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The Prism of Visual Literacy for Archivists: A Course Prototype Mary-Elizabeth A. Keefe Bridging the Spectrum: A Symposium on Scholarship.

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Presentation on theme: "The Prism of Visual Literacy for Archivists: A Course Prototype Mary-Elizabeth A. Keefe Bridging the Spectrum: A Symposium on Scholarship."— Presentation transcript:

1 The Prism of Visual Literacy for Archivists: A Course Prototype Mary-Elizabeth A. Keefe Bridging the Spectrum: A Symposium on Scholarship and Practice in Library and Information Science The Catholic University of America School of Library and Information Science January 30, 2009

2 What is Visual Literacy? 3 Levels of Awareness: 1.Superficial - what’s the picture of? 2.Concrete - what’s it about? 3.Abstract - what’s the context? What did the creator intend to evoke in his/her audience? 1 1 Elisabeth Kaplan and Jeffrey Mifflin, “’Mind and Sight’: Visual Literacy and the Archivist.” In American Archival Studies: Readings in Theory and Practice, edited by Randall C. Jimerson. Chicago, IL:Society of American Archivists, 2000.

3 Look at a picture for over a minute: o What are your first impressions? o Name everything you see; o Look at each part of the picture again; and o Write a narrative caption about its meaning: o Read accompanying text; o Describe what it shows; o Who made it, why, when, where, and how? o Assumptions?

4 Now to research: Confirm your caption information: o Where to verify original and additional info? o What do colleagues see that you missed? o Study photo, housing, and written information o Describe details for research of place and time o What events led to photo’s creation?

5 And note... o The image’s style, form, and genre re: creator and provenance o Physical features to research for image processes, formats, sizes, color/b&w, e.g.: o The types of image mounts used; and image bases – film, glass, metal, paper? Film negatives, e.g., are unusual before 1900.[2][2] 1] 2 Helena Zinkham, From “Reading and Researching Photographs.” In Archival Outlook, Chicago, IL:Society of American Archivists, January/February 2007

6 With courtesy from The Society of The Cincinnati, (Call No. PHOTO L2008D8m “Larz and Isabel Anderson [with Emperor Taisho and entourage], American Embassy, Tokyo [1912]”)

7 Graduate Archives Courses in Visual Literacy: Highlights NEW YORK UNIVERSITY: M.A., Archives and Public History Historian and the Visual Record:  Types of visual materials found in archival collections, challenges (from conservation to theoretical) for archivists and historians  Photographs, prints, architectural records, film, ephemera, and other media  Histories of individual formats, how used as historical records to shape culture  Specialized literature surrounding visual formats regarding challenges of describing and interpreting visual materials as historical artifacts. 3 3

8 SIMMONS COLLEGE: M.S., Archives Management Concentration Visual Communication :  Illustrated lectures for study and analysis of visual forms of information and communication  History of graphic forms of communication, semiotics, philosophy, and media analysis for theory and iconographic languages regarding visual information resources  Topics: visual literacy, rare books, prints and printmaking, typography, photography, posters, ephemera, propaganda, digital images, exhibit construction  Readings and activities from graphic/visual knowledge, theory, history, and application in LIS  Preparation for media studies, human-computer interaction, information architecture, etc. 3

9 SIMMONS COLLEGE Photographic Archives and Visual Information:  Photographs as visual information; problems of meaning, context, and definition  Responsibilities of photo archivists  History of photographic artifacts; development of photo genres  Characteristics of 19th century processes  Special problems of subject access and remote access  Use by scholars, visual researchers, communication industries  Onsite exams of management practices among institutions  Guest speakers from special libraries, historical societies, major archives, museums, and picture agencies 4 3 4

10 UNIVERSITY OF BRITISH COLUMBIA: M.A.S., Master in Archival Studies Visual Literacy for Information Professionals:  Intro to visual literacy as part of information literacy: effective gathering, organization, use, and evaluation of visual information  Theories of visual information, contexts of visual information use and users, physical and subject attributes of images, intellectual aspects of organizing and describing images in visual resources collections  Skills in visual information and visual literacy for work in visual resources in libraries, special collections, multimedia digital collections, and cultural heritage collections 5 5

11 Criteria Matrix for Development of Course Prototype: The Prism of Visual Literacy for Archivists CRITERIANYUSIMMONSUBC Departmental Affiliation M.A., Archives & Public History (History Dept.) M.L.S., concentration in Archives Management (Grad. School of Library & Info. Science) M.A.S., Master in Archival Studies (School of Library, Archival & Info. Studies) Course Status Elective-1 semester Offering Frequency Summer/Fall 07470: Fall 06, 07; Spr. 05. 471: Sp./Fall 08, Sp./Fall 07, 06; Sp./Sum. 05 Summer 08, 09

12 CRITERIANYUSIMMONSUBC On-line course updates Fall 2007LIS 470: Jan. 2005 LIS 471: Mar. 2005 Aug. 2008 Instruction Classroom Field Trips Guest Lecturers Workshops Labs Yes No 470: 471: Yes No Yes No Yes No Research & Writing: Critiques Yes Required Readings Betz, Natanson, J. Schwartz, Zinkham (2) Ritzenthaler, Information not available

13 CRITERIANYUSIMMONSUBC Vis. Lit. Skills Technology Law & Ethics Photography Metadata Standards Lectures, Readings, uses BB Lecture, Readings, Field Trip Lectures, Readings, Field Trips Lectures, Readings Lectures, Readings, 471 Prereq.: Info. Org. No Lectures, Readings, 471: Field Trips Yes + 471 Prereq.: Info. Org. Yes-student evals Yes Yes-student evals Course & Career Goals Describe & interpret historical imagery Media studies, HCI, info architecture Visual resource specialists

14 Benefits of Standardized Coursework in The Prism of Visual Literacy for Archivists Academic: Departmental Affiliation: M.L.S., Archives focus features librarianship skills for libraries and cultural heritage institutions Course Status: Required cohort format for learning flow Annual Scheduling: 1 st semester strengths develop for 2 nd semester Practicum assignments Course Materials: Annual on-line updates begin Fall Instruction Methods: Lectures/Readings/Workshops/Field Trips/Guest Speakers/Lab Research and Writing: Empirical research, literature critiques Required Readings: Bibliography of research literature

15 Vis. Lit. Skills: Workshop: Web 2.0 Tech., et seq. Workshop & Visit: Photography & PhotoArchives Guest Speaker: Digital Age Law & Ethics Lab: Metadata Standards for Visual Imagery Course Goals: Prepares M.L.S., Archives students for careers in Libraries, Special Libraries, and Cultural Heritage Institutions Recruiting Tool: Attracts students to academic programs committed to preservation of cultural heritage within increasingly visual realm of archives And prepares students for opportunities to benefit:

16 Institutions: Administrative: Establishes employers’ best practice benchmark hiring criteria Develops job description requirements; performance expectations and appraisals; and succession plans Economic: Limits hiring expense to one skilled MLS/Archives graduate Saves costs of staff time and contracted in-house/off-site training Serves as outreach to universal audience via website Encourages continued remote and local use of resources Stimulates “digital tourists’” visits to view original images Public: Establishes bibliography of resources for researchers Promotes casual browser interest Provides archival resource for community commemorations

17 Prototype Course Description: The Prism of Visual Literacy for Archivists:  Required of all Archives, Information Management, and Library Science graduate students for  Research and analysis of visual forms of information and communication.  Two-semester course in cohort format for learning continuity:  Fall: Readings, Visual Literacy Skills workshops, guest speakers, field trips, BB discussions, research and experiential papers, collaborative article presentations for final portfolio.  Spring: Practicum assignments, BB discussions, instructor and classmate “on-site insight” visits, experiential papers and evaluations. (6 credits)

18 Prototype Course - and Career - Goals Semester I: Critical thinking re: origin and impact of visual materials via literature reviews, field trips, and guest speakers. Workshops and labs in technology, photography, and metadata standards enhance approaches to visual literacy. Semester II: Practicum employs academic theory and visual literacy skills in an archive setting. Career goals: Prepares Archivists, Librarians, Curators, Photographers for: Media, A-V, Metadata, Film Preservation, Image Collections: Cataloging, Resource/Image Services; Visual Resources Reference, Rare Books, Gallery Education, Digital Conversion, DB/Slide Management, Special Collections And enables graduates to pursue new opportunities in light of emerging technologies.

19 Prototype Syllabus FALL SEMESTER I 1.Previews course topics and assignments, including small group article collaborations, experiential and research papers 2.1st Impressions and Ideas 3.Web 2.0 Tech., et seq. and Visual Literacy Workshop 4.Student article briefings re: Web 2.0 Tech. and Visual Literacy 5.Digital Age Law & Ethics Guest Speaker 6.Student article briefings re: Digital Age Law & Ethics; Photography Workshop 7.Visit to Photo Archive 8.Student article briefings re: Photography Workshop and Photo Archives Visit

20 9.Metadata Standards for Visual Imagery Lab 10.Article briefings re: Metadata Standards for Visual Imagery 11.Group presentations of collaborative articles 12.Symposium: The Future of Visual Literacy for Archivists Great networking – bring resumés! 13.Final Portfolio Presentations 14.NO CLASS: Course Evaluations due; Happy Holidays! SPRING SEMESTER II: Practicum: 14 weeks (140 hours) Proposals, Assignments, BB discussions, instructor site visits, experiential papers in Wiki portfolio; “on-site insight” visits: students brief class on projects at worksites; evaluations.

21 Prototype Required Readings: Benedict, Joel and Irene. From Joel and Irene Benedict Visual Literacy Collection Betz, Elisabeth W. Graphic Materials: Rules for Describing Original Items and Historical Collections Farmer, Dr. Lesley. “Visual Literacy: The Truth is Out There.” From Eye to I: Visual Literacy Meets Information Literacy Goin, Peter. “Visual Literacy” Kaplan, Elisabeth and Jeffrey Mifflin. “’Mind and Sight’: Visual Literacy and the Archivist.” In American Archival Studies: Readings in Theory and Practice, edited by Randall C. Jimerson Lesy, Michael. “Visual Literacy” Munoff, Gerald J. and Mary Lynn Ritzenthaler, “History of Photographic Processes”

22 Natharius, David. “The More We Know, the More We See: The Role of Visuality in Media Literacy” Newton, Julianne H. The Burden of Visual Truth: The Role of Photojournalism in Mediating Reality Ritzenthaler, Mary,, Archives and Manuscripts: Administration of Photographic Collections Schwartz, Joan M. “Counterpoint-Coming to Terms with Photographs: Descriptive Standards, Linguistic ‘Othering,’ and the Margins of Archivy” Schwartz, Joan M., “Review Essay: Negotiating the Visual Turn: New Perspectives on Images and Archives” Schwartz, Joan M. and James R. Ryan. Picturing Place: Photography and the Geographical Imagination Zinkham, Helena. “Reading and Researching Photographs”

23 The Prism of Visual Literacy leads the eye to the image, lends it life, informs the mind, and creates the memory to enrich all heritages protected, preserved and promoted with images cataloged, arranged and described by the M.L.S.-trained archivist. Thank you.

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