Matthew Kirschenbaum and Naomi Nelson
L-95: Born Digital Materials: Theory & Practice
25-29 July 2011
1) How useful were the pre-course readings? (Leave blank if you applied and were accepted late for the course, and thus did not get the list in time.)
1: Some more useful, others not useful. There were too many readings required. 2: Very useful in preparing me for the discussions. 3: Very useful, but would have helped spread out the reading if the day-by-day schedule was received earlier. 4: Great! The in-class discussions were great, but the bibliography was practically worth the price of tuition. 5: Useful and interesting, although I would have appreciated more specific discussion of the readings in class (especially Casey’s book) and focused questions to guide the reading. 6: Very useful. They provided me with a framework for the class itself. 7: Extremely useful. A few too many. Would be helpful to see the course overview by day and time block earlier in order to better plan the order in which to read articles. Also to have it made clear that certain ones would be actively discussed. 8: Pre-course readings are great for any professional interested in the field. 9: The readings were voluminous, but vital—exactly the sorts of things we needed to read if we were serious about the subject and useful materials to bring to the attention of other people at my institution. 10: The pre-course readings were good at providing background for discussions. 11: Very useful (even before I came to class). 12: They were essential preparations to understanding and fully participating in discussions.
2) Were the course workbook and other materials distributed in class appropriate and useful (or will they be so in the future, after you return home)?
1: Yes. 2: Yes and yes. 3: Yes—extremely useful as I go forward to implement the learning I received here. 4: Yes, the references and tools in the workbook were great and will be most useful. 5: Yes, I am looking forward to exploring them further. 6: Yes; yes. 7: Yes and yes. 8: Yes. Useful daily at work as reference and for practical purposes. 9: Materials were distributed by flash drive, which was wholly appropriate and will be very useful resources for our staff (within the bounds of creative commons licensing—which is appropriate!) 10: The course workbook and digital handouts distributed in the course of the week were very appropriate and useful, and I have already begun sharing links and notes via email with colleagues at home. 11: Yes, good illustrations/examples of the theory and practice. 12: My course came with a thumbdrive of materials that I am very grateful for! Very useful and valuable content to take home with me!
3) What aspects of the course content were of the greatest interest or relevance for your purposes? Was the intellectual level of the course appropriate?
2: Computer forensics. 3: Greatest relevance were discussions of intellectual content. 4: I’m mostly interested in practical issues (that’s why I’m an archivist, not an historian!) but the push to step back and think about the theory was great. I like to be pushed in that direction to help expand my thinking. Overall, the balance was good between practice and theory. 5: The intellectual level was perfect for me. I could have used a little more “how to”/practical info, but also didn’t come here expecting that (i.e., expected a lot of theory). 6: The digital humanities was the most relevant to my current work. 7: Intellectual level was perfect. Innately technical in some areas, but explained and demonstrated so clearly that I never got lost or fell behind. 8: Examples and case studies outside my realm helped widen my expertise. Range is good. 9: The intellectual level was appropriate and it was all relevant. 10: The course was a good mix of general survey (issues, best/good practices) demonstrations, and hands-on labs, and case studies. The level was appropriate. 11: 1) the forensic techniques 2) the concept of “digital life” and its archive 3) how libraries/archives work: repositories, catalogs, access, organizations. 12: The methodical approach taken by the instructors as we trooped through this material was broken down very well and made it easily digestible. They also encouraged questions and discussions which made the class very rich.
4) What did you like best about the course?
2: The instructors—being very knowledgeable. The participants—being from diverse backgrounds and bringing in new perspectives to the issues we discussed. 3: The instructors—extremely personable and approachable. 4: Hands-on activities. Opportunity to try things out. 5: The mix of different types of learning: lectures, discussion, practical exercises. It was well-paced and I didn’t get bored. 6: The openness and discussion. 7: Learning a highly complex set of technical issues from an English professor and experienced archivist, both of whom are excellent teachers and communicators. 8: Flow of communication. Instructors allowed open dialog through all presentations/lectures. Great discussions ensued! 9: The way it made me think and re-think! 10: MK and NN are both extremely clear in their explanations of complex material, and very well prepared. They make an excellent teaching team. 11: The stories from real life: Rushdie, AGRIPPA, Diane Larsen. 12: The high quality content—the knowledge and expertise of the instructors was particularly valuable.
5) Did the instructor(s) successfully help you to acquire the information and skills that the course was intended to convey?
1: No, it was very focused on large and wealthy intuitions. 2-4: Yes. 5: Mostly, yes. Again, I would have liked more hands-on experience/instruction. 6: Yes. 7: Yes—beyond expectations. 8: Yes, some concepts and skills were already in the bag for me but the framework of the course helped define my outlook. 9: Yes—all of the above, and it led me to reconsider approaches I had been considering. 10: Yes. 11: Yes, they were patient and attentive, great presentations, thought-provoking. 12: Yes, and they were patient and more than willing to reiterate, explain further and provide examples.
6) Did you learn what the course description/advertisements indicated you would learn? Y/ N
1: No. 2: Yes. I feel like we could have drilled down more on certain topics but otherwise yes. 3-7: Yes. 8-12: Yes.
7) Did you learn what you wanted to learn in the course? Y/N
1: No. 2: Yes. 3: Yes, but as importantly I discovered what else I need to learn. 4: Yes. 5: Yes, more time spent on the nuts and bolts of workflow and less on case studies may have been useful, however. 6-8: Yes. 9: Yes, though a few more mundane examples would have been nice, in addition to the highly complex scenarios we simply aren’t going to emulate everything. A little more discussion of migration options and decision making processes could be good. 10-12: Yes.
8) How do you intend to use or apply the knowledge or skills learned in this course?
2: To help influence policy and procedure at my institution. 3: Practical set-up of a program. 4: This is very relevant to my day to day work. It will be most instrumental in developing policies and workflows. 5: I will use new skills immediately at work, and I also have new avenues to pursue with my own reading/professional development. 6: The knowledge/skills will apply to my current study. 7: Currently working on a report that my employer will publish that requires this level of understanding of techniques for managing born-digital archival materials. 8: Everyday at work. 9: We are going to build a way to manage the lifecycle of digital records. We will use all of this information to influence our decisions. 10: I intend to apply for jobs soon with a digital materials component, for which the knowledge of the issues discussed in class will be relevant. 11: Encourage my colleagues to get involved in digital libraries and archives! 12: I need to apply this information as soon as I get back to my institution as we are currently acquiring digital collections. But I also intend to interest others in my professional community to take a more involved action in preserving these materials.
9) How could the course have been improved? If you have a suggestion for a new course (and—equally important—a person who could teach it), please contact the RBS Program Director.
1: Persons from less wealthy and less well staffed [institutions]would have added much to the course instruction. 2: They did a great job! I would have liked to have spent a little more time discussing the Casey book in more depth. 3: Perhaps have an expert speak on digital copyright. Perhaps a forum that included a humanist, a scientist, and an artist engaged in born digital collections. 4: As the field matures, a look at more workflows and case studies would be a great way to expand the class. 5: See previous page. 6: I would like to see a variety of courses offered in the digital arena. 7: See earlier comments about reading lists. All else: flawless. 9: See note on [question] number seven and maybe a bit more on appraisal of digital materials. Perhaps more discussion of managing data but this is RBS so maybe that’s going too far. 10: The course would have been improved by having more lab equipment available for us to work with—i.e., more old hardware and software! 11: Some of the lectures reiterated a lot of the content from the reading. Would have preferred to spend some more of that time talking about experiences from the wild, or looking more closely at the readings. There were a lot of readings and I didn’t manage to finish them all, and then we didn’t discuss them all. 12: The content could easily be broken down further and geared toward the archivist or preservations administrator.
10) If your course left its classroom to visit Special Collections (SC) or to make other field trips away from your classroom, was the time devoted to this purpose well spent?
1-4: Yes. 5: Yes, I especially liked the visit to see the digital forensics workstation. 6: Yes. 7: Extremely well spent in both instances. 8-9: Yes. 10: The field trips to see the FRED equipment in SC and a sampling of projects from the Scholar’s Lab were entirely appropriate and very informative. 11: Yes. Possible “field trip”: teleconference with the other five members of the Rushdie project to talk about lessons learned and what they were able to take away and apply to new projects! 12: Yes, our field trips and guest speakers were very informative.
11) We are always concerned about the physical well-being both of the RBS teaching collections and of materials owned by UVa’s Special Collections. If relevant, what suggestions do you have for the improved classroom handling of such materials used in your course this week?
2: None. 3: Nothing, everything was fine. 5: N/A. 6: A larger space for the legacy computers. 7: N/A. 9: No suggestions. 11: Handling ok. 12: N/A.
12) If you attended the optional evening events (e.g. RBS Lecture, Video Night, RBS Forum, Booksellers’ Night) were they worth attending?
1: Yes. 2: N/A. 3: Absolutely. 5: N/A. 6: Yes. 7: Attended Sunday and Monday lectures. Both well worth my time. 9: I did not attend, but heard people discussing them favorably. 10: Lecture and forum were worth attending. 11: Yes. 12: N/A.
13) Did you get your (or your institutions) money’s worth? Any final or summary thoughts, or advice for other persons considering taking this course in a future year?
2-6: Yes. 7: Yes, and more. 9: Yes, I think so. 10: Yes. 11: We are lucky to get the time of people like MK and NN—we will all come away with better perspective and advice for our own projects. 12: Yes, the information I acquired was very much worth the tuition.
14) Would you recommend this course to others?
1: Yes, if their institutions were strictly manuscript repositories. 2: Yes. 3: Definitely. 4-6: Yes. 7: In a heartbeat—and I will do so regularly! 8: Yes. 9: Yes, with the caveat that it kind of stays away from institutional materials so one will have to translate the game preservation and view it as a potential suite of approaches for other types of content. 10-11: Yes! 12: Yes, I intend to!
Number of respondents: 12
Institution gave me leave
I took vacation time
N/A: self-employed, retired or had the summers off
I am self-employed
Work has nothing to do with RBS course
Institution paid tuition
Institution paid tuition ___%
I paid tuition myself
Exchange or barter
N/A: Self-employed, retired or scholarship
Institution paid housing
Institution paid for ___% of housing
I paid for my own housing
N/A: stayed with friends or lived at home
Institution paid ___% of my travel
I paid my own travel
N/A: lived nearby
There were seven archivist/manuscript librarians (55%), one digital archivist (9%), 1 Ph.D. student (9%), one digital specialist (9%), one technological worker (9%), one preservation librarian (9%).
Where did you stay?
Brown College: 4 (33%)
Courtyard Marriott: 1 (8%)
Hampton Inn & Suites: 2 (17%)
Other: 5 (42%)