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La MaMa’s Pushcart Catalog Creative Approaches in a Community-Based Performing Arts Archive Metropolitan New York Library Council Annual Conference, 2015.

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Presentation on theme: "La MaMa’s Pushcart Catalog Creative Approaches in a Community-Based Performing Arts Archive Metropolitan New York Library Council Annual Conference, 2015."— Presentation transcript:

1 La MaMa’s Pushcart Catalog Creative Approaches in a Community-Based Performing Arts Archive Metropolitan New York Library Council Annual Conference, 2015 Suzanne Lipkin, Project Cataloger Rachel Mattson, Project Manager Julie Sandy, Project Cataloger

2 Presentation outline ➔ Introduction to La MaMa and La MaMa’s Archive ➔ The Pushcart Catalog project ➔ Hidden Collection: What’s being revealed ◆ metadata needs of our theatrical event-based collection ◆ the usefulness of item-ish level cataloging ◆ distinct needs of community/small archives ◆ a history of under-recognized artists, art forms, and communities

3 La MaMa E.T.C. Ellen Stewart, with performers at La MaMa, 1966 (photo: H. Gloaguen, UIN: OBJ )

4 La MaMa Archives

5 ★ born-digital ●holds 10,000+ items, dating back to 1962 ★ programs, posters, & correspondence ★ photographs and slides ★ costumes, masks, puppets & other objects ★ audiovisual materials

6 Pan Asian Rep’s “A Servant of Two Masters,” 1979 UIN: OBJ Not yet cataloged American Indian Theatre Ensemble during the run of “Body Indian” 1972 Sam Shepard’s “Melodrama Play” 1967 UIN: OBJ

7 ➔ funded by CLIR Hidden Collections program ➔ two-year grant, awarded in January 2014 ➔ building a searchable online catalog ➔ focused on La MaMa’s early years, ◆ approximately 377 cubic feet of materials ●showbills ●correspondence ●scripts ●photographs ●posters ●objects ●audiovisual materials Pushcart Catalog project

8 Our Tools | Catalog Platform: CollectiveAccess

9 DublinCore elementLa MaMa’s catalog field Title | Description | Date | Source | Language | Identifier | Rights Creator, Publisher, ContributorRelated Entities SubjectLC Subject Headings La MaMa-specific vocabulary TypeCore categories = paper document, A/V, photograph, artifact, poster FormatMaterials Extent RelationRelated objects (is version of, is referenced by, etc.) Related entities (director, photographer, etc.) Related productions (is manifestation of, etc.) Related Works Related Venues (took place at, moved to, etc) CoverageDate, Venue Our Tools | Metadata Standards: DublinCore

10 PBCore elementLa MaMa’s catalog field Instantiation instatiationMediaType instantiationDimensions instantiationDuration instantiationFileSize Measurements & Extent instantiationEssence instantiationEssenceEncoding instantiationEssenceAspectRatio instantiationEssenceTrackFrameRate Measurements PREMIS elementLa MaMa’s catalog field contentLocationStorage Location Event eventType eventDate Preservation Event Preservation Event Date preservationLevelDigital Preservation Level fixityMD5 Checksum (we’re half-way there) Our Tools | Metadata Standards: PBCore, PREMIS

11 ●LCSH, LC Naming Authorities, and a small in-house vocabulary. ●Digital Storage: Linux-based Server-->Network Area Storage-->Amazon Glacier backup ●File Integrity Monitoring: AVPS’s “Fixity” tool Our Tools | Etc

12 Hidden Collection | What’s getting “revealed”? Part I: Metadata issues, etc.

13 Controlled vocabularies for the performing arts ●LCSH Useful for describing object types (e.g. “Theater—reviews”) and genres (e.g. “Native American Theatre”). Limitations (e.g.): Describing cross-gender casting or theatrical performance in drag. (See image opposite.) Closest LCSH term = “Drag shows.” ●AAT (Getty) Excludes most types of theater, with the exception of “performance art.” ●Dictionaries of drama terminology Limited to technical terms. Charles Stanley as Medea in H.M Koutoukas’ “Medea in the Laundromat.” UIN: OBJ

14 How to effectively catalog a performance event? Just as there is no definitive controlled vocabulary for performance events, there is also no singular way to catalog those events. OBJECTS WORKS EVENTS/PRODUCTIONS ENTITIES VENUES

15 expression manifestation item work GloPAD (Global Performing Arts Database) FRBR Roundabout event/production objects Franklin Furnace event DIGITAL OBJECT SOURCE OBJECT objects PERFORMANCE COMPONENT PERSON PLACE PIECE PRODUC- TION PERFORMING ART GROUP BIBLIOGRAPHIC REFERENCE PERFORM- ANCE ART

16 work manifestation/event item Traditional FRBR expression manifestation item work entity venue Our modified FRBR

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20 “Conceptually-oriented, time-based works such as performance...are ephemeral by nature and their documentation through photos, text, and artists' statements become critical for understanding" --Tong, Darlene, “ Artists' Archives: Preserving the Documentation and Collections of an Artist Organization". Art Libraries Journal (2002) “The Hungry Ones” (1966), Photo: James Gossage. UIN: OBJ

21 Hidden Collection | What’s getting “revealed”? Part II: The uses of item-ish level cataloging in a community-based performance arts archive.

22 What’s the “ish”? item-ish level inventory = data captured for each item, though not necessarily the full set for each vs collection-ish level inventory = data captured for each item at a defined level of intellectual arrangement such as collection, series, media type, etc. (definitions by Joshua Ranger, senior consultant, Audiovisual Preservation Solutions, in blog post “ What’s Your Product? Assessing The Suitability Of A More Product, Less Process Methodology For Processing Audiovisual Collections,” August Assessing The Suitability Of A More Product, Less Process Methodology For Processing Audiovisual Collections

23 ●Building on systems/structures developed at Roundabout & BAM ●“Ideally all audiovisual collections should be documented at the item level.” -Joshua Ranger ●What we’re working to reveal = relationships, not just a standard inventory Why item-ish level?

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27 “not necessarily the full set of data…”...because of: ●project constraints ●non-unique items ●archiving vs research ●lack of information

28 Production Photographs: "Hurrah for the Bridge" (By Conrad Ward) (OBJ )

29 Challenges of item-ish level cataloging ●One is the loneliest number ●Reliability of metadata ●Limits of existing schema/vocabularies (image from

30 Hidden Collection | What’s getting “revealed”? Part III: The distinct needs of community-based archives in the digital age

31 "Collections of material gathered primarily by members of a given community and over whose use community members exercise some level of control.” -- Flinn, Stevens, & Shepard, “Whose Memory, Whose Archives?,” Archival Science (2009)." One definition of community archives:

32 1)The archive’s custodians have always been artists from the La MaMa community, not professional archivists. Community Archiving at La MaMa | Challenges, Opportunities This means it is critical that we develop ways to: ●advocate for the collection--and describe archival needs and processes--in simple, non-technical language; ●integrate the catalog into other organizational work; ●reach out to our community for buy-in and description help.

33 2)We have limited tech infrastructure. Community Archiving at La MaMa | Challenges, Opportunities This means: ●our internet is slow and unreliable; ●many archival tools are not workable for us; ●we have to be patient, flexible, and creative in how we work.

34 Hidden Collection | What’s getting “revealed”? Part IV: A largely unknown history of early off off-Broadway theater

35 ●The off off-Broadway beginnings of many well-known theater artists. Duro Lapido’s “Oba Koso” UIN: OBJ ●Ground-breaking work by under-recognized artists. ●The diversity of early off off-Broadway. Bette Midler in “Miss Nefertiti Regrets.” Photo: James Gossage. UIN: OBJ Ching Yeh’s “Cyclotron” UIN: OBJ

36 Pushcart Collection as a Pre-Stonewall Collection Hidden Collection | What’s getting “revealed”? ●Pre-Stonewall queer theater had its origins in drag performance ●Venues such as La MaMa, Caffe Cino, and others in the off-off-Broadway movement produced works by and including openly gay and gender non-conforming artists and content Promotional Photograph: After the Ball (Two Figures) (UIN: OBJ )

37 Pushcart Collection as a Pre-AIDS Crisis Collection Hidden Collection | What’s getting “revealed”? The Pushcart years coincide with “New York in the pre-AIDS period... the exhilarating sense of artistic and sexual freedom that followed the 1969 Stonewall Riots.” --As described by the New-York Historical Society’s recent exhibit, AIDS in New York Harvey Fierstein in his trilogy “Safe Sex” in Photograph by Peter Cunningham. (Uncataloged)

38 “In a lot of ways we have been closed, because 52 artists who've worked at La Mama have died of AIDS.” --'Day Without Art' to Mourn Losses From AIDS, New York Times, November 29, 1989 Photo: James D. Gossage Pushcart Collection as a Pre-AIDS Crisis Collection Photo: The Everett Collection Photo: Robert Giard Photo: charlesludlammedea.wordpress.com

39 find us online: pushcartcatalog.wordpress.com

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43 image: eccentricbutlazy.wordpress.com/2009 1) How this affects the way we work.


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