Buried Treasure:     Digitizing a Hidden Library CollectionMiraida MoralesRutgers UniversitySchool of Communication & Info...
The project:to build a digital library of heraldry designRutgers University     Princeton University   Puerto Rico
The man:Roberto BeascoecheaLota           b. 1915-d. 2004           1956: went to work at the newly formed           Insti...
The collectionUnprocessedOrganized in folders by municipality onlyHandmade sketches, handwritten notes,bibliographies, cor...
Sketch of flag of Viequesdate: August 10, 1975signed by RBL
Cataño, studies for coat of arms   Cataño, Sketches for coat of arms & flagdate: unknown                      date: unknown
The process                    Inventory             Platform,Planning                &                 metadata          ...
SupportTools:HP Scanjet N9120 Document Flatbed ScannerExternal Hard DriveGreenstone ManualOnline resources         Personn...
ChallengesBudget: $0Government holidays: 5 in July aloneAC system in the Library brokeNo access to scanner or hard drive u...
The challengesTropical Storm Emily      Tropical Storm Irene
The outcomeInstituto de CulturaPuertorriqueñahttp://www.icp.gobierno.pr/BibliotecaNacional de Puerto Rico http://www.icp.g...
Looking aheadGrant proposal to:• Upgrade interface• Develop better resource discovery• Bilingual access points• Grow the c...
¡Gracias!
Guide to Images & ReferencesBeascoecheaLota, R. (1975). Boceto a color de la bandera de Vieques. BibliotecaNacional de Pue...
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Buried Treasure: NJLA Adult Services Forum Presentation

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My presentation at the 2011 NJLA Adult Services Forum on my experience digitizing a hidden library collection at the National Library of Puerto Rico during the summer.

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  • Hello, everyone! I am Miraida Morales, and am currently a MLIS student at Rutgers where I’m specializing in Digital Libraries.I am incredibly honored and excited to have been invited to speak with you today about my summer internship and the project I worked on for the National Library of Puerto Rico.You’re probably wondering, how did this all come about? How did I land this awesome gig? It all started earlier this year, when I learned about a wonderful international library conference called IFLA and learned that this year it would take place in Puerto Rico in mid-August. As I’m sure you can appreciate, my wheels immediately started turning. It almost seemed like a sign that I needed to attend this conference—it taking place so close by.I’m originally from Puerto Rico. In fact, my whole family (including my parents) still live there. Being able to stay at home free of charge in order to attend this conference seemed almost an omen that I needed to do everything possible to attend IFLA this year.I also wanted to spend my summer getting some real hands-on experience working in a library, and my mom—God bless her—suggested I look into some libraries in Puerto Rico. I sent some emails to different places, but received no responses. Knowing that in Puerto Rico things are often better handled in person, I decided to pay a visit to the National Library in person, while I was visiting my family during Spring Break, in order to speak with someone there about the possibility of doing an internship with them. I was luckily able to meet with the 2 librarians there, 1 of whom is the Director of the National Library, and when I explained who I was, where I’m studying, what I wanted to do, and that I was interested in attending IFLA, they were SO incredibly excited. They told me that the National Library would be hosting several events during IFLA, and that having an additional “staff member” helping out during the conference who is multilingual would be a plus for them. They immediately came up with a digital project for me to work on for the summer, and worked with my advisor back at school to ensure this was a project that would be mutually beneficial to everyone involved. And that’s how it all began…NEXT SLIDE
  • So what was this project? The National Library tasked me with building a digital library of Puerto Rican heraldry design. Now, some of you might be wondering, what is heraldry? Heraldry is the design of coats of arms and insignia that traces its roots back to medieval nobility. Heraldry didn’t officially exist in the US until 1957, when a public law was passed allowing the US Army to provide heraldic services to the federal government (Defense Dept., 2010). Due to the peculiarities of US history, however, heraldry is not very well-known or popular today.So you might wonder, why does any of this matter? Why did the National Library choose this project? Here’s my attempt at a crash course on Puerto Rican colonial history, and please forgive me if this is something you already know: While PR was still a colony of Spain, the Spanish crown gave PR a crest or coat of arms in the year 1511 (Gobierno de Puerto Rico, 2010). Later, as a result of the Spanish-American War several centuries later, PR passed from Spain to the US at the turn of the 20th C. The independence movement that had already begun to develop throughout PR since its time as a colony of Spain continued to gain momentum. By the 1950s, the island succeeded in expelling US military rule.In 1948, Puerto Rico elected, for the first time in its history, a local, Puerto Rican-born governor. Due to the anti-US sentiment that continued to develop in the middle of the 20th C as a result of the island’s relationship and political status with the US, PR began to appropriate symbols of its pre-American past as a way to create its own national identity.Several initiatives developed at this time in response to the Americanization that was going on: The founding of the Institute of PR Culture in 1955, the subsequent founding of the National Archive in 1956; the National Library (then called the General Library of PR or Biblioteca General de PR) was later founded in 1967, along with the simultaneous movement to officially adopt municipal coats of arms, crests, seals, and flags; and in this effort, the National Library was a key player.NEXT SLIDE
  • One of the members of the board of directors of the Institute of Puerto Rican Culture at the time of its inception was a man by the name of Roberto BeascoecheaLota. He was a historian, with a degree from the University of Chicago, and an expert on heraldry. As such, RBL was the perfect cultural agent to aid in this island-wide effort to encourage municipal seats to adopt their own official coats of arms, flags, and seals.He acted as the primary consultant to the municipal governments who applied to have their official coats of arms, seals, and flags audited for authenticity in order to have them officially adopted by municipal decree or resolution.Sometimes, a town would, for instance, host a contest asking local residents to help design these symbols. The proposals chosen as finalists would then be submitted to the National Library, where RBL would audit them, research the symbolism, make adjustments, and recommendations, and resubmit the final design to the municipal government for official approval. Usually, after the symbols had been officially adopted—meaning a resolution or ordenance would be passed—the National Library would commission local artists on the town’s behalf to create the flags or coats of arms to be then presented in an official ceremony, sometimes during the festivities for the town’s Patron Saint or during the festivities celebrating the town’s bicentennial.Because RBL was so closely involved in the design of these insignia, the Natl Library owns a large part of his archives, including his files and papers related to his work on municipal heraldry.NEXT SLIDE
  • The archive on municipal heraldry consisted of about 20 archival quality boxes full of thousands of documents. They were only organized by municipality, but no further organization scheme within that. So designs were mixed with invitations, telegraphs, notes, resolutions, etc.Not all documents were grouped together—the files had definitely been handled and disorganized; a 20-page document might have been displaced, so pages were not only out of order, but often separated from the others.The contents of these boxes include originals as well as copies, and copies of copies (lots of carbon copies, facsimiles and photocopies), many, many duplicates.NEXT SLIDE
  • Here are some examples of what was in these archival boxes. This is a hand-drawn sketch of a design for the flag of Vieques signed and dated by RBL. You can see it includes markings about proportions and calculations.NEXT SLIDE
  • Here are some more documents from the same archive. On your left, I believe, is a page that contains sketches of different crests from families with names similar to Cataño, it includes notes, as well as a bibliographic notation referring to a volume about the history of Italian noble families. It seems RBL was looking at the origin of the name Cataño (the name of the town) in order to find the coat of arms that belongs to that noble family in order to use it as the basis for the design of the coat of arms of modern-day Cataño. On the right are some hand-drawn sketches in blue ink of a coat of arms and a flag with notes about the colors, symbols, and the design elements.As you can imagine, my first task was to go through all the documents, and identify what would be included in the collection, and create an inventory list of these documents.NEXT SLIDE
  • Overall, I was responsible for the execution of the entire process, not just curating the project. I was in charge of creating the process, the workflow, making all decisions for this project, such as collection selection/curation, digitization, metadata creation, recommending a platform, etc.The National Library was responsible for providing me with access to the archives, providing me with the tools and hardware needed to complete the project, and for hosting the digital library files on their server.Don’t let this clean flowchart fool you! There was a lot of stop-and-go during the 3 months I had to complete this project.NEXT SLIDE (3 MONTHS)…NEXT SLIDE
  • The support I could count on from the National Library included access to:NEXT SLIDE (TOOLS)A flatbed scannerAn external hard driveA new desktop computerA backup battery (there are constant power outages in Puerto Rico)I also referred to several manuals to help guide me such as the Greenstone manual and the standards recommended by RUCore and the NJ Digital Highway.NEXT SLIDE (PERSONNEL)As far as personnel and support staff, I could count on 2 librarians (one of whom is the Library’s Director) and 2 IT staff members, who are responsible for servicing all the departments and organizations within the Institute of Puerto Rican Culture. They were traveling all over the island, so access to them was limited.
  • There were several challenges to my clean and organized flowchart process:First among these was the fact that this project had no budget.Additionally, there were several problems with the hardware, for instance, by the time I was ready to start digitizing, I had been given a new computer, so the drivers for the scanner had to be installed on it. But no one could find the installation disk for weeks. I also wasn’t given a clean hard drive to use for backup for about a month. This all meant that I wasn’t actually able to begin digitizing any documents until July.As I think I mentioned earlier, power outages are common throughout the island, and the AC in the building finally broke in mid-July. Because of a recent renovation of the historical building that houses the National Library, all windows are sealed, which means that without AC there is no ventilation and it is not a safe place to work. Library was therefore closed for a week until backup generators and coolers were installed.The National Library and the Institute of Culture are government institutions, which means they are highly politicized. In other words, getting things approved and getting things done can often be rather cumbersome.In addition to these very tangible obstacles, there was one other which was a little more delicate to circumvent, and this was an education hurdle with respect to open source software. To a certain extent, I had to educate the staff about open source software in order to advocate to them that this was our only option given the lack of budget and other resources for the project. The National Library had a previous and negative experience with open source back in 2003, and were not on board with my plan at first. The minute I mentioned the phrase, “open source,” the staff freaked out. They recalled how difficult it had been back in 2003 to learn how to use open source software, the lack of support, loss of files and data, etc.NEXT SLIDE
  • One of the last obstacles we encountered throughout this process were the tropical storms in July. NEXT SLIDE…(PIC)NEXT SLIDE (NAME)We had 2 tropical storms, almost back-to-back, which effectively paralized the island. NEXT SLIDE (PIC)NEXT SLIDE (NAME)Due to crumbling infrastructure, heavy rains flood roads—including major highways—and in order to control damage, accidents and loss of life, the government closed all non-essential government services for several days in July.NEXT SLIDE (FLOOD)NEXT SLIDE
  • Despite these numerous challenges, the project was completed and it is recognized as a success by the National Library. I was able to give demos and presentations to the staff before I returned to NYC, as well as to IFLA delegates who visited the library in August.Let’s take a look at what this all looks like. First, I want to show you the website for the Institute of Puerto Rican Culture.From this site, we can access the website for the National Library. And here is the digital library listed right under the link to the library’s catalog.Let’s go into the digital library to show you the collection and some examples of the kinds of things we can find there:DevelacionReciboExposicionCulebraNEXT SLIDE
  • Despite being a success in terms achieving the objectives given to me, this project is still, as you can see, a very basic and preliminary attempt.This could be a much more robust Digital Library, with enhanced resource discovery, bilingual access points, better browsing capabilities, and a more sophisticated user interface. Funds are also needed to properly maintain the resource and to promote it throughout the community. My vision is that it can serve as a proposal for what could be done if adequate funds were secured. NEXT SLIDE
  • I would like to express to you how thrilled the National Library is to have the opportunity, through this Forum, to reach out to a community outside the island and make its mission and resources known to a broader audience. Thank you for your time and kind attention.Gracias. I invite you—the next time you’re in Puerto Rico—to visit the National Library. (tell them Miraida sent you!)I think we have time for questions if any of you would like to know more about any aspect of the Library or this particular project.
  • Buried Treasure: NJLA Adult Services Forum Presentation

    1. 1. Buried Treasure: Digitizing a Hidden Library CollectionMiraida MoralesRutgers UniversitySchool of Communication & Informationmiraidam@gmail.com @MiraidaM on Twitter
    2. 2. The project:to build a digital library of heraldry designRutgers University Princeton University Puerto Rico
    3. 3. The man:Roberto BeascoecheaLota b. 1915-d. 2004 1956: went to work at the newly formed Institute of Puerto Rican Culture as a historian and advisor Eventually to become Director of the National Library of Puerto Rico
    4. 4. The collectionUnprocessedOrganized in folders by municipality onlyHandmade sketches, handwritten notes,bibliographies, correspondence, invitations toofficial unveilings, telegrams, drafts of heraldrydescription, glossaries of heraldic terms, officialmemoranda
    5. 5. Sketch of flag of Viequesdate: August 10, 1975signed by RBL
    6. 6. Cataño, studies for coat of arms Cataño, Sketches for coat of arms & flagdate: unknown date: unknown
    7. 7. The process Inventory Platform,Planning & metadata Selection scheme Prototype & Uploading files Digital & metadata Digitization Library creation 3 months
    8. 8. SupportTools:HP Scanjet N9120 Document Flatbed ScannerExternal Hard DriveGreenstone ManualOnline resources Personnel: 2 librarians 5 full-time staff members 2 part-time staff members 2 IT staff, shared
    9. 9. ChallengesBudget: $0Government holidays: 5 in July aloneAC system in the Library brokeNo access to scanner or hard drive until last week in JuneGovernment closures due to tropical storms
    10. 10. The challengesTropical Storm Emily Tropical Storm Irene
    11. 11. The outcomeInstituto de CulturaPuertorriqueñahttp://www.icp.gobierno.pr/BibliotecaNacional de Puerto Rico http://www.icp.gobierno.pr/bge/Heráldica Municipal http://icp-5.icp.gobierno.pr/greenstone/cgi-bin/library.cgi?site=localhost&a=p&p=about&c=herldica&l=en&w=utf-8
    12. 12. Looking aheadGrant proposal to:• Upgrade interface• Develop better resource discovery• Bilingual access points• Grow the collection• Provide guides to the collection for different users: teachers, students, artists, researchers, children, general public• Develop & carry out a marketing strategy
    13. 13. ¡Gracias!
    14. 14. Guide to Images & ReferencesBeascoecheaLota, R. (1975). Boceto a color de la bandera de Vieques. BibliotecaNacional de Puerto Rico.BeaschoecheaLota, R. (n.d.) Bocetoslineales del escudo y la bandera de Cataño. BibliotecaNacional de Puerto Rico.BeascoecheaLota, R. (n.d.) Bocetoslineales a manopara el diseño del escudo de Cataño. BibliotecaNacional de Puerto Rico.Berkowitz, B. (2011, August 22). Analysis: Hurricane could boost insurance pricing. Reuters. Retrieved from http://www.reuters.com/article/2011/08/22/us-hurricane-insurance- idUKTRE77L6SE20110822Defense Department. (2010). The Institute of Heraldry celebrates 50th anniversary. (Defense Dept. Doc. No. WLNR21832363). Washington, DC: US Government Printing Office.Gobierno de Puerto Rico. (2010). Escudo de Puerto Rico. Retrieved from http://www2.pr.gov/SobrePuertoRico/ SimbolosNacionales/ Pages/Escudo.aspxHammond, J. (2011, August 22). Day 234: UK and world weather report-hurricane Irene and tropical cyclone Harvey. BBC. Retrieved from http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/23degrees/ 2011/08/day_234_uk_and_world_weather_r.htmlQuiñones, E. (2011, April 18). Princeton University Bulletin. 100(8), 1.Rutgers University. (2011, October 7). In Wikipedia. Retrieved from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rutgers_ University# Coat_of_armsScherer, R. (2011, August 2). Tropical storm Emily moves west in Caribbean. Will it hit US Coast? The Christian Science Monitor. Retrieved from http://www.csmonitor.com/USA/ 2011/0802/Tropical-storm-Emily-moves-west-in-Caribbean.-Will-it-hit-US- coastTorres. (1965, March 25). Junta de directores del InstitutoPuertorriqueño de CulturaHispánica. In El mundo, 2nd ed. Retrieved from http://bibliotecadigital.uprrp.edu/cdm4/item_viewer.php?CISOROOT=/ELM4068& CISOPTR= 426&CISOBOX=1&REC=14

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