Upcoming Workshops

Operations and Systems Management for Cultural Heritage Professionals

This workshop will be held via Zoom on September 28 & 29, 2022 from 1:00 PM-3:00 PM Eastern time. 


This workshop is tuition-free thanks to generous support from the Mellon Foundation. The deadline to complete and submit this application is now closed. Successful applicants will be notified by September 23.


Introduction:

As cultural heritage practitioners, we perform a variety of tasks to document, manage, and preserve cultural heritage materials. Some of these tasks necessitate hands-on piecemeal work with physical and digital collections materials, whereas others may be managed by an ecosystem of software tools, such as databases, project management software, and collection management and digital preservation systems. One frame of reference we can use to characterize the latter is operations and systems management. In this workshop, participants will learn how to identify opportunities to operationalize cultural heritage work, tools that can support operations and systems management, and how to engage in thoughtful action and collaboration with colleagues to meet institutional needs.

Workshop structure:

Day One (2 hours)

We will start by defining what operations and systems management is, especially in terms of how it has been historically applied within and throughout the manufacturing and service industries. With this definition in mind, we will turn our eye to the cultural heritage sector, and ask, what does operations and systems management look like in terms of archival and digital preservation work? We will provide concrete examples here of tools, methodologies and approaches we have taken in our own work at two major collecting institutions.

After a break, we will pose a question: is there a way to perform operations management in a way that centers and honors the worker, the creator whose works the institution is stewarding, and our communities at-large? We will also provide concrete examples here of what certain institutions (or individuals/teams at institutions) are doing in the field to accomplish this.

Day Two (2 hours)

Day 2 will be an interactive, skill-building opportunity for new professionals to gain experience planning, implementing, and maintaining systems in archives. Over the course of the workshop, participants will be guided through playing a role-playing game (RPG) in which they are tasked with implementing a brand-new system or initiative. Through the rolling of di, participants will build up their character’s characteristics, and be led on a journey by workshop facilitators where they will encounter certain challenges and opportunities. They must use what they have learned on Day 1 (or invent new strategies) to navigate through to the end of a fictional project. The day will end with a facilitated discussion about each participant’s experiences, and what they may have learned along the way.

Learning Outcomes: 

  • Participants will learn how to articulate problems/challenges relating to digital preservation operations and map a user’s journey re: cultural heritage systems/technology
  • Participants will learn how to write communication plans, system requirements, and implementation plans
  • Participants will gain a better understanding of the shadow administrative infrastructures that underlie processing and descriptive work
  • Participants will be:
    • introduced to systems that support operations, broadly, such as databases, spreadsheets, and common applications/software
    • Introduced to systems “ecosystems” (clusters/chains of solutions)
    • Understand what skills may be required to support, advocate for, and maintain systems
    • Recognize red flags that may make certain efforts or projects hard to implement or maintain


Instructors:

Dinah Handel is the Digitization Service Manager at Stanford Libraries, where she supports digitization services and digital access to collections. Previously, she was the Mass Digitization Coordinator at the New York Public Library and was a NDSR-NY resident at CUNY TV. She holds an MLIS from Pratt Institute in New York, and a BA from Hampshire College.

Mary Kidd currently works as the Systems and Operations Manager in the Preservation Department at the New York Public Library. She leads a team developing systems-based tools to streamline special collections operations and reporting. Previously, she worked as Project Lead for the Andrew W. Mellon-funded project Preserve This Podcast, and was a National Digital Stewardship Resident at the New York Public Radio Archives. She lives and works in Brooklyn, NY.

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