Thursday, May 07, 2015

Tomorrow! History of Medicine Lecture: Jessica Wapner on the Philadelphia Chromosome

The day has nearly arrived! Join us in the OHSU Old Library Auditorium tomorrow, Friday, May 8th, 2015, at noon: Jessica Wapner will be discussing one incredible story in modern cancer research, featuring the pioneering work of Dr. Brian Druker (Director of the Knight Cancer Institute) and the development of Gleevec. 

We hope that you can join us for what is sure to be a great lecture and discussion!

New Accessions: Doernbecher Image Collection

I was a little silent last week, but you got to hear from 3 of the students who work in HC&A about their exciting projects including textile preservation and working on the Child Study Clinic Records, so I figure it was a solid trade.  I am back this week with more info on our newest acquisitions in the archives.  Remember, an "accession" in archives-speak is the physical acquisition of archival materials including taking steps to gain intellectual and administrative control over the records.  I typically refer to this as the "three controls: physical, administrative and intellectual."  Physical control is what it sounds like, having actual possession of the materials.  Administrative control is when the rights are transferred to the archives and the archivist has given the materials a control number (also called an accession number), along with a determination on the total number of linear feet, the type of materials and any initial preservation or arrangement information.  Intellectual control comes is when we have an understanding of the nature, content and function of the records in our possession.  In addition, we have a better understanding of the full provenance of the records, who they came from, how they were created and how they were used during their time as active records, papers or images.  Intellectual control also implies that we can access the collection through a general understanding of the "aboutness" or research value of the materials, this could include subject headings, important historical figures mentioned in the records, etc.

Now that we have had Archives 101 for this week, I'd like to introduce you to one of our newest collections:  The Doernbecher Image Collection

This fantastic collection of images comes to us from the Doernbecher Children's Hospital Foundation (DCHF) and was transferred to us by Mallory Tyler, Assistant Director of Annual Programs for the DCHF.  The collection includes scrapbooks, photo packets, slides, prints and some electronic media.

Scrapbooks:  Circus on the Hill 1999 and 2000
Due to the nature of the records being pretty modern (last 16 years or so), in good condition and in a recognizable order I decided to do a quick 20 minute inventory to give us baseline access points.  Here is the general content of the collection:

-Scrapbook, Circus on the Hill, Sept. 29, 2000
-Binder, Prints, Chair Endowments, 2006-2009
-Photo album, Circus on the Hill, Sept. 1999
-Folder, Prints of Endowments, events and charities, circa 2000s
-Folder, DCHF, Endowments, Undated
-Loose stack of images, Friends of Doernbecher, 4x6 prints, undated
-DV Cassette, DCH, 2007
-10 Slides, Kids Making Miracles
-Compact Flash Card, contents unknown
-Shoebox of 4x6 prints, DCH, 1995-1997?
-6 packets of Foundation images, 4x6
-8 packets of Circus on the Hill images, 4x6
-1 packet of Take Me Out to the Ballgame images, 4x6
-1 packet of Radio-a-thon images, 4x6, 2002

Labeled photo packets*
The majority of the images in this collection are of the various events that support Doernbecher as a unique Children's Hospital.  This includes events designed to provide joy and entertainment for OHSU's youngest patients as well as an opportunity to have fun and get out a little.  The remaining images cover Doernbecher Chair Endowments, including images from the dinners and related events.

Chair endowments

The biggest challenges for processing this collections will be adding formal names of people found in the images and migrating the information off of the electronic media.  Adding formal names will happen when we process the collection, rehouse the materials into archival boxes, sleeves and folders and produce a finding aid.  Using Archivist's Toolkit we will be able to add in the names of the individuals found in the images and typically we include that information on the back of the image (as long as it does not damage, deform or degrade the content of the image).

The migration of electronic media is another matter.  Typically, we analyze the current format and technical equipment needed to transfer the format from the media to a server, NAS (network attached storage) or an intermediary drive of some sort (we use a partitioned drive on network attached storage).  Once we transfer the original format we make the decision to preserve the format as-is (if the format is stable, open source or well-documented) or we migrate material to a more open format for long term preservation.  Depending on what we find that could literally be anything, but as a general rule most text documents (think .doc, .docx, .xls, etc.) are converted to an archival standard for PDF, called PDF/A.  The most stable image formats are currently TIFF(.tif) and JPEG (.jpg).  Audio is trickier and audiovisual still trickier.  There are arguments over whether .wav or .flac is a better preservation standard for audio and for A/V we have to deal with OS-dependant issues like Quicktime .mov being an uncompressed standard, but less flexible or using .avi, which is also uncompressed.

Fun times?
I believe there was an old saying "May your information-bearing media be ever interesting."**  Well, this is true for me and does represent some of the main challenges archivists find in their day-to-day tasks, I can offer that, the ever-changing nature of how we represent information is hugely fascinating and these issues that pop up are what make the profession so unique and constantly engaging.

Back to the collection.  The Doernbecher Image Collection is in our hands and open for research, feel free to inquire.
All the best,

*If you want an archivist's eternal gratitude, label your photo packets (with dates, and names, but we'll take a general topic too, just add something)!
**Not a real quote.

Tuesday, May 05, 2015

Open House for Research Week!

It's Research Week 2015 at OHSU and HC&A is joining in the fun! Alongside May 8th's History of Medicine lecture on the Philadelphia Chromosome, we are hosting an open house Tuesday (that's today!) and Wednesday from 12pm-4pm in the History of Medicine Room in the Old Library - just up the steps from the main Research Week action! 

We are sharing programs from past OHSU research events, artifacts from the history of research at the university, and a sneak peak of some of the materials from our LSTA digitization and data curation project! (If you are a public health nerd and love historical renderings of data, these are the materials for you...)

Here's a sampling of the materials we've pulled out to share with all of the awesome folks who are filling the Old Library with research excitement and energy this week:

UOMS/OHSU research events through the ages!

Artificial heart valves from the Jeri L. Dobbs Collection

Haven't you always wanted to get up close and personal with a Starr-Edwards valve??

What do these cool artifact have to do with the history of research at the university? You'll have to come and find out!

If you're thinking of attending Research Week this year, we can't recommend it enough. See a full schedule of events here: We hope to see you there!