The Information Professional
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The Information Professional
Librarians and Archivists in a fast-changing digital lanscape
Curated by Karen du Toit
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Stanford U. Libraries Begins Building New Tool To Assist in Creation of Digital Collection Websites - Spotlight | LJ INFOdocket

Stanford U. Libraries Begins Building New Tool To Assist in Creation of Digital Collection Websites - Spotlight | LJ INFOdocket | The Information Professional |

"Feedback from librarians, curators, faculty, and other stakeholders has made it clear that there is a strong demand for feature-rich collection sites and, as the volume of digitized content continues to grow, that this demand will continue to outweigh our resources for producing them with a custom-built approach.

To address this, in the first quarter of 2014, SUL began building an application called Spotlight.

Spotlight is a Blacklight plugin that enables librarians, curators, and researchers who are responsible for digital collections to create attractive, feature-rich websites that showcase these collections. Spotlight leverages the rich resource discovery capabilities of Blacklight and extends it to allow curators to feature content from a repository system by enhancing it with rich narrative and context. Spotlight has similarities to existing exhibit solutions but seeks to expand on current models to more tightly integrate with repository infrastructures and bring equally strong focus on search results, objects, and supporting intellectual scaffolding.

The lead designer on the effort, Gary Geisler, took a user-centered approach to conceiving of a highly generalizable solution that took into account Stanford’s local needs as well as feedback from peers at other cultural heritage institutions who are searching for a similar solution. The project planning artifacts, which include concept documents, requirements, detailed personas and mockups, are openly available."


 Complete Blog Post by Stu Snydman & Gary Geislerto Learn More, View Video With Accomplishments from Sprint 1
Karen du Toit's insight:

Enhanced digitization via Spotlight!

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New Dudley borough archive opens to to give people futuristic facilities to to peer into the past - Dudley News

New Dudley borough archive opens to to give people futuristic facilities to to peer into the past - Dudley News | The Information Professional |

"HISTORY buffs can research Halesowen and Cradley's past at Dudley's new £6 million archives and local history centre which opened this week.

Located next to the Black Country Living Museum, it is the first public building built by Dudley Council for 20 years and replaces the outgrown, ageing facility at Coseley.

It houses the borough's archives which date back to the 12th century - including every back copy of the Halesowen News - and it is hoped the resources will be well used by local historians and people interested in tracing their descendants."

Karen du Toit's insight:

Would love to see this archive!

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Mobiles and informal learning spaces: libraries and museums | Connected Learning

Mobiles and informal learning spaces: libraries and museums | Connected Learning | The Information Professional |

How is mobile technology transforming and enriching the experiences of informal learning spaces such as libraries and museums?

 About The Speaker(s)Jeffrey Schnapp - Co-director of the Berkman Center for Internet and Society; Founder, metaLAB at HarvardBarry Joseph - Associate Director for Digital Learning, American Museum of Natural HistoryAllegra Burnette - Creative Director, Digital Media at The Museum of Modern ArtMatthew Battles - Principal & Associate Director, metaLAB at HarvardNate Hill - Assistant Director, Chattanooga Public Library Video
Karen du Toit's insight:

Webinar available! 

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Welcome · Digital Public Library of America

Welcome · Digital Public Library of America | The Information Professional |

"The Digital Public Library of America brings together the riches of America’s libraries, archives, and museums, and makes them freely available to the world. It strives to contain the full breadth of human expression, from the written word, to works of art and culture, to records of America’s heritage, to the efforts and data of science. The DPLA aims to expand this crucial realm of openly available materials, and make those riches more easily discovered and more widely usable and used, through its three main elements:


1. A portal that delivers students, teachers, scholars, and the public to incredible resources, wherever they may be in America. 

2. A platform that enables new and transformative uses of our digitized cultural heritage. 

3. An advocate for a strong public option in the twenty-first century."

Karen du Toit's insight:

The Digital Public Library of America - a free resource!

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“Spotlight on a Librarian” Royal Society Publishing (UK) interview with Richard Hulser

“Spotlight on a Librarian” Royal Society Publishing (UK) interview with Richard Hulser | The Information Professional |

Chief Librarian 
Natural History Museum Los Angeles County:

"I recently had the pleasure to be ‘interviewed’ via e-mail by the Royal Society Publishing (UK) newsletter editor for their regular feature “Spotlight on a Librarian”. Here is the URL if the link doesn’t work for some reason:

Topics I discuss in the article include open source content access and affordable pricing to research articles among other points."

Karen du Toit's insight:

Interview with a librarian: "his work at three museum libraries and gives us an insight into the challenges faced today by research libraries with smaller FTE and smaller budgets to cope with the increasing cost of subscriptions"

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Culture professionals network | The Guardian

Culture professionals network | The Guardian | The Information Professional |
Analysis, news, comment and jobs for arts, museum and heritage professionals


Free membership:


The Guardian Culture Professionals Network (CPN) is an essential meeting space for arts, heritage and culture professionals, offering commentary, community engagement and access to a range of perspectives and best practice from across your sector. Our content is international, open and dynamic.

We also provide connections. As a network member, we will connect you online and offline with peers and partners across a range of disciplines and departments - people who are looking to share ideas and make things happen.

Whether you work in audience development, arts marketing, venue management, fundraising and finance, cultural policy or - like so many culture professionals - you're a creative freelancer with a portfolio career, you'll find the Guardian Culture Professionals Network an invaluable source of knowledge and contacts for your professional life.

Karen du Toit's insight:

Receive an ebook from CultureLabel: "Focusing on the consumer trends that are reshaping the landscape open to the cultural entrepreneur, this exclusive book explores the opportunities available to you and organisations that embrace these new realities, along with the potential pitfalls that may befall those who don’t."


Valuable for librarians/archivists as well!

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Villagers record their own memories on online archive - This is Somerset

Villagers record their own memories on online archive - This is Somerset | The Information Professional |
This is Somerset
Villagers record their own memories on online archive
Volunteers from the Quest project and Bath Spa University's history department have been carrying out the "people's survey" encouraging people to share a special person, place, building or object for the archive."
Karen du Toit's insight:

Great idea to enhance the content of an archive!

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The Bastardization of the Term Curator and What Museum Curators Think of It

The Bastardization of the Term Curator and What Museum Curators Think of It | The Information Professional |

Robin Good: "A throwdown about the term "curator"". This is the title that Suse Cairns gave to her recent article, in which she opens by writing: "Lately, questions about the bastardisation of the term curator have been emerging around the blogosphere.


The Hermitage Museum wrote An Open Letter to Everyone Using the Word ‘Curate’ Incorrectly on the Internet, and Digital Transformations recently asked whether DJs are curators, and vice versa.


Their opening volley caught my attention:


"The word ‘curator’ gets used liberally these days to talk about stuff people do on the web. But does that devalue the term?


Is there any way what someone does on Facebook is comparable to the years of training and knowledge which goes into curating collections in museums and galleries?"


I believe that if Suse Cairns had the opportunity to see the real work that goes into professional content or news curation, she would not hesitate an instant in recognizing how skilled and experienced a person must be, in several disciplines, to even consider attempting doing such a job.


On the other hand, I can't but agree with her colleagues who are pulling their hair in disgust when they see people proudly "picking" and republishing other people content "as is" while defining themselves as "curators".


I must also convene with her complaining colleagues that curation has little or nothing to do with personal expression and social sharing, two reputable and valuable activities, which can be carried out with similar tools, but which require very different skills and time, and which have very little in common beyond the immediate surface. 


If one does not look or pay attention at these small details it is very easy to get caught into misleading generalizations (content curation is useless, etc.).


I am actually pointing to this article, not so much for the good effort that Suse Cairns to reconciliate traditional museum curators with the new self-acclaimed content curators, but for the excellent series of comments that her short article did spark.


Among them, I have excerpted this little gem from Suse herself: "I’m reading Stephen E. Weil’s Rethinking the Museum, and there is a section that seems entirely appropriate to this discussion.


On page 53, Weil discusses the work of John Cotton Dana, and writes “In his 1917 book The New Museum, Dana urged that museums of the future make a special effort to attract the young and to interest them in making collections of their own – collections that they might ultimately share with the public. This development of the collecting habit, he wrote:

“...with its accompanying education of powers of observation, its training in handiwork, its tendency to arouse interests theretofore unsuspected even by those who possess them, its continuous suggestions toward good taste and refinement which lie in the process of installing even the most modest of collections, and its leaning towards sound civic interest through doing for one’s community a helpful thing – this work of securing the co-operation of boys and girls, making them useful while they are gaining their own pleasure and carrying on their own education, is one of the coming museum’s most promising fields.”"

With this idea in mind, maybe this idea of collecting or “curating” online – even if it were only simple list-making – can be seen as an interesting, useful and positive thing."


Inspiring. Sense-making. 9/10


Read the full article and ALL the comments here: ;

Via Robin Good
suse cairns's comment, October 13, 2012 3:05 AM
Hi Robin. I've held off on responding to this, but when it was rescooped today I decided that I would write in to chat about your interpretation of my initial post. It was not actually my original intention to "reconciliate traditional museum curators with the new self-acclaimed content curators", nor was I dismissing professional content "curation". Instead, I was speaking to the evolution in the nomenclature; to the fact that the word 'curator' is now being used widely beyond the borders of the museum sector, much to the chagrin of many within it. In fact, I was arguing that if people like yourself, professional content curators, want to use the term 'curator' to describe themselves, then that was a positive thing - something that not everyone in my sector would (or did) agree with. Your interpretation of my initial post is understandably coloured by your own perspective, but this also means you are reading into the discussion things that were not necessarily there.
Robin Good's comment, October 13, 2012 3:11 AM
Thanks Suse for your kind comments and for sharing your thoughts on this. As I have written there is plenty of good things you have written in your article, and our ability to understand and make meaning out of newly explored grounds like this one, is enriched by not having everyone agree and see things in the same way.

I am still thankful to your post which provided lots of valuable insight and some good sparks for extra discussion.
suse cairns's comment, October 14, 2012 3:32 AM
Fantastic to hear. One of the most enjoyable and interesting things about the Internet, I think, is the space it makes for conversation across all kinds of boundaries; sparks for discussion indeed. It's those new connections, across spaces, that open up room for new kinds of thinking and understanding.