ZineCat White Paper update

Dear Maura & Lisa (as well as anyone else reading this):

We would like to update you on our progress as we are about a month away from the date of submission for the capstone project.  We have ingested 31,919 records from six collections into the development site and will be working on finalizing the front end of ZineCat Dev Site so that it can be viewed by the public next weekend.  For now, take our word that you can discover a much greater sample of zine records! We had planned to include Anchor Archive (or at least their subject thesaurus) and reached out to a colleague that had shown interest in submitting zine records to us about a year ago (but we weren’t ready then to receive the additional collection), but neither of those prospects have come to fruition.  As has been noted in many updates over the last two+ months, Collective Access has provided its fair share of technical challenges. It’s not a perfect system, but let’s be honest, what is? We will be including a section in our white paper zine for software reviews and will be sure to cover all the imperfect technology we’ve encountered along the way!

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We’re back to ingesting records, as we finally got a good extract from QZAP, thanks to zine librarian Dianne Laguerta, who worked with the data as part of a Code School program. And the records are still giving us/CollectiveAccess indigestion. 

photo of a 1980s woman with a bloated middle. With a purple wash over it for some reason.
Another dated reference, this image is from a 1980s Pepto Bismol commercial https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BK0o1HJGVrw

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Dates Suck

This weekend we uploaded 8,880 records from the Denver Zine Library. And deleted them and uploaded them. Twice. The errors were exclusively date problems. I was going to let the problem records stand without the date fields, but then reconsidered because it seemed like there should be an easy fix. Just because I didn’t find it, doesn’t mean that there isn’t!

screenshot of Gchat conversation L: If I update the MAP again to skip alternate title, I won't get as many errors. I was just hoping that it would work for some of the items." J, "Like it would change its mind about them?" L: "Hope is silly in this situation tho. lol. yeah exactly."

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Handwaves, Workarounds, and Getting It Right

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. 

screenshot of invalid date error

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12 hours/week

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.

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Capstone Update 10/8/19

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.    

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Capstone Update 9/28/19

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:

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