Not All Who Wander The Archives Are Lost

Hello again everyone!

Today is my last day of work with the CLIR CCEPS project. Since May of this year, I have been working on archival projects related to California’s water history. Having only had brief experience in archival work prior to this project, I appreciated the exposure to this field of work. I have a deeper appreciation for the time, effort, and meticulousness required in managing archives and preparing items for the public to have access to. My work is only a stepping stone towards a future finished digital collection featuring items from different libraries who are working together. 
I first started my experience here at CCEPS by digitizing Boxes 1 & 3 of the Imperial Valley Records. I am actually quite happy to have scanned items relating to the Imperial Valley–I did not previously know much about this area and its history despite traveling through this region a few times. I actually think I may use some of the items dealing with the creation of the Salton Sea for a graduate school paper. So sometimes in this line of work, you may find something in the archives that you can use for your own research. 
After that, I began working on the metadata for these items. Over the course of managing the metadata for over 100 items, I tried to be thorough, specific, and clear. I wanted to make sure that the metadata reflected the reality of the items, so that future patrons will be able to find what they’re interested in with ease. In recent weeks during the Fall semester, I have been consulting the digital libraries and archives of other institutions. As a result, I have been exposed to different “metadata styles.” I saw some metadata that was thorough, and some metadata that could have been more “meaty” in terms of subject terms. In previous entries, I have described my metadata creation thought process. Making sure the correct Library of Congress terms are used was part of my mission. I have tried my best to create metadata that will be most helpful to future patrons but also was produced efficiently. 
In the midst of working on the metadata for my items, I took part in a trip to the Metropolitan Water District with my fellow CLIR CCEPS peers. There, we met with the district’s archivist and learned about how he handles his archives and how he worked with their social media team to advertise exhibits he created. While there, we also saw their two current exhibits he had worked on: “Turning on the Tap: 75 Years of Water Delivery to Southern California,” and “From the Archives Reaching for Water – Rex Brandt and Metropolitan.” Learning about how they handled social media to advertise their 75th anniversary exhibit has helped us at CLIR CCEPS figure out how we should handle social media for the CLIR project. Later, while working on metadata, I realized I had actually scanned one item that relates to the construction of the Colorado River Aqueduct: 

Since finishing my metadata, I began working on a land ledger from the Ontario City Library. My fellow CLIR CCEPS fellows will soon begin working on metadata for these items and uploading them on behalf of the Ontario City Library. 

The CLIRWater project has given me the opportunity to explore archives from a different perspective, and this experience is one that I will carry with me moving forward in my master’s program at Claremont Graduate University. 

A Closer Look

Hello all!
For this week, I’d like to share with you more specific images of the Ontario Land and Improvement Company’s land record ledger. 
Here we have an image of Block 7, an area of the town of Ontario. This page lists signatures, dates of deeds received, and remarks about purchase. 
Here is a page from the farm lots section, featuring lists of owners.
Here is another page of the ledger featuring purchase lists for smaller blocks in the town of Ontario. 
These purchases, as far as I have analyzed, seem to all have occurred during the 1920s. I don’t know much about the specifics of land development, but in this ledger alone, I have found interesting variety in handwriting, which I think is really cool!

A New Day, A New Collection

Hello all!
This week, I’m finally finished with all of the metadata from items I worked on over the summer. I’m back to working on scanning items. We recently received items from the Ontario City Library’s water documents collection. This time, I’m working on scanning a big book. Since it’s a fragile book, we’re using the book scanner to allow the book to be open upright as it’s scanned. This is a Land Ledger from the Ontario Land and Improvement Company. 
Here are some pictures showing what I’m talking about:
Until next time!

Approaching the End of My First Batch

Hello all, 

I am finally approaching the end of finishing the process of digitization! All of the items from over the summer have been scanned, their metadata finished, and the uploading process is almost done! 
How do I feel about all this, you ask? I am really excited! There is a sense of satisfaction and accomplishment that comes with finishing a task as long-lasting as this. This process has required meticulousness, precision, efficiency, and patience as I have talked about in the past. But, in the end, all of this hard work is going to pay off! 
Patrons have begun to see the California Water Documents Collection expand and grow over late summer. That’s only going to continue as we move forward. 
My hope is that researchers will take advantage of the items we have uploaded. There are so many items in our collection that are very fascinating and exciting. 
Check out the Claremont Colleges Digital Library for more! 

Social Media

Hello all!

This week, while working on uploading more of my items to
the Claremont Colleges Digital Library (CCDL), we have also been working on
creating an online social media presence on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

Right now, we have our Facebook page up and running, which
will function as the main hub for information about the project. We will
announce updates and events there. Other project partners will contribute to
this page as well. The Claremont Colleges Library’s Twitter and Instagram will
be hosting the CLIR CCEP’s point of view of the project, and all posts we specifically
make will be tagged with #CLIRWater.

I have been helping with this endeavor, and it has forced me
to have to rethink how we use social media. How I use social media personally
differs with how we use social media for a professional project. We have to be
concise, specific, and efficient with how we advertise the project. We want our
patrons to know what we’re working on and why it matters, but we also have to
figure out how to balance social media updates with continuing our digitization

Here are the links to the various social media sites:




A Stream of New Items

Hello all! 
This week here at CCEPS I have been working on uploading my items finally to the Claremont Colleges Digital Library. After a long process, I am beginning to upload my 99 scanned items to the internet for patrons to have access to! Currently, I have uploaded 36 items. They are accessible here.
Some highlights from my uploading frenzy include the following items: 
Brochure containing two maps. Center spread is a black and white motor map of Southern California featuring red dots which indicate the locations of other Security-First National Bank of Los Angeles branches. The center spread features the automobile mileage of El Centro, Imperial Valley, California to other southern California cities. The other side features a vertical black and white map of the Imperial Valley with red dots which indicate the locations of other Security-First National Bank of Los Angeles Branches.
Colored hydrograph of the Salton Sea featuring data covering 1914-1933.
More items will be coming soon! But for now, enjoy these new items added to the Water Resources collection!

Metadata Managed (For Now)

This week, I have finished managing and inputting my
metadata for items. I scanned 100 items this summer! I thought there would be
more items, but some items had more individual pages that needed scanning (a
few items are over a hundred pages long), so it felt like I had processed more.

Nonetheless, working through this has taken several weeks,
as this is my first time coming up with metadata in an archival setting. This
process has required reviewing the scanned items’ pdfs for content and context
in order to write information for the “description” and “subject” fields. It
requires searching through the Library of Congress authorities for controlled
subject vocabulary, which helps archives patrons to find related items faster. As
I’ve mentioned in the past, this requires being efficient, concise, but also
clear. We do not want to mislead our patrons. We want to make sure our patrons
are given the correct information. I have had to be meticulous to make sure I’m typing everything into CONTENTdm correctly (the syntax for fields has to be correct). 

Once I have input the other necessary information for an item’s metadata, I upload the items. Here’s a screenshot of what that looks like. Sometimes it’s fast if the items are small, and sometimes it takes several minutes for just one item if it’s a larger pdf.     

upload 1.pngFrom here, any new subject terms (such as local figures or regions) are added to the pool of controlled vocabulary available to us. Then, the items are approved. 

The process gets faster once you become familiar with the steps. Metadata is an intensive, focused step in the process of digitizing items, but an important one at that. 

Till next time!

A Quiet Week

Hello all!

This week here at CCEPS, I have been working on metadata and file converting. I won’t try and jazz up either of these two topics, but they’re very important steps in the digitization process.

We have to convert all of the PDF files of scanned items into PDF/A files. This requires the usual attention to detail and patience, as sometimes it takes awhile for the file to convert fully, especially if the document is huge.

In the meantime, I am almost finished writing up the metadata for all of my items. Having scanned hundreds and hundreds of pages of items and taken at least a dozen photographs, you would think I would have hundreds of items ready to be uploaded once I finish my metadata. It’s actually a lot less, once you realize that the items are all uniquely contained sets. I have 99 items, not quite a hundred, but close enough! Most of my items are related to the Imperial Valley Records, but I have a few items that are unrelated reports.

On top of working on the behind the scenes aspects of digitization, we have started talks about how the CLIRWater project will promote itself to the public through social media. It sounds like we will be making a Facebook page in the coming week. I haven’t used Facebook in close to ten years, so figuring out what people even use the site for these days has required research. Never thought I would be doing research on social media, but there is an art to this kind of professional promotion. As I described last week, each social media site has a different purpose and appeals to a different demographic. Facebook has it’s own audience and appeals to a different kind of posting style. I just have to figure out what that is for 2017.

Till next week! 

140 Characters: Is It Enough?


week we took a field trip to the Metropolitan Water District in Los Angeles,
California. We talked with David Keller, records management and imaging services,
and Monika Medina, external affairs, media, and communications. We wanted to
learn about the twitter campaign for MWD’s 75th anniversary of the
construction of the Colorado River Aqueduct. This campaign involved “live-tweeting”
as individuals who helped with the construction and coordination of this water
delivery project to promote the anniversary celebrations.

turn, we shared about the CLIRWater project in order to gain insights about
what we should do in order to promote the freshly digitized archival
collections. Having thought on this issue, I have realized that marketing archives
via social media requires thinking about the different purposes of each website
and making the correct choice. Monika shared that we must think about the
demographics of each platform’s audience. We must ask ourselves, which platform
would efficiently and creatively draw viewer’s attention to the archives? Who
are we marketing to?

am interested in seeing how this aspect of the CLIRWater project will develop.
I am personally only on a few different social media platforms, but talking
with David and Monika has helped me realize that the websites are more
different than I had previously realized. Being a frequent user of twitter and
tumblr, I am familiar with these platforms. However, for a professional project
in which you need to attract
hits/viewership, this requires rethinking how you manage social media. Suddenly
“live-tweeting” as historical characters requires thinking about how to make
the most of 140 characters while also capturing the tone/accuracy of the historical
people and events these tweets are meant to reflect. Not as easy as it might
sound on first blush. 

I, For One, Welcome Our New Metadata Overlords

Hello all!


For this
week, I’ll be talking about metadata again and some personal reflections now
that I’ve completed over fifty inputs. Last week, I discussed how putting
together metadata requires a balance between being efficient and concise but
specific enough. Defining the subject terms for items sometimes is easy. I find
that if the item I’m creating metadata for is particularly interesting, it’s
easier to scan through the document and extract terms that can be searched
within the Library of Congress authorities (subject headings, names, titles). Thinking about controlled vocabulary has taken over my life.


however, it’s not easy sifting through these documents, simply because I am not
familiar with the contents within them. I have a familiarity with the topics in
the California Water Documents, but I do come across topics I am nowhere near
an expert on. Today, I needed to create metadata for an item called “An
Irritant in the Arizona-California Controversy” by Rex Hardy, a Los Angeles
city attorney (1947). In this document, he discusses water problems between
Arizona and California in regards to the two states legal relationship. Beyond
this, I am not familiar with legal terminology and laws in addition to being
unfamiliar with water infrastructure. Even though I struggle understanding this
document, I still have to create proper metadata. I may not be able to parse through
the content of this document, but others in the future will need to be able to
find and know if this document is relevant to their research interests. It
sounds like an easy task on paper, but doing it yourself, finding the correct
controlled vocabulary within the authorities is much more time consuming than I
expected. Don’t get me started on making sure I pick the correct name when it
comes to LOC authorities (especially when the document only gives you
first/middle initials and then a last name). It’s a good thing we can create
our own terms, sometimes!


So, this has
been a humbling experience, learning how to put together metadata. There is
still much more to learn about it, such as actually uploading the documents. We
will be learning more about GIS and geospatial metadata next week, so stay
tuned. I’ll also have to go through and make sure there are no errors within my


I thought I could
pretty much tackle anything this work could throw my way, but metadata is a
challenge, one I didn’t expect. I admire my fellow workers here at CCEPs and
previous workers who have had to adjust to this learning curve.

It takes time,
but the knowledge gained is valuable!




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