Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Archives TCG: Nerdiest thing EVER.

Sooooo, this is supposed to be a wrap-up post on SAA 2010. Which I swear I am still going to do. But first for something a bit sillier. OK, check that, a LOT sillier.

A bit of context: 2011 is SAA's 75th Anniversary Year, which means a lot of ill-conceived nostalgic foolishness. Exhibit A: Archivist Trading Cards. No, really, check that link. This is a true thing that is happening that is being sponsored by SAA. Go ahead. I'll be here when you get back. (Let the record show as well that Student Archivists at Maryland thought of this first.)

Anyway. Have you read the call for archivist trading cards? A little frivolous for a professional organization, you say? A lot of the Archives Twitterati thought so too. In fact, we took it a step further: why just have trading cards when you can have a COLLECTABLE CARD GAME?

@cdibella: I'm sorry, but the prospect of #archives trading cards makes me giddy. Hans Booms, black box, that crazy macroappraisal diagram - I want.

@sheepeeh: @cdibella I may or may not have a set of attribute icons and monster cards in my sketchbook already.

@cdibella: @sheepeeh Omigod - too cool. SAA's example card is pretty darn staid, but there's definitely a lot of potential there.

@sheepeeh: @cdibella As soon as I heard about the trading cards, I started imagining an #ebz like game for archives :P #nerd (never a big Magic player)

@derangedescribe: @sheepeeh @cdibella Archives: The Processing? @herodotusjr could write the rules.

I am sure Ms. Goldman thought she was being funny because Magic: the Gathering is one of the Big Three topics I tweet about, the others being Archives and Politics. Well WHO'S LAUGHING NOW HUH?! I give you the introductory rules for ARCHIVES: THE PROCESSING, the first trading card game where you fight not for universal domination, but for domination of the ARCHIVES WORLD! MUAHAHAHAHAH *cough cough* Sorry.

(Note: These rules are highly influenced by Magic: the Gathering, so all apologies to Richard Garfield, Aaron Forsythe, Mark Rosewater, etc. None of the example cards are balanced at all and are likely to stay that way unless the full set is actually developed, which seems unlikely if it's just me. So in the unlikely event that you are reading this and want to submit cards or card ideas, please feel free. If you are one of my Magic friends who have drifted over here, I am so, so sorry for butchering the game. But the potential for lulz was just too high. Also, I am probably the biggest geek in the history of geekdom for doing this.)

You're an archives manager looking to achieve complete archives domination. Or failing that make those other repositories fall flat on their faces. (We don't go for those namby-pamby consortia here in the world of Archives: the Processing.)

Win the game by either reducing your opponents’ Reputation to 0 (starting from 20; when Reputation = 0 the head of that player's institution no longer sees a point to an archives and discontinues the program) or accumulating 20 Processing Points (starting from 0; when you hit 20 processing points you have cleared out your backlog and are acknowledged as an Archives rock star).

Resources: Analogous to lands in MTG, produce Funding instead of Mana. Come in basic and specialized flavors. Basic Resource Types:
· Public Grants: W
· Institutional Support: U
· Shady Sources: B
· Benefactors: R
· Private Grants: G

T: Add WW to your Funding Pool. This Funding can only be used on Arrangement, Description, or Preservation cards or to pay upkeep on Project Archivists.

Electronic Records Management Initiative
T: Add an amount of U to your Funding Pool equal to the number of Computer Artifacts you control.

Analogous to creatures. Legendary if named (Greene/Meissner, Margaret Cross Norton, Schellenberg, etc.) Instead of power and toughness have Publishing Offence/Defense to put dents in Reputation. Usually require resource upkeep cost.

University Archivist 2U

Salary U (During your upkeep, pay U or sacrifice this archivist.)
If you would tap University Archivist to add a processing counter to a University Collection, add two processing counters instead.
T: Draw a Card.

Tenure-Track Professor 4GG
Salary GG (During your upkeep, pay GG or sacrifice this archivist.)
Rhetoric (This archivist may only be blocked by other archivists with Rhetoric.)
Tenure-Track Professor cannot be tapped to add a processing counter to a Collection.
Sacrifice a Student: Add a processing counter to a University collection.

STRATEGIES: Analogous to enchantments. Have one or more of seven subtypes (preservation, description, arrangement, appraisal, reference, outreach, acquisition). Provide benefits to player who controls them, sometimes include drawbacks. Cannot have more than one of each subtype on board at once.

Collection Policy 1UUU
Strategy—Acquisition Appraisal
As Collection Policy comes into play, name a Collection subtype. Collections of that subtype require 1 fewer Processing counters to Process. This effect can’t reduce the Processing cost below 1.
You may ignore any effects triggered by rejecting a collection.

More Product Less Process 2RR
Strategy—Arrangement Description
At the beginning of your upkeep, put an additional Processing counter on each collection you control.
You may only play one Action, Challenge, or Artifact per turn.

ACTIONS: Analogous to instants. May have one or more of seven subtypes and are usually, but not always, used for defensive or beneficial purposes. Discarded after playing.

Conference Presentation 1G
Search your library for a basic Resource and put it into play tapped. Then shuffle your library. You gain 2 Reputation.

Collection Sell-Off B
Action—Acquisition Appraisal
As an additional cost to play Collection Sell-Off, return an unprocessed collection you control to the accessions deck. You may add an amount of B to your Resources pool equal to the number of processing counters on that collection.

CHALLENGES: Analogous to sorceries. May have one or more of seven subtypes and are usually used for offensive purposes. Discarded after playing unless they have Ongoing supertype, in which case only one of each subtype can be put on the field at once.

Mildew 2B
Ongoing Challenge—Preservation
Affect Opponent
Collections affected opponent controls have “At the beginning of your upkeep, sacrifice this collection unless you pay 1.”

Inconsiderate Researcher XRR
Challenge—Reference Preservation Remove X processing counters from target collection. Inconsiderate Researcher does X damage to that collection’s controller.

ARTIFACTS: “Tools of the trade”, usually have a beneficial effect for controller. May be tapped or sacrificed for additional benefit.
Hollinger Box 2
Preservation Action or Challenge cards cost 1 less to play.
T: Add U to your resource pool.

Reading Room Reference Collection 5
Archivists you control get +1/+1 for each other archivist you control.
At the beginning of your draw phase, draw an additional card.

COLLECTIONS: Free cards revealed from the Accession pile. Have processing point value which shows how much processing they require and how many points they provide once processed. May or may not have additional benefits. Untapped: Unprocessed; Tapped: Processed

Photo Series
Collection—Visual Records
When you complete processing on Photo Series, you gain 3 Reputation. If you also control an artifact named Content Management System, you gain 6 Reputation instead.
If you reject Photo Series, the next time you would gain Reputation, you gain no Reputation instead.


Unsolicited Benefactor Papers
Collection—Paper Manuscript
At the beginning of your first main phase, if Unsolicited Benefactor Papers are processed, you may add RR to your funding pool and lose 1 reputation.
If you reject Unsolicited Benefactor Papers, sacrifice a resource and lose 4 reputation.


· UPKEEP: All “During your upkeep” things happen. Active Player places one “free” processing counter on an unprocessed collection he controls (representing his/her own processing efforts that turn).
· ACCESSION: Active Player reveals top card of communal collections deck. S/He may choose to accession the collection, in which case it enters play unprocessed under his/her control, or to reject it, in which case it’s put on bottom of deck. There may be consequences for rejecting a collection as noted on the collection card. “Accession” or “Appraisal” Action cards may be played at this time by any player.
· DRAW: Player draws one card from own constructed deck (action, funding, archivist, strategy, challenge, artifact).
· FIRST MAIN: Players may play one Resource Card per turn during this phase. Any number of non-Resource cards may be played. Cards in play may change these limits. Any player may also play Action Cards of any subtype during this phase.
· PROCESS: Active player may tap any number of his archivists to add that many processing counters to his collection. OR he can attack the reputation of an opposing archives (Representing a withering scholarly article published somewhere). Opposing archives may block with any untapped archivists available to prevent damage to the defending player's reputation. If an Archivist takes damage equal to his reputation defense, that archivist is Fired and goes to the discard pile. “Arrangement”, “Description”, or “Preservation” Action cards may be played at this time by any player.
· SECOND MAIN: See First Main for cards which may be played during this phase.
· DEACCESSION: Damage is removed from Archivists and “Until End of Turn” effects end. All Resources remaining in your pool drain and do one damage to your Reputation per resource (Administrators don't like it when you don't spend the money that you have been allocated). Any player may play Action cards at this time.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Summer at the UWM Archives

So it occurs to me that I've sort of written myself into a corner here with this blog. I promised myself that it would be a professional-topic only blog, but the truth is I've been a bit unconcerned with professional issues lately. At least part of the reason for this is that on May 30, I got married to a very lovely and amazing woman (the one who made fun of me for not understanding the concept of Rhetoric), and we've been on honeymoon in Quebec City since May 31. So yeah, kinda busy in personal life, so not a whole lot of leeway to keep up with the professional side of things.

"But Brad, what about the Library of Congress archiving Twitter? I thought you said you were going to blog about that!"

I may have said that, and then I may have forgotten to do so. It happens. Anyway LoC came out with a press release that answered a lot of the questions I posed on my Twitter account shortly after I posed them. I still would like to write an article about this or about appraisal of social networking sites in general. We'll see if it happens.

"But Brad, what about the brouhaha on the A&A list? That's interesting, right?"

Maybe if you're a giant process nerd (which, to be fair, most of the people who read this blog are). I suspect other people would find that IMMENSELY boring and trivial. Suffice to say, it sucks that PK felt like he was being censored, and I think RAIN is an incredibly useful resource, but some of the people who jumped to his defense were perhaps a little too vehement in said defense. (What? Overreaction? That never happens on The List!) That's all I'm going to say about that.

"Well, what about the post title? Are you doing stuff this summer since you're done with all the wedding crap?"

Funny you should ask. Yes, this summer should be a very productive one for the UWM University Archives program (note use of the word "should"; best laid plans of mice and men etc etc.). A lot of good opportunities in particular for electronic records and other alternate formats, because that's the way things have worked out. (It should come as no surprise that Summer is when things get done at University Archives; no more excuses of "Oh, we have to deal with students"). At the risk of overextension, here are a few of the things I'm hoping to get done before the end of August:

  • Create a good way to harvest University Communications press releases. This is actually something I've been wanting to do since I got here a few years ago but only now am I getting the actual chance to do so, having finally met with the University Communications staff through the intercession of my boss. They gave us all of their HTML press releases, which I'm having a student convert to PDF for preservation and presentation and then processing via an index. That much is good; getting the stuff from the University Communications CMS is better. Supposedly this is easily accomplished by a harvester program which the tech guy at University Communications can set up. We'll see. In any case, a good e-records case study.
  • Talk with Student Activities about harvesting defunct student org files from their new CMS. Student Activities has actually been very good about keeping me in the loop about what they're doing with their records. When they decided they wanted to move their student org files to a CMS, they contacted me to ask about records management and archives specifications, which I was naturally pretty happy about. They picked the system I liked better but I haven't yet seen what the RM/Archiving capabilities are like. This is a good opportunity, though, to get in on the ground floor and make sure that proper RM is being used throughout the life of the system. Another great e-records opportunity!
  • Properly appraise and (maybe?) digitize historical center tapes. We processed the PAPERS of the founder/director of UWM's Center for 20th Century Studies earlier this year; most of what he gave us, however, were reel-to-reel tapes of lectures given by him and other figures. Some of these are easy to appraise (Buckminster Fuller!); others are not. I'm hopefully working with some people from the Center to identify key topics and speakers and preserve the ones that have some historical value. I don't actually know if digitization is in the future for any of these, but it's a nice dream. In any case we can finally get rid of the tapes that DON'T have value and clear out some space.
  • More subject guides! We've put a number of research guides on various UWM History topics, including the history of the school's mascot, Vietnam War protests, and the history of the school's football program. These guides include timelines, photos, and bibliographies for additional resources and are, in my opinion, pretty cool. I'd like to make more of them, both on specific topics and on general things like collections dealing with The Arts at UWM.
  • Process the Photo Services collection and make it more accessible. In January, we accessioned probably 120,000 negatives and contact sheets from the campus photo services department. That's good! Unfortunately, most of these are not labeled adequately. That's bad. Happily, we also accessioned the indices that Photo Services was using to access the negatives. That's good! Unfortunately, these indices are all paper, meaning that it is impossible to search them except manually. That's bad. Even worse, the later ones are HANDWRITTEN, which also means we can't OCR them. So we need to figure out a way both to provide initial access to the negatives (which I think we are going to be able to do since a large number of them correspond to the contact sheets we also received) and then to provide detailed, searchable access via the indices (which I suspect is going to involve some outsourcing and/or manual data entry. My students are so lucky....) This might get its own post later this summer.
  • Maybe get going on a campuswide EDMS initiative? Maybe? We've been stalled for a while on getting EDMS going on campus because of various budgetary concerns, but there are a few things that might get it going again:
  1. Our interim provost, who is in his day job the dean of the iSchool here and so has some appreciation for RM concerns;
  2. The systemwide adoption of the HRS recordkeeping system for Personnel Records, which might get other departments also thinking about how to keep their e-recs (it helps that the CIO here is heavily involved in its implementation);
  3. The fact that we're demoing some RM software at the UWROC summer meeting, which, while this campus doesn't like the particular software being demoed, might at least get the UWROC ball rolling on how to implement SOMETHING across the various campuses.
I don't have to tell you, o faithful readers, that getting a bunch of academic departments to do ANYTHING is akin to herding cats. But maybe, just maybe, if we get the infrastructure in place some people will sign on. In the meantime, I think some additional e-recs training is in order. Remember kids, only YOU can prevent the digital dark ages! Speaking of:
  • Develop online training for Records Management. This is really neat-- UWM Employee Development met with me the week before I left for my honeymoon and indicated they wanted to work with me to develop some online training modules for records management, including interactive quizzes and possible certificates. Which of course is something I've wanted to do basically since 2008, but it's good that it's finally happening. In particular they validated my argument, ignored during the UWROC webcast process, that the average employee has a 15 minute attention span and so the 50-minute behemoths aren't going to cut it. Very exciting. This WILL have its own blog post as it develops.
So yeah! Good stuff. Also in August I'm going to SAA, so I intend to blog about that as well (hopefully on the Library's dime, because D.C. is expensive, yo.) Stay tuned!