Warning: this post is probably going to be extremely boring to anyone who doesn’t care deeply about the nuances of my methods of metadata collection. But I figured, as this is a process blog, that I might as well post about it. And there will be a picture of a rat at the end of the post!

I made a list of info I’ll be collecting in my updated metadata collector for my Duke visit. The fields, including those with strikethroughs, are from the metadata collector that Alana Kumbier, Leslie Fields, and Michele Hardesty built for Beyond the Riot, that I have worked with (and modified a bit) to build the database of zines from the Girl Zines Collection.

I’m editing the metadata collector because I have such a limited amount of time at Duke. It’s scary going through and deciding what I do and don’t vitally need for my project.

The biggest field I’ve been wondering about is contributors–while I think it’s incredibly important, in general, to include contributors to a zine when cataloging metadata, it’s also generally one of the fields that takes the longest to enter. I’ve decided for the sake of time to forego it, and only list the creator. Other fields were simpler to cross out–I almost never have the need to record publishers or Union ID numbers because generally, the types of zines I’m interested in looking at are self published, and distributed relatively informally. Notable physical attributes about the zine and the number of pages, while important for a full cataloged entry, also feel less relevant when my main goal is creating geographic/network maps of zines.  Similarly, the paratexts we’re recording for Beyond the Riot will be especially useful for student researchers exploring the Girl Zines Collection in the fall, but won’t be that helpful for me in terms of learning about zines in a collection I likely won’t have the chance to go back to for a while.  Recording the price of the zine, while a fun and interesting piece of information that it honestly pains me not to know (this isn’t sarcasm, I’m genuinely really curious about price differentials across zine genres) is probably not super necessary.  I crossed off questions specific to the Beyond the Riot project, because this isn’t really going to be used for that project, and I can look up the Zine Wiki page on my own time. And in terms of cataloger names, it will only be me cataloging!

So, here it is:

Contributors: ?
Subject(s) tags:
Content description, notes:
Publisher, if applicable:
Place of publication:
Date of publication:
Physical description (size):
Anything notable about physical description?:
Number of pages:
Union ID, if applicable:
See also (related entries):
Reproduction or access rights:
Box number:
Folder number:
Paratexts: ?
Price: ?

Zine recipient:
Mention of other zines:
Particular interest to Zine Scenes/Beyond the Riot project:
Is there a Zine Wiki page for this zine?
Cataloger Name:

Now I’ll put this into a Google form and stop angsting about the question of contributors, and pat the rat named Poppyseed who is sitting next to me.

2015-12-31 17.05.14

Visiting Duke

On Wednesday February 17th, I’m visiting the Sallie Bingham Center Zine Collections at Duke University, part of Duke’s Rare Book, Manuscript, and Special Collections library. The Bingham Center is home to several important zine collections, including the Sarah Dyer Zine Collection, which will be the collection I’m looking at primarily on this trip.

On a personal level, this is really exciting for me–I’ve never been to North Carolina, nor have I ever travelled out of state to go visit an archive. I’ll be there for two full days, from open till close. I’m extremely nervous, to be honest–I’ve worked in the Sophia Smith Collection, and with digital archives, but I feel very inexperienced when faced with a whole new archive. I got through the material requests online okay, though, so that’s the first hurdle I suppose.

I have a list of around 45 zines I definitely want to look at while I’m there, and have requested ten boxes: six from the Sarah Dyer Zine Collection, three from the Ailecia Ruscin Zine Collection, and one from the Sarah Wood Zine Collection.

Among the zines I want to look at are zines listed in the finding aid for the Mimi Thi Nguyen Zine Collection, in Collaboration with the People of Color Zine Project at the Fales Library & Special Collections at NYU. I hope to be able to visit that collection directly, but in the meantime the list is serving as a helpful resource for identifying some zines written by women of color in the 1990’s; I hope to locate networks of POC zine creators and look at their relation to/distance from white-washed riot grrrl scenes. A hand-full of the 40 some zines in the Mimi Thi Nguyen collection’s finding aid are also in collections at Duke, so I’m going to look at those when I visit.

Today is Sunday and I leave on Wednesday morning. I’m suddenly panicking about everything I need to do. The most important thing is that I need to create a revised metadata collector based on the one I’ve been using on the Girl Zines Collection, but much shorter. I have around 16 hours (if I skip meals) to get through 45 zines at least. This means I need to get the information I need very quickly. I’m trying to decide which metadata fields are most important–what am I likely to be able to find on zinewiki? What can be inferred? I wish I had longer than two days.

Anyways, I’ll post updates as the trip progresses!

Well, the Twine situation is coming along.

In fact, it’s coming along much quickly and much more interestingly than I ever could have anticipated.

Using Twine as a means of representing the process of reading zines in a network as moving through a tunnel-like network with no map, I discovered that the process could also be mapped the other way. Twine has a storyboarding function that enables you to look at the whole map of your story and the connections between passages. So I’ve been importing metadata I collected from the Girl Zines Collection into Twine, and now have 451 unique passages–each representative of a zine.

This is an image of some clusters. The squares in the center represent zines, and the squares surrounding them represent zines that they mention or that mention them–usually the former. Many of the surrounding zines aren’t zines that are in the Girl Zines Collection. Thus, there are few connection points in the clusters, and mainly clusters will connect when two “hub” zines mention the same zine.

Screen Shot 2016-02-06 at 2.52.45 PM

But when more zines in a cluster are zines I have access to, the map quickly develops more crossover between clusters, and the crossover becomes more and more complex.Screen Shot 2016-02-06 at 3.35.02 PM

Ideally, there will eventually be many fewer hubs and clusters, because most zines attached to a hub will have a web of connections of their own. To be honest, it’s hard to imagine how that will look right now.

I’m about three quarters of the way through importing my data from the Girl Zines Collection, but I still don’t have the “mention of other zines” data from all of the zines in the collection. Yesterday, I went to the Girl Zines Collection and listed the zines that the zines in Box 1 mention–this grew my map tremendously. The more already cataloged boxes I do this with, the more this map will grow. And I only have four boxes cataloged, out of a collection of eighteen boxes. As the database continues to grow, so will this map.

What’s exciting is that the more data I’m putting in, the less I remember about each zine, and the more surprising connections emerge without my expecting it.

I’m curious–does Twine ever limit the size of their storyboards? If so, I may have a problem.