Preservation & Librarianship, an inquiry

Throughout this week’s reading I found myself contemplating preservation in ways that I had never considered when I was just a reader. With Sheffield’s (2016) “More than acid-free folders: extending the concept of preservation to include the stewardship of unexplored histories,” I began to wonder if any parameters or guidance for weeding texts with the principle of stewardship had been published in peer-reviewed journals.

Creating the kind of space for social justice work that librarians and archivists hope to achieve is nevertheless much more complicated than simply broadening the collecting scope to integrate as much material as possible from previously underrepresented groups. As cultural theorist Roderick Ferguson (2012) explains, absorbing minority archives into the university creates a representational politic that might prove its progressive credentials, but this integration does not challenge any real power structures within the institution. In other words, just because a university preserves unexplored history does not mean that it is ready to acknowledge or confront any of the structural inequalities that exist in order to create the conditions in which that history remains unexplored to begin with. Preservation of unexplored history cannot take place if systems of power are also preserved.

The duty to steward unexplored history is therefore much more than a return to the simple task of ensuring that records are kept from harm; stewardship does not in fact necessarily mean pulling records out of the barn, but rather working with the community to ensure that the barn is a safe place for these materials. It may also mean offering professional expertise and institutional resources to a community when the barn is not a safe place, even if there are no expectations that the records should come under institutional custody. As a Core Value and a core duty for information professionals, this extended concept of Preservation as a duty to steward requires deeper thinking about the power relationships that exist among and between underrepresented or underserviced groups and the librarians and archivists who serve them. That is, information professionals must begin to think more critically about how to work with communities to ensure that documentary evidence is preserved, and to think less about how to add it to their collections. There must also be some recognition that community archivists and librarians are under considerable pressure to hand over their collections to satisfy an institutional mandate to build more representative collections, and many will resist this practice of “swallowing up.” The duty to steward must therefore include a commitment to develop a sympathetic understanding of the reasons why particular record creators remain autonomous, and a respect for this political principle even if their records remain in peril. Keeping records from harm may in fact mean keeping them out of the hands of those never meant to explore them. This contradictory aspect of stewardship will take some adjustment for those practitioners unwilling to challenge the assumption that “all information wants to be free.” It does not; some history is unexplored because its creators want it to remain that way. Information professions must also respect this condition of preservation.

Rebecka T. Sheffield

In Teper’s (2014) “Selection for preservation: a survey of current practices in the field of preservation”, I found myself baffled by how 42% of librarians spend 3-5 minutes considering the best practice criteria and I was further baffled by how 69% felt there was little to no reason to closely check the digitized copies’ condition. How much information has been lost? What, if anything, can be done to recover it? Well, let me tell you that the next article “Learning from failure: The case of the disappearing website” (Barone, 2015) did not ease my worries in the least! So, what can we do? What literature has been published in regards to digital preservation that holds the tenants of stewardship? Especially those cited in the quote above. I am also interested in looking into the digitization of primary sources relating to members of the autistic spectrum. I’m aware of several archives dedicated to lgbtqiqa+ voices such as Herstory, One Archive, Lavender Library, and Victorian Queer Archive, but I haven’t encountered any archived neuroatypical voices.

In my exploration the existing body of literature, I was able to find an article outlining the latest updates from the Digital Preservation Task Force that was set up by NASIG. The NASIG set up the Digital Preservation Task Force in hopes of preventing the loss of invaluable information (Keller, 2019). From reading the session update I found out the the NASIG had created a registry in order to track whether an archive has been backed up sufficient time to be not at risk of disappearing.

The Keepers Registry defines three as a healthy number of copies to prevent a site from being in danger of being lost. While that might seem like an easy goal to achieve, a quick look at The Keepers Registry will show you that it isn’t. Whether it be due to financial constraints, lack of administrative support, or a myriad of other reasons, websites aren’t getting archived. I’ve screenshot two examples of websites that may be at risk of being lost according to The Keepers Register’s parameters.

The Digital Preservation Task Force has also created a 101 Guide to Digital Preservation that serves as a decent start guide to digital preservation for librarians (“NASIGuide: Digital”, 2018). It can be accessed through the link below.

https://www.nasig.org/site_page.cfm?pk_association_webpage_menu=311&pk_association_webpage=13829

Information specialists have come to the conclusion that the maintenance of information is not solely the responsibility of libraries. We see this in many of this week’s lectures and it is also echoed in the Digital Preservation Task Force update (Keller, 2019). So, what can libraries and publishers do to combat this problem? Well, here’s a quote with some of the session updates suggestions.

Robertson suggested several ways librarians and publishers can work to solve these problems. First, all involved parties can identify gaps and work collectively to fill them. Part of this process includes amplifying the smaller voices—small institutions, small publishers, and so on. Robertson explained that many large publishers have undertaken significant digital preservation in the past few years, largely due to encouragement from librarians, so now is the time to focus on smaller publishers. Many of the aforementioned resources created by the Task Force are meant to assist with this process, such as the “Talking Points and Questions to Ask Publishers About Digital Preservation” resource. Next, digital preservation efforts need to be expanded globally. More attention needs to be given to content published outside of North America and the United Kingdom. International collaboration is already occurring between publishers, libraries, and third-party organizations, and that collaboration can be leveraged to increase preservation of resources published by less well-represented countries and regions. Finally, library publishing and Open Access resources need to be included in these conversations. This is an area where librarians can and should push for preservation of their library’s publications and local Open Access resources. Robertson emphasized that for all of these opportunities for improvement, acquisitions and
e-resources librarians can play an important role in communicating preservation priorities to publishers, especially during license negotiations. To combat these challenges and gaps, Robertson suggested librarians and publishers collaboratively build preservation policies that are explicit, intentional, and transparent. A good preservation policy outlines a long-term commitment to preserve resources, clarifies what should be preserved, and allows for evolution of details to account for changes in the industry. Librarians can help encourage publishers to build these policies and include them in site licenses.

Shannon Regan Keller

As for my attempts to see if there were any archives dedicated to voices on the autistic spectrum, well, thus far it has been unsuccessful. As I am fairly new to querying databases in a thorough way, I may be using the incorrect search terms to pull up relevant information. Even when trying to mine a list of historical figures who may I been autistic, I see one ongoing thematic. Most of those who are associated with being autistic in a way that pleases society and thus is of note enough to be documented are white-passing, if not white men. Some of them are of note enough that I am sure that their papers have been acquired and archived. The one exception I see on reoccurring lists, who isn’t contemporary, is Emily Dickinson. It is arguable though, that Dickinson was reclusive due to the stigma associated with epilepsy and not due to potential autistic traits. One should note, however, that women on the autistic spectrum are correlated with a higher likelihood of also being epileptic (Thomas, 2017). Regardless of Dickson being on the autistic spectrum, there is a lack of inclusion of autistic voices in historical sources. Furthermore, I have been able to find no record of people on the autistic spectrum who aren’t of European-descent. Being on the autistic spectrum isn’t exclusive to any given race and ethnic group. Certainly, the majority of the literature on autistic spectrum disorder has centered around white males and present researchers are having trouble accounting for the exponential high occurrence in white males (Thomas, 2017). This increase occurrence may be further complicated by misdiagnosis of people of color and provider biases. Ultimately, the lack of inclusion of works by folks on the autistic spectrum in the historical narrative demonstrates that what is being archived is still framed by what is held up as important by the archivists and by society at large.

References

Barone, F.; Zeitlyn, D.; Majer-Schönberger, V. (2015). Learning from failure: The case of the disappearing website. First Monday 20(5). 

Brown, Julie. (2009) Writers on the Spectrum :How Autism and Asperger Syndrome have Influenced Literary Writing London : Jessica Kingsley Publishers.

Durkin, M.; Maenner, M.; Baio, J.; Christensen, D.; Daniels, J.; Fitzgerald, R.; Imm, P.; Li-Ching, L.; Schieve, L.; Van Naarden Braun, K.; Wingate, M.; Yeargin-Allsopp, M. (2017). Autism Spectrum Disorder Among US Children (2002-2010): Socioeconomic, Racial, and Ethnic Disparities. American Journal of Public Health107(11), 1818–1826.

Thomas, S.; Hovinga, M.; Raj, D.; Lee, B. (2017). Brief Report: Prevalence of Co-occurring Epilepsy and Autism Spectrum Disorder: The U.S. National Survey of Children’s Health 2011-2012Journal of Autism & Developmental Disorders (Vol. 47, pp. 224–229).

Keller, S.R.; Robertson, W.; Steinle K.; Thibault, D.R. (2019). Digital Preservation Task Force Update, The Serials Librarian, 76:1-4, 51-54.

Sheffield, R. T. (2016). More than acid-free folders: extending the concept of preservation to include the stewardship of unexplored histories. Library Trends 64(3): 572-584.

Teper, J. H. (2014). Selection for preservation: a survey of current practices in the field of preservation. Library Resources & Technical Services 58(4): 220-232.

Discoverability and usability of new services at my local library

After reading this week’s readings on accessibility, users and usability of library collections, the evolving role of the library collection, open access repositories for scholarly activity, and the twitter archive, I found myself reflecting back on “Creating a Culture of Use: An ATG Hot Topic” by Katrina Spencer the most. While the themes approached in the other readings were thought-provoking (especially those concerning creating making more physical space for folks to occupy within the library, space that was traditionally reserved for collections of books), the reality of patrons not knowing what services their libraries provide is one that I see in my day-to-day. In 2018, my local library started using hoopla digital. This is a third-party pay-per-use service with a “collection of more than 750,000 eBooks, audiobooks, comics, albums, movies and television shows” (“hoopla digital Inks”, 2019) that libraries use to supplement their existing catalogue. This transactional, always available model may be changing as hoopla digital brokers deal with publishers who require different modalities. My local library allows five checkouts per month. Since its inception, I’ve spoken to many of my reader friends, and none seem to know about this service. In this entry I would like to look at what measures the library has taken to inform its public on the acquisition of hoopla digital. I also would like to see if there are any guides to navigating hoopla. I’ve noticed, through social media, that the categorization system of hoopla can sometimes be a limiting factor to readers finding books/audiobook/comics that interest them. I will also attempt to see if the library has been able to allocate more resources towards the acquisitions of books through the OverDrive/Libby interfaces when not offered by hoopla. First off, I will state that I didn’t see any physical advertisement on the hoopla digital services until a couple months into the service when brochures were placed near the checkouts. Now, let’s look on the recently revamped website.

eLibrary Menu
eLibrary Menu

Immediately, I noticed that there is a new, dedicated eLibrary pull down. Let’s see if we can find hoopla digital and maybe a guide to using it.

eAudiobooks offering for audiobooks

Immediately, I notice this useful list of resources that includes audiobooks with a brief summary of the service. Let’s see if the hoopla link will include a guide to accessing and using hoopla.

Instructional guide for hoopla digital

As you can see, there is a basic guide to hoopla included. While this is a good start, it could explain why less of my colleagues and friends know about the service. You see, the way hoopla filters for information is not dissimilar to Netflix’s system. Hoopla likes to sort information into categories that it creates, and then recommends based on the users’ taste. When it comes to browsing their offerings without a specific title in mind, it can be fairly frustrating as the same titles tend to appear over and over again.

hoopla's category system
hoopla’s category system

As a user, I’ve found that the easiest way to browse is by adding the “Just Added to hoopla” category, selecting “new” and skimming through the offerings. Doing this allows the user to browse through the hoopla catalogue without being constrained by the categories. I believe it would be helpful to users to have a more in depth guide to using hoopla. Even if it were to just explain that what you see will vary intensely if you select “popular” or “new” on any given category. Prior to writing this entry, the app interface showed users a limited amount of titles compared to the desktop version. This was a happy discovery, but one that would be nice to have known about through a library guide. Of course, it is difficult for anyone to account for all of the rapid shifts in a given technology, but guides could save users’ time. Moreover, they could help walk users through the recommendation set-up process so that the algorithm that hoopla uses could be more accurate. If you leave it blank, and mostly use hoopla for reading comics, you may end up with the following:

Comics recommendations on hoopla
Comic recommendations on hoopla

Can you tell that I’ve read a lot of Giant Days and Fence on hoopla? Strangely, I’ve read no Batman, but maybe that recommendation comes from my love and reading of Motor Crush on hoopla. That said, as a user, I’m curious to know how I can switch my additional recommendations to cover more than comics and also to cover a higher diversity of comics instead of issues/volumes of comics that I already love. Now, let’s take a look at the overall audiobook/ebook collection (including Overdrive and hoopla digital) for my local library. As it is Latinx Heritage Month and the start of the Latinx Readathon, I will be querying for latinx titles that I will be pulling from Priscilla of BookieCharm’s latinx readathon recommendation lists. Historically, it has been difficult to find all of the books that get recommended to me on audio at my local library and I’ve had to supplement what the library offers through the use of Scribd, Audible, and Libro. This year I’ve done most of my reading in audio format so I will be aiming to find these in audiobook format, but ebooks will be my back up.

Priscilla of BookieCharm’s Latinx Book Recommendations

Having queried both hoopla and OverDrive for Priscilla’s recommendations, I noticed that there was very little overlap on the titles offered. Generally, titles that were offered on hoopla were not available on OverDrive. This matches well with the idea of hoopla as furthering the library’s pre-existing catalogue in OverDrive. While Alma and How She Got Her Name by Juana Martinez-Neal was offered on both hoopla and OverDrive, the format offered was different. From what I have gathered from my own searches, hoopla appears to have more audiobooks than ebooks for 2019 releases. The only title that appears in both ebook and audiobook format across OverDrive and hoopla is With the Fire on High by Elizabeth Acevado. As a huge fan of Poet X and With the Fire on High, I can say with much bias that many copies of these titles should be carried. You don’t just win the Carnegie Medal and the National Book Award without warranting many acquisitions! Having queried both hoopla and OverDrive for Priscilla’s recommendations, I noticed that there was very little overlap on the titles offered. Generally, titles that were offered on hoopla were not available on OverDrive. This matches well with the idea of hoopla as furthering the library’s pre-existing catalogue in OverDrive. While Alma and How She Got Her Name by was offered on both hoopla and OverDrive, the format offered was different. From what I have gathered from my own searches, hoopla appears to have more audiobooks than ebooks for 2019 releases. The only title that appears in both ebook and audiobook format across OverDrive and hoopla is With the Fire on High by Elizabeth Acevedo. As a huge fan of Poet X and With the Fire on High, I can say with much bias that many copies of these titles should be carried. You don’t just win the Carnegie Medal and the National Book Award without warranting many acquisitions!

Results of looking at hoopla and OverDrive (hoopla is in the upper left and text while OverDrive is in the bottom and the middle)

References

Albanese, A. (2019). Hoopla Expanding to Offer Multiple Models. Publishers Weekly (Online), 17. Retrieved from http://search.ebscohost.com.proxy2.library.illinois.edu/login.aspx?direct=true&db=asn&AN=137090143&site=eds-live&scope=site

Audiobook Categories. (n.d.). Retrieved from https://www.hoopladigital.com/browse/audiobook/categories?page=1

Charm, B. (2019, August 25). Retrieved from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4oS3rSAM9_M

Comic Recommendations. (n.d.). Retrieved from https://www.hoopladigital.com/browse/comic/recommended?page=1

eAudiobooks. (n.d.). Retrieved from https://www.bozemanlibrary.org/elibrary/by- format/eaudiobooks

hoopla digital Inks eBook Deal with Kensington Publishing. (2019, July 15). PR Newswire. Retrieved from https://link-gale-com.proxy2.library.illinois.edu/apps/doc/A593382414/BIC?u=uiuc_uc&sid=BIC&xid=a6901942

Hoopla. (n.d.). Retrieved from https://www.bozemanlibrary.org/elibrary/by-format/eaudiobooks/hoopla