Nearly eight months here at UMD Libraries

It’s been too long since I’ve posted here, and so much cool stuff has happened. Here’s a recap of what I’ve been up to and what’s ahead.

I joined the Born Digital Working Group, a team comprised of folks from University of Maryland Libraries (UMD Libraries) and the Maryland Institute for Technology in the Humanities (MITH), to test archival imaging tools and to devise policies for electronic and born-digital assets. The Tools subgroup, of which I was a member, concluded much of its work and parted ways in May. This autumn, we’ll welcome a fellow as part of the inaugural National Digital Stewardship Residency program, and she or he will have equipment and guidelines to use that we set up. In April, I wrote about working with our new Forensic Recovery of Evidence Device, and both MITH and UMD Libraries Special Collections published my post on their blogs:

A major effort to create a digital edition of the U.S. writer Katherine Anne Porter’s correspondence is underway. My supervisor Robin Pike recently invited me to the project, and I’ve devised quality assurance procedures to assess the integrity of TIFF and JPEG images, OCR scans, hOCR scans, and MD5 checksums. I’ve just begun reading The Collected Stories of Katherine Anne Porter and am honored to be working with material created by a writer of such high caliber. This is the link to the project announcement:

Two weeks ago, I attended the Association of Recorded Sound Collections conference in Kansas City with my colleagues Robin, Henry, Joanne, and Chuck. In addition to many intriguing and inspiring sessions, a trip to the Marr Sound Archives, many UMD and UT shout-outs, introductions to major collectors and professionals, and long conversations with Board members and other ARSC Conference Travel Grants award winners, the buzz and energy surrounding the National Recording Preservation Plan were compelling. I believe much important work is set to occur in the coming decade at Illinois, Indiana, and Maryland, as well as at other institutions and smaller archives. Here’s the way to the NRPP: Let’s do this!

There’s so much amazing material that outside vendors and my astute graduate student digitization technicians digitize. What I’ve most enjoyed listening to have been digital surrogates of wire recordings of Arthur Godfrey’s variety shows from the 1940s and 1950s. They’re endlessly entertaining, marvelous sound recordings (I often call over the technicians and Henry Borchers, Broadcast Media Digitization Librarian, to listen to humorous segments and ukulele-led musical numbers). The expert folks from George Blood, L.P., based in Philadelphia, are making these digitally reformatted transfers for UMD Libraries. I’ll soon have the opportunity to travel to Pennsylvania to study with them.

Since winter, Digital Conversion and Media Reformatting has been focused on converting open reel tapes and migrating ADAT recordings from the WMUC Collection for an upcoming autumn exhibit. WMUC is the University of Maryland’s radio station, the oldest freeform college radio station in the United States. The breadth of content – sports, news, radio dramas, interviews, on-the-street recordings, and in-studio live music sets – is great. Laura Schnitker, the UMD Libraries’s ethnomusicologist (and the WMUC deejay helming The Bohemian Challenge) and I are assembling a presentation we’ll deliver to the DC-area ARSC group and students at George Washington University in June. It’s been technically challenging and aurally fascinating work, which Laura and I might also report on in abbreviated form at a poster session the American Folklife Center is soon set to hold.

Lastly, I volunteered at Maryland Day and made radio shows (, and mingled with guests at the William Morris Wayzegoose dinner ( Everything that goes on here hits all my intellectual gray matter pleasure centers. I’m grateful I landed at the University of Maryland Libraries, and I’m excited about all my ongoing projects and those yet unknown. More soon, rather than later.

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