The Digital Production Lab | Headquarters for Pan Am’s Digital Archive

Left to right: Manager of Digital Production Veronica Cabrera uses a bound copy of Clipper Magazine from the Pan American World Airways, Inc. Records to review best scanning practices with student assistant Corey Fehlberg.

By Cory Czajkowski

A few steps beyond the main elevator on the third floor of the Otto G. Richter Library is a generic looking door numbered 346. Despite its ordinary exterior, this door leads to an extraordinary workspace known as the Digital Production Lab (DPL), where skilled imaging specialists convert a wide variety of traditional library materials into digital formats, including printed books, journals, photographs, maps, manuscripts, fine art, and more.

The faculty, staff, and student assistants of the DPL represent an evolving circulation system that has become a prevailing focal point in the University of Miami Libraries’ (UML) mission to open worlds. In this case, rather than simply delivering printed, physical materials to library patrons in-person, the Lab instead offers local and distant users free access to digital surrogates that span the Libraries’ vast collections and strengthen the foundations of teaching, learning, and research at the University. Perhaps most importantly, the DPL’s expert team ensures the long-term preservation of UML’s unique digital content for future generations of scholars.

For the past 1.5 years, the Lab has fittingly served as the heart of operations for the digitization of materials from the Pan American World Airways, Inc. Records under a grant from the National Historic Publications and Records Commission. Whether scanned in-house or off-site, the DPL acted as both the starting point and finish line for 60 boxes of brochures, timetables, directories, and periodicals from the Printed Materials series of the Pan Am collection. The combined efforts have since added over 100,000 new images to UML’s Digital Collections, where they are fully text searchable and available for browsing and research.

Interim Associate Dean for Digital Strategies & Head of Digital Production Laura Capell worked with Digitization Project Manager Gabriella Williams to manage the complex workflows involved with preparing the Pan Am boxes for either of two scanning destinations: in-house with the DPL team, or off-site at Creekside Digital, a leading digitization vendor based in Glen Arm, Maryland.

“For a project of this scale, one of the first considerations was the groundwork laid by our staff and students to carefully record each box item-by-item, while maintaining the original order of the folders and verifying the information listed for each document was complete and accurate,” says Capell. “All 60 boxes were assigned specific digitization instructions for each individual item, which we call ‘technician’s notes’, to help make sure our team and the vendor were on the same page, so to speak.”

Imaging specialists in the Lab use a variety of equipment to digitally preserve materials from UML’s collections.

For in-house scanning, the staff and students of the DPL employed a variety of specialized imaging equipment designed for a wide range of formats. Former Digital Production Technician David Almeida captured high quality images of Pan Am’s oversized posters and maps with the DigiBook SupraScan and used the Atiz BookDrive Pro for smaller bound objects, such as Clipper Magazine, one of the airline’s in-flight publications. Veronica Cabrera, manager of Digital Production, was responsible for the grant’s file management and the Lab’s color calibration, ensuring digital surrogates had the highest level of quality and accessibility.

Additionally, Cabrera supervised the work of two assistants—UM students who have since become fascinated with the records of the former aviation giant. Corey Fehlberg, a student in the Department of Microbiology and Immunology, performed quality control reviews of the outsourced Clipper Magazine. He inspected the gutters, or inside margins, of the bound periodical and brochure images produced by Creekside Digital to make sure no information was lost during scanning, ensured that all technical image specifications were met, and verified that the technician’s notes were accurately followed. “The quality control work required my undivided attention, and the experience has taught me to look at the materials from a researcher’s perspective, which has been both challenging and rewarding,” says Fehlberg. Daniel Correa-Manzor, a sophomore studying computer science, assisted with the in-house scanning of selected Pan Am materials. “As an undergrad, it’s incredible to have the opportunity to handle and be a part of the long-term preservation of the archive,” says Correa-Manzor. “It’s fun to imagine that someday my grandchildren will be able to view the work I did as a student under this grant.”

UML welcomed new Digital Production Technician John Hay earlier this year. Hay has been collaborating with Robert Largaespada, a long-time DPL technician who has worked on several grant-funded digital projects. “It’s great to be a part of a team of like-minded individuals at the DPL,” says Hay. “Working with materials on the history of aviation and Florida is exciting. I feel privileged to be a part of the expansion of new approaches to digitization.”

The culmination of these efforts has resulted in the extensive archive of digital images representing Pan Am’s Printed Materials series. The complete digital collection is now available to the public on the University of Miami Libraries’ Digital Collections web site.

Photos by Brittney Bomnin and Gisele Rocha

Left to right: Digital Production Technicians Robert Largaespada and John Hay perform quality control checks on scanned documents from the Pan Am collection.





Join us for an upcoming workshop presented by UM graduate student on March 19

Digital Pedagogy Workshops

This workshop is one in a series presented by advanced UM graduate students from the English and History Departments who are participating in the HASTAC (Humanities, Arts, Sciences, and Technology Advanced Collaboratory) network. No prior experience necessary; open to all faculty, students, and staff.

 

Monday, March 19, 2018
Wiki Writing: Whys, Whats, and Hows of Incorporating Wiki Assignments into Writing-Intensive Courses
3–4 p.m., Richter Library, 3rd floor, Information Literacy Lab

Presented by Marta Gierczyk (English)
Some of the very reasons that make professors skeptical about the place of Wikipedia in a college classroom are actually good reasons to integrate Wikis into your teaching toolkit. This info session will demonstrate how faculty use Wikis as dynamic and flexible collaboration tools to engage students, develop their writing craft, and facilitate “writing as a process” approach through collaborative research and writing, public knowledge construction, peer editing, and more. We will review a variety of Wiki-style assignments and consider best practices for integrating Wiki projects into a college course (using Wikipedia itself but also other platforms like PBWorks or Wikispaces).

 



You’re invited to the screening of “A Very Special Christmas: Global Impact”

Friday, March 2, 2018 | 6 p.m.

Otto G. Richter Library, 3rd Floor Conference Room
University of Miami | 1300 Memorial Drive, Coral Gables, FL 33146

This event is free and open to the public.

Register to Attend

Join us for a film screening and talk with four UM graduate students in the School of Communication who travelled the world during the fall 2017 semester as part of a class project to document the stories of athletes and communities who have benefited from “A Very Special Christmas“—a holiday album series that benefits Special Olympics’ athletes with intellectual disabilities. The exhibition features screen captures from their video interviews.

A question-and-answer session will follow the screening. Light refreshments will be served after the session at a reception in the Digital Media Lab on the first floor of Richter Library.

Images from A Very Special Christmas: Global Impact are on view in the Lab through the end of the spring 2018 semester.

“Mphatso’s Medals”
Athlete Mphatso Chipwanya displays her gold medals after an interview. Mphatso is the only Special Olympics tennis player in the landlocked African nation of Malawi. Thanks to the A Very Special Christmas Record Grants, Mphatso proudly plays tennis with her peers, both with and without intellectual disabilities.

All images on exhibit were shot on assignment using a Canon 5D Mark iii for the film A Very Special Christmas: Global Impact.

From left to right: Marwan Alenezi, Julia Hienz, Emmy Petit-Frere, and David Aaro, University of Miami graduate students in the School of Communication and co-producers of A Very Special Christmas: Global Impact. The students created this film while enrolled in Journalism and Media Management 692 course, Special Topics In Journalism and Media Management. Photo by Morgan McKie

Special Olympics and A Very Special Christmas

Nearly 50 years ago, the Special Olympics was founded with a bold idea–use sports to help transform the lives of people with intellectual disabilities. People with intellectual disabilities make up three percent of the global population, yet all over the world they are denied a fair chance at life due to stigma, intolerance, and injustice.

Special Olympics now reaches 172 countries and five million athletes. This global reach is made possible by a venture that began in 1987 when an album series called A Very Special Christmas raised more than $126 million dollars for the Special Olympics, making it the most successful benefit recording of all time.

About the Digital Media Lab

The Digital Media Lab is the Create area of the Learning Commons which supports learning at the University of Miami. We provide expert support and consultation in the use of digital audio, video, and graphic design technology, as well as web development and image creation techniques. Every semester we showcase student work in our gallery space.

Questions? Please send an email to richterevents@miami.edu or call 305-284-4026.

UM is a smoke-free campus. Parking is available at the Purple Lots near San Amaro Drive.











Five Partners Join Ex Libris in Developing New Research Services Platform

Ex Libris®, a ProQuest company, is pleased to announce the establishment of a development partnership with Lancaster University, the University of Iowa, the University of Miami, the University of Oklahoma, and the University of Sheffield. The partners will collaborate on the development of a new end-to-end research services platform, Ex Libris Esploro. This development program will give the partners a significant voice in shaping Esploro and its future roadmap, as well as an opportunity to engage with other development partners and the community of researchers. Continue reading.



Learning Commons: Update 02

During the 2018 spring semester, construction of the new Learning Commons Consultation Zone on the first floor of Richter Library will occur:

  • Monday through Friday, from 7:30 a.m. to 4 p.m.
  • Saturday, from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.

The goal of this schedule is to alleviate disruption at the days and times when the library is most popular.

Due to Hurricane Irma and various permitting delays, construction is now scheduled to be completed in mid-March 2018.

Disposable earplugs are available by request at Access Services at the entrance of Richter Library.

Please direct any questions about the construction to Cheryl Gowing at cgowing@miami.edu.