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Special Interest Group [clear filter]
Monday, March 22

4:00pm CDT

VREPS Committee Meeting Roundtable
Let's chat about bright ideas, shared struggles in the workplace, questions about next steps, and more. This friendly roundtable discussion will be an opportunity for VREPS members (and any other interested students or new professionals!) to share a little bit about themselves—What drew you to the field? What are your goals? If you’re currently a student, what fun experiences have you had, or what are you struggling with? The goal of this session is to bring our emerging professionals and students together to form a sense of community (and hopefully friendship!).

Session Organizers
avatar for Julia Murphy

Julia Murphy

Digital Asset Manager, Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden
avatar for Summer Shetenhelm

Summer Shetenhelm

Digital Collections & Scholarship Librarian, Santa Clara University
As the Digital Collections & Scholarship Librarian at Santa Clara University, Summer digitizes and makes available online the multitude of rare and interesting artifacts and documents in the SCU collection. She also teaches instruction sessions for classes coming to the archives to... Read More →

Monday March 22, 2021 4:00pm - 5:00pm CDT
Tuesday, March 23

12:00pm CDT

Visual Resources in Archives: Information Sharing on Cultural Heritage Collections
Archives are abundant sources for image content, with many of those digital objects being unique to their holding institution.  The current environment has archivists serving a burgeoning demand throughout society. Users’ increased requests have archivists honing their metadata skills to provide better access to individual archival items in digital formats. This increased need for access to images in cultural heritage collections creates challenges for archivists to not only provide reference access but also to maintain the integrity and security of their collections.

This facilitated discussion spotlights the ways that visual resources are collected and used in archives.  Speakers/discussion leaders work in a variety of archives (photography, university, library, and government). Together we will lead a conversation with our attendees about our collective challenges and successes in working with digital images, dialoguing about the areas where visual resources disciplines intersect. 
Our questions and topics include: 
  • How might one’s educational background turn out to provide methodological training, useful field experience, and a deeper understanding of archival materials and ways to contextualize them for users?
  • What are the different approaches to metadata in archives and in visual resources libraries?
  • What impacts is the COVID-19 pandemic having on archival collections and projects, specifically access and use?
We also invite you to bring your own questions about the interconnections of archives and visual resources.

avatar for Maria Day

Maria Day

Director, Special Collections & Conservation, Maryland State Archives

avatar for Maureen Burns

Maureen Burns

Consultant, IMAGinED
Maureen Burns is an information professional with over 30 years of experience developing and managing teaching resources of analog and digital images at UC Irvine, the Getty Villa, and CSULB. Presently working on a consulting basis through IMAGinED, Burns is currently the sales representative... Read More →
avatar for Cindy Abel Morris

Cindy Abel Morris

Archivist, University of New Mexico
Cindy has spent her university-based career in visual resources and special collections; and currently works with visual cultural material (mostly photographs), researchers and students. As a certified archivist, she processes physical collections, writes finding guides, publishes... Read More →
avatar for Christina Moretta

Christina Moretta

Photo Curator, San Francisco Public Library
Christina is Photo Curator / Archivist / Librarian for the San Francisco History Center, official archives for the City & County of San Francisco. She thinks she has the best job in the library since she's been doing it for 15 years! Since May 2020 she added a new feather to her public... Read More →

avatar for Crowley Company

Crowley Company

The Crowley Company is a unique – and to our knowledge, the only – blend of scanner manufacturer, scan system distributor and digitization services bureau. This dynamic combination allows Crowley to understand the complexities of archival preservation and records management from every angle, providing a competitive and technological edge that cannot be found elsewhere.Only The Crowley Company can offer a complete range of digitization... Read More →

Tuesday March 23, 2021 12:00pm - 1:00pm CDT

1:00pm CDT

Solo VR Professionals
Meghan Rubenstein will present “The Results Are in: What the Solo SIG Community Is Today.” In an effort to revive the VRA Solo SIG, Lael Ensor-Bennett and Meghan Rubenstein distributed a survey in the fall of 2020 to learn if there was still interest in this group. By definition, solo visual information professionals generally have no professional peers within their immediate department. They often serve as the head of the library or visual collection and may have temporary or part-time support staff such as assistants, interns, student workers, or volunteers. Solo professionals are found in all types of GLAM related organizations including special libraries, art and architecture school libraries, museum libraries, branch libraries, academic departments, and independent agencies.
In this short presentation, she will summarize the results of the survey, which gives us a good idea of what, and who, the solo community is today. Questions ranged from type of employment and job responsibilities to the main challenges of the solo professional. Since distributing the survey, the Solo SIG has started meeting bi-monthly and begun brainstorming how the group can best support each other. If you are unsure if this is your community, come learn more about its members. If you are already a member, come learn more about your community!

Lael Ensor-Bennett will present “Delegation, Efficiency, and Compassion during a Solo Covid-19: Recalibrating the Duties of Student Employees.” While continuing the transition to being the sole staff member of the Johns Hopkins University Visual Resources Collection, the immediate change to remote staff work in March of 2020 around the country and here in Maryland left the VRC undergraduate and graduate student employees without access to their usual projects or clear guidelines for whether they would be allowed to work and myself without the ability to delegate many of the usual tasks. After several weeks of university wide policy revisions, the VRC was able to begin assigning remote work to students. As the pandemic progressed, certain technological hurdles were overcome, allowing a wider range of remote work to be available to the students; however, this work also needed to continuously take into account the reduced bandwidth of both staff and students. During this time, Ensor-Bennett has aimed to strike a balance between new and traditional student work that is relevant and useful to the VRC without adding work to her own workload, act in compassion for herself and her student employees and still complete necessary work, and realign the possible student work activities with her changed tasks in light of Covid-19.

Malia Van Heukelem will present “Leveraging Collections Management and Student Learning in an Academic Archive.” Museum studies and Library Information Science students seek out hands-on experience in special collections and archives; this past year has seen many host institutions cease in-person work. Van Heukelem aims to create opportunities for students while making progress in collections stewardship, matching student interests with collection priorities.

Cindy Frank will present “Architects of Color: The challenges of finding images to document their work.” Frank’s image collection supports the teaching of Architecture to both undergraduates and graduates. In an effort to broaden the holdings of the image collection and to support a more in depth teaching of architectural history Frank went looking for images of works by architects of color in the journals University of Maryland subscribes to, and the books on library shelves. There have been challenges, both from the pandemic, and from available materials.

This Session will not be recorded.

avatar for Meghan Rubenstein

Meghan Rubenstein

Curator of Visual Resources, Colorado College

avatar for Malia Van Heukelem

Malia Van Heukelem

Art Archivist Librarian, University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa Library
Malia oversees the Jean Charlot Collection, a large collection of artist papers, plus the Archive of Hawaii Artists & Architects at Hamilton Library. Previously, she worked in the Library's Preservation Department, and has served as Collections Manager for the state's Art in Public... Read More →
avatar for Cindy Frank

Cindy Frank

Architecture Librarian, University of Maryland
Let's talk about: Images for Architecture, Historic Preservation, Urban Planning. Legacy Collections. Diversity in those collections. Shared Governance. Supporting students while in the online environment. I am the Diversity Co-Officer for the Libraries, and as such I am co-chair... Read More →

Session Organizers

Lael J Ensor-Bennett

Assistant Curator, Johns Hopkins University

Tuesday March 23, 2021 1:00pm - 2:00pm CDT
Wednesday, March 24

2:00pm CDT

Future-Proof Your Data: Cataloging Conundrums and CCO
This SIG will follow up on previous work from 2019, building on the initial CCO (Cataloging Cultural Objects) training videos. The new set of videos presents thematic cataloging examples and options —a request from attendees of the 2019 SIG.  The scenarios shown in the videos address issues with different works, collections, and user needs, as applied in several different popular cataloging tools. The examples highlight how CCO can be implemented in different systems, in combination not only with VRA Core and the Getty vocabularies, but also with other metadata standards. These videos will be presented for the attendees to discuss and critique as a focus group. Feedback from attendees will inform the work to edit and add to this series of training videos. Want to learn more about these issues, and also help shape relevant training materials? Join us!


Jonathan Cartledge

Digital Asset Specialist, Smith College

Sheryl Frisch

Visual Resource Specialist, California Polytechnic State University

Session Organizers
avatar for Arden Kirkland

Arden Kirkland

Adjunct Instructor, Syracuse University

Wednesday March 24, 2021 2:00pm - 3:00pm CDT
Thursday, March 25

10:00am CDT

Materials Collections
Materials-based collections represent a challenging new mode of information management in terms of subject specialization, physical description and accommodation, and institutional mission.  Building upon the successful introductory meeting of this Group in Los Angeles at the 2019 Conference, the goal of this SIG is to provide a forum for open discussion of Material and Object Collections and their relationship to various library/visual resources tasks.  The Material and Object Collections SIG provides an opportunity for individuals working with a variety of materials and objects collections – including those that support art and art history courses, those that support architecture and design courses, and those in cultural heritage organizations – to share ideas, issues, and potential solutions in regard to tasks similar to common library/visual resources activities (including cataloging, documentation, staffing, outreach), as well as more specialized concerns relating to the management of physical objects (security, storage and retrieval, the design of user spaces, etc.).      By continuing to offer an opportunity for participants to share brief introductions and profiles of their collections, we hope to encourage networking and exchange information about sources for specialized items; to display sample items and share surplus samples with other collections; and to provide examples of successful solutions to typical problems.  Our long-range goal is to maintain an ongoing support group that can be of particular benefit to those professionals who are in the beginning stages of building or organizing physical collections.

Session Organizers
avatar for Allan Kohl

Allan Kohl

Librarian, Visual Resources and Library Instruction, Minneapolis College of Art and Design
copyright and intellectual property rights issues; international travel; sheet music covers; political cartoons; ancient Greek vases; medieval manuscript illumination; theatre

Thursday March 25, 2021 10:00am - 11:00am CDT
Friday, March 26

11:00am CDT

Digital Humanities/Digital Scholarship
An opportunity to further conversation from that session as well as provide open discussion opportunities for members working in DH / DS.

Katherine Howells, "Enriching user engagement with digitised and non-digitised image collections through digital research and online exhibitions" This paper offers tangible and practical approaches to using catalogue data and digitised archival image more effectively to engage audiences online. It suggests how innovative research methods and software can be applied to different image collections so will be of interest to any attendee responsible for managing an image collection and improving public engagement.

Presenter: Jeannine Keefer, University of Richmond
The East End Cemetery Archive, a searchable repository of records and research related to East End Cemetery, a historic African American burial ground in Henrico County and the city of Richmond, Virginia.
The archive serves as a knowledge hub for descendants, students, scholars, and members of the public who are conducting genealogical and historical research, as well as people with more general interests—late 19th- and 20th-century Richmond and Virginia history, African American narratives, Jim Crow, and other topics.
Created by the East End Cemetery Collaboratory, the archive brings together a wide range of primary sources—portraits, death certificates, marriage records, draft registration cards, obituaries, newspaper articles, and more—and data drawn from the cemetery itself, such as GPS coordinates, gravestone photographs, and written descriptions of markers and plots. It is linked to the Collaboratory’s spatial map of the cemetery, memorial records on Find A Grave, and eastendcemeteryrva.com, a website by Erin Hollaway Palmer, Brian Palmer, and Jolene Smith that places the cemetery in its historical context.


Brian Shelburne

Head, Digital Scholarship Center, University of Massachusetts Amherst


Jeannine Keefer

Visual Resources Librarian, University of Richmond
avatar for Katherine Howells

Katherine Howells

Visual Collections Researcher, The National Archives of the UK

Friday March 26, 2021 11:00am - 12:00pm CDT
  Special Interest Group
  • Lifecycle Category USE

2:00pm CDT

EAC Community Hour: Looking Back and Looking Forward
Over the past year, many inequities have risen to the surface for GLAM and visual resources professionals. The EAC continues to hold monthly Community Hours to address and navigate these issues and roadblocks (see http://vraweb.org/about/committees/equitableaction/). Our aim for this Hour is to both provide a narrative overview of the events and concerns of the past year, as well as an open space for members to communicate their current situations and suggestions for future solutions. We would like to capture the ways in which members are feeling unsupported and the ways in which we can actively contribute as a committee, an organization, and as a field.

We encourage attendees to bring answers to the following questions or send an email to ea@vraweb.org for anonymous questions (you may also use this form to tell the EAC your concerns related to diversity, equity, inclusion, and accessibility: https://bit.ly/38Y8nGZ):
  • What inequities have you faced or witnessed at your institution?
  • What are you most concerned about for yourself, your job, and for the field? Do you feel safe and supported in your current work environment?
  • How can we support each other locally, nationally, and as an organization? What do we need from each other to support each other in our roles and as a community/organization?
  • What can the EAC do for you? What can VRA? What changes does the field at large need to see?
View the presentation here.

This Session will not be recorded.


Lael J Ensor-Bennett

Assistant Curator, Johns Hopkins University

avatar for Kendra Werst

Kendra Werst

Assistant Visual Resources Curator, Williams College

Friday March 26, 2021 2:00pm - 3:00pm CDT
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