The Collation

Research and Exploration at the Folger

A digital adieu

The time has come for me to say farewell as my National Digital Stewardship Residency placement at the Folger Shakespeare Library comes to a close later this month. It has been a wonderful nine months working with born-digital assets here at the Folger and I’m thankful to the Library and to you, the Folger’s audience, for your hospitality. To bid you adieu, I’ve revisited the various NDSR Collation posts generated during my tenure and will discuss where you might find more information regarding related digital projects at the Folger in the future:

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In December,  we talked about the nature of the NDSR program at the Folger Shakespeare Library and the current types of digital assets being produced here, including the Folger Shakespeare Library web collections. We also touched upon challenges collecting organizations might come across in their efforts to digitally preserve assets, including keeping up with new technologies and digital asset management for large collections of resources.

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In February, we delved further into web archiving, or the process of “collecting portions of the World Wide Web, preserving the collections in an archival format, and then serving the archives for access and use” (IIPC). We discussed the Folger’s existing web archive collections: an institutional collection, Folger Shakespeare Library Websites and Social Media, and a thematic collection,  Shakespeare Festivals and Theatrical Companies. Additionally, we posited potential areas for collection expansion.

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In April, we talked shop with a primer on digital stewardship. We discussed the difference between a digital asset and a digital file and how digital preservation fits into the process of digital stewardship as a whole. We also made a distinction between digitized assets and born-digital assets. Additionally, readers got a peak at a sample of the digital asset inventory completed for the Folger Theatre and Production departments. This inventory will prove useful when the Folger moves forward in evaluating digital asset management strategies and workflows at the Library.

Finally, we celebrated the 450th anniversary of William Shakespeare’s birth by announcing a brand new web archive collection: William Shakespeare’s 450th Birthday: Celebrations and Commentary. This events-based collection seeks to document various web records of celebrations, festivities, events, commentary, and additional ephemera related to William Shakespeare’s 450th birthday. This new collection was coupled with another effort to capture birthday-related digital ephemera: the #Shax450 Tweet Archive and Interactive Visualization (creating using Martin Hawksey’s TAGSExplorer tool). 

Also announced was the new William Shakespeare’s 450th Birthday Seed URL Nomination Form, which allows for increased interaction to take place between you, our user audience, and the Folger Web Archive Administrators. Users now have the opportunity to nominate a relevant website or URL to be included in our web collecting activities.

At this time, I’d like to also announce that we have made available a General Seed URL Nomination Form which can be utilized to nominate websites into any one of our collections, or to suggest a new URL theme entirely. Again, we cannot guarantee the inclusion of a nominated URL into our collections, but we will carefully review each submission and identify pertinent resources which fit our collecting scope and collecting abilities. We are looking forward to hearing your thoughts for expansion for these wonderful collections.

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Additionally, during my tenure as an NDSR resident, I have generated documentation regarding institutional web collecting practices, current and potential future collections, and current policies. This documentation will be made publicly available in the upcoming Folger public wiki project, Folgerpedia, due for a release this summer. This is where you will also find related information about the projects and initiatives which we have discussed above and during our time together. 

As I sign off, I’d like to thank you again and to encourage you to continue to consider digital stewardship, digital preservation, and how the two might be applied to your research, work, and studies. Feel free to continue to reach out to Folger Web Archive Administrators at folgerwebarchives@gmail.com or to our wonderful staff regarding what assets you are interested in when considering Shakespeare in the digital world. I look forward to keeping an eye on the exciting ideas that you come up with and to track the progress of the Folger’s terrific digital initiatives over time.

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