Lyla Medeiros' Fellowship

Archive for August, 2013


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


Society of American Archivists Annual Meeting

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

DHC headquarters in Washington, D.C.

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

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