Notes from the First Arts Advisory Group Meeting

Arts Advisory Meeting:
Monday, April 13, 2009
Present: Jennifer Ponder (light design and tech), Jason Mittell, Alex Draper, Judy Watts, Andy Wentink, Shel Sax
One of the first topics related to software and the fact that the Dance Dept. and Tiffany Rhynhard in particular, are making intensive use of video. As a result, expertise in Final cut Pro and having a sufficient number of licenses are important considerations.  It was noted that there will be an increased need for more video cameras and digital editing  equipment.

An issue of scheduling concerns the use of Axxinn 105. It is a scheduled lab, non-proprietary digital video editing facility that is controlled by the scheduling office. It is also configured for seminars and sminars that don’t need the video equipment are sometimes scheduled there, precluding use of the video equipment.   It was agreed that it makes sense to give video use top priority in this space.

Item for Consideration: this issue has arisen in different locations on campus, not necessarily for access to video per se, but for computer labs that are scheduled for non-computer purposes. It is a tricky issue but LIS should discuss internally and consult with the Scheduling Office. It would be advantageous to all if Axxin 105 was used as a video space instead of the Wilson Media Lab which is more heavily utilized.

Software needs for the Arts include:  In Design, Photoshop (for graphic design), Final Cut Pro (currently in need of an update), Vectorworks, DVDStudioPro, Lightwright.

There is a great need for a video storage solution. Jennifer Ponder noted that there are students using external hard drives (2 terabytes on Jennifer’s two machines) without backup. An archival system is needed.  This is an issue that it is campus-wide when it comes to video storage for projects in process.

Item for Consideration: LIS should evaluate potential solutions to the needs for video storage while projects are under construction.

The issue of video storage also arose in terms of the accumulated videotapes, DVD’s in Wright Theather that was transferred to Andy Wentink in Special Colections. It was agreed that we need a plan for archiving projects and should consider making them available on line.

Jason Mittell would like a system in whch a student does a video project and it would then be his/her responsibility is to upload it to whatever system is currently in place and decide who has access.  Andy noted that there is a form and process in use for the senior theses  which might appropriate for this situation.   Further, he noted that ContentDM might be a solution since it supports metadata for organizing the content. And in terms of dealing with volume, we may need to investigate some type of system where we weed a digital collection and make only the most recent and highly demanded items available for instantaneous access. The rest would have to be requested.

Jason thinks things have been tumultuous but going well. It was noted that the response rate of Media Services in dealing with classroom issue in Axxinn has been slow. Interestingly,Jennifer reported the opposite.  Looking further into this issue, there have been bad amplifiers in Axxinn that have taken months to get fixed and remain an issue. A further issue is that there are within the building both spaces dedicated to FMMC and maintained and managed by Ethan; and, spaces that are the purview of Media Services and LIS. For the latter, the timeliness of response is not always satisfactory – the example cited was programming the touchpad to change the volume controls in one of the Axxinn classrooms.

It was noted that one of the issues for the Theater Dept. is how best to use the music library. The Theater Dept. needs to be aware of and more famliar with the resources that are currently available so that, for example, plays that need to be read for auditions can be made available on reserve.

Currently theatre designers don’t use technology (don’t teach Vector Works), they teach hand drafting. Apparently, the designers rationale is pedagogical and they clearly think that this is the best way to teach.  Alex related that a friend of his in the industry when asked to hire Midd students as interns named Vector Works as one program that students would need to be very familiar with in order to be useful during the internship.

Theater has a reading list of what graduating seniors should read before graduation. It seems that some of the plays are missing.

Item for consideration: Find someone in the library to work with the Theater Dept. to determine what we actually have and what we are missing.

It was also noted that there are features in MiddCat that have not been enabled and are not until requested. How to create lists was one topic in this area.

Some requests for DVD’s have had no response and there seems to be some ambiguity as to how reqests for DVD’s should be make and to whom. Andy noted that these requests should come to him.

Item for consideration: Figure out how best to inform the various departments as to the preferred process for requesting DVD’s.  There was a question as to how new faculty learn about these process – for example, there is a web-based form. Jennifer raised the role of the music library – the dance visual collections are there, theater has plays, etc there – – SHOULD the name of the music library be changed to the performing arts library and should there be a group workshpace there in which theater dande and music students could collaborate on

The division of space in the Center for the Arts is divided up very much by department and there is a lack of common space in which collaborations might be possible. Alex noted that when students were working on a play with live musicians, there was no place in the building that is not so tethered to a specific department that it made this type of collaboration difficult.

Music Library:
Apparently, it is freezing in there – an HVAC problem – heat and air conditioning are often on at the same time. Facilties is aware of the problem but it remains unremedied.
Meeting participants agreed that  it would be worth having discussing what materials should be in the space constrained music library so that the most relevant stuff is located there and not at the Main library.

Jason suggested that it would interesting to do a report on what is being requested to be picked up  in the music library from the main library and vice versa. Can students at the main library request material be delivered from the music library? Judy doubts that this is the case.

The ability to check out hardware: protable LCD’s, hard drives, cameras, iPods, etc. is much appreciated but not everyone is familiar with this service.

Item for consideration: How can LIS better inform different departments as to what services and equipment are available? Theater, for example, did not seemto know that they could borrow equipment from the Circ Desk.

The  question was raised about how the DVD collection is used and maintained in the library by students, faculty and staff needs:

For the Dance department, it was noted that the Dance faculty do not typically come to the main library to look for materials. They try to keep material in the music library so that it is proximal to the department.  The Dance archives in Jennifer’s office include ‘unofficial’ versions, while DVD’s purchases by the College are in the music library.

In Theater, Alex notes that the DVD’s used by his department are primarily in the main library.

Once the collection moved to the new library from Sunderland, the policies that were then in place led to a lot of issues e.g. thousands of DVD’s that are sitting there unwatched. While they can be watched in the library most students and staff would like to be able to borrow from this collection. Question arose as to portential damage to valuable editions.
Item for consideration: Should we make backup copies of DVD’s that are hard to replace

It was suggested that the next meeting  should take place  at the beginning of the semester and demo the new Monterrey web site which will be live. However, it turns out that the next meeting will take place sooner because the web makeover and decommissioning Segue issues are sufficiently urgent to discuss, as are the orientations for First Year Seminars and what topics they should cover.


It was suggested that the next meeting  should take place  at the beginning of the fall semester and demo the new Monterrey web site which will be live. However, it turns out that the next meeting will take place sooner because the web makeover and decommissioning Segue issues are sufficiently urgent to discuss, as are the orientations for First Year Seminars and what topics they should cover.

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