FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Duluth, Georgia–May 12, 2016
Equinox and Bintec conduct successful integration testing between meeScan and Evergreen
Equinox is pleased to announce successful integration testing between the meeScan self checkout system provided by Bintec Library Services and the Evergreen open source ILS. Additional information regarding how to configure Evergreen to work with meeScan will be made available to the Evergreen community.
Galen Charlton, Added Services Manager at Equinox, said, “One of the strengths of Evergreen is its ability to integrate with other library software. By performing interoperability testing with firms such as Bintec, Equinox helps to identify and resolve technical roadblocks before they become an issue for libraries.”
Peter Trenciansky, Director for Bintec Library Services commented “We are very excited to offer meeScan to Evergreen libraries around the world. Our service provides a modern and fresh way to check out items while eliminating traditional challenges associated with self-service kiosks. The collaboration between Equinox and Bintec is another milestone towards our goal of contributing to the development of a new generation of welcoming and engaging libraries.”
Bintec Library Services Inc. is a technology company dedicated to the development of solutions that provide added value to libraries and enrich the user experience. The knowledgeable team behind Bintec delivers software and hardware solutions encompassing electromagnetic (EM) security, radio-frequency identification (RFID) technologies, ILS systems integration, large cloud-based architecture and mobile app development. The company is based in Toronto, Canada and services customers across North America and other parts of the world. To find out more visit binteclibraryservices.com
meeScan is a cloud based self checkout system that lets patrons use their smartphones to check out books anywhere in their library. The system uses the built-in camera of the patron’s smartphone or tablet to scan the item barcode. With support for both EM and RFID, it is a full featured alternative to conventional self-check kiosks at a fraction of the cost. meeScan is extremely user friendly, it is simple to setup and requires virtually zero maintenance by the library. Find out more at meescan.com
About Equinox Software, Inc.
Equinox was founded by the original developers and designers of the Evergreen ILS. We are wholly devoted to the support and development of open source software in libraries, focusing on Evergreen, Koha, and the FulfILLment ILL system. We wrote over 80% of the Evergreen code base and continue to contribute more new features, bug fixes, and documentation than any other organization. Our team is fanatical about providing exceptional technical support. Over 98% of our support ticket responses are graded as “Excellent” by our customers. At Equinox, we are proud to be librarians. In fact, half of us have our ML(I)S. We understand you because we *are* you. We are Equinox, and we’d like to be awesome for you. For more information on Equinox, please visit http://www.esilibrary.com.
Evergreen is an award-winning ILS developed with the intent of providing an open source product able to meet the diverse needs of consortia and high transaction public libraries. However, it has proven to be equally successful in smaller installations including special and academic libraries. Today, almost 1400 libraries across the US and Canada are using Evergreen including NC Cardinal, SC Lends, and B.C. Sitka. For more information about Evergreen, including a list of all known Evergreen installations, see http://evergreen-ils.org.
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“Simplify, simplify.” — Henry David Thoreau, Walden.
Most of us comb through a lifelong collection of personal papers and photos either when we have plenty of free time (typically in retirement) or when we have to deal with the belongings of a deceased loved one. All too often the job seems so daunting and overwhelming that our natural response is to get discouraged and say, “I don’t know where to begin” or “It’s too much; I’ll do it some other time” or worse, “I’ll just get rid of it all.”
At the Library of Congress, archivists process every type of collection imaginable. They often acquire — along with scholarly and historical works — personal papers and mementos, things that had special meaning to the owner, not only letters and photos but also locks of hair, newspaper clippings and beverage-stained documents. One recent collection contained a piece of bark. Some collections arrive neatly organized and others arrive heaped into makeshift containers. How do professional archivists create order from clutter? Where do they start? And what we can we learn from their work and apply to our own personal archiving projects?
For this story, I spoke with Laura Kells and Meg McAleer, two senior archivists from the Library of Congress’s Manuscript Division. Both exude the good-natured patience and relaxed humor that comes from years of dealing with a constant inflow of often-disorganized paper and digital files. [Watch their presentation, titled “The Truth about Original Order, or What to Do When Your Collection Arrives in Trash Cans.”]
I found it striking that, throughout our interview, they rarely dictated how something must be done. Instead they offered well-seasoned advice about archiving but they left the decisions up to the individual. In the end, their main message was this: if you want to get through the project and not make yourself crazy and despondent over it, start simply, separate items broadly at first and, in the end, accept your final sorting decisions as “good enough.”Start Simply
First, approach your collection as a single unit of stuff. Don’t dwell on individual photos or letters yet. Think about the entire collection as a mass of related things. Kells said, “You’ll scare yourself if you think, ‘I have two hundred things.’ The project will seem bigger.” It is one collection.Clumps
Consider devoting a rainy weekend to pulling out your collection. At this point you will be surveying its broad landscape. Begin by sorting items from your collection into what McAleer and Kells expertly call “clumps.” This is your first pass, so just group things into general categories such as letters and photos. You decide on your categories. Be consistent but accept that there might be overlap between categories. If you want to categorize clumps by year, fine. Or phases of a person’s life. Or holidays. Or type of materials (letters, photos).
“What you try to do is identify the clumps that already exist,” McAleer said. “And hopefully clumping naturally occurs. For instance, you could have gotten all of your grandmother’s papers after her death. That’s a clump. Trips? That’s a clump. Christmas stuff, that’s a clump. Photographs, that’s a clump.”
WARNING: Don’t get sidetracked. Resist the temptation to savor any one thing right now. “If you begin engaging with individual items at this point, then you’re sunk,” McAleer said. “You can paralyze yourself by over scrutinizing.” Whatever it is, no matter how wonderful it is, put it in its rightful clump and come back to it later.Be Realistic About Work Space and Time
There are two important things you should address early on: space and time. Your collection will take up space in your house as you sift through it, so plan your work space realistically. Set aside a temporary work space if you can – a room or a corner of a room — or plan to unpack and re-pack your collection for each sorting session. “In most people’s homes they don’t have a great deal of space to have things sitting out for a long time,” McAleer said. “At some point you will really need that dining room table for dinner.”
Don’t eat or drink in the work area. Kells said, “Just step away. When you’ve got big piles and you reach your drink and you knock it over, you’ll be real sorry if you spill your coffee all over your documents or your photographs.” McAleer said, “It happens in an instant. None of us anticipate it. It can be tragic.”
As for time, McAleer said, “Do not start out with a commitment that every single item within this collection is going to be organized perfectly.” Kells said, “That could make you feel a sense of defeat. Just start out by saying, ‘I want to improve the organization.’ ”Nothing is Perfect
After sorting the collection into clumps, you could put everything into envelopes or other containers and be happy about your progress. “You can feel good because you’ve done something,” Kells said. “As long as there is some order. It’s probably chaotic within those clumps but just by identifying and labeling and boxing those clumps, you have some intellectual control over it that you didn’t have before.”
You could leave the project at that or you could continue on, from a rough sort to a refined sort. “If you have the energy, you just work in layers and keep improving it,” Kells said. “Then you can gauge how much time you have and how much space you have to do this. Anything new is gravy.”
For example, you could sort letters by date or by topic or sort photos by location or by who is in each photo. “It is a matter of constant refinement, where you’re going to be getting more and more information about the content over time,” McAleer said. “It’s like building a house. You start out building the structure of a house and then you add furniture into each room.”
It’s a good time to throw things away too. Decide if you really want to save paid bills, cancelled checks or grocery lists. McAleer said, “In the long run, just save the things that you’re going to value over time. It is up to you how far down you drill in terms of arranging the material. At some point you have to say to yourself, ‘This is so much better than it was. I know what I have. This may be as good as it gets. I have put some organization on it and that is going to make it more accessible.’ ”Scanning
Scanning is a terrific way to preserve and share digital versions of papers and photographs. The Library of Congress explains the basics of scanning in a blog post and an instructional video. You can also add descriptions into your digital photos, in much the same way as you would write on the back of a paper photo.
Scan newspaper clippings too. Newspaper ages poorly, when folded it can rip at the creases and it can crumble when being handled. Print a scanned copy if you want a hard copy. Computer paper ages better than newspaper does.
Another reason to scan photos is to rescue them. Photos may fade due to their chemical composition or because they may have been in direct sunlight for a long time. (Institutions rotate their collections regularly to avoid the damage from light and environmental exposure.) “Resist the idea of framing things,” McAleer said. “They really should not be exposed to light for too long. You can make a copy and frame that but keep the original out of the light.”
If you have hundreds of photos, think about if you really want to scan them all. That may add pressure on you. Again, be realistic with your time. Consider being selective and only scanning the special photos or documents that you value the highest. Most institutions don’t have the resources to scan everything so they digitize their collections selectively; maybe you should too.Disks and Digital Storage Media
If the collection includes computer disks, scan the disks for viruses before you open the contents. Don’t put everything else on your computer at risk. Before opening a file, make a duplicate of it and open the duplicate to avoid any accidental modifications. That way you’ll still have the original if you mess something up.
If the disks contain files in an old format that you can’t access, but you believe those files might contain something of interest or value, archive those files with your other digital stuff. You can either find a professional service to open them or someday you might find a resource that will enable you to open them.Digital Preservation
Save your digital files properly. Organize the scanned files on your computer and back them up on a separate drive. If you acquire disorganized computer files, organize the clutter as best you can within a file system. To help you find specific files again, you can rename those files, without affecting their contents.Archiving a Life Story
Organizing personal collections can be a way to tell a story about your life or the life of a loved one. “I don’t think people should be afraid to curate these collections,” McAleer said. “Zooming in and narrowing in on one particular story or one particular item can actually have a little bit more impact.”
Kells said, “Old letters give you a sense of the people, even if there’s not much to the letters and cards. It shows you what they valued. What they did, what they ate, what holidays they celebrated.” McAleer said, “Letters provide a voice and by grouping them together you release a kind of narrative.”
What was in her wallet or purse? What did she keep near to her? “There are probably certain things in a drawer somewhere that tell a story,” Kells said. “You could create a time capsule about a loved one.
“Not everyone values this stuff but if you archive it, it will be there for somebody in a later generation. There may be one person who really cares about their family history and will be glad to have it.”
This guest post was written by Jasmine Burns, Image Technologies and Visual Literacy Librarian, Indiana University and DPLA + DLF ‘Cross-Pollinator.’ (Twitter: @jazz_with_jazz)
Thanks to the generous support of the DPLA + DLF Cross-Pollinator Grant, I spent two fully-packed days wandering through some of the most beautiful (both architecturally and intellectually) institutions in Washington DC. DPLAfest was perfectly self-described: a festival of workshops, conversations, and collaborations between hundreds of librarians, authors, coders, publishers, educators, and more. This community that converged on Capitol Hill left me feeling inspired and exhausted, as I returned home with a laundry list of new ideas and long-term goals.
My initial interest in attending DPLAfest was to gain a closer glimpse into the large and growing community of the Digital Public Library of America. I graduated from an MLIS program last May and immediately started my first professional position in an academic library as the Image Technologies and Visual Literacy Librarian. As an emerging professional, I am still navigating the transient landscape of useful and applicable tools, pedagogies, and resources that are relevant to the needs of my campus community. The programming at DPLAfest seemed to combine many of the topics and areas that I have been utilizing as a visual resources professional. The opportunity to dig much deeper into these resources with the mission of creating collaborations and connections with the DLF community was an ideal framework for my experience in Washington.
Copyright + digital libraries. Packed room! #DPLAfest
— Jasmine Burns (@Jazz_with_Jazz) April 14, 2016
The first day of the fest kicked off at the Library of Congress with breakfast and coffee (!!), the debut of RightsStatements.org (VERY exciting in library-land), the release of the 100 Primary Source Sets (which I promptly emailed to my K-12 teacher friends), and the first ever selfie to be added to DPLA! For the remainder of the day I attended a workshop on geovisualization, sat in on a fantastic conversation about Authorship in the Digital Age, learned all about GIFs and how to make them (by far my favorite!), attended a totally packed, standing-room only session on copyright, and finally got to hear about the fantastic public domain drop at NYPL Labs.
Somewhere in between the action, I even had the chance to pop over to the Madison building to catch up with some of my old co-workers at the Prints and Photographs Division and eat lunch in the Great Hall! After running to my hotel to catch my breath, I meandered down to the National Archives, where I had drinks and hors d’oeuvre with the Declaration of Independence and got completely lost in the exhibits (both literally and figuratively). I was so busy geeking out about how the exhibits actually looked like archives (solander boxes and everything) that I forgot to do much socializing at all!
The next morning, I headed back to the National Archives to start round two (and coincidentally ran into my cousin on the street, I guess DC is more of a small town than I thought!). Day two started with a much appreciated breakfast buffet, and a session showcasing some fabulous digital projects. Next, I learned everything I ever wanted to know about IIIF, listened in on presentations about API Development, and rounded out the whole shebang with a train ride back to my family in Virginia, all while participating in the #DPLAfest tweetstorm.
— Jasmine Burns (@Jazz_with_Jazz) April 14, 2016
This was the first conference I have attended where I wasn’t presenting, organizing, or attending committee meetings. I felt like I could sit back, absorb the content, and tweet away to my heart’s desire. I had never had the time to live-tweet a conference, and this was my first time archiving my thoughts in 140 character chunks. I felt that the most important benefits of the conference were moments when I was able to recognize the human element behind the digital resources that I use all the time by putting a face behind a platform (specifically NYPL Labs, IIIF, DPLA Developers, etc). It is not often the case that I leave a conference wishing that it had been longer or that I could have spoken to more people, but DPLAfest exceeded many of my expectations from the start, and I am grateful to DLF for this trip.