage in their printed serials collections in the 60s. When I called up a colleague in the UCLA Statistics Department and talked to them about what I was doing, they very nicely suggested that the state of the art in statistics had come a little ways in the last 30 or 40 years. So, they put three undergrads on the project of hacking through the data that I had, and in this post, I want to give a taste of what they did.

If you already know about Differentiation and Fuzzy Cluster, CART, and AGNES, there’s nothing to see here. If not, read on for bewildering charts and sophisticated statistics.

» Read the rest of this entry «

Preservation Week II: Problems versus Process

April 26th, 2011 § 2 comments § permalink

At the IPI workshop today, we naturally fell to talking about the relationship between collection managers and facilities managers. One of the hurdles in optimizing collection storage environments is that these two groups simply have different ways of working, each one adapted to the general requirements of their work and customs of their profession, and often enough, these are very different cultures. In the course of the discussion I mentioned to my (soon-to-be-emininetly-employable) students, Nora Bloch and Jacque Geibel, that this was an instance of a general problem we’ve talked about in preservation administration, and that’s the subject of today’s preservation week update. Let’s call it problems versus processes.

I suspect that every preservation librarian can quickly rattle off a list of specific problems they have on their to-do list. For me, there’s an incoming Ethiopian poster collection, Nazi-era press leaflets, recordings of Roy Newquist’s interviews, four volumes of Variedades that were somehow missed during a microfilming project in the 1990s; the list goes on and you get the picture. Each one of these is important, each one has a collection manager or three advocating for it, and enticingly, each one has a beginning and an end. These things could get actually and truly done.

And if I did all of them, several months would go by and the preservation objectives of the UCLA Library and its ability to be a trustworthy steward of the human record would be advanced barely at all.

» Read the rest of this entry «

Preservation Week: Tangible Records

April 25th, 2011 § 2 comments § permalink

Preservation week starts today and throughout the celebration, I’ll be writing daily updates on key principles that help me out as a preservation administrator. I’m writing these quickly. Partly that’s because there is quite a lot else to do in this preservation week, but also because I think there’s some value in sharing thoughts unvarnished. I’d welcome comments and conversation. After preservation week, I’ll take some time to clarify, respond and revise. (Comments on the form are moderated before public posting, so you can write off the cuff, too.)

“Tangible records” is not the most poetic pair of words, but I think it’s a crucial idea and it’s no accident that I’m starting off with this idea for Monday in Preservation Week. Preservation can get complex very quickly, as one finds out all the known constraints on any particular preservation plan and identifies all the information that’s lacking. Remembering to come back to the question of what is actually recorded and how that recording occurs is a critical check and a great guide to priorities.

» Read the rest of this entry «

Google video shutting down

April 21st, 2011 § 2 comments § permalink

Google Video will be taken offline soon. And for those of you who read that and blanch, Archive Team has some advice:

This a good reminder about what it means to be a trustworthy digital archive. For day-to-day reliability, a network service like Vimeo, Google Video, or YouTube is a good choice. These services farm out the work of good system administration, so that the work is done in an environment that has a high stake in success and is able to operate systems on a scale that leads to tremendous benefits. These services have remarkable uptime, they’re resilient, and they save individuals the pain of managing backup routines and doing recovery tests and all the other hassle of good system administration. For all these reasons, I think that LOCKSS-like network services have tremendous value and need to be a key piece of our preservation infrastructure.

There is another part of the digital preservation problem that has little do with technology. Reliable technology exists in unreliable organizations. If you’re banking with a provider that doesn’t have the same goals for posterity as your do, then you need an exit strategy. This goes for online video services just as it goes for the real estate of a storage facility. » Read the rest of this entry «

Preservation and Conservation Internships for Summer 2011

March 29th, 2011 § 0 comments § permalink

The UCLA Library Preservation Department is offering two internships for the summer of 2011.

Application deadline is April 29, 2011.

The visiting internship program offers capstone experiences to individuals enrolled in graduate preservation or conservation education and provides pre-program experiences to qualified students who are applying for Masters-level training in conservation.

Preservation Administration

The intern will work with the preservation officer to complete a project in one of the following areas: audit and assessment of the condition of a library collection, development of disaster response and business continuity plans, or review and quality control of a preservation process. The intern will work with staff and collections to collect data that guides preservation decisions and assists with project management. Typical projects include collection surveys, environmental monitoring, business continuity planning and review of materials for preservation contract services.

Conservation Treatment

This internship will provide experience to pre-program students for individuals planning to attend graduate level conservation programs. The internship will focus on conservation decision making, treatment and documentation for library and archival collections. The conservation intern will work under the supervision of the collections conservator to perform repair or make enclosures for materials selected from the collections. Relevant literature will be reviewed prior to conservation treatment and all projects will be documented. » Read the rest of this entry «