Thursday, July 31, 2008

Here's the Situation...

Like all VRL's, we need server space. It would be awesome if I could walk into the office one day and find the IT Fairy left me some under my mousepad. It should be simple, just call IT, say I need space, and they say OK and it will cost this much to maintain. Cool. But for some reason, it's just not that easy. I could just set up a computer in the VRL and use that as the server, and network the other computers. Nope. No peer-to-peer connections allowed. Thanks Napster. I've been told that I can buy a server, and IT'd be more than happy to work with me. Chair says nope. No money for that. So no peer-to-peer, no space, no server. And the magic solution has to come out of my measly budget. What's a VRC to do?

Think outside the box.

I've seen a few interesting options that I'm seriously considering. Amazon's got an interesting sideline going with offering to host server space with Amazon Simple Storage Service (Amazon S3). Windows Skydrive is another option. It's in Beta, so that kind of worries me that it won't stay around, but I think that one's free. FREE!

So I'm hoping to implement something soon, since the fall semester's coming quickly. not necessarily for faculty use yet, but to at least get something out there to show that we are indeed making progress.

I'd be curious if anyone else has considered these options--are they all you hoped and dreamed for?!


UPDATE TO POST: I noticed that Skydrive has a limit of 5GB now, not sure if that's a recent change, but there it is nonetheless.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008


After my futile efforts on Google's blog search, the good folks in VRA came through and flooded me with tons of blogs dedicated (mostly) to Visual Resources. It gave me some really good ideas for, yes, another blog! I realize now that where Digital Nugget is heading is more VRCurator-centric rather than VRLibrary-centric, and both have a place in the blog roster. I'm sure I would have eventually ended up in the same place, but the VRA folks drew my attention to it a little sooner.

So now I'm all excited about the VRLibrary-centric blog as well, and can see how it would be such a useful tool to communicate with my faculty, and provide resources to them all in one place, rather than sending out random emails that often get overlooked.

Now if there was only a way to access our digital images from the blog...(I'm sure there is, but just thinking about it makes my brain bleed...)

More coffee, please!

Tuesday, July 29, 2008


So this is my work blog. I noticed that there weren't too many out there about Visual Resources, and instead of blathering on and on about such things in my personal blog, I decided to have another one devoted to the ins and outs of the life of a Visual Resources Curator such as myself. I'll try to keep this fairly professional, but not too stuffy, because that's not really how I roll. Hopefully it will find an audience of like-minded, OCD-types such as myself, who enjoy playing with slides, cataloguing art images and learning how to be IT people and Database Administrators without the benefit of those salaries.

In September, I will have been VRC here for 11 years. I claim in no way to be an expert in my field, for many reasons, but mostly because our profession is evolving at an astounding rate. This is certainly not the same job that I was hired for! But that's a good thing. Change is good. Technology is good. It's not easy, but it's good.

We (and by "we" I mean the collective Visual Resources Library "we," which consists of me, and the ever-changing cast of occasional student helpers) maintain a collection of approximately 130,000 slides of art images that are used for teaching art and art history courses at our university. Of those images, I have digitized around 21,000. As of yet, we don't have an efficient delivery system for the digital images, but I'm working on that (we'll discuss this later in another post). It is the dream, the vision, the seemingly elusive goal.

So in the meantime, I just keep on scanning (and photoshopping, and databasing....)

Back to work,