August 2017 Archives

Social Media

Hello all!

This week, while working on uploading more of my items to the Claremont Colleges Digital Library (CCDL), we have also been working on creating an online social media presence on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

Right now, we have our Facebook page up and running, which will function as the main hub for information about the project. We will announce updates and events there. Other project partners will contribute to this page as well. The Claremont Colleges Library's Twitter and Instagram will be hosting the CLIR CCEP's point of view of the project, and all posts we specifically make will be tagged with #CLIRWater.

I have been helping with this endeavor, and it has forced me to have to rethink how we use social media. How I use social media personally differs with how we use social media for a professional project. We have to be concise, specific, and efficient with how we advertise the project. We want our patrons to know what we're working on and why it matters, but we also have to figure out how to balance social media updates with continuing our digitization project.

Here are the links to the various social media sites:




My Struggles and Triumphs with ArchivesSpace

This past week I have been feverishly working on inputing the collection into ArchivesSpace. Last week I got a quick crash course on how to use ArchivesSpace. When I left work on Thursday for the weekend, I felt totally confident in my abilities to master the program. However, there was one hurdle that would disrupt my level of confidence...a three day weekend!

During my internship, I am only able to work Monday through Thursday. So after learning a handful of vital information on Thursday and then going on a hiatus for three days, I retuned on Monday with a lot less confidence. 

On Monday afternoon, I played around with ArchivesSpace trying to shake out any remnants from Thursday's crash course. It did not take me long to remember, and by Tuesday morning I was inputting data like a pro. I did run into a snag on Wednesday when I realized I mixed up box 7 and 8. Earlier in the week I managed to accidentally number all the folders in box 8 as box 7. Therefore, when I was inputting box 7 into ArchivesSpace I was really inputting box 8 under the wrong box number. I caught my mistake when I opened box 8 and realized it was box 7. I then had to go back, erase, and renumber all the folders in both boxes, and renumber the ones in ArchivesSpace. My other struggle with ArchivesSpace, or maybe the culprit was computer, was the lag time between clicking a folder title and loading the folder's information. It was not a big issue, but it did slow me down in renumbering my folders. 

Despite these struggles, I have been able to build up my confidence in working with ArchivesSpace. I hope to continue working with the program in order build up my skills as an archivist.

Chekhov's Irrigation Report

Hi folks! In my original blog post all the way back in April 2017, I talked about scanning Samuel B. Morris's "Report submitted by Pasadena Water Department to Federal Investigating Committee at hearing com. 2-24-26 re: San Gabriel Canyon Rs of W."

That report has finally been digitized and uploaded. You can read it here.

And what of my second post, you probably weren't asking but I'll tell you anyway, about Frederick Cecil Finkle's "Report on Victor Valley Irrigation District, San Bernardino County, California"?

Good news, hypothetical reader who's really into 1920s Victor Valley irrigation! That's been uploaded as well.

And whatever became of those Willis S. Jones field notes (last one, I swear)?

Now you too can experience the joy of reading Willis S. Jones's field notes from the comfort of your home.

And with that, my CCEPS work is finished. But this project isn't! There will be new fellows continuing this work, so keep an eye out for their posts.

Bye folks!

A Stream of New Items

Hello all! 

This week here at CCEPS I have been working on uploading my items finally to the Claremont Colleges Digital Library. After a long process, I am beginning to upload my 99 scanned items to the internet for patrons to have access to! Currently, I have uploaded 36 items. They are accessible here.

Some highlights from my uploading frenzy include the following items: 

Brochure containing two maps. Center spread is a black and white motor map of Southern California featuring red dots which indicate the locations of other Security-First National Bank of Los Angeles branches. The center spread features the automobile mileage of El Centro, Imperial Valley, California to other southern California cities. The other side features a vertical black and white map of the Imperial Valley with red dots which indicate the locations of other Security-First National Bank of Los Angeles Branches.

Colored hydrograph of the Salton Sea featuring data covering 1914-1933.

More items will be coming soon! But for now, enjoy these new items added to the Water Resources collection!

Heading Towards the Finish

This week I have finished up processing the collection. Next week I will begin the task of creating the finding aid using ArchivesSpace. 

A finding aid helps users in accessing and navigating the collection, and provides information about the contents within the collection 

If you go to the Online Archive of California, click on an institution and browse through the finding aids, you will see the variety of finding aids. You will also notice that although every collection has a finding aid, the content in the finding are never the same. 

This is because every collection was created in a unique way, every collection will have a different arrangement and description. Depending on how a collection was created, the arrangement and description for one collection may not necessarily work for another collection. The finding aid is there to help researchers understand a collection's specific arrangement, and find information within a collection that will be relevant to their research. The finding aid will also provide information on who created the collection and how the collection ended up at a certain institution. 

For example, the finding aid for the Roland Jackson Papers would have a biography about him. Which would say something along the lines of: 

Roland Jackson was a professor at CGU from 1970 to 1995. In the 1980s, he expanded the music program, established a Ph. D. program in musicology, composition, performance, conducting, and church music. He also founded the scholarly journal Performance Practice Review. As a music historian, Roland's research, teachings, and publications ranged, from computer music studies, early music, 19th century music, film music, music analysis, and performance practice. The collection contains correspondences and personal papers related to his personal life and academic career.

In addition, the finding aid will provided information about access, publication rights, accruals, processing information, and arrangement. Overall the finding is meant to provide as much information about the collection as possible. 

Field Trip

metro1.JPGHi folks! I've spent most of this week cropping images, so there isn't much of interest to report. In the meantime, here are some images I took a few weeks back of an exhibit at the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California.



Metadata Managed (For Now)

This week, I have finished managing and inputting my metadata for items. I scanned 100 items this summer! I thought there would be more items, but some items had more individual pages that needed scanning (a few items are over a hundred pages long), so it felt like I had processed more.

Nonetheless, working through this has taken several weeks, as this is my first time coming up with metadata in an archival setting. This process has required reviewing the scanned items' pdfs for content and context in order to write information for the "description" and "subject" fields. It requires searching through the Library of Congress authorities for controlled subject vocabulary, which helps archives patrons to find related items faster. As I've mentioned in the past, this requires being efficient, concise, but also clear. We do not want to mislead our patrons. We want to make sure our patrons are given the correct information. I have had to be meticulous to make sure I'm typing everything into CONTENTdm correctly (the syntax for fields has to be correct). 

Once I have input the other necessary information for an item's metadata, I upload the items. Here's a screenshot of what that looks like. Sometimes it's fast if the items are small, and sometimes it takes several minutes for just one item if it's a larger pdf.     

upload 1.pngFrom here, any new subject terms (such as local figures or regions) are added to the pool of controlled vocabulary available to us. Then, the items are approved. 

The process gets faster once you become familiar with the steps. Metadata is an intensive, focused step in the process of digitizing items, but an important one at that. 

Till next time!

Archival Processing in Review

This week I am still swimming deep within the waves of boxes and folders. I just wanted to do a quick overview of what I have done since the very start of my internship. 

1. Conducted a collection survey which helped me become familiar with the records within the collection. I took notes on collection's arrangement, materials, preservation problems, and the events documented within the collection. I also make sure the collection contained no sensitive information and took the necessary step to address those issues. 

2. Created a processing plan in which I wrote down information about the collection as a whole, issues to be aware of when processing the collection, and a proposal about how to arrange the collection. What I learned this week is that the processing plan is constantly changing. If my initial processing plan is not working, I can always add, remove, and edit the processing plan. 

3. Execute processing plan by removing clips, duplicates, acidic materials, and materials with no research value. Every action done during processing, should be written and documented in the process plan.  

 As of right nowI am happy to report that I am more than half way done with processing the collection! Hopefully, within the next two weeks I will begin to create the finding aid. 

In the mean time, I wanted to share some photos of Roland Jackson. 

September 1948
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REUNION- Former students of Wauwatosa High School, including many veterans, got together in the school cafeteria for an informal open house. During the evening. Roland Jackson, 1535 St. Charles St., obligingly pounded out some "hot licks" on the piano to entertain the crowed. 

Fall 1945
RJC 7.8.jpg

Spring 1947
RJC blog 7.7.jpg
Northland College faculty 1949
Roland top right
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May 1950
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This picture taken in Freiberg German. 1952. While at the University. 
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A Quiet Week

Hello all!

This week here at CCEPS, I have been working on metadata and file converting. I won't try and jazz up either of these two topics, but they're very important steps in the digitization process.

We have to convert all of the PDF files of scanned items into PDF/A files. This requires the usual attention to detail and patience, as sometimes it takes awhile for the file to convert fully, especially if the document is huge.

In the meantime, I am almost finished writing up the metadata for all of my items. Having scanned hundreds and hundreds of pages of items and taken at least a dozen photographs, you would think I would have hundreds of items ready to be uploaded once I finish my metadata. It's actually a lot less, once you realize that the items are all uniquely contained sets. I have 99 items, not quite a hundred, but close enough! Most of my items are related to the Imperial Valley Records, but I have a few items that are unrelated reports.

On top of working on the behind the scenes aspects of digitization, we have started talks about how the CLIRWater project will promote itself to the public through social media. It sounds like we will be making a Facebook page in the coming week. I haven't used Facebook in close to ten years, so figuring out what people even use the site for these days has required research. Never thought I would be doing research on social media, but there is an art to this kind of professional promotion. As I described last week, each social media site has a different purpose and appeals to a different demographic. Facebook has it's own audience and appeals to a different kind of posting style. I just have to figure out what that is for 2017.

Till next week! 

I Hope Waldo's Okay


Hi folks! Back with a second volume of newspaper clippings about the 1938 flood, succinctly known as: 

"Flood, March 1938 : newspaper clippings from Anaheim, Azusa, Brea, Chino, Claremont, Corona, El Monte, Glendora, Hollywood, North Hollywood, Long Beach, Los Angeles, Monrovia, Ontario, Orange, Pasadena, Pomona, Redlands, Riverside, San Bernardino, Santa Ana, Santa Monica, Torrance, Tujunga, Upland ; with photos. of San Antonio Creek and the Claremont area"

A recurring element in this batch of clippings is the flood's impact on the film industry, mostly in the form of delayed productions, marooned cast and crew, and swept away film sets. 


A few pieces mention Paramount's imperiled film vaults, but I've yet to come across any reports of permanent losses.



I'm now curious as to whether the flood's influence is at all discernible in movies produced during this time. Were scenes cut or rewritten in response to damaged sets or stars unable to reach the studios? There's an account of one production needing to shoot around the absence of a dog (Waldo) scheduled for that day. Did Waldo eventually show up on set? If not, did the filmmakers recast the dog? 

These are the things that keep me up at night.

The Croppening

Over the past several weeks I've scanned a bunch of field notes. When I make a scan, it usually looks something like this:

(Apologies for the poor image quality)

Note the negative space around the item.The reason for this is a) the book scanner's framing tool is somewhat clumsy (you can't move individual lines of the frame box) and b) jagged white lines sometimes appear along the edges of the frame.

crop5.JPGKinda hard to see, but it's there.

Anyway, if I box the frame scan too close to the object during the image capture, those white lines are then too close for me to safely crop out later without eating into the item (you want a little negative space in the finished scan, so the reader can see the whole of the item). Hence, lots of negative space.

And so I've been in the process of revisiting the field notes, one page at a time, and cropping them to an aesthetically pleasing item-to-negative space ratio. So this...

crop8.JPGNow looks like this:

(Again, ugh, that image quality. I promise I'll learn about screen capturing one of these days)

One down, I'm-afraid-to-even-count more to go!

The Silent Killers

The past few weeks of my CCEPS internship has been comprised of me sorting and cleaning up the folders and boxes in order to create a cohesive system for researchers to easily find what they are looking for within the collection. I have been slowly relabeling and re-foldering the records into acid-free folders, which will help preserve the records.

 The picture below show box before rehousing (right) and you can see how the folders to not match and the folders are overstuffed. What you can not see is the newspaper clippings and staples that are inside each folder. These items may not seem harmful, but over time can cause severe damage the records. The majority of newspapers are not meant for longevity and are made out of low quality wood pulp, which is very acidic. Good storage is critical to the preservations of newspapers. However, if a newspaper or clipping is left within a collection, the acid can transfer and destroy other records. It is important for an archivist to replace the clipping with the photocopy of the clipping. The clipping can either be thrown away, or be preserved for those who wish to study the material used to make newspapers. Staples are an another item that can cause irreversible damage. Many staples can rust, causing permanent staining on paper records. In addition, other office items such as clips, rubber bands, binder clips, straight pins, tape, and post-it notes can all cause physical or chemical damage 

As an archivist, it is my job to preserve these records for future research. So what I have been doing these past free week is removing staples, newspapers, office binders, and taking out anything that could potentially damage the records. In addition, I have been keeping track of photographs which will need mylar sleeve protectors.The box on the left show records that have been successful rehoused into new acid free box, acid free folders, with no staples, and no newspapers.

RJC blog 5.1.jpg

140 Characters: Is It Enough?

Hello all!

This week we took a field trip to the Metropolitan Water District in Los Angeles, California. We talked with David Keller, records management and imaging services, and Monika Medina, external affairs, media, and communications. We wanted to learn about the twitter campaign for MWD's 75th anniversary of the construction of the Colorado River Aqueduct. This campaign involved "live-tweeting" as individuals who helped with the construction and coordination of this water delivery project to promote the anniversary celebrations.

In turn, we shared about the CLIRWater project in order to gain insights about what we should do in order to promote the freshly digitized archival collections. Having thought on this issue, I have realized that marketing archives via social media requires thinking about the different purposes of each website and making the correct choice. Monika shared that we must think about the demographics of each platform's audience. We must ask ourselves, which platform would efficiently and creatively draw viewer's attention to the archives? Who are we marketing to?

I am interested in seeing how this aspect of the CLIRWater project will develop. I am personally only on a few different social media platforms, but talking with David and Monika has helped me realize that the websites are more different than I had previously realized. Being a frequent user of twitter and tumblr, I am familiar with these platforms. However, for a professional project in which you need to attract hits/viewership, this requires rethinking how you manage social media. Suddenly "live-tweeting" as historical characters requires thinking about how to make the most of 140 characters while also capturing the tone/accuracy of the historical people and events these tweets are meant to reflect. Not as easy as it might sound on first blush. 


Hello readers! This will be my last blog post as today marks my last day as a CLIR CCEPS fellow. This experience has taught me skills I didn't have before - now I consider myself an experienced scanner, photographer, and metadata creator. This fellowship also made me realize the amount of work that goes into archiving materials that scholars can easily access on a computer, something I very much took for granted before the fellowship. Lastly, I've thought a lot about water during the past two months, as a result of working with documents saturated with discussions about it. I can't help but think about how pertinent something like access to water is in our current climate, one in which leaders openly deny global warming and the reality that human actions have the capacity to damage the environment in real and catastrophic ways. I can go to the water fountain that is twenty feet away from me and get cold, clean water on a hot day, and I can do this because of the foresight of individuals who came long before me. Without this foresight, and what to me is at its core compassion for human and non-human life, disaster will ensue, and this is both irresponsible and cruel. Thank you to everyone for a great experience, and for the care you put into your work!