To Show For It: Links, Lists & Paper from Four Years at LC

I had originally intended this to be a post for The Signal, but it ended up having more of a personal bent to it so it made more sense for it to go here. Like everything on this site, nothing here reflects any official anything of any org or institution This is just my own personal thoughts/reflections. 

For the last four years I had the distinct pleasure of working as a digital archivist with NDIIPP at The Library of Congress. Apparently, I’ve been up to a lot here too. A search for mentions of me in The Library of Congress search box since 2010 currently turns up 187 “available online results.” After a quick skim of the results, I think that is mostly things this Trevor Owens was involved in. I’ve learned so much about this field and this work and a big part of that has been writing up my ideas and perspectives and conducting interviews for this blog.

As you might imagine, there is a form for leaving the LC.
As you might imagine, there is a form for leaving the LC.

I recently started a new position as the Senior Library Program Officer for the Institute for Museum and Library Services (IMLS) tasked with steering the national digital platform portfolio for libraries. I don’t know about you, but to me that sounds like too much fun and too great of a chance to make a national impact on the field to pass up!

Name badges from conferences, summits and workshops I've participated in the four years that accumulated in my desk drawer. It's fun to look at little pieces of paper and plastic like these that accrue in your desk and see what you see about yourself and your work in them.
Four years of name badges from conferences, summits & workshops I participated in and/or planned. These little pieces of paper & plastic that accrue in your desk pile into something that reflects back who you are and what your work has been.

As part of my work at NDIIPP, I’d been eagerly following developments around the emerging vision to support a national digital platform for libraries (PDF). A lot of incredibly smart and talented folks have been working on this and I am thrilled to be able to play a part in this effort. But the cool new thing isn’t what this post is about. This one is about looking back at what accrued over the last four years. The things I made, wrote, and did and what I find useful from that time and place and what I think is hopefully useful to others.

It has been a privilege and an honor to be able to work at The Library of Congress. The staff and the collections are both treasures from which I have learned so much. People at the institution, and throughout the national and international community of folks working on digital library issues, continue to be generous in sharing their time and ideas. I count myself very lucky to be a part of this field. With that noted, what do I have to show for my time?

Some Lists of Posts and Projects

"New business cards" Uploaded on November 15, 2010
New business cards” Uploaded on November 15, 2010

Given that we just finished out one year and started another, a time of top lists, and that leaving a job naturally pushes one to glance backward on their work, I thought it would make sense to share some of what I think are the interviews, posts and projects I’ve worked on in my time at LC. These are the things that keep popping up in my mind over time. So, here are some lists of work I did on The Signal and more broadly at LC that you can access over the web.

10 of the Interviews I Revisit

  1. Open Source Software and Digital Preservation: An Interview with Bram van der Werf of the Open Planets Foundation April 4, 2012
  2. Digital Strategy Catches up With the Present: An Interview with Smithsonian’s Michael Edson   August 9, 2012
  3. Life-Saving: The National Software Reference Library May 4, 2012
  4. We’re All Digital Archivists Now: An Interview with Sibyl Schaefer September 24, 2014
  5. Historicizing the Digital for Digital Preservation Education: An Interview with Alison Langmead and Brian Beaton May 6, 2013
  6. The Metadata Games Crowdsourcing Toolset for Libraries & Archives: An Interview with Mary Flanagan April 3, 2013
  7. The PDF’s Place in a History of Paper Knowledge: An Interview with Lisa Gitelman Jun 16, 2014
  8. Archivematica and the Open Source Mindset for Digital Preservation Systems October 16, 2012
  9. Exhibiting .gifs: An Interview with curator Jason Eppink June 2, 2014
  10. Collecting and Preserving Digital Art: Interview with Richard Rinehart and Jon Ippolito November 26, 2014
When I found Ed Summers name plate after he left but before I did.
When I found Ed Summers name plate after he left but before I did. Taken on October 3, 2014.

5 Posts I Wrote That I Revisit

  1. The is of the Digital Object and the is of the Artifact October 25, 2012
  2. Interface, Exhibition & Artwork: Geocities, Deleted City and the Future of Interfaces to Digital Collections January 28, 2014
  3. What Do you Mean by Archive? Genres of Usage for Digital Preservers February 27, 2014
  4. All Digital Objects are Born Digital Objects May 15, 2012
  5. Glitching Files for Understanding: Avoiding Screen Essentialism in Three Easy Steps November 5, 2012

5 Other Things I Loved Working On

  1. The NDSA Levels of Digital Preservation (PDF): I feel like this project illustrates the potential of an organization like the NDSA to make an impact on the practice of digital preservation. I love that I had a part in getting it off the ground and shaping it.
  2. Preserving.exe Report/Meeting: I think this meeting and report on collecting, preserving and providing access to software turned out really well.
  3. Working on the Digital Culture Web Archive with the American Folklife Center and the #FolklifeHalloween2014 Photo Project.
  4. CURATECamps: Shortly after I started I pitched the idea that we should host some unconferences and I think the CURATECamp Processing, CURATECamp Exhibition, and CURATECamp Digital Culture have all been great events.
  5. Finding Our Place in the Cosmos: They let me spend 60% of my time for a year doing research and writing about Martians, the history of models of the cosmos, and Carl Sagan.

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