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Tuesday, October 8 • 2:30pm - 3:15pm
Maintaining Information in/with Software

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Maintaining Information in/with Software

Paper Titles and Abstracts

Este Pope: Shutting it Down: Questioning Maintenance of Institutional Repositories

What happens when an institution loses interest or confidence in the promises of open access and wants to scrap the institutional repository? This paper will address questions about the permanence of open access institutional repositories, when limited resources are available to maintain such systems, and local repositories must compete in a complex scholarly publishing landscape. Faced with questions from administrators about the value of investing staff time in the maintenance of an open access repository, library staff must question assumptions, consider multiple perspectives, and articulate the value of the work. The paper will acknowledge and question the connection of an institutional repository to the library mission of stewarding and curating knowledge. Perspectives will be shared regarding the invisibility of the expertise and the value of surfacing the maintenance work required to create and preserve digital repositories in libraries. The core principle of open access, the practice of weeding digital collections, and an ethics of care in building and breaking digital systems will be considered, weaving in examples and thoughts from practitioners and scholars. Practices of maintenance work more broadly and the notions of repair and sustainability will be considered in the context of institutional repositories.

Ruth Tillman: Maintenance, Labor, and the "Classic Catalog"

After bringing their card catalogs online in the 90s, many libraries have maintained these decades-old interfaces even as they adopt new systems focused on the discovery and use of subscription materials such as single journal articles. Though antiquated in design, such "classic catalogs" remain popular with librarians and faculty. As libraries move into a third generation of catalogs and discovery systems, those charged with leading the effort are choosing to rethink the classic catalog or do away with it entirely. This paper visits the history of library catalogs on the web, examining the necessary maintenance introduced by each generation. It concludes with an assessment of the difficult decisions around labor and maintenance faced by those hoping to improve access to their materials.

Alex Gil: Two Case Studies in Minimal Computing

Minimal Computing in digital humanities started as a conversation among practitioners who were concerned about the maximalist tendencies of those who dream of projects, but don't have the skills to implement them themselves. This broad tendency still creates the illusion that participation in the practices of digital scholarship require large grants to hire those who would implement these dreams, turning the trend into an issue of inclusion and equity. In this talk I would talk about two prototypes that we designed at Columbia University Libraries and the Group for Experimental Methods in Humanistic Inquiry to address the trend and hopefully reverse it. The first prototype, Ed, addresses the genre of digital editions; The second, Wax, addresses the genre of digital cultural or scholarly exhibits. I will walk through the design process, and the ambitious number of concerns these prototypes address.


Tuesday October 8, 2019 2:30pm - 3:15pm
4ABC (2nd Floor)
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Attendees (3)