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FSU Libraries Celebrates UNESCO World Day for Audiovisual Heritage

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The UNESCO World Day for Audiovisual Heritage marks an occasion for libraries, archives, museums, and cultural heritage institutions around the world to join together in celebrating the vital expressions of cultural identity and historical significance found in their film and audiovisual collections. As part of this annual day of recognition and advocacy, FSU Libraries will join an international cohort of institutions in showcasing its rich and unique materials with a pop-up exhibit on the Main Floor of Strozier Library on Thursday, October 24th.

Means

Running from 10am – 4pm, this interactive exhibit will feature a variety of legacy audiovisual formats and technology culled from Special Collections & Archives and Technology & Digital Scholarship. The exhibit will also include a looping video installation featuring films preserved by FSU Libraries–films chronicling important campus events like The Great Westcott Fire of 1969, moments of familial bliss and beauty as found in the Means Family Collection, and great triumphs of FSU football, Flying High Circus, and the Tarpon Club Synchronized Swimming Team. Preservation Librarian, Hannah Davis, and Resident Media Librarian, Dave Rodriguez, will be on-hand to chat with patrons and answer questions about FSU’s unique collections, preservation efforts, and the challenges and complexities inherent to the stewardship of these materials.

We hope to see you there and look forward to sharing our amazing collections with you!

Facebook Event Page

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Celebrate Banned Books Week with Pop Lit

Happy Banned Books Week!!

Wondering why libraries celebrate banned books week? It’s a celebration of the first amendment right to access information, and a celebration for public libraries’ protection and right, as public institutions, to keep books available for people who want access to them.

The American Library Association has celebrated Banned Books Week since 1982 after the Supreme Court of the United States ruled that students’ First Amendment Rights were violated when Slaughterhouse-Five by Kurt Vonnegut was removed from school libraries in the Island Trees School District.  A previous case seen by the supreme court in 1965 was similarly ruled, stating “there is a First Amendment right to receive information; the right to receive information is a corollary to the right to speak.” 

Despite the ruling, each year parents across the country submit official complaints to have books removed from school libraries and reading lists; siting profanity, religious viewpoints, sexually explicit content, and materials too candidly portray injustices and inequality experienced by people of color. In 2018, the most commonly used complaints were because books contained LGBTQIA+ content.

Censorship of the written word still happens but we in the FSU Pop Lit Committee welcome you to celebrate banned books week by perusing our books for those that have censured or that have been formally complained of in the past.

Check out the American Library Association’s website here for more information on banned books week, and look here to see the Top 10 banned books each year.

Data Discovery Webinar Series

Join FSU Libraries this semester for a Zoom webinar series and learn about popular datasets and databases. 

Finding and Accessing Data Using ICPSR 
Date: Monday, September 9 
Time: 3 pm 
Location: Zoom 
The Inter-university Consortium for Political and Social Research (ICPSR) is a data repository hosted by the University of Michigan that maintains and provides access to a vast archive of social science and interdisciplinary data for research and instruction. 

Finding and Accessing Data Using Data.Gov 
Date: Monday, September 23 
Time: 3 pm 
Location: Zoom 
Data.gov aims to improve public access to high value, machine readable datasets generated by the Executive Branch of the Federal Government. The site is a repository for federal, state, local, and tribal government information, made available to the public. 

General Social Survey 
Date: Friday, September 27 
Time: 1 pm 
Location: Zoom  
Since 1972, the General Social Survey (GSS) has been monitoring societal change and studying the growing complexity of American society using comprehensive surveys measuring attitudes and behaviors. 

Introduction to Census Data and American FactFinder 
Date: Monday, October 14 
Time: 3 pm 
 Location: Zoom
The U.S. Census Bureau’s American FactFinder is the main extraction tool for Census Bureau data and is a key resource for data users. 

Cambridge Structural Database: In Celebration of National Chemistry Week! 
Date: Thursday, October 24 
Time: 1 pm 
Location: Zoom
Established in 1965, the CSD is the world’s repository for small-molecule organic and metal-organic crystal structures. Containing over one million structures from x-ray and neutron diffraction analyses, this unique database of accurate 3D structures has become an essential resource to scientists around the world. 

Exploring Environmental Spatial Data: In Celebration of Geography Week and GIS Day! 
Date: Wednesday, November 13 
Time: 3 pm 
Location: Zoom
This webinar will provide an overview of key sources for finding spatial data pertaining to the environment and environmental science. Learn to discover and download a variety of spatial datasets from sources such as the EPA’s Environmental Dataset Gateway, the Florida Geographic Data Library, and Esri Open Data. 

Pop Lit Pride

In honor of Pride Month and the 50th anniversary of the Stonewall Riots, we are highlighting some of the books written by or about LGBTQIA+ people featured in the FSU Libraries’ Popular Literature collection. Some of these are newly added to the collection and many were purchased with funds from an FSU President’s Diversity and Inclusion mini-grant. Books are continually being added to the collection.

New Pop Lit Books

FSU Libraries’ Popular Literature committee was fortunate to have earned funding to expand their Pop Lit collection through an FSU President’s Diversity and Inclusion mini-grant. This grant allows the committee to strengthen the collection with both fiction and nonfiction books from and about underrepresented groups. Books that are diverse and inclusive have been shown to help improve empathy for their readers.

The first order from the Diversity and Inclusion mini-grant have started to arrive!!! Stop by the main floor of Strozier to check out the new selections.

Preserving VHS Collections @ FSU Libraries Through the Academic Libraries Video Trust

By David Rodriguez

In the era of streaming services like Kanopy and Netflix becoming the norm for how people access video content, it’s easy to forget just how much material is still confined to legacy AV formats. VHS is one such format–one that has played a huge role in academic and public library collections for over 40 years. First introduced in 1976, VHS cassettes were to become the internationally adopted standard for home-video exhibition and recording (but not without a well-known “format war” with the Betamax system). Eventually, the introduction and dominance of digital formats like DVD and Blu-Ray in late 1990s and early 2000s swept the cassette market into relative obsolescence. However, because of the long legacy of VHS and the residual demand for VCR technology, playback equipment was still manufactured until 2016. In the many years that VHS stood as the preeminent home-video format, libraries across the world acquired millions of cassettes spanning educational programs, documentaries, and feature films. They have become a major component of library collections that serve a wide variety of patron needs.

VHS Collections in the basement of Strozier Library.

In considering how to contextualize and prioritize preservation of these collections within the Library, it’s helpful to acknowledge that the stewardship of non-print resources comes with its own unique set of challenges. While the inks and pigments on paper and in books can remain readable by the naked human eye for hundreds if not thousands of years, magnetic media formats like VHS are both inscrutable without technological mediation and subject to a much, much shorter shelf life. How these media are stored, their frequency of use, and the condition of the equipment they have been run through all bear heavily on how long they will remain usable. But even liberal estimates put most library VHS collections in a rather urgent position. With the end of VCR manufacturing and the rate of physical decay inherent to the format, libraries need to act now if they want to ensure these collections are not lost to decomposition and technological obsolescence.


Tapes, tapes, and more tapes covering nearly every subject & discipline.

So what are the available options for libraries seeking to tackle this problem? In the United States, libraries and archives are granted a number of useful rights under Section 108 of the Copyright Act. The statute allows such institutions to create “preservation copies” of collection materials which have become obsolete and for which there is no new, non-obsolete replacement available (for example, a given VHS title has not been re-released on DVD, Blu-Ray, or other digital format). In contemporary practice, preservation copies are created by digitizing the material and migrating the content to a new carrier like a DVD or into digital storage. Of course, this is easier said than done, and this step often prohibits many organizations from capitalizing on the privileges granted by Section 108 due to technological, financial, or other resource limitations. Thankfully, FSU Libraries has done well in retaining and maintaining a good deal of its legacy media technology and is now in the process of systematically reviewing, replacing, and, when appropriate, creating preservation copies of its nearly 4,000 holdings on VHS.

The Library’s humble media lab for digitizing VHS and few other formats.

The work involved is daunting, complex, and requires collaboration across several library divisions. Externally, we are very excited to have joined the Academic Libraries Video Trust (ALVT), a new initiative launched in 2018 by the National Media Market. ALVT provides member organizations with a shared cloud-storage repository and clearinghouse for digitized content created under Section 108. Additionally, it allows FSU to make its collections part of broader efforts to preserve the wealth of magnetic media materials held in libraries and archives all over the country by allowing other member libraries access to its digitized materials. This “sharing” of Section 108-compliant holdings is enormously beneficial insofar as de-duplicating digitization efforts across institutions. In joining ALVT, the Library is greatly increasing the impact and value of its collections while ensuring they will remain accessible to future students, faculty, and researchers. We hope to provide updates and more detailed technical and legal insights as the project progresses in the hopes of helping others interested in these kinds of initiatives.

Let the magic begin!

FSU Libraries’ Celebrates Newly-Tenured Faculty

On April 22, 2019, newly-tenured FSU faculty celebrated their accomplishments during a reception at the President’s house. Each year, FSU Libraries honor the achievements of newly-tenured faculty by selecting an item for the collection in their name. These items are on display the celebration event, with a paragraph describing why each particular item was selected and its significance.

To view the list of faculty and their explanation of the books or materials they hand-picked to be purchased and book plated in their honor, click here.

Open Video Resources – A Few Alternatives to Kanopy and Swank

By Dave Rodriguez

FSU Libraries currently subscribes to a wide variety of streaming video services and databases. Some of these, such as Swank and Kanopy, provide users access to commercial feature films for scholarly analysis, research, and teaching purposes. Others, like Films on Demand, are treasure troves of documentary content–although there’s some interesting feature film collections in there as well!

In addition to these valuable, paid resources, there are a number of open video collections containing narrative, documentary, ethnographic, and historically significant moving-image resources that can and should be utilized by those working in higher education and promoted by the Library. Below is a list with links and collection highlights from five such collections.

More information on how to access audio-visual content can be found in the Film LibGuide. Direct any questions about these or other online media resources to Shelly Schmucker, Electronic Resources Librarian (shelly.schmucker@fsu.edu), and Dave Rodriguez, Resident/Media Librarian (dwrodriguez@fsu.edu).

  1. Public Domain Movies (http://publicdomainmovie.net/)
    • A consolidated site of feature films, shorts, and cartoons that have fallen into the public domain either by virtue of being created before 1924 or the copyright having lapsed for some other reason.
    • Collection Highlights:
    • Search Note: Unfortunately, this site lacks an internal search feature. However, you can effectively search the collection via Google by using the following search command: site:http://publicdomainmovie.net/ “insert movie title or other search criteria between quotation marks”
  2. Snagfilms (http://www.snagfilms.com/)
    • A streaming platform with over 2,000 independent feature films and documentaries. Looks and runs like Netflix but some content contains ads at the beginning of playback.
    • Collection Highlights:
      • Jayne Loader, Kevin Rafferty and Pierce Rafferty’s documentary indictment of the nuclear age The Atomic Cafe (1982)
      • Lucy Walker’s exploration of Amish youthful transgression The Devil’s Playground (2002)
  3. Library of Congress National Screening Room (https://www.loc.gov/collections/national-screening-room/)
    • An initiative by LoC to make its moving-image collections accessible for streaming and download. Wide variety of titles ranging from silent films by Thomas Edison and D.W. Griffith to feature films and shorts from the 1940s and 50s
    • Collection Highlights:
      • Ida Lupino’s taut, masterfully crafted noir The Hitchhiker (1953)
      • Oscar Micheaux’s landmark work of African American silent cinema Within Our Gates (1919)
  4. Internet Archive’s Moving Image Archives (https://archive.org/details/movies)
    • An old standard at this point but full of great material for those willing to do some digging.
    • Collection Highlight:
      • The Prelinger Collection – Perhaps the the world’s most comprehensive collection of educational, ephemeral, propaganda, and industrial films ever assembled. A crucial repository for studying the culture of the 20th century.
  5. Florida Memory (https://www.floridamemory.com/video)
    • The State’s extensive catalog of moving-image materials offers a vivid snapshot of Florida’s history.
    • Collection Highlights:
      • The Adventures of X-14 (ca. 1963) – A promotional tourist film produced by the FL Development Commission and the St. Petersburg Chamber of Commerce about an alien visitor (disguised as a kitten!) to Florida’s Gulf Coast
      • Julio 26 (1960) – A TV documentary produced by a local Miami news channel chronicling the first six months and 26 days of Fidel Castro’s leadership in Cuba.