ECPN Interviews: Electronic Media Conservation with Yasmin Dessem

To promote awareness and a clearer understanding of different pathways into specializations that require particular training, the Emerging Conservation Professionals Network (ECPN) is conducting a series of interviews with conservation professionals in these specialties. We kicked off the series with Chinese and Japanese painting conservation, and now we are focusing on practitioners in AIC’s Electronic Media Group (EMG). These conservators work with time-based media, which can include moving components, performance, light or sound elements, film and video, analog or born-digital materials. We’ve asked our interviewees to share some thoughts about their career paths, which we hope will inspire new conservation professionals and provide valuable insight into these areas of our professional field.

This is the third post from ECPN’s EMG blog series, for which we first interview Nick Kaplan and more recently, Alex Nichols. For our third interview from the EMG series, we spoke with Yasmin Dessem, currently Head of the Audiovisual Preservation Studio at UCLA Library where she serves as the technical lead as the library continues to develop its program of preservation, digitization and access of its moving image and sound holdings. Previously she managed archive deliverables for new feature releases at Paramount Pictures. She has experience working with a wide variety of moving image and sound formats, as well as pre-film animation devices, silent-era cameras, costumes and paper collections. Yasmin holds Master’s degrees in Art History and Moving Image Archive Studies from UCLA.

Yasmin Dessem (left) and Allie Whalen (right) cleaning and relubricating a Betacam deck. [Photo: Walter Urie]
Yasmin Dessem (left) and Allie Whalen (right) cleaning and relubricating a Betacam deck. [Photo: Walter Urie]
ECPN: Please tell us a little bit about yourself and your current position.

Yasmin Dessem (YD): I oversee the preservation of moving image and recorded sound materials at the UCLA Library’s Preservation Department. For nearly 90 years, the UCLA Library has collected audiovisual materials with content such as home movies, oral histories, and radio broadcasts. Examples are home movies of Susan Sontag’s parents sailing to China in the 1920s and field interviews with Watts residents after the 1965 riots. Audiovisual preservation (AV) at the library is a relatively young unit—a dedicated AV preservationist first came on board in 2011. We offer a number of in-house digitization and preservation services and are currently focusing on increasing our capacity and launching a survey.

ECPN: How were you first introduced to conservation, and why did you decide to pursue conservation?

YD: The 1996 re-release of the restored version of Vertigo first made me aware of film restoration and preservation as an actual practice. Later, as I was finishing my Masters in Art History at UCLA, I took a wonderful class on restoration, preservation, and conservation with Professor David A. Scott. The course covered the material care issues and decision-making ethics for a wide breadth of cultural heritage materials. The class struck a deep chord with me, but I was eager to graduate and start working. After graduation, I ended up working in the film industry for about six years. I was tracking down historic stock footage at one job when my mind circled back to the preservation field as I considered how the films were stored and made available. I had entertained the idea of potentially returning to graduate school to study art conservation some day, but around that time the idea of film preservation as a possible career path began to fully materialize for me. As a result, I began exploring potential graduate programs.

ECPN: Of all specializations, what contributed to your decision to pursue electronic media conservation?

YD: My longtime love for film and music intersected with my curiosity for all things historical and technology-related. These were topics that in one form or another always interested me, but I don’t think I had a full grasp on how to combine them meaningfully into a profession. Preservation was the missing key. My exposure to preservation and conservation while studying art history and my later experience working at film studios both helped direct me towards the specialization.

ECPN: What has been your training pathway?  Please list any universities, apprenticeships, technical experience, and any related jobs or hobbies.

YD: I pursued my studies in the Moving Image Archive Studies (MIAS) Program at UCLA—which persists today as a Master of Library and Information Science (M.L.I.S.) with a Media Archival Studies specialization. While in the program, I completed internships with Universal Pictures and the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences, and volunteered at the Hugh Hefner Moving Image Archive at the University of Southern California. Throughout the two-year MIAS program, I also worked as a fellow at the Center for Primary Research and Training program at UCLA Library Special Collections, where I learned archival processing. My experiences weren’t limited to preserving moving image and sound media, but included paper-based collections, costumes, and film technology. After graduating I attended the International Federation of Film Archives (FIAF) Film Restoration Summer School hosted by the Cineteca di Bologna and L’Immagine Ritrovata.

ECPN: Are there any particular skills that you feel are important or unique to your discipline?

YD: Digital preservation will continue to be a key area of expertise that’s needed in museums and archives. Preserving the original source material and digitizing content is not enough. There are more resources than ever for strategies and tools for digital preservation, and it’s important to seek them out. Another valuable skill is developing a level of comfort with handling and understanding the unique characteristics of a wide variety of physical analog formats  such as film, videotape, audiotape, and grooved media (LP, 78s, lacquer discs, wax cylinders, etc.). Similarly, it’s helpful to have a familiarity with playback devices for these obsolete media formats (equipment like open-reel decks or video decks.) Lastly, metadata can be an unsung hero in media preservation. Often, we’re the first to see or hear a recording in decades, so capturing metadata around the point of transfer is critical. Metadata standards can be a rabbit hole of complexities, especially when it comes to describing audiovisual media, but understanding their application is an essential skill.

Lacquer disc cleaning and transfer workshop at the Instituto de Historia de Cuba in Havana, Cuba [Photo: Yasmin Dessem]
Lacquer disc cleaning and transfer workshop at the Instituto de Historia de Cuba in Havana, Cuba [Photo: Yasmin Dessem]
ECPN: What are some of your current projects, research, or interests?

YD: We’re just wrapping up digitization of materials from the Golden State Mutual Life Insurance Company (GSM), an African American-owned and operated insurance firm established in Los Angeles in 1925 in response to discriminatory practices that restricted the ability of African American residents to purchase insurance. GSM operated for 85 years and their collection is a vibrant resource documenting Los Angeles and the empowerment of a community. We received grants from the National Film Preservation Foundation and the John Randolph Haynes and Dora Haynes Foundation to support this work. The digitized collection is now available on Calisphere. We’ve just started a crowd sourcing project working with former GSM staffers to describe any unidentified content. It’s been one of the most rewarding experiences of my career, hearing everyone’s stories and seeing how much it means to everyone involved to have this collection preserved and made available.

We’ve also been in preparation to launch a large-scale survey that will help us gather data on the Library’s audiovisual collections that can be used for long term-planning. Outside of UCLA, we’ve been involved with ongoing work with cultural heritage institutions in Cuba. Last February, I set up equipment and held a workshop on the digitization of radio transcription discs held at the Instituto de Historia de Cuba (IHC) in Havana. I’m heading back there next week to begin a project to transfer IHC’s open reel audio collections.

ECPN: In your opinion, what is an important research area or need in your specialization?

YD: It’s crucial to preserve the expertise related to the operation and repair of playback equipment. Playback equipment will become more and more difficult to source in the future. Engineers, whose entire careers are dedicated to the use and care of this equipment, are some of the best resources for this knowledge. Their knowledge is shared through conversation, YouTube videos, social media, and professional workshops. Documenting the skills required to handle, maintain, calibrate, and service this equipment in a more formalized way and sharing that knowledge widely will ensure that the preservationists can keep their equipment viable for longer.

ECPN: Do you have any advice for prospective emerging conservators who would like to pursue this specialization?

YD: Try everything. Media preservation requires a wide variety of skills from computer coding to soldering decades-old circuit boards. Depending on where your career takes you, it’s good to have at least a passing familiarity with the full range of skills you may need to call upon. Apply for internships or fellowships with organizations, like the National Digital Stewardship Residency. Volunteer at community-based archives that need help getting their collections in order. Join professional organizations, like the Association of Recorded Sound Collections (ARSC) or the Association of Moving Image Archivists. Attend conferences like code4lib, the Preservation and Archiving Special Interest Group (PASIG), or the Digital Asset Symposium (DAS). Network with engineers or preservation professionals to continue to grow your own expertise, but also share your own skills when you can. Collaboration and knowledge-sharing are a fundamental part of the profession.

Perforation repair of 16 mm film [Photo: Yasmin Dessem]
Perforation repair of 16 mm film [Photo: Yasmin Dessem]
ECPN: Please share any last thoughts or reflections.

YD: One thing to be aware of, if you’re a woman in the field of audiovisual preservation, is that you may occasionally run into people who are surprised to see a woman working with technology (much less wielding a screwdriver!). This response persists to some degree despite the presence of many successful female professionals in the field. What’s encouraging, however, is seeing the growth of groups like the Women in Recorded Sound collective at ARSC providing support.

Audiovisual preservation is such a gratifying profession. Having the opportunity to make historic content available is incredibly meaningful work that I feel lucky to be a part of everyday. On an even more basic level, figuring out a new workflow or getting a piece of equipment to finally work is just so viscerally satisfying. I’m part of an amazing team whose passion, humor and willingness to try out new things inspires me every day and makes me feel so lucky to be doing this work.

ECPN Webinar Follow-up: Presenting Talks and Posters

posted on behalf of Ariel O’Connor
Since I started graduate school in 2006, I’ve given 24 conservation-related PowerPoint presentations at conferences. Each time I give a talk, there are many things that go well, and many things I wish I had done differently. I’ve never walked away from a podium and thought “that was perfect!” but I’ve been proud of many presentations, and that’s usually because I had plenty of time to practice and make changes suggested by friends and colleagues who saw an early version of the talk. When things haven’t gone according to plan – which happens often – I usually know why. I didn’t do a full run-through of the script before the talk, so I went over time. I forgot to check the video link, so it didn’t work during the talk. I’ve lost my place reading a script. I’ve answered, “I don’t know,” to questions in the Q & A session. I stayed up all night finishing the talk and had too much coffee the day of. We’ve all been there, and it’s okay.
As my career progresses, I’ve noticed a shift. I don’t have the time I did in grad school to focus on one PowerPoint at a time, often now I have several to prepare at once. So they’re less elaborate than they were, but I’m getting more comfortable in front of an audience. I look up to the conservators who can comfortably and clearly speak about their work in public, and I constantly try to get better at it. But things still go wrong all the time! To me, the most important thing to take away from those experiences is to understand why they happened, so you can try and improve for the next time. For example, I’m a habitually last-minute PowerPointer, so I try to give myself an earlier deadline by arranging a run-through with colleagues in advance. Sometimes I can, sometimes I can’t. I also want to use more scripts that have simple bullet points instead of sentences, so I can speak without a full script and still stick to time. That’s a future goal of mine, but it’s going to take practice.
I’ve spent a lot of time thinking about preparing and delivering a good PowerPoint talk, and I keep trying to meet those goals. In the feedback from this ECPN Webinar, many students and conservators told me they enjoyed the tips for fancy effects and tricks, but really needed guidance for the basics. In response to this feedback, I put together a 3-page checklist for basic PowerPoint guidelines and stats. It’s compiled from the notes given to me by my former professor and digital guru from SUNY Buffalo, Dan Kushel, and Buffalo’s current Imaging and Technical Examination professor, Jiuan Jiuan Chen, along with a sprinkling of my own notes. With their assistance and permission, we’d like it to be available for anyone to download from the AIC Wiki. Follow this link to access and download the checklist: The first two pages of the handout are designed as a checklist for making the talk, so each step can be checked off as the presentation is created. The last page can be brought to the venue and used as a checklist for giving the talk.
Conservators are incredibly generous with their research and knowledge, and being comfortable presenting your work is an important part of our profession. I hope this checklist will help increase your comfort with presentations. Please share any comments and tips you use as well. Happy PowerPointing!
About the Author
Ariel O’Connor is currently an Objects Conservator at the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum in Washington, D.C. Prior to Air and Space, Ms. O’Connor was an Assistant Objects Conservator at the Walters Art Museum, Assistant Objects Conservator and Samuel H. Kress Fellow at the Harvard Art Museums, and Andrew W. Mellon Fellow at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. Her research focuses on materials and technology in archaeological Asian art. Her archaeological fieldwork includes seasons at the Aphrodisias Excavations, Mugello Valley/Poggio Colla Archaeological Project, and Gordion Excavations Project. She holds an M.A. and C.A.S. in Art Conservation from Buffalo State College.

43rd Annual Meeting- Workshop, May 13, "Using Wikis to Collaborate, Share, and Advance Conservation" with Rachael Perkins Arenstein, Michele Derrick, and Suzy Morgan

This year, the annual meeting wiki-a-thon turned into a daylong workshop in the hopes that we would have more time to add content to the site. Thanks again to NCPTT for helping to fund the day! Although we never seem to have enough time, the day was immensely helpful in getting beginners comfortable with adding content to the site and moving the more experienced users forward to another level with useful tips and problem solving for getting the wiki to do what we want.
After introductions, Rachael started with a useful overview of the wiki site and general goals. She also gave a brief talk put together by Leon Zaks (from the pestlist) about how to choose your online platform. Basically the wiki is a many to many platform- there are many contributors with loosely vetted content meant to reach a large audience.
Michelle presented on CAMEO, which is hosted by the MFA Boston. It has recently been moved to a wiki format so that it can be more easily updated- hopefully by more than just Michelle. Anyone interested is welcome to contact Michelle. CAMEO is a great resource and the wiki is not meant to duplicate it, but there is definitely room for increasing the connection between the two and improving the integration of the sites.
Unfortunately Nancie Ravenel was not able to make it, but we had Nora Lockshin available to step in and provide lots of great information about wikipedia in general, what are some of the ground rules and expected conduct on the site. If you didn’t know, there is a wikipedia teahouse made for newcomers- this is a great place to post questions and get answers about coding. Just beware- the AIC wiki does not have all of the extensions and add-ons, so something you can do on Wikipedia isn’t necessarily possible on the AIC Wiki. That being said, if there is anything you want to do and can’t let Rachael know and she can look into getting that functionality on the site.
Two other wiki sites, you should know about Preservapedia (also sponsored by NCPTT) and the SPNHC wiki which is just getting off the ground.
Other tidbits you should know that came out of the day:

  • Creative Commons is a way of licensing images to limit their use by others, or make them available to all
  • when searching through google images or flickr, you can filter those that have the CC license
  • there is a great slider tool to help you determine if something is still under copyright or in the public domain
  • The AIC has a policy and expects that if you post something, you have gotten the proper permissions and you have given AIC permission to publish and re-publish content in perpetuity, so that they can migrate to a new platform when needed in the future.
  • When adding images- be aware of their size. Please resize before uploading.
  • Zotero is a great open source citation tool- the exported citation format for the wiki is not exactly right, but could save you a ton of time when adding citations.
  • Check out the Categories page from Special pages- these can be used to “tag” pages in a way to help link them together.
  • For the non-beginner training session Suzy put all of her notes on the wiki under the news section, so you can find all of her great tips there.

Happy wiki-editing!

42nd Annual Meeting- Luncheon, May 31, "Wiki Edit-a-thon Luncheon"

As a contributor to the AIC wiki, it was nice to meet some of the other contributors and put names to faces. I was hoping to see more enthusiastic contributors at the Edit-a-thon, but it was still a useful way to  get an update of what is happening with the wiki outside my own bubble and feel more a part of that community. Join us next time!
Rachael Perkins Arenstein, the AIC e-Editor, started us off with an introduction to the wiki overall and the current projects that she wanted to highlight, such as:
1. Lexicon – Nancie Ravenel was there to give an overview of where she was this going and how it filled a gap in current resources.
2. Oddy/Materials Testing – I happen to be one of the contributors for this section of the wiki. We know that this is a controversial topic, but want to share information in an attempt to get others to do the same. The database is really several sortable tables with the information collected during testing. I got some good feedback about how to improve the pages.
3. Exhibiting Conservation
4. K-12 Educational Resources
5. History of Conservation & Conservators
6. Reading Lists
7. Conservation Courses for Allied Fields
8. Setting up a Conservation Lab
I think one of the most interesting portions of the luncheon was a report on responses the BPG got from a survey about the wiki. My take-away, to get more information onto the wiki we have to build relationships between conservators of differing experience by pairing conservators who are wiki-fluent (typically younger and less-experienced)  with those who have content (usually more experienced, but less tech savvy). This seems like a promising way to build the wiki and  mentorship relationships! Maybe we should pitch this to ECPN… There was also some review about the disclaimers and banners that run across the top of most pages. These were never meant to be left there and the creator wishes we would just do away with them. The outgoing OSG wiki-Editor, Lee-Ann Barnes Gordon, pitched some ideas she has been mulling over in regards to the banners. Such as, a progression of headers to give readers a better idea of where the page was in an informal review process. For example, “under construction/adding content,” “under review,” “reviewed.”
So not much content was added, but some important information was shared. So please check out the wiki and if you see an area that you feel you could improve- contribute!
Thanks to the NCPTT for funding this great luncheon!  Sorry I didn’t get everyone’s name.

Updates to Sustainable Practices on the AIC Wiki

The Sustainability Committee spent the month of February adding content to the Sustainable Practices section of the AIC wiki. We each choose a short project to work on, most of which involved adding information to the wiki from websites, articles, and books. What better way to highlight our new wiki content than to celebrate it in poetry? It is still possible to delve much deeper into these topics. We welcome your comments and feedback emailed to

Ode to Feburary

“Oh February, Oh ‘Wiki Month,’” cried this committee,
“How quickly you passed, like snow on the trees.”
“What’s changed?” You ask. “Quite a lot, I think!
There are new pages and content and at least one new link.”
We start with the past, we added our roots.
A brief history of sustainable institutions – Oh what a hoot!
Added are tables on green measurements
For water purifying lab instruments.
What about packing and shipping of art and supplies?
Consider recycled boxes or reused crates, before they fly!
How sustainable are your materials? How green are your treatments?
We’ve started a section but need your comments.
And solvents, green solvents, we cover those too,
With info on substitutions made just for you.
Think big, think bold, and make your lab green,
Or think about starting your own “Go Green!” team.
Contribute, we ask, please help us improve!
Its March and we’ve just gotten into a groove.
– Robin O’Hern and the Sustainability Committee

An update from the Emerging Conservation Professionals Network (ECPN)

On the heels of a busy and successful 2012, 2013 is turning out to be another eventful year for the Emerging Conservation Professionals Network (ECPN), with many exciting activities planned and several projects already underway. We’re also working hard to prepare for our activities at the AIC Annual Meeting in May. Here is a summary of what we have been up to and what lies ahead. You can also find out more about our network’s mission on our webpage.
ECPN at AIC’s 41st Annual Meeting in Indianapolis

Shots from our portfolio review session at the 2012 annual meeting
Shots from our portfolio review session at the 2012 annual meeting

Portfolio Seminar
On Wednesday, May 29th, ECPN will be holding a Portfolio Seminar from 4:00 to 6:00pm. Following the successes of ECPN’s Portfolio Review Sessions at the 2011 and 2012 AIC Annual Meetings, we are expanding the session this year to address a larger, more diverse audience and provide increased opportunities for discussion. This two-hour session will include presentations, a panel discussion, and interactive portfolio sharing. The presentations will focus on topics including building conservation portfolios, creating an architectural conservation portfolio, creating an online or digital portfolio, and professional development beyond the portfolio. The panel discussion will address audience questions, and portfolio sharing will be composed of volunteers representing different graduate programs and conservation specialties.
ECPN Happy Hour
After the Portfolio Session on May 29th, join us for an extended happy hour from 6:30 to 10:00pm at High Velocity in the JW Marriott, sponsored by Tru Vue. Our happy hour is a great opportunity to mingle with other emerging conservators, as well as mentors and colleagues. Please join us – all are welcome!
One of the break-out discussions during ECPN's 2012 informational meeting
One of the break-out discussions during ECPN’s 2012 informational meeting

ECPN Informational Session
On Friday, May 31st, from 5:30 to 6:30pm, we will be holding our annual informational session, where you can learn about ECPN, propose and discuss ideas, and meet others in the network.
ECPN Poster
This year, ECPN is presenting a poster entitled “The Art_Con<server>: 
How conservation professionals make use of online resources,” in which we will explore different viewpoints surrounding public access to conservation information and its effects on the conservation profession. The content of the poster was generated with support from the AIC Publications Committee and is based on a survey distributed to AIC members that addressed the creation and promotion of conservation content online and the accessibility of conservation literature.
In addition to ECPN’s activities, please support emerging conservators who will be presenting in the Specialty Group sessions and poster session. In addition to presentations interspersed throughout these sessions, the Architecture Specialty Group is holding a special student session on Friday, May 31st from 8:00 to 10:00am .
ECPN Webinars
In 2012, ECPN held two webinars, both of which received an outstanding response. Our first webinar – “Self-advocacy and Fundraising for Independent Research” – was held in July and featured Debra Hess Norris. This webinar attracted over 90 registered participants from 6 different countries. Our second webinar – “Considering your future career path: working in private practice” – was held in November, and 80 registered participants called in to learn valuable insight into the world of private practice from Paul Messier, Rosa Lowinger, and Julia Brennan.
ECPN is planning for our next webinar on the topic of Pre-program internships to be held in summer 2013. Webinar speakers include both emerging conservators and conservators with experience supervising interns. Stay tuned for more details. For more information on ECPN’s webinar series, please follow this link. You can also find reviews of last year’s two webinars on AIC’s blog and video content by following these links:
Self-advocacy and Fundraising webinar
Private Practice Webinar
Mentoring Program
ECPN’s Mentoring Program, which successfully matched 24 mentees with mentors since last year’s annual meeting, is undergoing a restructuring to better and more swiftly meet the needs of emerging conservators, including pre-program, graduate, and post-graduate. This will involve the creation of pre-program resources that will address common concerns, such as tips for applying to graduate school programs. To learn more about the program, or to apply to be a mentor or to find a mentor, follow this link.
AIC Wiki
This past January, ECPN officers and members actively participated in the AIC Wiki January edit-a-thon, working on the Exhibiting Conservation page and the Lexicon Project.
ECPN would also like to encourage emerging conservators to participate in the AIC Annual Meeting wiki edit-a-thon luncheon event on Friday May 31 from 12-2pm. For more details about this event please contact ECPN Chair Molly Gleeson at: mollygleeson [at] gmail [dot] com.
ECPN Liaisons
This year ECPN welcomed the following new graduate program liaisons:
Christina Simms and Christina Taylor – Buffalo State College
Mayank Patel and Brooke Young – Columbia University
Saira Haqqi – Institute of Fine Arts, New York University
Samantha Fisher and Marie-Lou Beauchamp – Queen’s University
Casey Mallinckrodt – UCLA/Getty
Michelle Sullivan – Winterthur/University of Delaware
Sarah B. Hunter – University of Texas, School of Architecture
A complete list of our current liaisons can be found on our webpage.
These are just a few of the activities that ECPN is engaged in. We encourage you to join us at our annual meeting events, or on one of our conference calls! If you have any questions, ideas, or would like to get involved, please leave a comment here or contact Eliza Spaulding, ECPN Vice Chair, at elizaspaulding [at] gmail [dot] com.

EMG Wiki Day 9/27

AIC’s Electronic Media Group announces our upcoming EMG Wiki Day on Thursday, 9/27, from 1 to 5 PM Eastern Time.  EMG members and allied professionals are invited to write and edit for this valuable online resource.  We actively seek contributions on topics including film, digital audio and video, optical audio and moving image formats, and digital storage.

Log onto the EMG wiki during the afternoon of 9/27 to join other EMG members in writing and editing content.  The event offers collaboration and support for experienced wiki authors and novices alike.

Still need a wiki account?  View the AIC wiki training video and then contact AIC e-Editor Rachael Arenstein to get your login.  If you have content to contribute but can’t train in time, please contact EMG Webmaster Sarah Norris.

Visit the EMG wiki to learn more.

Mark your calendars for the afternoon of 9/27 and join your colleagues as we enhance this valuable wiki resource for the field.

-Sarah Norris
EMG Webmaster

AIC’s 40th Annual Meeting – AIC Wiki Meeting, May 9

The AIC Wiki meeting provided active wiki Creators with the chance to connect faces with the names they’ve seen contributing over the past year, and everyone introduced themselves to the group. AIC’s e-Editor Rachael Perkins Arenstein noted that roughly half of those present were new to the wiki, and at the meeting to learn how to get involved.  She began by providing a brief background on the history of the wiki.


SG’s and the “Wiki Edit-a-thon”

There was an update on each specialty group’s use of the wiki.  The specialty groups shared their strategies for building participation in January’s “Wiki Edit-a-thon.”  The event was a great success, as Rachael described in the March 2012 issue of AIC News.  There were 137,000 hits to the wiki during the month, 59 new articles were added, and over 100 supplemental pages.  PMG had surveyed members and then set up two categories to populate during the event.  One day per week was scheduled as a “write-in” day, when members knew they could email each other to confer as they posted their content.  The Book Group in BPG set up a sample page for Creators to refer to, and it jump-started the creation of other pages.  EMG set up an outline and template, and then scheduled a single “write-in” day for everyone to join in.  Some groups, such as WAG, ASG, and the Paper Group in BPG, used the event as an impetus to identify people to spearhead their SG’s nascent wiki efforts.  OSG expanded their template, nearly doubled their number of Creators, and expanded content on a variety of topics, as well as adding new ones.  CIPP and TSG both realized that their Listservs had threads that would make great pages, so that will be a next step.


New Developments

The wiki software is outdated, and plans to update it are in development so that video can be embedded and the citation tool can be improved.  The wiki home page was reorganized, and there is significant interest in translating some of the wiki pages.  The first request came for a Russian translation of some of the content.  The translation will also be available on the AIC Wiki.  There’s interest in a Spanish translation of the Paper catalog.  A section on “The History of Conservation and Conservators” is in development and will include interviews from the FAIC Oral History Project.  Quality control and peer review were discussed, and what processes might be set in place across SG’s.  A working group is in formation to propose a series of headers (such as the “Draft” header currently in use) that would designate the stage of peer review for each page.  Contact Rachael (Rachael [at] amartconservation __ com) to join the group.



Getting Involved

An online tutorial is available for those interested in learning how to post content, and Rachael encouraged potential wiki Creators to get in touch with her to get added to the wiki email list.  The goal is to make the wiki a go-to resource for professional content for conservators, by conservators. One important note is that no one forfeits their rights to content they post on the wiki (the copyright agreement is what is used for post prints).  Members should feel that publishing on the wiki is a respected and valuable contribution to the field.


A key message of this session was this: your ongoing efforts to expand the wiki, whatever your time permits, are valued and appreciated!


To stay informed of updates on the wiki, visit the AIC wiki at and scroll down to the Getting Started section.


January AIC Wiki Edit-a-thon

This month there is an AIC-wide wiki “edit-a-thon” event, to raise awareness of the platform, encourage participation and to add to the content already on the AIC wiki. Volunteers are needed to help with creating new content, adding content that has already been written and summarizing specialty group listserv threads, for both the individual specialty group catalogs and also for additional topics, such as the History of Conservation, Preventive Care, and Exhibition Standards. Take a look at some of the valuable content already on the wiki by clicking here.

For all of us in the field, but especially for us emerging conservators, this is an excellent opportunity to contribute to a dynamic, new resource that is already providing a great benefit for our profession. Volunteering for this project is also a way to acquire new skills and knowledge, and to connect with your colleagues and peers!

If you are interested in working on the wiki, please contact AIC e-Editor Rachael Perkins Arenstein with your contact info and area of interest: rachael AT AMArtConservation dot com.  Interested in helping but uncertain how you’d like to contribute or what you might be able to offer?  We can help direct you to the appropriate specialty group or connect you with another conservator to work on content. For emerging conservators, this could be an opportunity for a mini mentoring exercise with an experienced conservator, who would offer knowledge and advice to help pull together content for an article. Again, please contact Rachael if you’d be interested in such an opportunity.

We hope to hear from you! And at the very least, if you aren’t familiar with the AIC wiki, or if you haven’t checked it out in awhile, take a look at the main page, and remember to check back often, as new content will be continually added.