Lyla Medeiros' Fellowship

Until next time

And just like that, my fellowship comes to an end…

This has been a truly wonderful experience, full of travel, learning, networking and growth. Looking back, some of my favorite experiences were:

  • Meeting members of the dance community in Portland and discussing dance representation
  • Spending the week with Libby and Kat at the DHC headquarters in D.C.
  • Working with the data of the Howard-Holtzman Collection on Isadora Duncan
  • Holding Anna Pavlova’s pointe shoes
  • Traveling to NOLA for the first time and networking at SAA
  • Laughing with the DHC fellows at group dinners

My accomplishments in the last 6 weeks (practicum portion of the fellowship) include:

  • Started project planning for DPDP and created preliminary project planning document
  • Outlined preliminary DPDP projects
  • Defined DPDP Ontology/ Metadata Schema Research Project
  • Implemented research and recommendation phase of Ontology/ Metadata Schema Research Project
  • Lead DPDP meeting at SAA Conference in NOLA
  • Held research meetings with user groups in Portland
  • Conducted two mini archival assessments for White Bird and Martha Ullman West
  • Produced recommendation document for DPDP Ontology/ Metadata Schema Research Project
  • Created experimental data submission method for independent user groups for data submissions to DHC

Now that the fellowship is over, I am concentrating on finding a full time position in the library science field. Until then, I’ll be teaching ballet in Albuquerque, New Mexico.

Best wishes to my readers!

~ Lyla



I’ve only heard good things about Portland and I have to say I really enjoyed my time there. During my 4 day trip I meet with representatives from Reed College, Minh Tran & Company,  Oregon Ballet Theater, Portland State University, White Bird, and Oregon Historical Society. I also spoke with Dance Critic Martha Ullman West and sp a musician that plays for social dance. Although my main purpose was to do research on description of dance resources for the DPDP project, I also got to do some collection assessment work for White Bird and OBT.

Each group and individual I talked to gave me very interesting feedback on what descriptive elements were most important to them when searching and identifying dance resources that they wish to use. During the meetings we also discussed the DHC site and what types of searches they wished to be able to perform that are not possible at the moment. For example, Minh Tran (Minh Tran & Co.), Hannah Kosstrin (Reed), Carla Mann (Reed) and Judy Patton (PSU) all identified the wish to be able to search for works based on the “aboutness” or “foundation” the work is based on.  They each independently came up with examples of descriptors that would enable them to find resources effectively. Descriptors included words like conceptual, minimalist, emotional, task oriented, multimedia and abstract. Currently traditional catalog record metadata schemas do not have specific fields for this information.  While we can put this information in fields such as <description> or <note>  it’s not an ideal solution.

I think it’s time to develop the vocabulary and computer processing rules that will accurately reflect the domain of dance! New performing arts ontology here we go! (Baby steps, of course.)

Fun highlights of the trip included seeing a xylophone player in the Portland airport upon arrival and a bohemian violin player upon departure, getting stuck in NYC style traffic at every turn, meeting Barney the cockatoo that inspired White Bird, a tour of the Oregon Historical Society’s collection warehouse (it’s epic, like a SAM’s club for a historical collection) and experiencing some interesting service at my hotel. Oh, Portlandia, your skits are based in truth!

More next time about DPDP project work.

~ Lyla

I Heart Oregon

This year the SAA conference was held in New Orleans. I’ve never been to NOLA before so in addition to being excited for the conference I was also excited to experience the city.

I had a packed schedule at the conference, I went to talks about archiving route 66, the state of hip-hop dance archiving and got an inside look at the new systems being developed for the performing arts. In addition to all that, we managed to squeeze in a very productive and positive meeting about the DHC DPDP project. In addition to myself and Jennifer Kishi (who is working on the user interface design) three other DHC staff members and representatives from UCLA and NYPL attended to give their input.

All in all I would say that SAA was a success for me. I made some great connections to follow up on for my DPDP research for a new performing arts ontology and made some new professional connections. I also managed to score an awesome archival box with a clear top at in the exhibit hall.

I’m definitely going to go back to NOLA. The beauty of the French Quarter was mesmerizing. I had some great eats listened to some fantastic street musicians and stumbled into a movie shoot. A haunted history tour with Elizabeth Hollenbeck and the SAA grand reception at the WWII museum rounded out my week and made for a fantastic overall experience.

DHC Fellows at SAA 2013

DHC Fellows at SAA 2013

Now off to Portland for research!

~ Lyla

My visit to the DHC headquarters was fantastic and very productive! 4 days of intense project planning discussions, a meeting at the Smithsonian Institution, a day trip to NYC for meetings with representatives from NYPLBAM and Roundabout Theatre Company Archive, and some DHC bonding over drinks. All that and we still managed to squeeze in a trip to the Library of Congress.

Up next… Society of American Archivists conference in New Orleans, and a trip to Portland!

~ Lyla

Au revoir, UCLA

My time at UCLA has officially come to an end. I’m very happy to report that the entire Howard-Holtzman collection on Isadora Duncan will be able to be viewed on the UCLA library digital collections website.

The majority of my effort went into making sure the data associated with each item in the collection was correctly associated with the digital image of that item. With over 6,000 images in the collection, this process was incredibly time consuming. Thankfully, Alison D’Amato, a PhD candidate at UCLA was recruited to help me with the work. In addition to associating each image with the information about the image, I worked a great deal on the data in order for it to group the images so that they would display according to the way that the EAD had arranged them.

While the data and images of the Isadora collection are all ready, the new display is still being worked on by the Digital Library.  Below is a sample of the display that is in development.

Stand by for my next post about my 2 weeks in DC at the Dance Heritage Coalition headquarters…

~ Lyla

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Did you go to ALA?

I often get asked by non librarian folk if there is an annual gathering of librarians in which we get to talk about “librarian stuff”.  If you are also wondering, the answer is: yes. I had the pleasure of attending the 137th  ALA Annual Conference with several of the women from the DHC Fellow cohort. This year’s conference was held at McCormick Place, a massive convention center in Chicago.

DHC Fellows Lyla Medeiros (Left) and Jennifer Kishi (Right) at ALA 2013

DHC Fellows Lyla Medeiros (Left) and Jennifer Kishi (Right) at ALA 2013

As a representative of DHC, several Fellows and I attended the Dance Librarians Discussion Group (DLDG) roundtable. We introduced ourselves and spoke a little about the projects we are working on for DHC at our host archives. In addition to the DHC cohort, there were representatives from Yale University, NYPL for the Performing Arts, UCLA, and Chicago State. It was fantastic to meet and chat with the other dance librarians that attended.

With somewhere around 25,000 people attending ALA, the experience was overwhelming at times, but fun none the less. In addition to the DLDG, I also attended the ALA Job Fair and strolled around the exhibit hall where everything from high tech book scanners to library furniture was on display. I even saw a few friends from my alma matter Indiana University and of course I picked up some librarian swag from Baker & Taylor

Librarian Swag: The "Cat Bag"

Librarian Swag: The “Cat Bag”

More about my project work at UCLA in my next post!


We’ve missed you, you say.

What have you been doing at UCLA, you ask?  

 Succinctly, this:

Planning Session at UCLA

Planning Session at UCLA

Yes, I’ll explain…

A little background info:

The Charles E. Young Research Library Department of Special Collections has a fabulous collection on Isadora Duncan. You can search the finding aid (the contents of the collection) at the Online Archive of California: Howard-Holtzman Collection on Isadora Duncan

Notice that the finding aid is just a nice list of what is in the collection? Wouldn’t you like to be able to see images of  some of those awesome sounding items? Well, that’s what UCLA  Special Collections and the UCLA Digital Library Program have asked me to help them accomplish!

What we are starting the project with:

The Isadora collection has already been processed (organized and preserved) and each item in the collection and the order in which it is organized has been described in this  finding aid. The finding aid is encoded in EAD  (a metadata schema used for describing archival collections).

Each item in the collection has now been digitized (meaning that we now have high quality .tif image(s) of each item in the collection) and we want to make them accessible on the UCLA Digital Library website.

The Digital Library uses a metadata schema called MODS to encode information about the images on their site.

Project challenges:

EAD and MODS don’t “talk” to each-other. Additionally, they are used to represent resources differently:

  • EAD was developed for describing an entire collection and how all of the items in the collection are related to each-other

  • MODS was developed for describing a single item in great detail

So how do we represent individual items from the Isadora Duncan collection on the Digital Library website in MODS without stripping them of the relationships and context that has been defined in the collection’s EAD? Well, that’s what we are trying to find a solution to!

Lets take this one step further: 

Soon, UCLA Special Collections will start using a new system called ArchiveSpace to create EAD records and the Digital Library will start using a new system called Islandora which will host individual MODS records for each item.  More about this in my next post…

~ Lyla

Tag Cloud

%d bloggers like this: