So we got the go ahead to submit our final paper as a zine for the capstone! Yippee!! We were even told that it would be a wonderful first addition to the MADH program, but were also cautioned to not take on too much work. Zines are a lot of work, but it does make the most sense for our project and furthermore, Jenna and I both like making zines, so it seems like the perfect medium to communicate the accomplishments of our work in grad school on the Zine Union Catalog. If anyone reading this wants to suggest content for the zine, please read this 12 hours / week post that goes into some detail about what we are considering for inclusion in the final capstone zine and comment there…or contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org
In other update news, Jenna and our Openflows consultant were hard at work over the last week to create, adjust, and readjust the maps for ABC No Rio and Carnegie Library! I should take a moment to acknowledge that our MAP is indeed a map that allows for us to direct the Collective Access system to map metadata from a spreadsheet filled with lots of information about the zine collections into the appropriate fields within the Collective Access system, but it also stands for Metadata Application Profile. It’s also sometimes called a Crosswalk. The DPLA has a bit to say about the MAPs used for their system. Collective Access also provides information for understanding their Data Importer (as CA calls it).
Lauren and I thought repeating the ingests would be super easy. Breaking news: just because it’s easy-ish to map and upload thirty records and limited fields from a catalog does not mean it’s easy to upload 12,401 records that include category and keyword fields, especially when the server processing in the ingest doesn’t have the biggest brain.
I’m a little late on this post (it was supposed to be shared last weekend), but as you can imagine and understand, life and work sometimes get in the way! I’m remembering clearly this very moment our conversation with our two advisors, Lisa and Maura, a month or so ago, where they so kindly reminded us to mitigate our expectations for ourselves and this capstone over the course of the semester! We did some math during that meeting where they helped us think through how many hours each week we were going to spend on the project based on the prospectus we gave them (it was something like 12 hours/week) and I have definitely not had 12 hours this week, or last, to devote to ZineCat. For anyone reading this that works in an academic institution of higher education, you may empathize with my plight, but enough about me being tardy on this (last week’s) blog post…let me fill you in on the update.
Our Zine Hack/Doc day has come and gone and it was quite the day! Fifteen participants spent the better part of Sunday, October 6, 2019 embarking on a discovery of the Zine Union Catalog. This entailed conversations about user needs, metadata, shared authority, cataloging challenges, workflows, algorithms, and human interventions in any ZineCat workflow. Participants had a varying degree of familiarity with ZineCat and/or with Collective Access, the platform that ZineCat is run on, and came from a variety of institutions (including a co-developer of CA!). We also had one attendee join in from Milwaukee using Zoom and we thank them for tolerating the intermittent wifi disconnection and sometimes poor sound quality. Ultimately, it turned out to be more discovery than hack/doc, but we’re happy with the way it turned out! The following is a summary of the day’s events.
Lauren and I have agreed to post alternating updates on our progress as we collaborate on our capstone project: ZineCat improvements, planning and documentation. Our goals, as recorded in our prospectuses are:
extend the existing prototype with larger record sets and additional metadata fields (wild descriptors and uniform date and location)
This session, held in the Zine Pavilion (booth 2947) on Sunday, June 23 from 12-1pm, is about ZineCat (work-in-progress), a union catalog dedicated to zines! It brings together holdings from disparate libraries with divergent metadata schema. The zine union catalog attempts to harmonize, rather than normalize and find mutuality, rather than control of creators and descriptors. The catalog is built on the open access platform Collective Access and is made with zine creators in mind, as much as catalogers and researchers. We’re still just at the prototype stage and embrace new contributors and contributions!
I drew a blank (hehe) and panicked, but after 120 seconds of panicking, I was inspired. Start with the cat (for CATalog)! I drew a little cat on the cover of a zine. Then I drew some other clustered rectangles representing the zine collections that will be included in ZineCat with all clusters pointing to the Catalog. And voila! My drawing. With no words.
I’d like to thank Lisa Rhody for a lot of things, but especially for kicking off the GCDRI in this way. It’s refreshing to start a tech conference with paper and colored pencils. I also met a digital fellow whose research includes a zine collection. Connections!
There’s also been a healthy dose of learning about technology tools that can be used in the Digital Humanities, the Academy, the professional world, and more specifically, for ZineCat. I’ll write a longer post about this in the near future, but for now, know that I’ve been busy learning how to use the command line to execute version control over files and projects, how to push this content to GitHub, how to program using Python, and today we’ve done quite a bit of Text Analysis using python and Jupyter Notebook. It’s been a lot and I’m quite tired, but well worth the exhaustion.
Jenna and Lauren have come to the end of another semester at the Graduate Center and have had another opportunity to investigate the importance and purpose of the Zine Union Catalog, this time from a textual studies perspective. For this semester, they both took a course called Doing Things with Novels where they created an audiobook, an annotated digital edition using hypothes.is and played a novel (Nella Larsen’s Passing) using a literary role playing game: Ivanhoe. One could also say they are doing things with Digital Humanities.
It wouldn’t be a complete experience for them if they did not use use the tools and theories they’re learning and discussing to look at ZineCat. So, what they did this time around is to grapple with big questions regarding metadata and the role catalogers/librarians/archivists play in creating metadata. As many of you may know, metadata is a big part of what is going to make the Zine Union Catalog so awesome, but what you may not know is that Jenna and Lauren haven’t quite figured out all the answers to the big questions regarding zine metadata! We’re getting closer…
The project is called: Catalogers as Authors, Metadata as Annotation. They worked a lot this semester with authors and annotation, so they tried to keep with the theme. They’re not sure if they did strictly adhere to literary analysis or if they really explained how catalogers are authors and metadata can be equated to annotation, but they had a lot of fun creating metadata and working in Collective Access, and as always: working together. What you will find in the Zine Union Catalog now is a set of catalog records for a collection called: Doing Things with Novels Final Project. The types of records fall into the following categories that are essentially different parts of our project (or could be interpreted as different sections of our “paper” listed alphabetically and not necessarily in order of how you should read through the project):
Comparative Analysis (Jenna looked closely at the same zine record that is described by six different collections within ZineCat while Lauren looked closely at the collections). This entry is related to the Record Readings.
Introduction – Content
Introduction – Methodology
Record Reading (analysis of each zine and contributing collection).
Reflection – General
Works Considered (Bibliography)
Jenna and Lauren worked together, but not together on this project. They had in person meetings before and after class, and collaborated on a google doc, while also posting and receiving comments on the course blog and via email. They’ve also started to comment on each others entries within ZineCat and encourage visitors to leave comments too (account required to add them to ZineCat and can be arranged by sending an email request) or to email or tweet directly at them: zinecatproject.at.gmail.com or @zinecat. They’ll continue to comment on each other’s work. They’re both really busy with work and school and their schedules don’t always coordinate so well to work in person on the same days, or even in the same city. Nevertheless, they both have contributed to this project collaboratively with the great help of a Collective Access fairy (CAf) that Jenna gives a great acknowledgment to in her Acknowledgements entry in ZineCat (you should read it!).
They suggest that you start here within the collection after you’ve familiarized yourself with the assignment description, then go here for an overview of how the project evolved, and end up with the conclusions and reflections catalog records after you’ve navigated through annotations and close readings of records and collections. It’s possible you’ll follow that, but it’s also possible you’ll make your own way through the collection (alphabetically, by person, by collection, or by term which means the genre of the type of entry–see list above) or just search and browse; however you navigate through is just fine since everyone comes at information seeking a little differently! If you want to just see all the content related to this project, click here.