Digital Preservation Meeting at North Park University

Brandel Library at North Park University. Photograph by Kathleen Gormley.
On June 24, 2016, approximately 15 CARA members met at the Brandel Library at North Park University to hear a talk on digital preservation and to get a tour of the F.M. Johnson Archives and Special Collections.

Aaisha Haykal, University Archivist at Chicago State University Archives and Special Collection, presenting on the POWRR Project. Photograph by Kathleen Gormley.

The digital preservation talk was given by Aaisha Haykal, University Archivist at Chicago State University Archives and Special Collections, who spoke about her work with the POWRR (Preserving digital Objects With Restricted Resources) Project. Aaisha and CSU were part of the initial team that in 2012-2014 gained funding from the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) to investigate, evaluate, and recommend scalable, sustainable digital preservation solutions for libraries with smaller amounts of data and/or fewer resources. Due to the success of that initial project, they received additional funding from the National Endowment for the Humanities Division of Preservation and Access to conduct workshops across the country over the course of 2015-2016.

Aaisha discussed the tools that can help with digital preservation, as seen at the POWRR website's tool grid. There you will find everything from freeware to paid services. Aaisha also talked about the importance of advocating for a digital preservation program at your institution. The POWRR website provides one-pagers with talking points to help archivists advocate to different professionals in their institutions. After Aaisha's presentation, there was a roundtable discussion where several CARA members shared their approaches to digital preservation. Hearing from our colleagues offered a reassuring reminder that we are not alone in facing the challenge of how to assess and preserve digital material.

Anna-Kajsa Anderson, Director of Archives and Special Collections at North Park University, stands next to the Skogsbergh Pulpit in the reading room of the F.M. Johnson Archives and Special Collections. Photograph by Kathleen Gormley.

To conclude the meeting, Kajsa Anderson gave a tour of the F.M. Johnson Archives and Special Collections, which holds the historical records of North Park University and the Evangelical Covenant Church as well as those of the Swedish-American Archives of Greater Chicago. The Archives staff was in the midst of preparations for the 125th Anniversary of the university, so we appreciate their taking the time to show us around.

Many thanks to Aaisha for a wonderfully educational presentation and to Kajsa for hosting the meeting!

A Visit to the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library

Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library
On June 9-11, 2016, six members of the Chicago Archive Collaborative traveled to Springfield, Illinois, to visit fellow CARA member Wanda V. Dole, Interim Director of Library Services for the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum. The Chicago Archive Collaborative consists of three archive collections: the Episcopal Diocese of Chicago, Claretian Missionaries USA-Canada, and the North American Province of the Cenacle. Representatives of all three archives participated in the trip to Springfield.

Over the course of two days, Wanda gave the visitors a thorough tour of the operations of the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library, from special collections to conservation to reference services. What follows is a visual tour of this experience.
Lincoln Curator James Cornelius shares the Minute Book of the
 Pigeon Creek Baptist Church that young Abraham Lincoln
and his family attended in Indiana.
 Ian Hunt, Acquisitions Librarian, shows a Civil War jacket to Claretian Missionaries Assistant Archivist Doris Cardenas.
The Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum holds more than 12.5 million items pertaining to Illinois history, of which the Lincoln collection is less than 1%. All together, there are more than eight miles of shelving.
Conservator Bonnie Parr points out some discoloration on a Hamlet costume worn by
Edwin Booth, the brother of John Wilkes Booth, President Lincoln's assassin. 
A Civil War figurine in the reading room of the Manuscripts Collections.

Reference Librarian Gwen Podeschi shares a Civil War-era scrapbook. The reference collection is a popular resource for genealogists.

Many thanks to Wanda for her invitation to tour the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum. We gained a lot of insight into the rewards and challenges of managing a state library. To close, here is a photo from the Museum of young Abe Lincoln in his famous log cabin!

Chicago Area Archivists Visit WTTW and WFMT

WTTW Chicago Public Media and WFMT Radio
On June 1, 2016, the Chicago Area Archivists (CAA) organized a tour of WTTW Chicago Public Media and WFMT Radio, both of which are housed in the same building at 5400 N. St. Louis Avenue. The tour was led by Allison Schein, Studs Terkel Radio Archive manager at WFMT Radio.
Chicago archivists on the set of WTTW's Chicago Tonight 
After leading tour participants through television sound stages, radio studios, and the WTTW Video Library, Allison shared the details of her work on the Studs Terkel Radio Archive. She explained the history of the project and the steps she has taken to make the digitized content of the archive accessible to the public. Of particular interest were SoundCloud for hosting audio content and Trint, a paid service that can help produce transcripts from oral history interviews. 
Allison Schein and CAA members in a WFMT Radio recording studio
Special thanks to CAA for organizing this highly informative tour!