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—an archive that documents the history of the largest international air carrier in the United States for more than six decades. The combined efforts have since added over 100,000 new images to UML’s Digital Collections, where they are full-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 newsletters 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 sophomore 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.



Caribbean Fragments | A Library-Wide Exhibit Complements a Special Report on the University’s Close Relationship With Its Island Neighbors

Since its founding more than 90 years ago, the University of Miami has forged deep connections with the Caribbean. Faculty, students, and alumni travel throughout the islands, learning from diverse populations, providing assistance to underserved communities, and strengthening bonds. Cuba and the Caribbean, a special report recently produced by UM News in collaboration with academic units across the University including the Libraries, highlights the U’s varied activities in the Caribbean in areas such as environmental and anthropological research, healthcare, arts and culture, policy, and business.

Complementing the publication of Cuba and the Caribbean, a major exhibition has transformed the second floor of the Otto G. Richter Library and the Cuban Heritage Collection’s Roberto C. Goizueta Pavilion. Caribbean Fragments comprises a selection of historical documents, artifacts, manuscripts, and rare books from UML’s Cuban Heritage Collection, Special Collections, University Archives, and the Marta and Austin Weeks Music Library, and offers a point of departure for reflection on the research and discovery that spawn new hemispheric insights.

Caribbean Fragments was co-curated by Beatrice Skokan, curator for Caribbean Collections and interim Esperanza Bravo de Varona Chair of the CHC, and Dr. Martin Tsang, CHC librarian and curator for Latin American Collections.

Seascapes and Mindscapes

Visiting artist Leandro Soto, whose work is represented among the CHC’s holdings, has reimagined the exhibition space as a seascape—a fluid, ever-changing ocean that permeates not only the archipelago’s geography, but the imagination of its inhabitants. Inviting viewers to navigate their own experiences and emotions as they explore the objects on view, the immersive environment evokes the circulating currents of spirituality that permeate the region, the profound influence of maritime travel and migration on its evolution, and the ebbs and flows of its eternal complexities.

To view the special University report on Cuba and the Caribbean, visit cuba.miami.edu.



FIU, UM Join Statewide Effort to Raise Florida Presence in National Online Library

Sunshine State Digital Network Helps Organizations Around State Enlarge Access to their Digitized Collections

Souvenir of Miami, Miami Beach, Florida

Souvenir of Miami, Miami Beach, Florida from the University of Miami Special Collections.

Cultural, historical, and educational institutions throughout South and Central Florida can now share their digitized holdings with people across the United States and around the world with guidance from librarians and digital strategists at Florida International University (FIU) and the University of Miami (UM).

The two universities have partnered with Florida State University (FSU) in Tallahassee, FL, to create the Sunshine State Digital Network (SSDN), which serves as the state’s administrative and infrastructure portal to the Digital Public Library of America (DPLA).

The Boston-based DPLA is a public, open-source platform that connects users to digitized art works, artifacts, archival documents, and other materials from organizations ranging from modest community historical societies to massive cultural institutions. Assets contributed by Florida organizations to DPLA are displayed in search results alongside those from many other collections, fostering learning, research, tourism, business, and other endeavors.

The shared network roles of FIU and UM will be to help South and Central Florida organizations make sure that the metadata—information such as title, description, and copyright status—of each item in their collections conforms to DPLA standards. FIU and UM then transmit the optimized digital files to the SSDN hub at FSU, which gathers and prepares the files for quarterly “harvesting,” or uploading, by the DPLA. FIU and UM also collaborate with the SSDN on efforts to facilitate and expand the representation of Florida institutions in the rapidly growing national research resource.

“DPLA and SSDN offer a tremendous opportunity to share the depth and richness of our state’s digital collections,” said Anne Prestamo, Dean of Libraries at FIU. “We look forward to advising and assisting libraries, museums, and archives throughout South and Central Florida to fully leverage that potential.”

“Through SSDN, we are making it possible for archives, libraries, museums, and other collections across the state to publish their unique holdings on a global platform,” said Charles Eckman, Dean of University of Miami Libraries and University Librarian. “It’s all about fostering discovery and innovation through enhanced access, which is central to our mission and vision.”

By presenting search results aggregated from diverse sources, DPLA also creates new options and experiences for site visitors. “When people see items from Florida troves intermingled with those from other contributors, they are able to make novel connections that would have been extremely difficult to make otherwise,” said Sarah Shreeves, associate dean of digital strategies at UM Libraries.

“The community at large benefits from this increased ability to engage with cultural and historical content across multiple institutions,” noted Jamie Rogers, director of FIU’s Digital Collection Center.

Since FIU and UM have already uploaded a significant portion of their own digital collections to DPLA, the two universities are now prioritizing efforts to grow the number of Florida organizations participating in the initiative. A November series of introductory SSDN workshops attracted representatives from more than 30 public libraries, museums, academic libraries, library cooperatives, and other cultural heritage institutions.

Greater Miami: Guide Book and History to The Magic City

Greater Miami: Guide Book and History to The Magic City from the University of Miami Special Collections.

In addition to outreach and orientation, metadata experts at FIU Libraries and UM Libraries provide interested organizations with hands-on assistance as needed. Initial development of the universities’ SSDN planning, training, and metadata evaluation procedures was supported by a grant from the Knight Foundation.

SSDN goals for 2018 include bringing the State Library and Archives of Florida into the DPLA fold while mentoring the many smaller organizations, both public and private, that seek to share their digital holdings on DPLA.

DPLA is completely open to public and can be visited at dp.la. Items in its collections can be located via a standard search query, maps, timelines, or in special exhibitions, as well as through an array of independently developed extensions that allow highly customized searches.

To learn more about the SSDN, visit sunshinestatedigitalnetwork.org or explore the collections on the dp.la site.



Handle with Care | Preservation Strategies for Pan Am’s Digital Archive

Conservator Duvy Argandoña prepares a document in the Conservation Lab on the first floor of the Otto G. Richter Library.

By Cory Czajkowski

Repair and conserve: a phrase that drives a vast and complex component of University of Miami Libraries’ (UML) mission. Primary source materials and books are handled over years, decades, and even centuries; room conditions fluctuate, humidity falls and rises, and critters occasionally find their way to them for a snack. For the specialists that manage UML’s Preservation Strategies Department, “repair and conserve” holds a significance akin to a “search and rescue” operation—only rather than a search for people, it’s about the search for and provision of aid to materials that are in distress or imminent danger. As items become damaged and too fragile to handle, they require treatment and special care in order to ensure they can remain accessible by students and researchers in the future.

The grant from the National Historic Publications and Records Commission has allowed UML to sustain such specialized preservation efforts as the digitization of materials from the Pan American World Airways, Inc. Records collection continues. This ongoing project is now at a stage where a second group of images from the renowned aviation collection are in the process of being made accessible by keyword search. These brochures, timetables, directories, and other items require special treatment prior to any scans or photographs to ensure that the text in them can be recognized, or that they can even be handled for image capturing purposes.

Argandoña uses the hot spatula and tweezers to repair small tears in a Pan Am brochure.

Duvy Argandoña is the conservator at the Otto G. Richter Library. She spends a good portion of her workdays in the Conservation Lab repairing Pan Am materials before they can be scanned. The Lab, a brightly-lit, state-of-the-art equipped facility, is an infirmary for the collection’s torn or creased materials, where Argandoña uses specialized machines and tools to reconcile any damage that might interfere with digitization.

“The meticulous work done by Duvy is so important to the process, because it’s essentially our means of loss control—vetting and repairing the materials in a way that ensures we are able to capture the best scans possible,” says Gabriella Williams, who works closely with Argandoña and is managing this digitization project. Williams prepares and triages the materials before they are sent to the Lab. She flags each box, folder-by-folder, and creates a detailed, object-level spreadsheet of the items that require attention.

The humidification dome releases a mist of deionized water to relax a map’s paper fibers.

Argandoña then uses both basic and more complex techniques, depending on the level of damage, to repair the selected materials. “For mending small tears in brochures and timetables, I use the hot spatula tool and heat-set tissue paper,” says Argandoña. She first cuts the tissue paper into five millimeter strips and then uses tweezers to line up the strips with the seams of the torn documents. Carefully holding the tissue paper in place with tweezers, she applies soft pressure with the hot spatula until the paper adheres.

If a large map or fold-out is wrinkled or bent, Argandoña places it in a humidification dome for up to 15 minutes before any further repairs are made. “The dome uses a deionized water vapor mist to help the paper fibers relax, then the item is arranged between blotter paper sheets in the oversized book press for 24 hours, or until all the creases are gone,” says Argandoña.

Martha Horan, head of Preservation Strategies.

On October 17, UML welcomed new Head of Preservation Strategies Martha Horan, who is enthusiastic about working with the Pan Am materials under the NHPRC grant.

“Too often one does not consider the highly skilled, artisan-like techniques that go on behind-the-scenes in a library to stabilize and treat materials as part of preservation and digitization,” says Horan. “It’s an impressive operation here, with an even more impressive team behind it. It’s an exciting time to be a part of the Libraries.”

Digital images of these materials from the Pan American World Airways, Inc. Records—which date from the company’s inception in 1927 until it ceased operations in 1991—are now available to the public for browsing and research purposes on the University of Miami Libraries’ Digital Collections web site.

Photos by Brittney Bomnin



Fact Books (1972 – 2016) Are Now Accessible Online!

By Koichi Tasa, University Archivist

The fact books provide the most reliable benchmark data about the University.

We are pleased to announce the completion of a digitization project of another invaluable publication of the University of Miami, the entire run of the “Fact Books,” produced by the University of Miami Office of Planning, Institutional Research, and Assessment (PIRA).

The fact books provide the most reliable benchmark data about the University, such as student enrollments, retention and graduation rates, degrees granted, class sizes, library statistics, tuition and expenses, research funding, financial highlights, and endowment statistics. They are also an excellent source of information about the University’s history, administration and facilities, student life, and athletics.

The best way to research the collection is to browse the volumes one by one. Please click the icon “Browse All in this collection” at the landing page (link below) to access the digitized fact books. Once you have selected the volume you need, click the “Download” icon on the upper right corner of the screen, and select “All (PDF)” to save the file on your computer.

For further information about the PIRA, please visit their website at the link below.

The digitization project of the Fact Books was made possible by an interdepartmental collaboration among the University Archives, Digital Production, Metadata & Discovery Services, and Web & Application Development at the Otto G. Richter Library.



Banned Books Week 2017

A Celebration of Our Right to Read

by Erika Goodrich and James Wargacki, Learning & Research Services

How often do you think about your right to read? It is said that words can change the world, whether they’re spoken aloud or written down. The First Amendment recognizes the power of words, enshrining our freedom of speech. But what happens when that freedom is challenged? When we’re told we can’t speak out, can’t read words that might challenge our thoughts or give us new ideas?

September 24-30 is Banned Books Week, a time of year designated to raise awareness of banned and challenged books and an opportunity to understand the consequences of censorship.

Banned Books Week was founded in 1982 by Judith Krug in response to the sudden surge of challenged books. Krug, a First Amendment defender and library advocate, strongly opposed censorship. She felt that no one should be restricted from books or ideas, and that readers should have the freedom to develop their own opinions.

In the thirty-four years since Krug began her initiative, there have been more than 11,300 books challenged, according to the American Library Association (ALA). Just last year ALA reported 323 challenges, including Alex Gino’s George and Make Something Up: Stories You Can’t Unread by Chuck Palahniuk.

If a book is challenged, someone is trying to keep it from the hands of readers. ALA’s Office of Intellectual Property has reported the top three reasons for a challenge are: 1) the material was considered to be sexually explicit, 2) the material was considered to have offensive language, and 3) the material was considered unsuited for any age group.

Challenges by various groups have resulted in books commonly regarded today as classic literature being banned from libraries and schools across the United States. In 2004 Michael and Tonya Hartwell spearheaded an unofficial ban of King & King by Linda de Haan and Stern Nijland after they decided the LGBTQ content of the book was inappropriate for their seven year old daughter stating, “[she] is not old enough to understand something like that, especially when it’s not in our beliefs.” Michael and Tonya refused to return the book to their child’s school library because they wanted to prevent other children from being exposed to the story.

 

 

Other works that have been challenged include:

  • Helen Bannerman’s The Story of Little Black Sambo has been challenged numerous times for the depiction of its main character. The book has been described as “dangerous and cruel” as well as “the kind of dangerous and obsolete books that must go.”
  • Ken Kesey’s One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest is often challenged for its obscene language.
  • Geoffrey Chaucer’s The Canterbury Tales was notably challenged in Eureka, Illinois in 1995 for its racy content. The full version of the book was banned by the Eureka School Board and replaced with an annotated version.
  • In 1973 in Orem, Utah, sales of Anthony Burgess’ A Clockwork Orange caused an independent book dealer to be arrested for selling obscene books. The charges were later dropped, but the dealer was forced to close the store and relocate to another city.
  • Kurt Vonnegut’s Slaughterhouse-Five has been challenged multiple times for its obscene content, including one instance in Drake, North Dakota in 1973 when the local school board ordered that copies of the book be confiscated and burned.
  • Ray Bradbury’s Fahrenheit 451 is often challenged for its use of obscene language. In Irvine, California in 1993, a teacher at Venado Middle School used black markers to censor all of the offending language before giving the books to students.

Banned Books Week at Richter

Banned Books Week highlights these and many other influential works that have endured censorship, bringing together proponents of free speech, librarians, publishers, teachers, and book lovers of all genres. This year’s events specifically highlight book bans and challenges both domestically and abroad.





THIS JUST IN: Ben Cartwright Wants You to Know About Propaganda

Lorne Greene as “Ben Cartwright” in the long-running TV show Bonanza. (Photo: NBC)

By Nicola Hellmann-McFarland, Special Collections Library Assistant

For those of you old enough, or those who have fathers and grandfathers that remember the Golden Age of Television, the 1960s TV show, Bonanza, was about Ben “Pa” Cartwright and his three sons, who ran a farm by the name of “Ponderosa Ranch” in the Wild West during the Civil War era. Bonanza aired on television for an amazing fourteen years, and it rose to legendary status, as did Ben Cartwright, a beloved and wise patriarch, an upstanding citizen, and a conservative – in the best sense of the word. Although this was not his first television job, Canadian actor Lorne Greene (1915-1987), who played Ben Cartwright, quickly became an American household name as much as that of his alter ego.

None of his other memorable roles had reached a status as iconic as the role of Ben Cartwright, and in the face of all his “olden days” wholesomeness, who would have thought that Lorne Greene was actually quite interested in philosophy? And why is his name among those of the creators of a card game from the mid-1960s entitled The Propaganda Game? Well, one of his friends at the time was a certain Robert W. Allen, a former student of Professor George Henry Moulds, author of the book Thinking Straighter. Rumor has it that Allen and Greene “were discussing philosophical topics one evening, when Greene suggested that they design a game based on propaganda and its techniques.” Allen, remembering Moulds’ textbook, contacted his former professor, and the three men went to work on what eventually became The Propaganda Game in 1966.

“The Propaganda Game” comes with an instruction book, 40 cards containing propaganda quotations, four “prediction dials,” and a “clear thinking chart.”

Designed to be played by two to five players, the game’s neat little plastic box includes an instruction book, 40 cards containing propaganda quotations, four “prediction dials,” and a “clear thinking chart.” Players must compete in propaganda techniques like self-deception, language, irrelevance, and exploitation. The instructions indicate that one player must read a quote, and the other players must secretly decide which technique is being employed. Afterwards, they must vote on an outcome to be decided by the majority rule. Each player who did NOT vote with the majority must then try to sway the popular voters to change their vote within one minute. Finally, the majority voters are instructed to cast their ballots again, and the true outcome is determined.

The Propaganda Game has been played continuously ever since it joined the ranks of the Academic Games Leagues of America. It has educated thousands of players on how to recognize propaganda techniques used in advertisements, political announcements, and other examples from human dialogue.

We can thank Lorne Greene for creating socio-cultural awareness by lending his famous name to this game, and The Propaganda Game itself can be viewed in all its glory here at Special Collections on the eighth floor of the Otto G. Richter Library.



Miami Zine Fair 2017

Did you know that Special Collections at the University of Miami Libraries has one of the largest zine collections in the country? From the incendiary writings of a 1770s revolutionary pamphleteer like Thomas Paine to the thoughtful and humorous works of current and former UM students, our zine collections cover just about any topic you can imagine…and they’re available for you to read, study, and spark inspiration! Best of all, Special Collections is open to the public. Want to study zine history? Interested in zines about flappers, science fiction, fashion, gender, sexuality, anarchy, punk rock, and culinary history? Our collections cover these topics and so much more.

Cover of Scam #7, by author Erick Lyle, also known as “Iggy Scam.”

Stop by and see us at the Miami Zine Fair at the Lowe Art Museum this Saturday, April 22, for a sample of our collections. Also, make sure to visit us on the eighth floor of the Otto G. Richter Library any weekday from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. to start your zine-ventures!



DVD Picks: March for Science

by Terri Robar and James Wargacki, Learning & Research Services

April 22 is best known as Earth Day, but it is also the day of the March for Science, an international movement led by organizers around the globe. The march’s organizers are people who value science and recognize how science serves everyone. Learn more here: www.marchforscience.com

These films were selected from our DVD collection to remind us that science can be useful, important, and fun.

The original PBS series where Carl Sagan taught everyone that science is interesting and understandable. Covering everything from the origins of life to the exploration of space, Sagan awakened a generation to the wonders of science.

After a bad storm blows across Mars, astronaut Mark Watney is presumed dead and left behind. Now stuck on a hostile planet, he must find a way to signal Earth and in the meantime survive on limited supplies. Join him as he follows his plan to “science the sh*t out of this.”

This film follows the treacherous voyage of five scientists who are reduced to microscopic size and injected into the bloodstream of an injured Czechoslovak scientist to remove a cerebral blood clot which must be repaired from inside the brain.

The untold story of the “human computers,” a team of female African-American mathematicians that helped launch John Glenn into orbit at the start of the space program in the United States.

Based on a true story of two parents, the Odones research and challenge doctors to develop a cure for their son, who suffers from a rare degenerative disease.

On a remote island, a wealthy entrepreneur secretly creates a theme park featuring living dinosaurs drawn from prehistoric DNA.

In the Antarctic, the quest begins to find the perfect mate and start a family. This courtship will begin with a long journey – a journey that will take them hundreds of miles across the continent by foot. They will endure freezing temperatures, icy winds and dangerous predators – all to find true love and raise their baby chicks safely.

Al Gore explains the facts of global warming, presents arguments that the dangers of global warning have reached the level of crisis, and addresses the efforts of certain interests to discredit the anti-global warming cause.

James Burke presents science as a detective story, illustrating the connections between events of the past and inventions of the future. Burke tracks through twelve thousand years of history for the clues that lead to eight great life-changing inventions. Like this one? We have two more in this series.

“Houston, we have a problem.” En route to the moon, an oxygen fuel-cell tank exploded, cutting electrical power and the astronauts’ air supply. The film shows the crew interacting with mission specialists back on earth to rig solutions as they retreat to the lunar module for a desperate return voyage to earth.

When Adams and his crew are sent to investigate the silence from a planet inhabited by scientists, they find all but two have died. Dr. Morbius and his daughter Altaira have somehow survived a hideous monster which roams the planet. Unknown to Adams, Morbius has made a discovery, and has no intention of sharing it (or his daughter!) with anyone.

A small Tennessee town gained national attention in 1925 when a biology schoolteacher was arrested for violating state law by teaching Darwin’s theory of evolution in the classroom. This film “is a slightly fictionalized account of the Scopes Monkey Trial, that galvanized legal dramas of the 1920s.”