CBMR Library and Archives Hosts Interns
The CBMR Library and Archives was fortunate to host two interns in residence during the past academic year. Both interns recently graduated after completing their Library and Information Science programs. Dustin Witsman from Dominican University in River Forest, Illinois, worked on the Fernando Jones papers, a “hybrid” collection that includes both paper-based and digital files. Jones is a professor in the music department at Columbia College Chicago and a well-known blues guitarist, educator, and blues advocate. He offers a popular Blues Camp every summer for children (mostly 6th grade and up) as well as professional development seminars for K–12 teachers. Witsman undertook a comprehensive integrated catalog of the donation (which is ongoing), facing the challenges of working with a large set of born-digital files, digitized materials, and a wide assortment of paper and print items, including a board game that Jones designed. This project served as a pilot project for exploring ways to keep related files and documents linked in the real world, while providing access to the materials from both a hard drive and archival boxes. A virtual exhibit on the WordPress platform and other ideas for accessing the Fernando Jones collection are in progress. During his two-semester internship, Witsman also conducted two personal interviews and observed a professional oral history interview with Jones, which informed the description and organization of the collection.
During the Spring 2012 semester, Devin Higgins from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign did a practicum in digital libraries using the Black British Jazz materials from The Open University in Milton Keynes, UK. The research project explored Black British Jazz from a number of viewpoints, and included extensive oral histories of musicians, plus performances, jam sessions, workshops, and interviews with audience members and music industry professionals. A panel of researchers from the project, including past CBMR Director of Research Kenneth M. Bilby, presented their work in April 2011 at Columbia College Chicago and the University of Chicago. All of the work was delivered as digital files in a variety of text and audio-visual formats. Higgins created a well-designed and user-friendly virtual exhibit of the oral history interviews of musicians with related transcripts, solving multiple technical and web page presentation and style issues along the way. This exhibit incorporates full descriptions and a catalog of the interviews as well as digital audio and full-text transcripts, presented along with related photographs and other information about the musicians that Higgins discovered and edited. He also gathered a preliminary bibliography of resources related to Chicago house music available at the CBMR and Columbia College Chicago’s main library.