Preserving Indiana’s memories for the future

On Wednesday, March 1, 2017, Sam Meister, program manager for the MetaArchive Cooperative, sent out the call to six member organizations1 to trigger the ingest of four archival units (AUs) prepared by the cooperative’s newest member, Indiana Digital Preservation (InDiPres). Within minutes, the systems administrators managing the specified local servers within the LOCKSS-based distributed preservation network began to respond in the affirmative, “AUs added at … .”

This action culminated 18 months of preparatory work undertaken by the Indiana State Library (ISL) and the Cunningham Memorial Library at Indiana State University to create a sustainable digital preservation solution for Indiana’s cultural memory organizations, especially those of modest size and resources. Using Library Services and Technology Act (LSTA) funding, the libraries established a fee-based collaborative group for the sole purpose of joining the MetaArchive Cooperative, a community-owned and governed distributed digital preservation network founded in 2004. As a collaborative member of the MetaArchive Cooperative, Indiana Digital Preservation provides InDiPres participants the means to securely store master digital files in multiple copies at geographically dispersed sites in the United States and Europe for an affordable price. Start-up costs, which includes a three-year MetaArchive collaborative membership and the purchase of the LOCKSS server housed at Indiana State University, were covered by monies received through the 2015-2016 LSTA Special Digitization Project Grant.

From left to right: Connie Rendfeld (ISL), Cathi Taylor (American Legion Auxiliary), Eric Spall (Lebanon Public Library), Ryan Weir (Rose Hulman), Brooke Cox (DePauw) and Cinda May (Indiana State) at the InDiPres Foundational Meeting on May 17, 2016 at the Indiana State Library.

By working together, Indiana’s heritage organizations are able to store multiple copies of master files throughout a global network that monitors the integrity of the files to ensure the survivability of digital content into the future. Members of Indiana Digital Preservation share in the expense of long term storage and preservation of digital assets created by these institutions; particularly those that contribute to Indiana Memory. Based on a model of 20 members, the InDiPres membership fee is $325 per year with a three-year commitment, plus $.59 per GB of storage space based on individual needs. The $325 breaks down to a required $100 participation fee, $125 for a member’s share of the MetaArchive Collaborative membership which costs $2,500 per year and $100 for a share of the InDiPres LOCKSS server at three-year refreshment cycle. These costs are likely to be reduced as more organizations join the endeavor. Membership in InDiPres is open to any Indiana institution creating digital content whose principles and guidelines are consistent with those of Indiana Digital Preservation. This includes, but is not limited to libraries, archives, museums, historical societies, community groups, research centers and state and local government agencies.

The 2016-2017 LSTA Special Digitization Project Grant included funding to hire a metadata specialist to work with InDiPres partners to perform necessary data wrangling tasks and preparation for the ingest of content into the MetaArchive Preservation Network. To date more than 656 GB of digital files created by InDiPres members are stored within the network.

Indiana Digital Preservation will celebrate its first anniversary at a meeting of its membership on Wednesday, Sept. 20, 2017. This meeting, which is open to the public, will take place at the Indiana State Library from 1-4 p.m. For more information about how to join InDiPres please contact Connie Rendfeld via email or at (317) 232-3694.

This blog post was written by Cinda May, chair, Special Collections, Cunningham Memorial Library, Indiana State University.

1. MetaArchive Cooperative members storing InDiPres submitted content are: HBCU Library Alliance, Consorci de Biblioteques Universitaries de Catalunya; and the libraries of the University of North Texas, Oregon State University, Purdue University, and Carnegie Mellon University.

Meet Chris Marshall, Indiana Division Digital Collections coordinator

Since Jan. 30, 2017, Chris Marshall has been the digital collections coordinator for the Indiana Division at the Indiana State Library. He’s previously held positions at Conner Prairie, the Indianapolis Museum of Art, the Indiana State Museum and the Indianapolis Public Library (IndyPL). Recently, he took time to answer some questions and here are the responses.

Chris Marshall, smiling and working.

Describe some of your work duties?
I answer reference questions, either in person or by email or chat, but the biggest part of my job is digitizing materials from the Indiana Division’s collection and building digital collections.

How does this job compare to previous jobs?
When I worked at the Indiana State Museum, I worked with objects in the Decorative Arts Collection. This was in the pre-digital world. I also curated a major exhibit about early 19th century furniture and architecture. This required researching and searching for furniture in the collections.

This position reminds me of part of my previous job at IndyPL’s Central Library. Here, I’m focusing on the digital access of the collections by providing information and research materials to patrons all over the world. I often wonder how many people in Frankton, New Zealand might be researching something in Frankton, Indiana. I don’t really know if they are, but it amazes me that just twenty years ago, the access would have been limited and required more time and patience.

Educational background?
I have a B.A. in American History and French from Ball State University. I have an M.A. in Museum Studies, also known as Historical Administration, from Eastern Illinois University, with an internship at the Indianapolis Museum of Art. Last but not least, I got my Master of Library Science at IUPUI/Indiana University.

What sparked your interest in collections?
When I was in middle school, I was a history geek. We took a trip to the Anderson Public Library and there we learned about genealogy. That sparked my interest. In hindsight, I was glad that I started working on it then because it gave me the chance to talk with the older members of my family and I learned a lot about the family. From that, I found my love of research and cultural history and learned what it was like to live during the times I was researching. I was always more interested in the social and cultural aspects of history, as opposed to political or military histories.

Better than Guy Fieri.

Julia Child vs. Guy Fieri?
Julia Child without a doubt! She pioneered teaching cooking and look at what that lead to.  She knew who to teach and encourage and do it in such a way that made me smile and want to actually learn to de-bone a duck. No, I have not done it yet.

Guy seems to be more of the celebrity chef. Julia was humble in her work and career.

Hobbies?
If I’m not writing or working on my books that I have yet to find an agent for, I’m being crafty. During my Conner Prairie days, I learned to knit, so I have a lot of yarn stashed away for future projects. I usually knit while catching up on movies that I didn’t see at the theater or while binge-watching television shows like “Grace and Frankie” or “The Twilight Zone” or “The Simpsons.” Gotta get back to “The Walking Dead;” not my favorite, but it grabbed my attention. I’ve also learned simple bookbinding.

The books I’ve written range from a middle-grade time-traveling trilogy to a haunted hotel in upstate New York to a secret love affair. Some are complete and some are in the works. I also maintain a blog with some of my short stories and miscellaneous posts about my observations on life. I am also a Lego maniac and I’m working on a series of blog posts using my Lego sets. My favorite books are ones set in museums. I’m currently reading “Relic.” I re-read “From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler,” but I definitely prefer the 1970s movie version over the book.

Best album of all-time?
I don’t have one. My parents had a huge record collection and I would listen to variety of music. I like individual songs more than one particular artist, so I listen to a variety ranging from Benny Goodman to Rufus Wainwright to the Boston Pops to Doris Day to Frank Sinatra to the Beatles to Elton John. The list goes on…

What do you hope to gain from your experience here at the state library?
To learn more about Indiana history. My goal as the Digital Collections coordinator is to have a least one digitized item from each county of the state in the digital collection. So far, so good on that one. I also hope that this might lead to a high-level position; maybe manage a whole digital department somewhere someday.

This blog post was written by John Wekluk, communications director, Indiana State Library. For more information, email the communications director at communications@library.in.gov.