Archive for the ‘Archival Science’ category

Full Circle

July 7, 2019

“Life is a full
circle, widening
until it joins
the circle motions
of the infinite.”

▪︎-Anais Nin

▪︎I once stood in this place as a high school student… the Poeh Culture Center… in my hometown… longing to belong to this cultural institution. Today I am able to provide knowledge there driven by two decades of experience. Life always comes full circle. Trust… you are always in that place which God intended you to be at any given moment.▪︎

Turning a Roomful of Straw into Gold, or What Archivists Do

January 23, 2014

This is a great “in a nutshell” look into the archival profession. I do love being an archivist. I think that playing a part in the preservation of history is very special!

Virginia Museum of History & Culture's Blog

When I tell people what I do for a living—I’m an archivist—they inevitably reply something like, “Oh, you are an architect,” or, “Archeology sounds so interesting!” Once I even had someone ask me what I studied in order to become an “anarchist.” At these times I fall back on the old standbys, such as “I read old mail” or “I catalog manuscripts sort of the way librarians catalog books (or would, if they had to write the book first!).” Well, in many ways I’m part architect, part archaeologist, and even part anarchist. Processing an archival collection requires digging into the material, designing and building an organizational structure, and thinking “outside the box” of current historical trends to highlight the collection’s strengths and potential uses.

Currently, the VHS is almost half-way through an NHPRC-funded processing project to deal with our backlog of business records. (By the way, NHPRC stands for National…

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This is why rubberbands are gross….

October 8, 2013

HaHa… Yes indeed. Rubber is the enemy!!

The Information Professional

Behold!  A rubber band from February of 1986, that for some reason, someone felt was a necessary contraption to hold two documents together.  If only they knew.

Now this old sticky thing looks like a dead, dried up worm.  I just can’t look at staples or rubber-bands the same anymore.  Archives has ruined them for me.

2013-08-26 10.51.28

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Still Working…

May 5, 2013


Archivists Make the New York Times

April 29, 2013

This is great!


The Cambridge Room

Archiving in the Digital Era,” a video from the New York Times, published April 29, 2013.

Today’s New York Times had a nice article and short video on archivists working in New York City, titled “Leaving Cloister of Dusty Offices, Young Archivists Meet Like Minds.”  The article focuses on the social aspect of NYC archivists and the video features archivists’ excitement around and challenge with the digital era.  Click the image above to watch the video and see Albert Einstein’s family tea set.

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Preserving History

April 20, 2013

~• 1867 illustrated newsapaper periodical (periodico ilustrado) titled “5 de Mayo de 1862” •~


“Any fool can make
history, but it takes
a genius to write it.”

••••» Oscar Wilde


I enjoy doing things for people. It makes me feel good to help others when I’m needed. Recently I was asked by two friends to help them preserve some newspapers. One had an awesome newspaper that is close to 120 years old. The other is former journalist with an accomplished record who is looking to preserve a historical first.

I take pride in being an archivist and I’m glad that my professional knowledge can extend beyond the confines of a repository. I spent the day preparing for preservation endeavors by picking up the supplies I need. Since newspapers are highly acidic, it is good to do whatever can be done to preserve them.

I had an idea last night with regard to the digitization of the newspapers. Hopefully the idea is successful. I will try a new technique to make an access copy. Indeed I was born to be an archivist. I do love what I do.

A Digital Preservation Powerhouse

December 6, 2012

digital preservation

Wow~ what an amazing presentation just made by the inspiring “digital pioneer” Martha Anderson. Ms. Anderson is a powerhouse with the Library of Congress who will be retiring in a few weeks. I am sure she will still be active in my realm because she is so passionate about what she does. In a December 4, 2012 article on a Library of Congress blog, Mike Ashenfelder referred to Ms. Anderson as a woman “who is one of the driving forces behind American Memory,” the National Digital Information Infrastructure and Preservation Program (NDIIPP), the International Internet Preservation Consortium (IIPC), and the National Digital Stewardship Alliance (NDSA). Mr. Ashenfelder is right about this woman having “an effect on most people she comes in contact with,” when you “watch her work a room at a conference.” I plan on writing more about her presentation when I return to New Mexico. Following are a few of her most powerful quotes and a great proverb she noted.

When spiders unite, they can take down a lion.”
~African Proverb

Never underestimate a community who is dedicated to a cause, works together, shows support, and learns from one another.”
~Martha Anderson, Library of Congress

When a bunch of spiders get together, they are seen as a coherent whole.”
~Martha Anderson, Library of Congress

Metadata is currency. It is touched more than you think and it is a living thing.”
~Martha Anderson, Library of Congress

There is a lot of stuff endangered while we wait for the perfect access.”
~Martha Anderson, Library of Congress

R. D. W. Connor Appointed First Archivist of the United States

October 10, 2012

Nice post… Love this!!

Virtually Pop Your Top

July 24, 2012

A virtual collection of electronic records which can be sorted using your fingers and a touch screen the size of a movie screen. The data can also be manipulated in various ways to improve collection control. This image was taken at the 2012 E-Records Forum in Austin, Texas. An Open House at the Texas Advanced Computing Center’s Visualization Lab was apparently a “highlight” of the forum.

As promised, it is time to mention the most interesting person I had the chance to talk with at the NAGARA/CoSA Conference in Santa Fe last week. I guess when you ask the right questions “they” will come! By they I mean the smart people… 🙂 After one of the sessions, Mark Conrad an Archives Specialist working with the Applied Research Division (Office of Information Services) of the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) approached me. He said “aren’t you the one asking about open source solutions?” But of course I was the one! I was so excited to here that NARA is going there!!! I also had the chance to attend a session titled ISO 16363 Audit and Certification of Trustworthy Digital Repositories. The session was delivered by Mark and Technology Specialists from Kentucky. This “Archives Specialist” slash technical guru immediately started rattling off a list of tools and projects that I should take a closer look at. Using his tricked out iPad he started prompting his screen to pop my top. Mark works in the Center for Advanced Systems and Technologies (NCAST). In his position with NARA, he works with computer scientists and engineers from all over the world “to leverage new theories, knowledge, methods, and techniques to advance the lifecycle of electronic records.” Part of the mission of his division includes looking into “emerging technologies.” I must say I about did a back flip when Mark pulled up images of a Visualization Lab in the works. Simply mind blowing! There it was— a virtual filing cabinet. As an archivist, I would be able to process or arrange and describe electronic records by using my fingers and a touch screen. Yes- a touch screen- a virtual system used to arrange collections and sort data- with color codes and all. The volume of records in a particular series is proportional to the amount of data within a particular sector of the collection. In January of 2011, the web administrator of NARAtions: The Blog of the United States National Archives interviewed Mark Conrad. She asked him what he was working on and he said “with the assistance of 17 student interns, I am collaborating on a number of projects. For example, many of the students are currently loading large numbers of files into a testbed that is being used by the computer scientists working on the CI-BER project. The purpose of the project is to provide insights into the management of very large data collections. As the number of files and bytes in a collection goes up some of the systems used to manage the collection break down. This project will help us to identify some of the bottlenecks and look for better ways to build systems that don’t break down as the volume picks up.” He also said he was working with the “Department of Energy, NIST, Naval Sea Systems Command, Army Research Lab, and other Federal Agencies on ways to share information about current and emerging practices for managing and preserving engineering data for as long as it is needed.” Sometimes I am glad that I ask a grippa questions— if I didn’t care about open source solutions, I would have never met one of the most interesting archivists with a technical background ever.

Knowledge Eater

July 22, 2012


The NAGARA/CoSA Conference is over. It was a great conference. I met some wonderful people, visited with some old friends, and brushed up on digital initiatives/standards. As always, I am saving the best for last. Sometime this week I will post about the most interesting person I met. I spent some time talking with him about digital initiatives at the National Archives which will blow your mind! For tonight, here is an “in a nutshell” look at where my hours and thoughts were over the last few days.

  • The President’s Directive on Managing Government Records with Meg Phillips, Electronic Records Manager, National Archives and Records Administration
  • Hiring Electronic Records Archivists- What Expertise is Required with Professors and Archivists from Kansas and North Carolina
  • Electronic Records Roundtable
  • ISO 16363 Audit and Certification of Trustworthy Digital Repositories with Mark Conrad, Archives Specialist, National Archives and Records Administration and Archivists and Technology Specialists from Kentucky
  • Use of Public Records Laws to Bypass Discovery Rules with Records Managers from Ohio and Nevada and two Attorneys from New Mexico
  • Electronic Records Archives (ERA): Accomplishments and Lessons Learned with Meg Phillips, Electronic Records Manager, National Archives and Records Administration
  • 1940 Census: The Next Generation with Training Officers and Archivists from National Archives and Records Administration
  • Who Controls Where the Governors’ Papers Go with Archivists from Texas, Nevada and South Dakota
  • Redaction, Expungement and Sealing of Electronic Records with Attorneys, Administrators, and Records Managers from New Mexico, Tennessee, and Arizona

  • …………..NARA holds Congressional Records as a courtesy, but they do not have legal custody. I didn’t know that!
  • …………..At this time, ERA holds about 18TB of electronic Congressional Records that are not accessible to the public through NARA.
  • …………..At this time, ERA holds 246+TB of 2010 Census data, 34TB of Federal Records, and 80TB of Presidential Records.
  • …………..There were 550 Hard Drives from the George W. Bush Administration.
  • …………..George W. Bush changed the law to have his records sent to College Station instead of the State Archives.
  • …………..Georgia Tech developed sophisticated software to mull through data on hard drives allowing a 10% drop down to what actually needs to be addressed as a record.
  • …………..NARA is using open source solutions to manage digital information. Nice… Wooohooo!
  • …………..The Open Archives Information System (OAIS) Reference Model (Magenta Book– June 2012) is available at
  • …………..Trustworthy Repositories Audit and Certification Checklist (TRAC) is available at
  • …………..ISO 16363 self assessment template is available at
  • …………..ISO 16363 is still the standard and defines a recommended practice for assessing the trustworthiness of digital repositories.
  • …………..Web ARChive file format (WARC) is still being used for web harvesting and digital preservation (ISO Standard).
  • …………..DuraCloud (with a combination of DSpace and Fedora) an open source platform and managed service that provides on-demand storage and services for digital content in the cloud.
  • …………..ACE (Auditing Control Environment) is being used for digital preservation.
  • …………..Lots of Copies Keeps Stuff Safe System (LOCKSS) is still being used. The system is open source and allows development and support for the preservation of and access to web based collections.
  • …………..Archivematica (open source) is a digital preservation system designed to maintain standards-based, long-term access to digital content.
  • …………..Commercial products being used included Tessella SDB, Preservica, and OCLC Digital Archive.
  • …………..Some states are restricting access to blue prints and building plans for security reasons.

Meeting Ferriero: The 10th United States Archivist

July 19, 2012

**Felicia Lujan and David S. Ferriero**
Ferriero is the 10th United States Archivist
NAGARA/CoSA Conference
Santa Fe, New Mexico – July 19, 2012

Today I had the chance to meet David S. Ferriero at the National Association of Government Archives and Records Administrators (NAGARA)/Council of State Archivists (CoSA) Conference in Santa Fe, New Mexico. He delivered a great lecture which I attended, and he mentioned my favorite conspiracy theory there. Ferriero was appointed 10th United States Archivist by the President in 2009. As the lead Archivist of our country, Ferriero “plans, develops, and administers all programs and functions of the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) in accordance with the National Archives and Records Administration Act of 1984 (44 U.S.C.).” I have been an Archivist for many years, and before that I was a Records Manager. Now you know just why I was pleased to meet Mr. Ferriero. The 1st United States Archivist was Robert D.W. Connor, who was appointed in 1934 by President Franklin Roosevelt during the Great Depression. It was an interesting day. I learned so much and I am tired! I’m going to bed early so that I can be ready to absorb the knowledge I am offered tomorrow. The conference runs through Saturday, so by then I am sure I will be suffering from information overload.

The Hemingway Archivist: Connection and Disconnection

July 4, 2012

***Gellhorn and Hemingway***
Digital composite by Felicia Lujan.
Includes one historic photo and
a map of the constellations- symbolic
of connection and disconnection.

I absolutely adore anything thought provoking. On July 1, 2012, I had a great comment submitted by “spoonbeams.” This woman is a former archivist who had come across my post Whiskey Dreams: Inside the Mind of Hemingway (May 10, 2012). I have included our comment string into this post because it is worth a read.

Whiskey Dreams was my post about Ernest Hemingway and his vast archive called The Hemingway Papers. In that post, I talk about: reading further into signs than I should; digital initiatives with the Hemingway Papers involving over 6,000 personal letters; the mind of Ernest; his death being a tragic loss to the literary world; his escape and submission to a dark fate; and the fact that I could be madly in love with a dead guy. I had a few interesting comments on the post.

There was one from “Rhonda” on May 10. Rhonda called Hemingway a “tortured, artistic soul.” Then on May 22, “robert87004” mentions James Mitchener, a friend of Hemingway who “paints a somewhat different picture” of the man while they were in Iberia. According to robert87004, Mitchener’s writings divulge Hemingway as a man “trying to live up to his self-image.” But I guess that’s what we are all attempting to do right? Below is the great comment string between “spoonbeams” and I.

I am so amazed that out of millions of pages of digital information, she found me and that she found that particular post. The following thread is all about connection and disconnection. Do I read too much into things? Or does everything happen for a reason? You decide… I know I connected with a wonderful woman about this.

It was fascinating to learn from her that Martha Gellhorn insisted that all of her correspondence with Hemingway be deaccessioned (or removed) from his collection. I had to say something to her about that today. At the end of her last comment, spoonbeams gave me a “thumbs up” on my latest poem titled Canvas of an Artist. It was a poem about forced disconnection.

Following is our string…

spoonbeams Says: July 1, 2012 at 6:41 AM

Hi — My mouse passed over your square on someone’s blog and “archivist” popped up and I had to look further. I organized the EH papers at the JFK library back when. It seems like so long ago, but it still is a highlight in my life. Seems like you enjoy archiving as much as I. Yes, it’s quite possible he wrote that many letters — maybe more.


flujan Says: July 2, 2012 at 11:17 PM

Wow!! You get a gold star for being the first person attracted by the word “archivist!” What is your name? Haha! You actually processed the Hemingway Papers? How cool is that? And in the JFK Library??? Wow!!! I can’t believe it?!! If I didn’t believe in signs- I would think it strange we have crossed paths. JFK and Hemingway— two signs of mine that are now fading— two historical figures I have connected to and now unfortunately I seem forced to disconnect from them. I would have loved to process those papers. I can’t believe you have found me?? It was meant to be. I work in New Mexico (a state repository). I am the Archives Bureau Chief, and have been with the agency for well over a decade. I do adore being an archivist and I am obsessed with history and the arts. It was my calling. You were a lucky woman to get to work in such a great library and on such a great collection. What are your thoughts on Hemingway? Was he insensitive? You- if anyone would have an up close and personal perspective on a great writer through his correspondence. Did he really love Martha G?


spoonbeams Says: July 3, 2012 at 5:08 PM

Yes, processing Hemingway was a blastt — and working at the JFK Library was special. It’s been a long time tho since I’ve been immersed. I left the library in ’83 and moved on to other things. I do think he was very sensitive and easily offended, but I wonder if he ever truly thought about the sensitivities of others. And yes, I do believe he really loved Martha and all his wives and perhaps a few other women, but not necessarily faithfully or for long. I’m so surprised that there is a movie now about Martha and EH. I was on leave of absence from the library when she came and removed all her letters to him from the collection because she did not want to be connected with him in any way. I heard it was quite dramatic. I know lots of others like us who really love being archivists and getting deep into a topic. He was certainly an exciting topic! Thumbs up on today’s Canvas of an Artist.


flujan Says: July 4, 2012 at 12:02 AM

Oh…. I can only imagine! That sounds so very interesting. Technically, you are still practicing a form of immersion through the art of conversing. That is really sad to hear about Hemingway, though I knew that would likely be your response. I’ll bet I could talk to you for hours?! If you are ever in New Mexico, look me up and we can have coffee. Your last comment has me thinking of exploring what it means to be a soul mate. I do wonder? If we change and grow as people, it may explain Hemingway’s continual search for his perfect match. Maybe there is more than one? Maybe a soul mate depends on what someone connects to or does not connect to at a particular time in their life? I think too much obviously! It’s just sometimes things are so very hard to understand? Why would such a great man kill himself? I was amazed to learn what you told me about Martha requesting a deaccession of her letters from the Hemingway Papers. I also find it interesting that you specifically say that “she did not want to be connected with him in any way.” Poor Martha- she was obviously just upset with him and so she made the dramatic scene. The sad part about that is no matter how hard she tried to erase all the physical and paper connections to him, there was still the one connection that she likely took to her grave in 1998— it was the one in her mind. Thank you for your preservation work on letters which will expose the real man behind the public persona. Without a doubt his personal letters shed light on his love affairs, and some very intricate souls. Also thank you for provoking my thoughts. I love that!


Other Hemingway Links:

Humanity and Wars: The New HBO Film
Hemingway & Gellhorn by Felicia Lujan (June 7, 2012)

Analysis of and Symbols in Hemingway
and Gellhorn by Felicia Lujan (June 10, 2012)

METS (Metadata Encoding and Transmission Standard) News: OWL Ontology

October 14, 2011

FROM: Metadata Encoding and Transmission Standard [METS@LISTSERV.LOC.GOV]; on behalf of; Sébastien Peyrard [speyrard1@GMAIL.COM]


SUBJECT: [METS] Announcement: PREMIS OWL ontology available for public review

SENT: Fri 10/14/2011 3:12 AM

On behalf of the PREMIS Editorial Committee we are happy to announce the publication of an OWL ontology for the PREMIS Data Dictionary for Preservation Metadata version 2.1, a digital preservation standard based on the OAIS reference model. This PREMIS OWL ontology tries to stick as closely as possible to the PREMIS Data Dictionary, which was developed by experts in the domain of long-term preservation and already had clearly defined semantics for its metadata elements. Until now the PREMIS Data Dictionary was only implemented as an XML schema, which remains ideal for creating, validating and storing the preservation metadata of a particular digital asset.

This OWL ontology allows one to express the same information in RDF. With this alternative serialization, information can be more easily interconnected, especially between different repository databases. Information in RDF can be also easily and flexibly queried, which can be an interesting option for the data management function of a repository. The PREMIS OWL ontology also reaches out to preservation-specific vocabularies already published by the Library of Congress on [1]. For all these reasons, the OWL design of PREMIS should NOT be considered as a replacement for the XML Schema: the two of them should rather be considered complementary.

The ontology is public and open for review [2]. There are still some designs decisions open, formulated as questions to the ontology reviewers and available on the PREMIS OWL Public Wiki [3]. Interested people can leave their valuable feedback on the PREMIS OWL Wiki under Questions for Reviewers. Feedback is very much welcome and will be taken into account for the next release of the PREMIS OWL ontology.

For now, the ontology is available on the following namespace, but after it is finalized it will move to a Library of Congress namespace:

Please send comments no later than Nov. 10, 2011 to be considered in a revised version.

PREMIS Ontology Working Group:

Sam Coppens, University of Ghent
Sébastien Peyrard, Bibliothéque nationale de France
Rebecca Guenther, Library of Congress (now Independent consultant)
Kevin Ford, Library of Congress
Tom Creighton, Familysearch

[1] Preservation vocabularies:
[3] PREMIS OWL Wiki:

The Handle System

October 11, 2011

Tonight I came across an old WiKi post I completed when working on my CDIM. It is kinda a fun one- so I thought I would re-post it. It could still be useful to some of you…

IRLS 671- Unit 12- Wiki Entry- The Handle System

For this entry I have opted to explore the Handle System. I found this system interesting as I read about it this week. The system bears a strong resemblance to the wide world of trucking. The truckers are way ahead of us aren’t they?! For years truckers have used their CB code language utilizing this type of system in the most basic form. Each trucker has his or her unique identifier! The twist on this is… Would a handle be confidential in the archival world since it is unique? Now that is a good question. Some of the interesting handles I found in the 10 codes included: 10-1, Receiving poorly; 10-2, Receiving well; 10-7, Out of service, leaving the air; 10-35, Confidential information; 10-63 Net directed to; 10-64, Net clear; 10-75, You are causing interference; and 10-77, Negative contact. The truckers are on it!

I was able to uncover that the system is used for some of the following reasons: digital presentation of information and the preservation of that information over long periods of time; uniform location of digital information; and it is also “used to identify digital resources whose metadata, such as location information, need to be updated from time to time and obtained by rapid resolution on the net.” This is very similar to a CB call. I learned that the Handle System utilizes a combination of security features such as: passwords, public keys, and private keys. The security embedded in the system identifies administrators as “admin handles,” used for the authentication of that said administrator. There are also permissions within permissions in order to further create and modify handles. The Handle System uses a proxy server to interpret both the Handle System protocol and HTTP protocol. I did read somewhere recently that the Handle System is superior to HTTP as it will be around much longer (which means it will have greater preservation capabilities). In conclusion, this system would be good to look at. I am interested to see how it is used in connection with DSpace later so we can use code 10-2 instead of getting a 10-1!

NMHS Conference Proposal 2012: Tales from a Dark Archivist

October 5, 2011

Last week, I answered a request from the New Mexico Historical Society (NMHS). The society put out the 2012 Conference Call for Papers, and Program Proposals. I look forward to hearing from the selection committee on my submission. With any luck, my paper will be selected to fill a void!  🙂

The holocron (a storage device) was able to capture the appearance and cognitive networks of the holocron's owner, and transform this into a three-dimensional hologram. This gatekeeper acted as a guide through the holocron's store of information, as a search and recovery engine. These gatekeepers could relate stories from the holocron's archives to events in the life of the one who activated the holocron. Unlike their Jedi counterparts, the Sith holocron gatekeepers did not restrict information that might be too advanced and dangerous for a user.

I say that because I am the self proclaimed Dark Archivist! I have also been named The Darkivist by my associates. I have even been called the nemesis of the Jedi in Star Wars, a Sith by my director. All of this is due to the fact that I am interested in those parts of history which are on the darker side. Maybe those topics that most archivists, historians, authors, and scholars opt to stay away from. The title of the paper I proposed to research and deliver in 2012 is (of course) Tales from a Dark Archivist.

I’m still not sure which records I will highlight in the presentation if I am selected, however, following are some that come to mind: the opium overdose of a governor; the use of eminent domain to obtain the land used to build Dodger Stadium in Chavez Ravine (California); a murder case blamed on a werewolf; missing children; the theft of a barrel of wine; witch tales; and some stories I will save for the potential presentation. It should be an interesting conference, and it will be in Santa Fe this time around.

The 2012 Centennial Conference will be held at the Santa Fe Convention Center.  New Mexico will be celebrating the 100th Anniversary of Statehood.

The Historical Society of New Mexico is an active group of New Mexico history enthusiasts. In addition to sponsoring an annual history conference and speakers bureau, the society is dedicated to: increasing the knowledge of New Mexico history; disseminating information on New Mexico history; and encouraging preservation of historic objects and property.

P.O. Box 1912
Santa Fe, New Mexico  87504

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