Category Archives: middpoints

Digital Projects & Archives Librarian Patrick Wallace featured on Archive-It Blog – Unauthorized Voices in the Archive: Documenting Student Life in Middlebury College’s Community Web Archive

Read it on Archive-It’s blog or below!

Source: Archive-It Blog – Unauthorized Voices in the Archive: Documenting Student Life in Middlebury College’s Community Web Archive

 

Unauthorized Voices in the Archive: Documenting Student Life in Middlebury College’s Community Web Archive

The following is a guest post by Patrick Wallace, Digital Projects & Archives Librarian at Middlebury College.

 

In November 2015, as I stepped into my position as Middlebury College’s first digital archivist, our Director of Special Collections approached me for ideas on how to begin work toward three mutual goals: providing boldly promiscuous, public access to our digital collections; preserving born-digital and web content; and, including fuller representations of student life in the college archives. Like many institutions, Middlebury’s previous efforts to preserve institutional memory emphasized – at least implicitly – the authorized, public face of the college: official publications, administrative business, sanctioned student activities, and so on. The college archives therefore represented a mostly sanitized view of campus culture, a clean and uncontroversial history that we in Special Collections found unacceptable at a time when student protests over issues of discrimination, violence, gender and sexual identity, racial diversity, and a host of critical social justice issues were shaking up campuses nationwide, and as Middlebury was making conscious institutional efforts to improve on-campus diversity, inclusivity, and community wellness. Subsequently, our first major initiative toward change was the Middlebury College Community Web Archive, which began, and remains, a central effort by the college archives toward constructing a more just institutional memory.

 

Queer Faces of Middlebury, a student-created photographic narrative documenting diversity among students, staff, and faculty.

 

A major goal of the project has been to capture and preserve discussions happening in Middlebury’s culturally diverse activist margins. Student debate and activism happens in large part online, especially via Facebook, Twitter, WordPress, Tumblr, and other social media outlets. Students often speak more freely in these virtual spaces than they might, for example, in the editorial pages of the college’s newspaper or in an institutionally-sanctioned town hall discussion. As a long time fan, I had been suggesting that the Internet Archive would play a central role in our digital collections strategy from the time of my job interview, and the ideas behind the Community Web Archive delivered a perfect justification for partnering with Archive-It.

Identifying and collecting student-created content from unsanctioned online sources (e.g. sites outside of our institutional web domain, or social media feeds from organizations unaffiliated with the college) was a clear priority, but not without a host of risks and difficult choices: we had concerns about unfairly appropriating student voices for our own work; we wrung our hands over how to organize potentially controversial materials; we discussed concerns about administrative pushback; we worried about inspiring resentment or mistrust in students who were critical of the establishment to which we in the archives are certainly beholden. As archivists and curators, we have immense power to shape history. It is my decided opinion that participating in the soft censorship of omission in deference to a personal fear of backlash is grossly unethical. Therefore, the famous words of computing pioneer Grace Hopper–“it is easier to ask for forgiveness than to get permission”–have been a central guiding principle of our digital collections strategy.

 

Image from a student created “disorientation guide” questioning institutional efforts at improving campus diversity (disorientmidd.wordpress.com).

 

Yet, the archives are also an institutional authority, and when our artifacts represent voices set in opposition to that same authority, it is imperative that we remain sensitive to the risk of exploiting or misrepresenting student experiences in our collections. Organization and definition presented an immediate challenge. YouTube channels by Middlebury’s acapella singing groups could certainly live comfortably and uncontroversially alongside the Mountain Club’s Facebook account. But what about a pseudonymous student’s blog post about the failed and traumatic institutional response to their sexual assault? What about an environmentalist polemic that cast Middlebury – the first school in the country to offer an undergraduate degree in environmental studies – and its administration in a less than favorable light? What about the website of a satirical publication that, while venerable on campus, is run independently of the college?

To answer the question of classification, I proposed that we turn to our original goal – to provide a full and honest view of student life – and make the choice not to impose artificial distinctions. Theater and mountaineering have long been a part of the “college experience” at Middlebury, but so have sexual violence and racial discrimination; to suggest otherwise would be fundamentally disingenuous and contrary to our aims. We reached out informally to a number of students and recent graduates, and encouraged them to speak with their peers in turn; all agreed that a boldly inclusive collection was the best solution. To be honest, I still do not know if this is a representative view among the student body, much less among the administration. However, I firmly believe that the Middlebury College Community Web Archive is the most radical, candid, and diverse sampling of student voices ever collected by the college archives.

 

Documenting broccoli served in a Middlebury College dining hall (proc-broc.tumblr.com).

 

Another key question was how to identify URLs for preservation, and do so in a way that allowed student participation in the curatorial process. An initial set of seeds was proposed by our Special Collections’ postgraduate fellow, Mikaela Taylor, a recent graduate who was aware of popular student publications and activities that might escape the attention of other library staff. However, we did not want all of the curatorial decision making to come from within the archives. We set up a Drupal form for URL submission linked from the library website, and Mikaela led promotional efforts encouraging students to submit their favorite websites, blogs, and social media feeds. The form is designed to be simple; aside from the site URL and a field for descriptive information, the form asks simply if the submitter has rights to the site content, and if not, whether or not they know who does. As a rule, if a URL is submitted by a Middlebury community member, it is included in the archive; we have chosen not to crawl perhaps half a dozen because their size or document count was more than our Archive-It subscription can currently accommodate.

One of our notable promotion campaigns came at the end of the spring semester, when graduating seniors traditionally post “crush lists” – creative posters listing platonic or romantic crushes from their college years – in common areas. A mock crush list created by Special Collections listed some of our favorite sites included in the web archive, with links to the submission form. The response was good, and provided URLs for several sites now in the collection. When facilities management began taking down the crush lists, students began posting scans and photographs to Tumblr; the site URL was submitted to the archives and added as a seed. Out of over a hundred seeds being crawled, only the crush lists site has been kept out of the public archive, because of concerns over privacy.

 

Middlebury’s URL submission form for students & faculty.

 

Work on the archive continues, and we are adding more seeds while actively developing workflows to bring WARC files from Archive-It into our nascent institutional repository. As I write this, the Middlebury College Community Web Archive contains 138 seeds (97 public) totalling over 53GB of data and a million documents, with an incredibly broad range of content: a collection of animated GIFs lampooning the college experience at Middlebury; local news articles about racist attacks carried out against a student government candidate via YikYak; blogs by students studying abroad that focus on cheese and textiles in different countries; Facebook pages representing Middlebury’s Black Student Union, LGBTQ+ activist groups, local musical acts, theater troupes, and fossil fuel divestment initiatives. Adding descriptive metadata remains a work in progress, but more than half of the public seeds include fairly rich descriptive information.

Submissions keep coming in and our promotional efforts have not abated. We are proud of the work our partnership with Archive-it has facilitated, and certainly hope our collections provide future researchers, students, and alumni with as much fascination and insight as we in Middlebury College’s Special Collections and Archives have gained through their development.

 

@MiddInfoSec Phishing Alert: don’t fall for “Thammasat Great Journal, Thailand” scam email

Be on the alert for a suspicious email purportedly sent from “thammasat@goconnext.com” with the subject line “Thammasat Great Journal, Thailand“. This is a confirmed phishing message, designed to trick you into downloading a malicious file. Do not click on the links in the message or reply to the message. If you find a copy of the message in your inbox, please delete it. If you find a copy of this message in your spam quarantine, please ignore it and do not release it. The message will be deleted from your quarantine automatically in the next few days.

 For more information about phishing attacks, please visit http://go.middlebury.edu/phishing. For more information about the spam quarantine, please visit http://go.middlebury.edu/spam.

12122016-phish

Exam hours for the Libraries

The Davis Family Library will offer extended hours starting Sunday, December 4th. We will open at 9 am that day and be open 24 hours through Friday, December 9th, when we will close at the regular 11 pm. Saturday, December 10th will be regular hours, 9 am – 11 pm. 24/7 will resume on Sunday starting at 9 am and the library will close at 10 pm on Sunday, December 18th. A Middlebury College ID will be required to enter the library after 11 pm during this period.

Armstrong Library will maintain regular hours, with extended hours on Friday and Saturday, December 16th and 17th.

Full hours can be found at go/hours.

Protect your Middlebury Account with Multi-Factor Authentication

Multi-Factor Authentication is a security technology that helps protect your Middlebury account from potential compromise by requiring the use of more than just a username and password to prove your identity during login.

mfa1

Learn more about how you can start using Multi-Factor Authentication today to better protect your Middlebury account at http://go.middlebury.edu/mfa.

Notes for In-progress Project Presentation for Web Conferencing

Bob C.

Where we are at with the project.

act.middcreate.net/site/projects/web- confercing – service

Adobe Connect has been in Production for a few years. Adobe’s change in pricing structure, created impetus to review options. ITS was looking into options for unified communication with telephone which may have had some options.

Oct 11th, update narrowed selection to Zoom and Blue Jeans. Zoom actively being tested.

Mack P.

Adobe price change caused review. What do we currently get from Adobe connect? Could be tied into replacement of legacy phone system, which had been previously reviewed and recommended, but not funded. Skype for Business was piloted, but determined not to be phone system for Middlebury. ITS Media Services was brought into looking into telephone systems which have some video conf features(presence, chat…).

If new phone system is funded it would have Jabber for video and chat.

Decided to pursue a separate product for academic web conf.

Zoom and Blue Jeans have similar feature set. Zoom is approximately ½ of the price of Blue Jeans, Blue Jeans has some features that Middlebury wouldn’t benefit from(ability to host 500 person meeting). Zoom would lock in price for a term. Blue Jeans would match Zoom for one year only, then increase to approximately $98k. Prior users of Blue Jeans have given negative review of product for meeting use.

Zoom feedback to date has been positive. Easy to start each course.

Joe A.

Reviewed spreadsheet of services we reviewed, initially 10 services. Narrowed to 3-4 offerings. Vidyo was dropped due to cost and inclusion of video conf equipment, older tool without modern feel. Down to 3 services.

ACTT had a “round robin” where over the course of a single meeting, we took a first pass of all the services, 15 mins per service with large group. Zoom, WebX, Blue Jean and Adobe Connect, tracked issues and reminded ourselves why we are departing from Adobe Connect. Follow up meeting identified Zoom and Blue Jeans, as preferred options. Zoom allowed everyone to be visible on the screen, Blue Jeans limited to 9, others would fall off. Blue Jeans prioritized quality to speaker. Zoom quality seemed more consistent. Moved forward with Zoom pilot, one class had already requested Zoom.

Joe A. demo review following Zoom practice. Recorded to test feature in Zoom.

Screen sharing allows option to present slides, but presenter remains in presenter mode for slideshow. May be allowed only with two screens.

Video of call participants can be turn on/off be each participant.

Power, Source, Filter: Vocal production of sound.

Explication of slides.

Played Ted video via Youtube.

Issue with getting video fullscreen, common with other video conf options. Need to share desktop to share full screen, can’t do it via application sharing.

Audio needs to be shared with application. Mack P. knows the tricks.

Video recorded as MP4 file. Pilot saved locally.

Pay version allows for cloud recording.

Dotty, Hebrew Course and Zoom.

  • Prefer freedom to do what they want with recordings. Exported out of Adobe Connect.
  • Improved entrance for students.
  • Less issues with bandwidth for international students.
  • Adobe Connect frequently had issues with Flash
  • Has been using Zoom in the ‘democratized’ format with similar size videos

Mack P. Review:

  • Mack P. has better success getting people up and running during meetings. 100% self starting
  • Been working well with Polycom room systems.
  • Polycom client often been blocked by firewalls of travelers.
  • Built in phone line has allowed people to call into sessions.

Sean M.:

  • Been testing Zoom during meetings
  • Preferred over Google Hangouts
  • Testing Friday with large meeting

Bob C.

  • Plans to test Zoom with Critical Issues Forum that previously used Adobe Connect, connecting with High School Teachers
  • This use case involves recording for viewing later, wants to pull prior videos from Adobe Connect
  • Did a test with Zoom recording which was positive.

Question how to view the suite of people of people coming into session, when something is being shared.

Option to raise hand is not readily visible.

Can make the active speaker large.

Need to develop best practices and training to go along with the tools.

Zoom does have a webinar format, which may have more participant functions.

How long to we envision best of breed for variety of use cases?

Polycom room equipment needed in room. Polycom servers contracted for 2 more years, Zoom maybe able to replace some of that functions.

Zoom Webinar has more options.

Military tanks move in. At Bread Loaf, 1941

Middlebury’s Bread Loaf campus is usually seen as a peaceful academic retreat nestled in the lush landscape of the Green Mountains, but 75 years ago, it was briefly home to a serious display of military might. College President Paul Moody (who had served in World War I and was a member of the National Guard) hosted the 754th Tank Battalion at the campus in the fall of 1941.

This compilation of footage from 16mm reels in the College archives are believed to show the visit, including a shot of a helmeted President Moody in one of the battalion’s vehicles (an unused title card on another reel in the archives reads: “Prexy Gets Tanked”). Other footage includes author and professor William Hazlett Upson with an unknown child dressed as a soldier, officers visiting the Middlebury Inn, and a procession of military vehicles through campus.

Lieutenant Colonel Robert J. Wallace thanked President Moody in a letter saying, “The quarters afforded us were excellent, and the party held for the Battalion at Bread Loaf by the girls of Middlebury College, will long be very pleasantly remembered by all the men of the Battalion.”

For more information or for permission to use this clip contact SpecialCollections@middlebury.edu. Compilation from original 16mm films in the Middlebury College Archives.