This Short Paper Sessions consists of three papers:
- Stacey Erdman: Introducing the Digital POWRR Peer Assessment Program
- Sarah Buchanan and Jane Bartley: Fostering Transparency and Responsiveness through Extensible Provenance Research
- Rozvita-Monica Cosac: Fr Vasile Radu, the first Romanian scholar of Hebrew and Christian Arabic studies, as revealed by archival material
Introducing the Digital POWRR Peer Assessment Program
The Digital POWRR Project began in 2012 as an Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) funded study to explore the creation of pragmatic digital preservation solutions at underfunded Institutions. The initial IMLS grant had multiple outputs; a white paper, the POWRR Tool Grid, and a day-long workshop that distilled and disseminated research results to other working professionals. Further grants were awarded to support further development of the one-day workshop (2015-2016) as well as the development of a 2-day professional training institute (2017-2019). Participants in the workshops and institutes learned about digital preservation concepts and participated in technology acquisition activities. Institute participants were required to complete their own “POWRR Plan,” which introduced digital preservation assessment concepts and techniques in an accessible manner. They also had the opportunity to discuss these plans one on one with an instructor, and also receive input from fellow attendees.
Post-Institute feedback emphasized the lasting value of these plans and individual consultations in helping attendees begin to make incremental progress on local digital preservation goals. This feedback led to the creation of the IMLS-funded Digital POWRR Peer Assessment Program, an innovative, structured and supportive year-long program that trains digital stewardship practitioners in assessment practices. The program, delivered entirely virtually, provides compensation for participants as they complete both self and peer assessments, and work with their peers to set and achieve some realistic goals for their local environments. The program also provides their home institutions with a small “Tech Start Up Fee” that may be used to fund purchases identified as necessary to enact local preservation practices.
This presentation will provide an overview of the structure of the new Peer Assessment Program, which launched its first phase in early 2022, as well as detail some early feedback from participants and peer mentors.
Stacey Erdman, Digital Preservation Librarian at University of Arizona
Fostering Transparency and Responsiveness through Extensible Provenance Research
Provenance arises in such everyday settings as purchasing a home or a used car – informing us of past whereabouts and origins – and the disciplines of bibliography, archaeology, museum studies, and art history. Provenance researchers may even be more interested, sometimes, in what an object could reveal about an artist’s popularity, social connections, and market conditions, than the ownership history and characteristics of the object itself. Given such a wide range of purposes for conducting research, training and education for such work has not prioritized transferable skills and has steadily become more localized and case-specific. Students and smaller institutions still face limited models for commencing a program of provenance research for one or more collections. Over three years, we are investigating provenance research in four information institutional domains (with legal frameworks especially considered within each): art collections, special collections and archival manuscripts, Native and Indigenous research, and rural history.
Our AERI presentation will articulate how practitioners are completing provenance research that is bounded in meaningful ways, and will detail particular internal and external-facing strategies that visibly and recently have expanded public engagement with collections. Strategies include negotiating timing within archival workflows, capturing datapoints offline and crediting them online, and retaining cultural humility around intergenerational heritage.
Sarah Buchanan, University of Missouri.
Jane Bartley, University of Missouri.
Fr Vasile Radu, the first Romanian scholar of Hebrew and Christian Arabic studies, as revealed by archival material
Born in 1887 in Panciu (Vrancea County, Romania), Fr Vasile Radu was the first Romanian scholar of Hebrew and Christian Arabic studies, editor and translator from the Old Testament and Christian Arabic manuscripts of the 17th century. He studied Hebrew and Arabic in Paris at École Pratique des Hautes Études and the Catholic University. He was the first translator into French and editor of the Arabic text of Paul of Aleppo’s Journal of his travels with his father Makarios III ibn al-Za’im, Patriarch of Antioch (1647-1672), in Syria, Constantinople, Wallachia, Moldavia, Ukraine, and Muscovy (1652-1659). Fr Vasile Radu prepared a new translation of the Bible into Romanian after original Hebrew and Greek texts.
For my PhD program at the Institute for South-East European Studies of the Romanian Academy, I have searched Romanian archives to discover information about Fr Vasile Radu’s life and scientific achievements. I have discovered, so far, archival material concerning him in three major archives: the National Archives of Romania (Iași), the archives of the Romanian Broadcasting Company in Bucharest, and the archives of the Holy Synod of the Romanian Orthodox Church. The investigation of these documents revealed his learning progress and the edition and translation methodologies that he devised, a pioneering work in the Oriental studies of Romania. Among them, an autobiographic Memorandum of Titles, Studies and Works addressed by him to the Rector of the University of Iași, part of a job application, provides information on his French professors, courses taken in Paris in the early 20th century, and his list of works (edited texts, translations and studies). This paper highlights the relevance of archival material for the research dedicated to the works of Fr Vasile Radu as a pioneer of Oriental studies – especially on the Arabic-speaking Christians – in Romania, and Eastern Europe in general.
Rozvita-Monica Cosac, PhD candidate, Institute for South-East European Studies, Romanian Academy.
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