Technically, Day of DH ended yesterday… but as I didn’t get home until midnight last night, I thought I’d do a quick wrap-up this morning.
As mentioned in my previous post, after the SNCA conference ended for the day, Chelcie Rowell (the Digital Initiatives Librarian at Wake Forest University’s Z. Smith Reynolds Library) and I met with Skip Elsheimer of A/V Geeks. A few pictures of the Skip’s work set-up, which he was kind enough to show us:
The meeting with Skip and Chelcie definitely helped solidify a few ideas that I had been vaguely tossing around… both Chelcie and I are interested in planning a Piedmont-ish Home Movie Day event for a few reasons – for one, we’re both interested in preservation and film as a medium in general. But the main reasons we’d like to have this event are:
- Connecting with new audiences. Home Movie Days are designed to have people engage with home movies (or even more broadly, amateur films of any sort), whether by sharing their own, watching others, or a combination of both. Having a college library and archive play a large role in a Home Movie Day allows us to reach people who may not otherwise come through our doors, both on campus and in surrounding communities. While I was living in Boston, I volunteered at two Mass Memories Road Shows, which are public history photo digitization events that UMass Boston plans in conjunction with community organizations. I loved working at the Stoughton and Provincetown road shows so much that I actually considered flying back up to Boston from Charlotte in order to be a “roadie” at the Irish Immigrant Experience show back in November. The road shows are amazing not just because they build this fantastic digital collection of personal photographs, but because of the interaction with the community. People come to the road shows to share their photographs but also the stories related to those images – every contributor fills out an information sheet that accompanies each image, and the roadies ask prompting questions (such as who is in the photo, where and when it was taken, etc.), both before and during the scanning process. I heard amazing stories and met wonderful people at the road shows I worked at, and I think every roadie I’ve talked to has similarly said that the people and the community are the best parts of the day. If Home Movie Day can provide a similar sense of community and connection, I think it’ll be an incredibly successful and enjoyable event.
- Preservation advocacy and awareness. As an archivist, I think getting people thinking about preservation of analog and digital formats is always a good thing, and HMD’s can serve as both entertainment and educational events.
- Speaking of preservation, I think HMD can be a useful prompt for us to think about our own collections. We do have some analog and digital A/V in the archives, and we don’t have a formal preservation plan as of yet. Definitely on our to-do list already, but planning an event like this would force a timeline (and, as a person who has a history of procrastination and is ever-busy, forcing the timeline is often a blessing).
- Archival advocacy. As mentioned above, this kind of event has the possibility to connect with new audiences, and one possible outcome of that connection could be changing the way that people think about archives. Many people may not know what an archive is or what it holds, but if they do, they might think of us as anti-social dust-lovers. The work of librarians and archivists is about PEOPLE, first and foremost – we help connect users with the information they need, in the most broad definition of the job. Generating “good PR” for archives and letting people see that we do many things is good for our individual institutions, good for the profession as a whole, and ultimately good for our users.
- Curricular tie-ins. I can think of a few ways that a Home Movie Day might complement academic departments at Davidson – art, film and media studies, anthropology, history, and digital studies, to just name a few. I think a Home Movie Day would be a really interesting opportunity to discuss amateur film as a primary source, and how questioning and investigating that source might work.
- Skip also brought up the Home Movie Registry, a sort of union catalog of amateur films. I think it would be amazing to contribute to that work, and I’m sure other archivist and librarians ears perked up at the words “union catalog”…
After the meeting with Skip and Chelcie, I wandered around in downtown Raleigh for a bit, which led to checking out this cool city farm:
Then, I drove to Durham to grab dinner with a friend (and eat amazing hush puppies at Watts Grocery):
Overall, I enjoyed the experience of liveblogging (and reflective blogging, like this entry) – while it made for a bit of a chaotic conference day, having my thoughts and takeaways recorded as they’re happening made for much fuller notes than usual (much more food for thought!). My Day of DH might have been more “typical” if it had been recorded on this Monday or Wednesday instead of this Tuesday, but the changeability of my role is not only something I greatly enjoy, but something that I think is typical of many of us who work in Digital Humanities/ Studies/ Liberal Arts.
Incidentally, I completely forgot to mention it in my other updates, but during the plenary luncheon/ business meeting at SNCA yesterday, I was elected as Member at Large! I’m very excited to get more involved with SNCA and have a chance to meet more archivists within the state – if yesterday’s mini conference was anything to go by, the membership is comprised of some very friendly and funny folks.