Zacharia Lischer-Katz Presentation

Zacharia Lischer-Katz will present, "Studying the Curation of Complex Visual Formats in Information Institutions."

Abstract: Complex visual formats present special curation and preservation challenges, particularly in cases where libraries, archives, and museums produce digital copies to take the place of analog media originals. Each act of copying leaves new traces, errors, and potentially new information, as one format is migrated to the next. Digitization and other data curation activities can be understood as interpretive practices that are founded on assumptions about the nature of perception and knowledge and which can significantly impact the meaning and evidence of research data. This talk will discuss research that studies the typically blackboxed context of the video digitization lab, an institutionally-sanctioned space in which media preservationists are tasked with translating invisible analog video signals to digital surrogates in order to preserve moving image content. Through a qualitative-interpretive approach, this research examines how media preservationists construct knowledge in their workplace activities to produce digital surrogates that are perceived in their institutions to be legitimate. They are found to engage their eyes and bodies to form certainty about the invisible and indeterminate analog signals that they work with, coordinating complex interactions between video tapes, playback equipment, visualization tools, and computer systems. This research offers new insight into how institutionalized practices, technical standards, and the educated perception of curators shape the digital copying of analog originals. It shows how studying data creators and curators in the context of their workplaces can yield insights that can inform the design of new curation tools, infrastructures, and educational curricula. The concluding part of this talk will connect these insights with a new research project on the design of infrastructure and tools for the curation of 3D data formats. 

Dr. Zack Lischer-Katz is a postdoctoral research fellow at University of Oklahoma Libraries. From 2016 to 2018 he was a Council on Library and Information Resources (CLIR) Postdoctoral Fellow. He employs qualitative-interpretive methodologies to examine visual information preservation and curation in information institutions, with a focus on complex data types, such as virtual reality, 3D, and audiovisual formats. He presents regularly at conferences including, the Association for Information Science and Technology (ASIST), iConference, iPres, and the Society for the History of Authorship, Reading, and Publishing (SHARP). His research has appeared in Library Trends, International Journal of Digital Curation, Information Technology and Libraries, and First Monday, with upcoming articles to appear in College & Research Libraries and the Proceedings of the American Philosophical Society. He received his PhD in Communication, Information & Library Studies from Rutgers University, and his MA in Cinema Studies from New York University.

Questions? Contact Lori Kelso